Notre Dame honours a significant contribution to Australian Catholic Education

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 17-7-2006

Publisher Name

The Univeristy of Notre Dame, Fremantle

Publication Place



At The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus, July Graduation Ceremony, an honorary doctorate of laws was awarded to a significant contributor to Australian Catholic Education

Father John Neill op , a Foundation Trustee and Governor of the University, was honoured for his lifetime of loyalty, service and passionate commitment to the Church, the Dominican Order and to Catholic education at all levels in Australia.

Father Neill joined the Dominican Order Novitiate in 1955. Over his lifetime he became one of the leading figures in Catholic education in Australia. He was made Chair of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, a Member of the Standing Committee of the Headmasters’ Conference of Australia, and a Member of the National Catholic Education Commission. In 1986 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Education and, in 1988, after a health ‘scare’, he retired.

In his retirement he joined the working group who had begun planning for the new Catholic university in Western Australia which was to become The University of Notre Dame Australia.

“I knew Father John to be a man of passion and great ability, a diplomat, a peacemaker and an advocate, ideal for the initial role of Director of the Planning Office of the proposed new university.

“Father John has had a profound influence on the establishment, development and enculturation of The University of Notre Dame Australia. He is truly one of our Founding Fathers, “said Vice Chancellor, Dr Peter Tannock.

At the ceremony Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Most Reverend Anthony Fisher op read a letter of congratulations from the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

“He is a loyal son of St Dominic, a fine priest and a much loved and respected Chaplain. He is also a man who has made a quite extraordinary contribution to Catholic education in this country,” wrote Cardinal Pell.

Father John is now very involved in the development of the University’s Sydney Campus where he is Chaplain and Parish Priest for St Benedict's in Chippendale, NSW.