To 1840

60,000BCYears of Aboriginal residence.
1606Quiros searches for Terra Australis and names part of Vanuatu ‘La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo’.
1641Catholic mission established in Timor
1787Fr Thomas Walshe asks Lord Sydney to be allowed to go to Botany Bay with First Fleet; no known reply
1788Jan 23 First Fleet enters Sydney Cove; Jan 25 La Perouse enters Botany Bay; Abbé Mongez, his chaplain, celebrates the first Mass within Australian territory; death and burial of Fr Receveur;
3 Feb 1788 First Anglican service.
1792Catholic settlers at Parramatta petition Governor Phillip for a chaplain but without result;
Pierson’s Point, Derwent River, named after Ambroise Pierson, chaplain and astronomer on l’Espérance; Abbé Louis Ventenat records Tasmanian native customs
1793Fr José de Mesa, chaplain of Malaspina’s expedition, helped to recover from illness by chaplain Richard Johnson “with a kindness, spirit of unity and a simplicity that were truly of the Gospel”
1795First recorded celebration of St Patrick’s Day
1798Rebellion in Ireland leads to transportation of many who will become leaders of the Church in NSW
1800Fr James Harold & Fr James Dixon arrive as convicts
1801Third convict priest, Fr Peter O’Neil, arrives and is sent to Norfolk Island
1803Governor King proclaims toleration of Catholics; Dixon says first public Mass and wedding
1804March 4 Castle Hill rebellion of Irish convicts; Dixon’s permit withdrawn but appointed by Rome as ‘Prefect Apostolic of New Holland
1807French Royalist exile Huon de Kerilleau employed to tutor Macarthurs’ sons
1809Fr Dixon returns to Ireland
1810Fr Harold departs, leaving Australia without priests
1812Ex-convict Sydney businessman Michael Hayes writes to his brother in Rome asking for priests
1817Fr Jeremiah O’Flynn arrives – without government credentials
1818O’Flynn arrested and deported; worship continues at the house of James Dempsey, Catherine Fitzpatrick trains choir
1819Visitors on the French ship Uranie communicate with Sydney Catholics
1820Fr Philip Conolly and Fr John Therry arrive as official chaplains; meeting held to raise money for a chapel
1821Conolly moves to Van Diemen’s Land, Therry left in charge in NSW; First Catholic school at Parramatta.
Governor Macquarie lays foundation stone for St Mary’s Church, on site of later cathedral.
1826Fr Daniel Power as chaplain; Therry moves to Parramatta.
1828First census of NSW shows 69% of the white population Protestant and 30% Catholic.
1829WA settlement begins.
St Mary's Chapel and Precincts, Sydney, in the 1830s.
St Mary’s Chapel and Precincts, Sydney, in the 1830s.
1830Catholic Emancipation Act promulgated for NSW.
1831Fr CV Dowling OP arrives as chaplain.
1832Fr John McEncroe arrives, and Attorney-General John Plunkett;
Consecration of first Catholic church, St Joseph’s Chapel, Hyde Park
1833Feb 18 Dr WB Ullathorne arrives in Sydney as Vicar-General;
NSW Legislative Council makes grants for the appointment of four new chaplains, the completion of three unfinished churches, and £800 a year for schools and schoolteachers.
1834 John Bede Polding created bishop and appointed vicar-apostolic of New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land
1835Polding arrives in Sydney as bishop; first resident clergy appointed to districts.
1836Governor Bourke’s Church Act provides government funds for all major churches; John Baptist Pompallier consecrated bishop for missions in Oceania; South Australia first settlers;
Financing secured for Catholic orphanage;
foundation of St Patrick’s Church, Parramatta,
1837Ullathorne’s pamphlet The Catholic Mission in Australasia published in London and attracts Catholic support for mission;
St Bede’s Church, Appin designed by Therry;
St John’s Church, Richmond, Tas, completed
1838Pompallier takes up residence in Auckland; first Marist priests at Woolloomooloo; St Mary’s Seminary opened at Bishop’s House;
Fr Goold osa, Fr John Brady, Caroline Chisholm, Sisters of Charity arrive in Sydney;
NSW Attorney-General John Plunkett achieves the conviction of seven perpetrators of the Myall Creek Massacre;
Ullathorne’s pamphlet The Horrors of Transportation.
1839First Catholic newspaper Australasian Chronicle founded;
first mass in Melbourne
1840End of Transportation to NSW; authorities alarmed by an Irish demonstration at St Patrick’s, Church Hill.
John Bede Polding DD OSB First Archbishop of Sydney
John Bede Polding D.D, O.S.B, First Archbishop of Sydney.

The ACHS Timeline


To 1840

1841 – 1900



-> 1841-1900