File 1 - Manuscript by Fr Joseph O'Malley SJ on his system of teaching sight-singing and harmony

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Manuscript by Fr Joseph O'Malley SJ on his system of teaching sight-singing and harmony


  • [1871]-[1900] (Creation)

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2 volumes

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(07 October 1832-23 August 1910)

Biographical history

Born: 07 October 1832, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1850, Issenheim, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1867, Rome, Italy
Final vows: 02 February 1870
Died: 23 August 1910, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

by 1854 at Laval France (FRA) studying Philosophy 1
by 1862 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying Philosophy 1
by 1863 in Rome Italy (ROM) studying Philosophy and Theology
by 1869 at Paderborn Germany (GER) making Tertianship
Early Australian Missioner 1870 - first to New Zealand 1879

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He made his Noviceship in France with William Kelly, and then remained there for studies with E Browne and Edmund Hogan.
1855 He was sent for Regency to Tullabeg teaching Grammar and the Choir.
1858 He was sent as Fourth Prefect to Clongowes with Joseph Dalton (1st) and William Delaney (3rd)
1859 he was sent to Tullabeg as Lower Line Prefect with Andrew H Rorke as Higher Line
1860/61 He was back at Clongowes.
1861 He was sent to Rome for Philosophy and Theology, and he was Ordained there 1867. William Delaney was a fellow Theologian there
1868-1869 He was sent to Paderborn for Tertianship
1869-1870 He was sent to teach Grammar at Tullabeg, and after his Final Vows 02 February 1870, he was immediately sent to Australia with Frank Murphy
1870-1878 He was sent as Prefect of Studies and Spiritual Father at St Patrick’s Melbourne.
1878-1890 He went to New Zealand with Thomas McEnroe, to Dunedin, at the invitation of Bishop Patrick Moran. There was a College started there which was not a success, and he returned to Australia in 1885 and to Riverview until 1890.
1890 He was sent to St Patrick’s Melbourne again as Spiritual Father.
1892 He was sent to Hawthorn as Operarius.
1899-1903 He was sent to Richmond as Operarius.
1903 He was sent to Norwood, Adelaide and he died there 23 August 1910
He was a holy, learned and hardworking man, and with his death disappeared the last of the Pioneer Irish Jesuits of the Australian Mission. He spent forty years there, but he never forgot old Ireland, and loved to think and speak of “The friends he knew long ago, Where the Shannon and Barrow and Blackwater flow”.
He was a great friend of the working man everywhere, and wrote articles in Michael Davitt’s “Labour World”.

Note from Thomas McEnroe Entry :
1878 He was sent with Joseph O’Malley to found a house in New Zealand which ended up being closed. Joseph O’Malley lived at Dunedin and Thomas lived at Invercargill.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: Jesuits in New Zealand
There is no Jesuit house in New Zealand, though there have been false starts. There was a short-lived Jesuit mission in Invercargill, and Jesuits taught philosophy in the Christchurch seminary. Wicklow-born Bishop Moran of Dunedin wanted a Jesuit school, and in 1878 welcomed two Irish Jesuits, Joseph O’Malley and Thomas McEnroe, who opened St Aloysius’ College in Dunedin (pictured here), with fifteen boarders and six day-boys. But it was the bishop rather than the people who wanted the school, and it lasted only five years. The site became a golf course, in which the 14th hole is still called (incongruously for Jesuits) “the Monastery”.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Joseph O'Malley was educated as a secondary student at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, 1844-46, and entered the Society in France, 30 September 1850. He completed his juniorate there before regency which was done partly at Tullabeg and partly at Clongowes, 1855-61. He went to the Roman College for philosophy and theology, 1861-68, and to Paderborn, Germany, for tertianshdp. He returned to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg in 1869 teaching physics, and directing the choir. He arrived in Melbourne in May 1870, and until 1878 taught at St Patrick's College. He was also involved in pastoral work. In 1878 he was sent to New Zealand as superior of a college at Waikari, Dunedin. He remained there teaching until 1883 when he returned. He taught senior English at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, until 1890, organised a choir, instructed music and prefected the library. He was spiritual father for some years. In teaching he devised a system of mnemonics for the use of students. The system aimed at combining topical rhymes with catch words, each letter of which had a numerical value. He had a pamphlet printed for English history from the date of the Conquest, and another for European geography. Later, he was sent to St Patrick's College for two years, where he also helped the editor of the “Messenger”. Parish work followed at Hawthorn, 1892-98, Richmond, 1898-03, and Norwood, 1903-04. He returned to Riverview, 1904-5, and finally was in the parish of Norwood, 1905-10. From written accounts he seemed to have been a humorous, whimsical and original character, as well as a hardworking and self-sacrificing Jesuit. He wrote extensively about the education question in Victoria during the 1870s, and many articles in the Advocate. In 1875 he published a pamphlet Secular Education and Christian Civilization, and it would seem that this work had a large influence. It became something of a textbook for the Catholic protagonists pressing for a review of the Secular Education Act, a campaign that resulted in the second Royal Commission on Education. He was also an eloquent and vehement, not to say fiery, orator, and on at least one occasion displeased superiors for speaking too forcefully on some socio-political question. He was a great displeased superiors for speaking too forcefully on some socio-political question. He was a great friend of the working man everywhere, and wrote articles in Michael Davitt's Labour World. This did not please the Father General Anderledy or Father General Martin, the latter describing him as “Dyscolus turbulentusque”. However, this did not prevent him from being appreciated and loved by the faithful to whom he ministered. He was a popular retreat-giver for the clergy (by 1872 he had given the Melbourne priests retreat three times in a row. Apart from mnemonics, articles of his in the press covered the topics of temperance, smoking, “Modern Thought”, music, the Catholic Press, St Patrick, and the Catacombs. He attended the 1885 Plenary Council of Australasia as theologian to Bishop Moran of Dunedin - one of the seven Jesuits present at that Council in various capacities. O'Malley was a musician of real distinction, hence his involvement with choirs and music in whatever house he resided. He wrote a volume of compositions which was passed for publication, but which the publishers to whom it was offered - Sampson, Lord, Marston and Co - did not think would pay.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, Golden Jubilee 1880-1930

