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Church of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

The Catholic population arrived as early as the 1850's, when Scottish farmers came looking for suitable land to farm. The Poppelwell family are one family in particular who settled in the Tokomairiro district. The Parish was not actually established until 1873, so until then, Catholic people would wait until a Priest would travel south from Dunedin and as far away as Wellington and stop by on their travels to offer Mass in their homes. As the gold rush attracted thousands of people into Central Otago, a lot of Parishes began to take shape all over Otago.








Our Roman Catholic Parish was formed in 1873, by the then, Bishop Moran of Dunedin.

It is based in the town of Milton, once an essential service centre for the more populous district of Tuapeka, where gold was first discovered in New Zealand.


The Milton Parish in the 1870's originally covered the districts of, Otokia to Clinton, and Tuapeka District to the sea.


To this day Milton remains a small rural town of approximately 2500 residents, and still provides a welcome stop for those travelling inland to the tourist regions of Central Otago, or further south to the rich pasturelands of Southland.

The town also thrives on the local agricultural and timber industries, and on the addition of the regional prison, the Otago Corrections Facility.

Today the Parish is part of the South Otago Pastoral Area, ironically covering approximately the same area as it did when it was first established.

Today though, the local Parish Priest travels by car rather than horseback, as the first Parish Priest did way back in the 1870's.

Parish Directory

Parish Priest: Fr Chris O’Neill                                                      

Parish Office: 24 Dryden St, Milton., 03 417 8603


Sunday Mass Times

Lawrence: 5:30pm Vigil, first Sunday - 11am

Milton: 9am

Balclutha: 10:30am, first Sunday - 7pm Vigil


Week Day Masses in Milton

Wednesday: 2pm Children’s Mass with St Mary’s students

Saturday: 9am

St Mary’s Primary School:  034178585

Principal: Mrs Diane Hayes (see St Mary’s contacts)


Children’s Sacramental Programme

A Parish based programme is coordinated from Balclutha



Lent and Advent, and on request anointing of the sick.


St Mary’s Parish Council

Contact – Peter Mallon 03 417 8181


St Mary’s Ladies Group

Contact Mary-Rose Mallon 03 417 8181

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