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Therry, John Joseph


Pioneer priest in Australia; b. Cork, Ireland, 1790; d. Sydney, May 25, 1864. Having been educated at St. Patrick's College, Carlow, and ordained (1815), he volunteered for the Australian mission (1819) and was appointed one of the first official chaplains to the British convict colony in New South Wales. From 1820 to 1830 he struggled singlehandedly for religious liberty and equality of status for Catholics, against a colonial administration closely allied with the Anglican Church. A rugged, uncompromising character, he protested unremittingly to the authorities on behalf of his people and against the abuses of the convict system. He built the first Australian Catholic churches and schools. With the coming of Catholic Emancipation in England (1829), religious equality was soon achieved in New South Wales, but Father Therry had prepared the way and laid the foundations. With the arrival of the first bishop (1835), Therry became a parish priest outside Sydney (1835), later at

Hobart in Tasmania, then at Melbourne (1846), and again in Sydney (1847). In 1858 he became an archpriest. He is buried in the crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral, which he founded.

Bibliography: e. m. o'brien, Life and Letters of Archpriest John Joseph Therry: The Foundation of Catholicism in Australia, 2 v. (Sydney 1922).

[j. g. murtagh]

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