Riverview in the ‘Eighties - A McDonnell (OR 1866-1888)

Fr Joseph O'Malley was like Fr Nolan, an old man. He was the Professor of English, History and Geography, and he was well qualified to discharge the duties of that office. He was a purist in English, but not a pedantic. one. He frequently pointed out that terms, which some considered “slang”, were perfectly legitimate words, which had become displaced by more unworthy ones. One Sunday at Religious Instruction class, one of the boys remarked that he would be satisfied if he had Fr. O'Malley's "show" of going to Heaven. Immediately one of the senior boys, who dearly loved to see a debate develop, broke in with: “Order penal studies for him, Sir, for using slang”, Fr. O'Malley said: “Tom, I should not make too certain of that. Many such words are perfectly classical. Take for instance the common expression “hard lines”, which most people would regard as slang, is a Scriptural expression, for we read of one whose “lot was cast in hard lines”. Fr, O'Malley devised a system of Mnemonics for the use of the students in the study of History and Geography. The boys rejected such aids with scorn, at first, but very soon they were convinced of the utility of the system, which aimed at combining topical rhymes with catch words, each letter of which had a numerical value. He had a pamphlet printed for English History, from the date of the Conquest, and another for European Geography. He forced into the service every letter of the alphabet, which gave a greater range in the formation of suit able catch words. The great advantage of this system was that its key could be mastered in about five minutes, and once mastered, was never for gotten. It was not intended to displace the ordinary text books on the above subjects, but to act as an aid to their study. For the purpose of teaching European History Fr O'Malley had special large sized, linen bound, exercise books, specially ruled and bound. Each page was divided into one hundred divisions, each of which represented a year. These were ruled with lines for the entry of important events of that year, with its catchword incorporated. The page was also divided into halves and quar ters by heavier boundaries. In addition each page had a strip of coloured paper pasted at the top, and this was different on each page. The idea was to form a mental record, or photograph, of each page, and of the facts recorded thereon. In class there was a competition in the forming of the most suitable catchword for each important event, and when the best avail able was ascertained, it was duly entered up. The system worked splendidly, and even those most opposed to it were soon forced to admit its merits.

Fr O'Malley was the best preacher of all the Fathers in the house in my time. He was indeed a most impressive preacher, of the quiet, restrained type, and he used no gestures. He had so thoroughly applied his memory system to his own work, that if, six months after he had delivered a sermon in the chapel, one of the students quoted a short passage of that sermon from a note made at the time of delivery, Fr O'Malley could supply the context, both before and after the extract quoted. I have known this to take place many times. As I remarked before, Fr O'Malley was at this time an old man, and a heavy one, and I was, therefore, very much surprised to see him put his hand on a fence, and vault over with the agility of a boy. His mental activity and vigour were even more striking. With us he enjoyed and merited the reputation of a saint. It was said that since his ordination, thirty-five years before, he had celebrated Mass every day with the exception of one day on the voyage to Australia, when the sea was too rough to attempt it. Like nearly all the Fathers he had a strong practical turn, and was an artificer, and possessed a fine set of tools. These he would willingly lend to those who understood the working of them, and would take care of them. On each tool, cut into the woodwork with an engraving tool, appeared the words “To be brought back”. If the tool was wholly of metal, the same words would appear, etched upon the metal with acid. When he inspected his kit there were no “absentees”.

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Manuscript, ready for the publisher, by Fr Joseph O'Malley SJ, Norwood, Australia of a book on his system of teaching sight-singing and harmony. Includes a table of contents (3pp). ‘Dedicated to Charles Levy, Leader of the Lyric Orchestra & the Hawthorn Choir.’ Includes a number of testimonials by various individuals and a photograph of Fr O'Malley.

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No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.

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