1951 to 2020

Justin O’Brien, The Virgin Enthroned (National Gallery of Victoria)
1951Australian Jesuit mission to India begins;
Justin O’Brien’s The Virgin Enthroned wins the first Blake Prize for religious art;
Australian-Italian bilateral assisted migration treaty begins large-scale Italian immigration, mostly Catholic
1952James McAuley converts to Catholicism
1953Eris O’Brien appointed Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn;
150,000 attend Fr Peyton’s Rosary Crusade in Melbourne
1954First issue of the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society;
Sydney Chinese Catholic Mission founded
1955Labor Party split pits majority of Labor Party against B.A. Santamaria‘s “Movement”; predominantly Catholic Democratic Labor Party formed;
Cardinal Gilroy and Eris O’Brien visit South Vietnam;
Germaine Greer completes education at Star of the Sea Gardenvale
1955-70Schools enrolment “explosion”
1956Hungarian uprising, Australia accepts 14,000 refugees;
McAuley and Richard Connolly collaborate on Hymns for the Year of Grace
1957Confraternity of Christian Doctrine begun to provide religious instruction in state schools;
Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem visits Australia, meets Gilroy, Mannix and Santamaria
1959Morris West’s novel The Devil’s Advocate published
1961Eric D’Arcy’s Conscience and its Right to Freedom published;
Living Parish Hymn Book published;
Calwell wins 50.5% of two-party preferred vote in federal election but fails to win government;
Mannix, aged 97, interviewed on his life (clips);
Selwyn Grave appointed Professor of Philosophy at UWA
1962Second Vatican Council opens in Rome;
Goulburn Schools Strike increases pressure for state aid to Catholic schools;
Ted Serong appointed to lead Australian Army Training Team Vietnam
1963Death of John XXIII & Mannix; Paul VI elected Pope;
Morris West’s The Shoes of the Fisherman the best-selling novel of the year in the U.S.;
Catholic Overseas Relief Committee (later Caritas) established;
Opus Dei begins in Australia
1964Mass in English;
first direct government grants to Catholic schools;
James McAuley’s epic poem Captain Quiros deals with Quiros’s spiritual quest in the Pacific Ocean;
Arthur Calwell awarded Papal Knighthood;
Naval chaplain Fr Frank “Tiger” Lyons present at Voyager disaster
1965Australian Catholic Bishops Conference set up
1966Cardinal Cardijn speaks in Ballarat on work and the family
1967Rosemary Goldie appointed Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity;
James Knox succeeds Justin Simonds as Archbishop of Melbourne;
Ronald Ryan the last person hanged in Australia, after re-converting to Catholicism
1968Controversies over Humanae Vitae and Vietnam;
opening of St Paul’s National Seminary for late vocations at Kensington;
Thomas Keneally‘s novel Three Cheers for the Paraclete dramatises life in St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly;
publication of Patrick O’Farrell‘s The Catholic Church in Australia: A Short History
1969Cardinal Gilroy knighted, the first Cardinal to be knighted since the Reformation;
Military Vicariate of Australia established
1970Paul VI becomes first pope to visit Australia (newsreel);
Opus Dei opens Warrane College at UNSW;
Dorothy Day speaks in Australia
1971Gilroy retires; James Freeman appointed Archbishop of Sydney;
activist priest Fr Ted Kennedy takes up work in Redfern;
Mum Shirl helps establish Aboriginal Medical Service;
Barry Oakley’s play The Feet of Daniel Mannix opens
1970sSubstantial direct funding for Catholic schools
1972Sr Veronica Brady takes up position in English at University of Western Australia
1973First Maronite bishop in Australia;
Peter Kenna’s A Hard God first performed;
Sister Janet Mead’s rock version of the Lord’s Prayer
1974Marriage Encounter spreads to Australia;
Whitlam’s appointment of Vince Gair as Ambassador to Ireland initiates constitutional crisis;
Frank Little appointed Archbishop of Melbourne;
explosion at Mount St Canice Convent, Hobart, kills 8
1975Patrick Dodson ordained, first Aboriginal priest;
opening of Ron Blair’s play The Christian Brothers;
Indonesian invasion of East Timor results in refugees coming to Australia;
Australian Catholic Theological Association founded;
Phillip Lynch becomes Australian Treasurer;
Brian Harradine expelled from ALP and elected as independent to Senate
1976Australia declared no longer a mission country by Rome
1977St Columba’s Seminary closed
1978John Paul II elected Pope;
Christopher Koch’s The Year of Living Dangerously published
1979Australian acceptance of boat people from Vietnam begins large-scale Asian immigration, including Catholics
1980Second wave of Polish immigration begins
1981High Court confirms state aid for church schools, denying case by DOGS (Defence of Government Schools) lobby group
1982Freeman retires; Edward Clancy becomes Archbishop of Sydney
1983Hawke government elected, with Lionel Bowen as Deputy PM;
Vincent Buckley‘s memoir Cutting Green Hay published
1986John Paul II visits Australia (newsreel);
first census in which Catholics were the largest denomination in Australia;
Broken Bay and Parramatta dioceses set up
1987Tony Abbott leaves St Patrick’s Seminary before ordination;
Edmund Campion‘s Australian Catholics published
