A bit of history

The story of the Cana Cottages

Back in the early 1960s Mr MG Henderson was the generous donor of two blocks of land at Aldinga for Goodwood Catholic Parish Priest Father Patrick Kelly to use as he saw fit. These blocks were behind the sand hill. Father Kelly subsequently purchased and donated an adjoining esplanade block. He wrote to all parishioners on 24 June 1965 outlining his good news and his vision to do something for his parishioners.

The first Cana Cottages committee members were: Father Kelly, Bruce Lynch, John Ryan, Phil Heysen, Noel McAdie, Lawrie McEvoy, Frank Mulhall and Kevin Moore. With the help of these and other dedicated parishioners they evolved the plan to have four cottages placed so that each had a sea view.

Four ex South Australian Housing Trust temporary homes were purchased in 1966.

Parishioners rallied to Father Kelly’s call to give a day here and there to make these homes liveable. Tradesmen and non-tradesmen came from all over – brickies, electricians, plumbers, labourers and the non-skilled. Father Kelly himself undertook much of the labouring work on the Cana Cottages site. Then came the biggest garage sale ever, but nothing was sold – instead everything was donated to set up the cottages. By December 1965 Cottage 1 was ready, and gradually 2,3 and 4 were completed. Those early years were magical.

During his time at Goodwood Father Kelly also helped select the design of the current Holy Cross Church at Goodwood, the first circular Catholic Church in South Australia.

Fifty years later that holiday dream of Father Kelly is still a reality – four cottages nestled on the sand hills overlooking Aldinga Bay, each accommodating ten people – a place where one can relax in a quiet atmosphere, have an affordable break from the rat race while absorbing the peace, beauty and serenity of God’s creation.

Today the Cottages are administered by an incorporated body of volunteers – parishioners and others who have enjoyed the benefits of Cana and want to share that joy. We rely on volunteers to help keep the cottages in good order and maintain the very affordable holidays as was Father Kelly’s vision.

If you’ve enjoyed Cana, why not contact our Booking Secretary and become a volunteer?

Father Kelly died in 1989, at the age of 81, and is buried in the Cabra Dominican College cemetery.

Why Cana?

The Cana namesake is a village near the Sea of Galilee. In the Gospels, Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding at Cana. There were many, many guests there and they were all having a special time together – until, during the meal, the servants went to fetch some more wine and discovered there was none left!

Mary, who was helping with hosting the wedding, whispered to her son Jesus, “They haven’t any wine left.” She then told the servants, “Whatever He tells you to do, you do it.”  This is when Jesus performed his first miracle – he turned water into wine, and not just any wine but better quality than the original.

Down here at the Cana Cottages at Aldinga we also believe that miracles can take place as water becomes wine – both physically (from the surf to a glass of vino) and spiritually as the stresses of daily life drip away.

Click here to read the original letters to the Goodwood Parish from Father Patrick Kelly back in 1965.