'No worries in Cabramatta': Council unveils Father Mac tribute

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone and councillors at Father Macs Basketball Court in Cabravale Memorial Park, Cabramatta on Thursday.
Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone and councillors at Father Macs Basketball Court in Cabravale Memorial Park, Cabramatta on Thursday.

It was only fitting that Fairfield Council unveiled a park bench and outdoor basketball court in memory of the much-loved Father Patrick McAuliffe at Cabravale Memorial Park, Cabramatta on Thursday.

After all Father Mac - as he was commonly known - spent a lot of time using the park to walk between the Sacred Heart Cabramatta Parish and the Fairfield-Cabramatta PCYC on his way to helping lots of people in the community.

 Fairfield MP Guy Zangari with Father Patrick McAuliffe.

Fairfield MP Guy Zangari with Father Patrick McAuliffe.

Mr Carbone said Father Mac, who passed away in April 2020, was a much-loved figure in the community.

"It's fair to say that if you met him, you would never forget him. He was direct and honest, with a heart as big as his personality. His favourite saying was No worries in Cabramatta," said Mr Carbone who presented the tribute to members of the parish and the Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Cabramatta principal on Thursday.

"Father Mac was not just a figure in the church community. He was basketball coach at Cabramatta PCYC - for girls and boys teams, and he was president of the Cabramatta PCYC.

The bench at at Cabravale Memorial Park.

The bench at at Cabravale Memorial Park.

"He reintroduced rugby league to Sacred Heart Cabramatta re-forming the Cabra Cubs - and he attended all the Sacred Heart rugby league and netball games on weekends.

"The naming tribute will serve as a permanent reminder of his contributions to Cabramatta and the wider Fairfield community."

The naming of the basketball court was an ideal way to recognise Father Mac's commitment to sport and young people in the area.

The naming of the basketball court was an ideal way to recognise Father Mac's commitment to sport and young people in the area.

Fr Mac was known for his warm welcome to every new nationality as they came into the church community and served as parish priest at Sacred Heart Cabramatta for more than 40 years.

He spent over four decades as a school Chaplain at Patrician Brothers' College, Fairfield and three decades at Mary MacKillop Catholic College, Wakeley and attended all school camps and religious retreats to lead the students in prayer.

Fr Mac spent many years as the Fairfield-Cabramatta PCYC president and in 2016 the indoor basketball court was named in his honour. He also led prayers at Cabravale Memorial Park on Anzac Day every year on behalf of the Cabra-Vale Diggers Club.

Father Patrick McAuliffe (second from left) at the Cabra Vale Park centenary official event in 2014.

Father Patrick McAuliffe (second from left) at the Cabra Vale Park centenary official event in 2014.

Of the many accolades he received, he was awarded Rotary's highest award, the Paul Harris Fellowship and the Centenary Medal for Service to the PCYC and Youth.

Long-time friend Tony Fornasier described Father Mac as a "great man" at the opening of the tributes in honour of his work to the community.

"He was man that loved people...he never stopped working and when it came to the kids, he was No.1," he said.