Catholic Church

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Catholicism took institutional shape in Western Australia after a Perth schoolteacher, Robert D'Arcy, wrote to church authorities in Sydney in 1841. John Polding, Benedictine Vicar Apostolic of New Holland, raised the question of pastoral while in Rome. (Perth's Catholics comprised 337 in the census of 1848, 7 per cent of the total population, and were generally unskilled and uneducated, socially, economically and politically disadvantaged.) Archbishop Polding returned to Sydney in 1843 and appointed the Irishman John Brady his Vicar General in Perth. Brady, together with a Belgian priest, John Joostens, and a catechist, Patrick O'Reilly, arrived in Fremantle on 8 December 1843 Governor Hutt assigned Brady a land grant on Victoria Avenue. Three weeks later, on 27 December 1843, the foundation stone of the small church of St John was laid: a rare remaining example of early colonial ecclesiastical architecture. It also served as a school, education being an abiding concern of Australian Catholicism.

ISBN: 9781921401152


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Staff and Students of the university of Notre Dame Australia may access Historical encyclopedia of Western Australia from the Broome Library (994.1 HIS) and the Craven Law Library, Fremantle (R/K/145/.K2W/HIS/2009)

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