The foundations of a Parish in Glen Iris began in the early 1890s when the Vincentian Fathers of Malvern would cycle to Glen Iris to celebrate mass in the family home of the Lloyds in Hilary Grove.
In 1923 a church-school-hall was built on land loaned by the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the grounds of the Sacre Coeur convent. At the same time the Vincentian Fathers, who would celebrate mass, leased a house on the present St.Roch’s property as a future presbytery.
In 1927 the Glen Iris Parish welcomed their first Parish priest, Fr Patrick Roch Loughnan. He would not only provide the name for the Parish but would dedicate his life to it until his passing in 1958. In 1928 the Parish of Glen Iris name changed from St.Vincent to St.Roch, the distinguished French 14th Century saint, the guardian against pestilence and patron of dog lovers. It became the first, and to this day remains the only Parish to bear St.Roch’s name in Australia.
In 1929 the School and Hall were built adjacent to the presbytery on Burke Rd. The St Vincent De Paul Society and the Catholic Young Men’s Society were also established in the same year. In 1930 the tennis courts were built. In 1933 the Catholic Women’s Social Guild was formed.
In 1937, 10 years after its founding, the decision was made to move the church from the site at Sacre Coeur. The bricks from the site at Sacre Coeur were transported down the road and by 13th February 1938, a Spanish mission style church stood completed on the corner of Glenvale and Burke Roads.
Over some of the years, under the guidance of Fr Ian Waters, St. Roch’s and St. Cecilia’s shared a Parish Priest. St. Cecilia’s and St. Roch’s have had separated now with their own Parish Priests.
St.Roch’s Parish was founded on the hard work and dedication of many parishioners and Fr Patrick Roch Loughnan whose legacy continues to this day.