1988AD2000 magazine founded to promote traditionalist values;
Eric D’Arcy appointed Archbishop of Hobart
1989University of Notre Dame, Australia established in Fremantle;
Cardinal Cassidy appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;
philosopher Max Charlesworth delivers Boyer Lectures, on bioethics
1991Sr Irene McCormack murdered by Maoist guerrillas in Peru;
Australian Catholic University established from the amalgamation of four tertiary colleges;
Brides of Christ TV miniseries dramatises convent life in the 1960s;
Eureka Street magazine founded
1992The Leaving of Liverpool TV drama series calls attention to the abuse of child migrants;
High Court’s Mabo decision on native title influenced by Catholic natural law theory;
Vianney College seminary founded in Wagga Wagga;
Plunkett Centre for Ethics established
1994Police raid office of Bishop of Parramatta in search of documents related to sex abuse;
pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale jailed;
Catalyst for Renewal formed to promote change;
Catholic Church becomes a full member of National Council of Churches in Australia
1995Mary MacKillop declared Blessed; opening of Mary MacKillop Place Museum;
Gerard Brennan appointed Chief Justice of the High Court;
Closure of St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly
1996Bishops establish “Towards Healing” and “Melbourne Response’ processes to deal with complaints of abuse of minors by clergy;
William Deane appointed Governor-General;
George Pell succeeds Frank Little as Archbishop of Melbourne
1997Paul Collins’ Papal Power published;
federal Euthanasia Laws Act of Kevin Andrews overturns NT euthanasia law
1998Catholic spokesmen agree to thawing and destruction of thousands of frozen embryos left over from IVF;
ACT legislation providing for information and cooling off period for women seeking abortion passed but ignored;
Australian Marist Brothers establish Lavalla School, Phnom Penh for students with physical disabilities;
Paul Keating calls Fr Frank Brennan “the meddling priest” for comments on Wik debate
1999Threat of Australian military action significant in the formation of Asia’s second Christian nation, East Timor, international force led by Peter Cosgrove;
David Coffey’s Deus Trinitas published
2000Spires of St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney
completed, with generous State government assistance
2001George Pell appointed Archbishop of Sydney;
opening of Melbourne John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family
2002Malcolm Turnbull makes public his conversion to Catholicism
2003Reporter Mike Willesee speaks of his rediscovery of Catholicism
2004Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ released
2005Connor Court Publishing established;
Widespread prayers before the execution of drug trafficker Van Tuong Nguyen in Singapore
2006University of Notre Dame Sydney campus established;
Campion College liberal arts college in Western Sydney takes in first students;
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban marry in Cerretti Chapel, Manly;
Pell makes controversial comments on Islam and climate change
2007Bishop Geoffrey Robinson‘s Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church published;
ABC TV series The Abbey follows young women trying out life at Jamberoo
2008World Youth Day held in Sydney, with visit of Pope Benedict XVI (newsreel);
former Deputy PM Tim Fischer appointed first resident Australian ambassador to the Holy See
2010Mary MacKillop canonised, the first Australian to be canonised (newsreel)
2011Bishop Bill Morris removed as Bishop of Toowoomba for unstated reasons;
first issue of Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics
2013Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister;
Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies launched in Hobart
2014Pell appointed Prefect of new Vatican Secretariat for the Economy;
Anthony Fisher appointed Archbishop of Sydney
2015Hobart archbishop subject to anti-discrimination complaint over statement on marriage;
Anthony Fisher and Peter Singer debate euthanasia at Sydney Town Hall;
Abbott government accepts extra 12,000 Syrian refugees from persecuted minorities
2016Plenary Council announced for 2020;
Vatican suspends Pell-supported audit by PwC;
Vincent Nguyễn Văn Long Australia’s first Asian-born bishop;
Augustine Academy founded
2017Final report of Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse severely criticises Catholic Church (more);
Notre Dame Priory established in Tasmania
2018Former Governor-General Bill Hayden baptised aged 85;
Archbishop Philip Wilson’s conviction for covering up abuse overturned
2019Victorian law requires priests to break seal of confession in abuse cases;
Carmelite nuns reestablished in western NSW;
cause of beatification and canonisation of Eileen O’Connor opened;
last edition of Annals Australasia on the death of editor Paul Stenhouse;
Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network formed
2020Cardinal Pell freed from prison after 13 months when unanimous decision of High Court quashes his conviction for sexual abuse;
churches closed during coronavirus pandemic

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