Northern Territory



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Northern Territory

10 Name results for Northern Territory

2 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Eberhard, Georg, 1836-1912, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1250
  • Person
  • 19 April 1836-09 July 1912

Born: 19 April 1836, Sankt Andrä, Carinthia, Austria
Entered: 14 October 1861, Sankt Andrä, Austria - Austriae Province (ASR)
Final vows: 02 February 1873
Died: 09 July 1912, St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 01 January 1901

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was one of the Austrian Brothers who remained on in Australia with the Irish Mission in 1901.
He died at St Aloysius College Sydney 09 September 1912

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He Entered the Society in Austria 1861 and was sent to Australia in 1865.

1866-1882 He arrived at Sevenhill 01 February 1866, and there he was cook, refectorian and performed other domestic duties.
1882-1892 He was sent to the Northern Territory Mission. He was at the Daly River Station as infirmarian, and the Rapid Creek Station as cook.
1892-1898 He returned to Sevenhill as cook, refectorian and he worked in the garden. He was chosen to nurse Dr Reynolds, bishop of Adelaide in his last illness.
1898-1899 He was sent to Georgetown as Cook
1899-1901 He was back at Sevenhill as cook
1901-1905 He transcribed to the Irish Province and was sent to St Ignatius College Riverview as assistant steward and informarian.
1905-1909 He was sent to Loyola Greenwich as sacristan, refectorian and infirmarian.
1902-1912 He was sent to St Aloysius College Sydney as sacristan, refectorian and infirmarian.

Note from John F O’Brien Entry
He returned to Adelaide, 11 June 1882, and left to set up the Northern Territory Mission with Anton Strele, John Neubauer and Georg Eberhard

Fleury, Augustin, 1855-1931, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1315
  • Person
  • 11 January 1855-29 January 1931

Born: 11 January 1855, Delémont, Jura, Switzerland
Entered: 31 October 1873, Sankt Andrä, Austria - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Ordained: 1888
Final Vows: 02 February 1891
Died: 29 January 1931, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 01 January 1901

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He entered the Society at Sankt Andrä, Austria in 1891.

1878-1880 After First Vows he studied Rhetoric at Posen (Poznań, Poland), Autria
1881-1884 He was sent for Regency to Kollegium Kalksburg teaching French and Prefect of boarders.
1884-1887 He was sent to Innsbruck for Theology
1888-1897 He was sent back to Kollegium Kalksburg
1898 He was sent on the Australian Mission, immediately being posted to the Northern Territory to work with Aborigines. A few years after this Mission Station closed, he spent a year at Riverview and a couple of years at Sevenhill.
1905-1916 He was sent to the Richmond Parish
1916-1921 He was back working at Sevenhill
1921-1928 He was sent back to the Richmond Parish
1928-1931 He returned to Sevenhill

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 6th Year No 2 1931
Obituary :
Fr Augustin Fleury

Fr. A. Fleury died at Sevenhills 29 Jan. 1931.

