1968: DOME OF BELL-TOWER STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
At 2am on the 2nd June 1968, the dome of the bell-tower was struck by lightning. Lightning damage to the tower was so extensive that the top half of the 70 foot (22m) high dome had to be demolished and rebuilt. Part of the 15 foot (4.5m) high copper sheet wooden dome had to be repaired, and the entire electrical installation of the church had to be re-wired. Repairs, which took about two months, cost approximately R7000.
By way of information, the tower dome is estimated to weigh approximately one ton. In a newspaper article at the time it stated: “Nobody knew what to expect when the dome was lifted from the tower built 34 years ago. It was feared the dome would break its rope ceiling and crash to the ground, but it was landed safely on the grass verge in front of the church”.
Pictures show (from left): 1. Damage to the towe; 2. The dome being lifted off for repair; 3. Fr O' Brien inspects damage to electrical junction box.
1971: NEW PRESBYTERY
In 1971 under the guidance of the priest-in-charge, Reverend Father Michael O’Brien, a new Presbytery was built at the cost approximately R21,500. Later the former Presbytery on Wynne Street was sold, after it had been used as a school by the Assumption Sisters.
1974: ASSUMPTION CONVENT/SCHOOL
During this period of time a difficult decision was made to close both the school and the convent.
1977: OUR LADY’S GROTTO
In 1976 through the efforts of Fr. O’Brien, Mr Jackson, Mr Turner, Mr Olivier, Mr Moss, Mr Kingsley, Mr Allison, Mr Engelbrecht, Assumption Sisters community and various other members of the Parish family, the Grotto was built and blessed on the 17th March 1977 by Bishop John P. Murphy. The statue was donated from the Asssumption Sisters Sydenham Convent.
1980: CHURCH CONSECRATION
The Right Reverend Bishop John Patrick Murphy (left), assisted by Fathers M. O’Brien, H. Flynn, D. Johnson S.J., W. Lernihan and Master of Ceremonies, Father V Dania, consecrated/blessed St. Patrick’s church on the 27th April 1980.
Twelve Crosses were placed on the walls as a plaque at the entrance of the church indicating the Consecration.
1983: CHURCH EXTERIOR PAINTED
In 1983 under the direction of the Parish Council, the exterior of the entire church was painted at a cost of approximately R3 800.
The following year the interior and exterior of both the Presbytery and the Religious Education Centre was repainted
1985: NEW LIGHTING FOR CHURCH
During 1983 and into 1984 discussion at Parish Council level focused on the possible need for new lighting for the interior of the Church.
After consultation with lighting consultants it was learned that the interior of the church had approximately one quarter of the minimum amount of light recommended for a church (50 lumen).
It was decided that fluorescent lighting would be used in the church, which would provide approximately the 200 lumen which would be necessary for a church.
One comment on the new lighting was:
“In the past it seemed that our lighting represented a catacomb; the new lighting makes our church appear to be like modern cathedral."