The Garden Hill Site

The house currently known as Padbury House, named after its late owner William Padbury was constructed in 1893.  Following Padbury’s purchase of the property in 1917, a separate building was constructed to the rear of the main house to house a ballroom and servants’ quarters.  At this time Padbury utilized ‘Garden Hill’ to breed cattle.

St. Charles’ Seminary

In 1941 William Padbury’s landholding of ‘Garden Hill’ was purchased by the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Archbishop Prendiville, and the Bishop of Geraldton, Bishop O’Collins, for use as a seminary.  At the time the Guildford property consisted of thirteen large rooms, a hall, a boathouse on the river, outhouse facilities and beautifully kept grounds including tennis courts, playing areas, orchard and vineyard.

St. Charles’ Seminary was founded in 1942 for the formation of Catholic priests for the ecclesiastical province of Western Australia.  The seminary opened on 8 March 1942 with twenty students, three teaching staff and three domestic staff.  The first rector was Rev Dr Launcelot Goody, later to become the Archbishop of Perth.  In 1948 management and staffing of the seminary was handed over to the Vincentian Fathers, and in 1949 the first ordinations of St. Charles’ students took place.  At the end of 1975 the Vincentian Fathers withdrew and St. Charles’ Seminary closed due to a lack of numbers. The place was then used as a ‘pre-seminary’, known as the St Charles’ Vocational. In late 1993 Archbishop Hickey announced the reopening of the seminary in 1994. In 2002 a further four buildings were constructed on the east side of the ‘ballroom’ to accommodate living quarters for up to eighteen seminarians and four priests.

Students now live in for six or seven years while undertaking much of their study at Notre Dame University in Fremantle.  Since 1942 more than four hundred men have passed through St. Charles’ and over one hundred and sixty have been ordained priests and five of its former students have become archbishops or bishops.