He was born 11 Jan. 1855, and entered the Austrian Province at St. Andra, Lavanttal, Kärten (Carinthia), where he also made his Juniorate. After phil., Theol., Tertianship he spent a great many years as Prefect at Kalksburg, and in 1889 started for Australia. The final transfer of the South Australian Mission from the Austrian to the Irish Province took place in 1901 , and in that year Fr. Fleury was working among the Blacks at Port Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. He joined the Irish Province, and in the following year was changed to Riverview. In 1903 he became Minister at the Sevenhills Residence, From that date to his death he worked in Residences, spending 13 years in Richmond, 6 at St. James', Somerset St., 9 at Sevenhills. He was Minister for 5 years at Sevenhills, and for 5 more at Richmond. The Mission to the Blacks in Northern Territory, mentioned above, entrusted to the Society in 1882. When Dr. Reynolds, Bishop of Adelaide, was in Europe Pope Leo XIII exhorted him to give to some religious order the work of converting the Australian aborigines. The Bishop approached our Father General on the subject. He consented and entrusted the new Mission to the Austrian Fathers. Fr. Strele was appointed Superior, and on 3. Sept. 1882 he started for Post Darwin, accompanied by Fr. Neubauer and John Francis O'Brien, and Br. Eberhard, all of the Austrian Province.
Notwithstanding a good round sum that had been collected before leaving the South, the Fathers soon found their efforts hampered for want of funds up in that destitute northern region, and in 1886 Fr. Strele went on a begging tour, for the sake of his Blacks through the United States. The effort was not a success, and he then tried Austria with better results. While he was away the Bishop of the Northern Territory, resigned his see, and Leo XIII insisted on Fr. Strele becoming provisional Administrator. To lessen his work Fr. D. McKillop was appointed in 1890 to take charge of the Mission.
Failing health compelled Fr. Strele to return to the South in 1892. He lived on for three years and died a holy death in 1897.
In 1899 an extraordinary flood nearly ruined the Mission Establishment. At that time there was a Plenipotentiary, Fr. Milz, S. J., in Australia who had come to arrange the transfer of the South Australian Mission from the Austrian to the Irish Province. He hastened to the scene of the disaster and after mature deliberation decided to abandon the Mission altogether.
He sent most of the Fathers and Brothers hack to Austria, leaving two Fathers and one Brother to work the place until the Bishop of Geraldton to whom the district had been confided, should make due provision. This took place in July 1899.
In the Irish Catalogue of 1902 we find the following :
Residentia spud Port Darwin
(Port Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia)
R. P. Franciscus Ser. O’Brien. Admin. Dioec. Port Victoriae
P. Augustinus Fleury, Oper (pro Nigritis)
Augustinus Melzer, Coq. Ad dorn
Next year (1903) P. Franciscus Ser. O'Brien (without the “R” before his name) was stationed at Sevenhill, Fr. Fleury, at Riverview, Br. Melzer at Miller St. our connection with the Northern Territory had come to an end.

Girschik, Josef, 1867-1930, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1367
  • Person
  • 20 March 1867-03 March 1930

Born: 20 March 1867, Hollenstein, Bohemia, Czech Republic or Hollenstein an der Ybbs, Austria
Entered: 03 October 1891, Sankt Andrä Austria - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Final Vows: 02 February 1902
Died: 03 March 1930, (St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia)

Part of the St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 11 February 1901

Came to Irish Australian Mission 1899

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He Entered the Society at Sankt Andrä Austria. He was a cabinet maker and used this skill to beautify houses where he was posted.

1891-1898 He remained at Sankt Andrä and then was sent to the Australian Mission and the Northern Territory.
1899-1902 He was sent to Loyola Greenwich
1902-1903 He was at Xavier College Kew
1903-1919 He was sent to St Ignatius College Riverview where he built the elaborate vesting press in the sacristy.
1919 He was sent to St Aloysius College Sydney and remained there until his death.

He won the admiration of many for his piety and quiet and silent efficiency. He was a real artist and perfectionist, and it was a pleasure to watch him work in the carpenter’s shop. He also had a keen appreciation of classical music and painting.

For many years he suffered ill health, but he continued to work as hard as he could until the end.

Note from Patrick Keating Entry
Under his direction, Brother Girschik made a line cedar vesting press for the sacristy at Riverview, which still stands.

Note from Edward Pigot Entry
One result of his visit to Samoa was the building and fittings for the instruments in the half-underground, vaulted, brick building at Riverview. Brs Forster and Girschik performed the work.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930
Obituary :

Br Joseph Girschik

March 20th 1867 is the date of Br. Girschick's birth. In 1891 he joined the Austrian Province. Two years before the final transfer of the South Australian Mission to the Irish Province in 1901,we find the Brother’s name in the Irish Catalogue. From 1899 to 1901 he was at Loyola, Sydney. Then, after a year at Xavier's. he went to Riverview where he remained till

  1. He was then changed to Milson's Point, and did not leave it until he went to his reward on Monday, 3rd March, 1930.
    Br. Girschick was a skilled carpenter, and is described in the Catalogue either as “Fab, Lig. or Arcularius”.

◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1930


Brother Josef Girschik SJ

Far from the spot where he now lies awaiting the Resurrection, Joseph Girschik was born sixty-three years ago, in Czecho-Slovakia, or as it was then known, Bohemia.

As a young man of twenty-four, and already a skilled carpenter, Brother Girschik entered the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus. A Catholic mission for the conversion of aboriginals of Australia had been entrusted to the Austrian Province, and the first missioners had arrived in Australia in December 1848, after a voyage of four months out of the port of Hamburg.

Seven years after his entry into the Society Bro Girschik was attached to this mission, but hardly had he arrived at the headquarters of the mission at Daly River, when a flood wrought such havoc that the missioners had to retire from their settlement.

Bro. Girschik was then transferred to “Loyola”, Greenwich, near Sydney, the Noviceship of the Irish Province in Australia, and when offered the opportunity of returning to his native land elected to give the remainder of his life to the ser vice of God in Australia.

From that time until 1919, he was stationed in various colleges in Australia. The last eleven years of his life he spent at St Aloysius College, and saw many generations of young Aloysians pass through the College.

Few of the many boys who saw Bro Girschik quietly at his obscure work in the carpenter's shop knew that they looked on a man who was an artist, with a keen appreciation and deep knowledge of classical music and painting. His beautiful work was an index to the man's character. For Bro Girschik was never content unless a piece of work was perfect.

This life of retirement concealed an admirable courage and self-sacrifice. For many years, he suffered from continued ill-health, but only weakness and failing strength caused him to lay aside his tools. Ordered by the doctor to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, he spent there a few weeks, making light of his sufferings, and at last on the 30th March of this year went to receive his reward. RIP

Hulka, József, 1858-1915, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/185
  • Person
  • 18 February 1858-21 March 1915

Born: 18 February 1858, Včelnička, Vysočina, Czech Republic
Entered: 04 October 1883, Sankt Andrä Austria - Austriae Province (ASR)
Final vows: 02 February 1900
Died: 21 March 1915, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 01 January 1901

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had belonged to the Austrian Mission at Sevenhill before its amalgamation into the HIB Mission in 1901.
He worked chiefly at Norwood, and died at Sevenhill 21 March 1915.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Joseph Hulka entered the Society in Germany, 4 October 1883, and came to Australia and the Northern Territory Mission in November 1889. He worked as a cook and engaged in other domestic duties on the Daly River, 1890-97. He went to Sevenhill, 1897-01 and 1909-15, doing domestic duties, and he performed similar duties and cooking at Norwood, 1902-08. His life indeed, a humble and retiring one.

Kranewitter, Alois,1817-1880, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1547
  • Person
  • 14 April 1817-25 August 1880

Born: 14 April 1817, Stans, Tyrol, Austria
Entered: 21 September 1836, Graz Austria - Austriacae-Gallicianae Province (ASR-GAL)
Ordained: 1847
Professed: 15 April 1859
Died: 25 August 1880, Heidelberg, Victoria - Austriacae-Gallicianae Province (ASR-GAL)

Part of the St Ignatius, Richmond Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Irish Mission only begins in 1901, but joins new Irish Missioners in 1870 at Melbourne;

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
1849 he accompanied a group of German emigrants, most of whom settled in South Australia. they settled in areas which at the time were deserts and are now flourishing orchards, vineyards and farms. He was the first Jesuit to land in Australia, and he was Pastor to this flock until he was joined by other Jesuits from the Austrian Province, and together they built the College and Church at Sevenhill.
1870 The Jesuits of the Irish Province, who had been in Melbourne since 1856, asked for one of the Austrians to come work with them to tend to many Germans who were in their district, in and around Victoria. Aloysius volunteered and went to live at St Ignatius Richmond. he spent ten years with the Irish Jesuits, which were full of hard work, and he won universal esteem. He was a model religious, cheerful and exact in everything, of tender piety and gentle as a child. He was beloved by his penitents, who made it their mission to encourage many to choose him as their Confessor.
1879 A wetting he received whilst in a rural district saying Mass brought on an illness which affected his lungs, and consumption caused his death in less than a year. He was removed to Heidelberg, a village near Richmond for a change of air, a few days before he died. On the day of his death he asked by telegram to be relieved of the obligation of reciting the Divine Office. he also said that he was feeling much weaker, but that there was no need for anyone to visit him just yet. As he grew weaker he was encouraged to send another telegram, but he declined saying “God is good, He will, take care of me”. His confidence was well placed, because as soon as the first message arrived at Richmond, Joseph Mulhall decided to go to Heidelberg anyway. As he entered, Aloysius uttered “Thanks be to God that you are here!”. A short time afterwards he died. His last hours were spent in prayer, and his death was very peaceful. he died 25 August 1880.
During his funeral, the people gave many tokens of their sorrow both in the Church and Cemetery, and his name was sure to be long remembered with affection and gratitude in Richmond and South Australia.

