Item 157 - Letter from Fr Christopher Nulty SJ to Fr Joseph Dalton SJ concerning St Patrick's College

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Letter from Fr Christopher Nulty SJ to Fr Joseph Dalton SJ concerning St Patrick's College


  • 11 February 1880 (Creation)

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(15 February 1838-05 November 1914)

Biographical history

Born: 15 February 1838, County Meath
Entered: 12 November 1859, St John's, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 10 September 1871
Professed: 02 February 1884
Died: 05 November 1914, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney

Pat of the Loyola College, Greenwich, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
by 1869 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Early Australian Missioner 1872

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had entered Maynooth for the Meath Diocese before Ent.

He made part of his Noviceship at Beaumont and part at Milltown.
1861 He was sent for Regency to Tullabeg
1863-1866 he was sent for more Regency to Clongowes as Prefect and Teacher.
1867-1869 He was sent back to Tullabeg as a Teacher.
1869 He was sent to Louvain for Theology and remained there four years.
1873 He went to Australia in the company of William Hughes and Michael Watson.
1873-1886 He was chiefly involved in Colleges in Melbourne.
1886-1890 He was appointed Rector of Xavier College, Kew.
1890-1893 He was sent as Minister to St Patrick’s, Melbourne.
1893-1903 He was appointed Rector of St Aloysius, Sydney.
He died at Riverview 05 November 1914

Account of his death from a letter of Thomas Fay 15 November 1914 :
“On Thursday 5th, about 10am, while he was swimming in the College Baths he must have got a stroke on his left side or heart failure. He shouted ‘Hughie! Hughie!’ to our Rowing Club servant, who at once went to his help. Father Nulty was throwing his right arm about and moving in circles, but his face was under water. Hughie jumped in and kept his head up, and then got him to the outside piles, where he threw off a lot of sea water. Then Hughie shouted for help, and a man rowed across from the opposite side of Tambourine Bay. Between them and another stranger, they got him to the steps, where a lot more water was thrown off, and he was stretchered out at full length on the boards above, about 10.40am. He had not spoken since he first called Hughie. Father Minister came and administered Extreme Unction. He lay there for about three hours, all attempts at restoring life to no avail. There was no sign of life in him. At 1.30 he was removed to the Infirmary. By 6pm he looked peaceful, as if asleep.
Edward Pigot gave me his diagnosis - cerebral haemorrhage of the right side of the brain, and paralysis of the whole left side.
Father Nulty’s death was a shock to us all. It was so sudden and unexpected. I had been chatting with his at breakfast the same morning, and told him there would be a good tide about an hour and a half later. He had bathed there one or two days previously. Hughie used to keep an eye out. Father Nulty’s speech was not so distinct as before for a few days before his death. Sometimes I couldn’t understand him but didn’t ask him to repeat.”

Note from William Hughes Entry :
1872 He set out for Melbourne in the company of Christopher Nulty and Michael Watson

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Christopher Nulty was a student of philosophy at Maynooth seminary before entering the Society, 12 November 1859, first at Beaumont, England, and then at Milltown Park, Dublin. As a scholastic he taught at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg and Clongowes, 1861-68, before going to Louvain for theology.
Nulry arrived in Australia, 10 April 1873, and taught at St Patricks College until 1886, being rector from 1879. He must have pleased superiors because he was then appointed rector of Xavier College, 1886-89, and was a mission consultor. During his time at Xavier College he extended the three cottage classrooms in 1888. The west wing was completed in 1889, and with it the annex which contained the Matron's apartments. He was experienced as an earnest, if not dour man, who was very strict and attacked the “Godless State education” in his speeches. He was reported to have “a beautiful leg break”.
After four years again teaching at St Patrick's College, 1890-93, he was appointed rector of St Aloysius' College, Bourke Street, until 1902. During that time he was also teaching, prefect of studies, admonitor of the mission superior and consultor. He spent eight months during 1902 as superior of Sevenhill, SA, before returning to St Aloysius' Coltege to arrange its transfer to Milsons Point in 1903. Thomas Fay replaced him as rector on 21 June 1903, but he stayed at the college as minister, bursar, admonitor and consulter of the mission until 1908 when he moved to Riverview.
He remained at Riverview teaching and offering advice until 1913 when he moved to Loyola Greenwich, where he was minister again until he died from a stroke while swimming in the Riverview baths.
Nulty was not considered a great man, but had a good, simple nature, whose kindness was appreciated by his students and colleagues. In addition, he was a sound and prudent administrator for 40 years in Australia.

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Letter from Fr Christopher Nulty SJ, St Patrick's College, Melbourne, Australia to Fr Joseph Dalton SJ concerning St Patrick's College, the number of boys attending the school, results of examinations and the community.

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