A lifetime of giving

2 May 1906. His Eminence Patrick Cardinal Moran appoints Rev. Father Edward Gell as priest-in-charge for the Ryde district in Sydney’s north-west. At the time, the parochial district encompasses a series of small towns, villages and farmland extending from Gladesville to Eastwood. Father Gell’s unmarried eldest sister, Frances, is the presbytery’s housekeeper. Their father, Edward Gell senior, was a successful engineer and architect who designed more than 130 churches, public buildings and homes throughout central west NSW, including the Cathedral of St Michael and St John in Bathurst. Edward Gell senior was also a co-founder of the Lithgow Valley Colliery and its famous zig-zag railway. Edward Gell junior was born in 1867 and became an apprentice engineer and a founding shareholder in an Australian felt and textile company before studying for the priesthood. Father Gell and his sister are to become generous benefactors of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor and close friends of its co-founders, Eileen O’Connor and Rev. Father Edward (Ted) McGrath msc. During his epic 40-year term as Parish Priest, Father Gell rebuilt the Church of St Charles at Ryde and built new churches and parish schools at Eastwood, Epping, Gladesville, Marsfield and Meadowbank.