Prior to the Makara chapels' construction in 1873 the area was served by priests from Hill street Thorndon. It was during one of those pastoral visits that a serious accident occurred with loss of life.
The McDonald Window.
One of the windows in St Patrick's Church, Makara dedicated to Joseph McDonald.
Joseph Brennan Ligouri McDonald, who was on his way to serve as an altar boy at Mass at St Patrick’s in January 13 1889, when he was killed in an accident when his carriage left the road.
"A sad accident, attended with fatal results, happened at South Karori this morning. Father Power, accompanied by a youth, Joseph Brennan McDonald, aged fifteen, son of E. McDonald (Casey and McDonald), was being driven in a carriage to Makara to conduct service, when one of the horses shied and threw the vehicle over the bank. McDonald was killed almost instantaneously. Father Power had his collarbne broken and also received severe bruises and a shock to the system. McEllergott, the driver, escaped uninjured. One horse was killed." Local newspaper report
Joseph was born April 28, 1874 and christened at St Mary's, Wellington. He was a student at St Patrick's College Wellington. He is buried at Mount St cemetery.
Another newspaper account gives another detailed picture
FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE MAKARA ROAD.
Wairarapa Times Age Jan 14 1889
An exceedingly sad accident occurred yesterday morning, shortly before 11 o'clock, on the. Makara road, which resulted in the death of a youth named Joseph Brennan Mo- Donald, (eldest son of Mr Edward McDonald, of the firm of Messrs Casey and McDonald), and ill which the Rev Father Power, of the Cathedral Parish had a-narrow escape with his life. Shortly after 10 o'clock Father Power left St, Gary's Cathedral hi a cab driven by Thomas Mc Elliott, who is the owner of the vehicle, with the intention of celebrating mass at Makara, taking with him young Joseph McDonald. At about ten minutes to 11, when the party had got about half a mile beyond the summit of the Makara hill, one of the horses shied, backing the vehicle over the side of a steep bank with a drop of between two and three hundred feet. Both the occupants of the cab fell with it to the bottom but the driver saved himself by catching hold of some scrub which was growing on the bank, and so escaped with a few bruises, In the fall the boy was killed, it is thought almost instantaneously, and Father Power suffered some very severe injuries. Dr Cahill was communicated with as soon as possible, and shortly after 11 he was on the-scene of the accident. When he arrived there he found, on examining the boy, that life had been extinct for some minutes, death having been caused by the fracture of the ligaments of the neck, and fracture of the spinal column; and there was also evidence of internal haemorrhage The body was removed to Mr P, Monaghan's' residence at Karori, being subsequently brought to town. Father Power's injuries were also found, to be of a most serious nature, he having got his right collarbone fractured and sustained con. concussion of the brain and spinal cord, as well as numerous wounds and contusions about the head and body, He rallied sufficiently, however, to enable the journey to be undertaken, and he has since been progressing favourably. One of the horses broke his back in the fall, and the cab was smashed to atoms. The "deceased youth was a bright, promising lad of 15 years, ,Joseph was a student at' St. Patrick's College, ‘where he was a general favourite, and he was most successful at the recent examination. Great sympathy will be felt with his parents in their sad bereavement. His untimely end and the mishap to the Rev. Father Power was referred to affectingly at. the Wellington Cathedral last evening.' An inquest on the body of the unfortunate lad was held at the Princess Hotel, at nine o'clock this morning. NZ. Times
Work on the new chapel started in 1873 according to newspaper reports.
Independent Herald July 1873
Local Papers September 3 1873
Finally opened in September (NZ Tablet Report)
NZ Tablet September 23 1873
For which opening the local Catholics were grateful.
Letter of thanks from parishioners for opening of church.
View from behind altar
The other windows in the Makara Church
Sievers Hawkins Monk Robinson Prendeville Monaghan McMenamen