The 1997 reunion was quite different to the first one in 1986 in that this time Leanne had a memorial plaque made and set in position at the Killalea house site within Killalea State Park.  I also remember that Sonia Bianchetto helped Leanne with the arrangements and in obtaining the necessary permission to actually place the plaque where it is today.  It was probably Sonia's involvement and association with those in authority at the time that inspired Leanne to hold the reunion when she did.

Sonia was the Training & Development Officer working with a group of students who were writing "A European History of Killalea State Recreation Area" and produced a 90 page book called "Killalea" and first published in 1996.  There was a lot of correspondence each way between Leanne & Sonia whilst the research was being carried out for this book as Leanne could provide a lot of information on the Killalea family but the students kept finding more information for Leanne about the family too.  Leanne was excited about many old newspaper cuttings etc. the students came across whilst gathering their information.

There is now probably a copy of this book created by the students in most branches of the Killalea family here in Australia.

On the day of the unveiling of the plaque the Park Rangers kindly assisted in getting some of the elderly family members down to the site in their vehicles.

The plaque was unveiled by Doris who was the oldest descendant at the reunion and we had another family function with Steve as MC at the Shellharbour Worker's Club on the Saturday evening.


Doris unveiling the plaque



Leanne & Steve with Doris



Leanne & Steve with the oldest and youngest descendant who attended the reunion



Glenda and her family at the plaque

Article from p2 "Lake Times" on Wednesday October 8th 1997


Group photo taken near Killalea house site where the plaque in located with Killalea Lagoon in the background

In one of Leanne's preliminary letters about this reunion she had asked for ideas and Glenda suggested a Church Service in the "Stella Maris" Catholic Church at Shellharbour.  I recollect Leanne's phone call to me about this suggestion and her fears of such an event being a total failure with a family that many branches now appear to belong to other religions or none at all.

Well I backed Glenda's idea as I knew a lot of family members would want to see the baptismal font in the Church donated by Patrick Killalea in memory of his parents Edward and Maria but suggested she get Glenda to arrange what was to go in the Service on the day.  Then she suggested I visit the Priest on my next trip to Shellharbour (as Glenda lives in South Australia) to see if he would hold a Service for us in that little Church.

As I'm not a Catholic either, I decided to see if Christopher would come down from Sydney and meet me at Shellharbour for lunch and together we would go off and see the Priest.  Well Christopher was quite happy to meet up at Shellharbour and off we went to see the young Priest who couldn't have been more helpful.  Just as we came out from the Presbytery, Christopher said "Well I'm glad you're a Catholic", at which I replied, "Well I thought you were and that's why I asked you to come down for the day".  This got quite a laugh when I reported back to Leanne.

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"Stella Maris" Catholic Church at Shellharbour

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This is a copy of the handout of the readings and prayers used at our reunion Church Service and created by Glenda

   killaleareunion199708 For those family members who attended our Church Service, I feel I should point out that the young Priest who made us all feel so welcome and comfortable in his Church happened to be Fr Peter Comensoli.  He was recently appointed to the position of Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney.  killaleareunion199709  
killaleareunion199710 This is the Baptismal Font in the "Stella Maris" Catholic Church which is of interest to members of the Killalea family.  Strangely though Patrick still remains quite a mystery, spending the later part of his life in Tasmania.  killaleareunion199711

It was interesting that this Church Service Leanne was so worried about ended up being a highlight of the weekend and I'm sure if she was still with us she would have attended the 150th Celebrations of the Church held on the weekend of 13th & 14th of August 2011.  Leanne's two daughters, Belinda and Natalie attended the Church service with myself which included a luncheon and memorabilia display.  Photos taken at the 150th Anniversary and of the Campbell Historical plaque (Maria's parents?) recently erected near the entrance to the Shellharbour Worker's Club.

I couldn't resist using the photo of the Church with the cross almost falling off.  I had a little chuckle to myself whilst taking the photo thinking that maybe it had something to do with all of us attending the Church back in 1997.

1986 Reunion     2009 Reunion

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