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online
Kranewitter, Aloysius (1817–1880)
by G. J. O'Kelly
G. J. O'Kelly, 'Kranewitter, Aloysius (1817–1880)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974

Catholic pries; grape grower

Died : 25 August 1880, Heidelberg, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Aloysius Kranewitter (1817-1880), Jesuit priest, was born on 14 April 1817 in Innsbruck, Austria, and entered the Society of Jesus on 21 September 1836. He was ordained priest in 1847 but in the revolutions of 1848 the Jesuits were expelled from many of the German-speaking states. Opportunely, a wealthy Silesian farmer, Franz Weikert, asked for a chaplain to accompany German migrants whom he wished to settle in South Australia. Kranewitter and Maximilian Klinkowstroem, a Viennese Jesuit, volunteered. Weikert sold his properties to underwrite the passages of the group who were to work for him in forming a settlement near Clare, but dissensions split the party on the voyage and when they arrived at Port Adelaide in December 1848 only fourteen of the original eighty stayed with Weikert. The arrival of the two Jesuits was a welcome surprise to Bishop Francis Murphy. The thinly-scattered and polyglot nature of the Catholic community presented many difficulties. Murphy asked Klinkowstroem to assist Dr George Backhaus in the care of German Catholics around Adelaide, but ill health soon forced him to return to Europe. Kranewitter moved north with Weikert to Clare. In 1853 he bought a property some miles from Clare, named it Sevenhill and planted the first vines there.

Kranewitter's letters to Rome in these years are valuable accounts of pioneering in the mid-north of South Australia. In 1852 he accompanied a large group of diggers from the Clare district to the Victorian goldfields. On his return he established the settlement at Sevenhill on a European pattern, with houses and farms around a large church and college. Local German Catholics moved into the area to escape the bigotry to which they had been exposed at Tanunda but copper discoveries further north proved a strong attraction to many settlers. By 1856 four other Austrian Jesuits had joined Kranewitter and St Aloysius College was opened. In 1858 Kranewitter was recalled to Europe for his last year of Jesuit studies, and he returned next year with three more companions. In May 1870 he was sent to Richmond to minister to the German-speaking Catholics in and around Melbourne. For ten years he worked mainly in the semi-rural districts of Nunawading and of Heidelberg where he died suddenly on 25 August 1880.

Kranewitter was an affable priest, deeply dedicated to his people and receiving great devotion in return. His chief memorial was Sevenhill, which became a complex of boarding school, seminary for diocesan students, Jesuit novitiate and scholasticate, wine cellars and the base from which the priests made their circuits of the mid-north. These journeys covered 25,000 sq. miles (64,750 km²), from Morgan to Blinman, across to Wallaroo, Port Pirie, Port Augusta and even down to Port Lincoln. From Sevenhill more than forty stone churches and schools were built. Some 450 pupils passed through the college in 1856-86 and seminarians ordained to the priesthood included Julian Tenison-Woods, Christopher Reynolds and Frederick Byrne (vicar-general). In 1882 the Daly River Mission in the Northern Territory was founded from Sevenhill and lasted till 1899. By 1901 some fifty-nine Austrian priests and brothers had worked in South Australia and the Northern Territory, a tribute to the initiator, Aloysius Kranewitter.

Select Bibliography
M. Watson, The Society of Jesus in Australia (Melb, 1910)
P. Dalton, A History of the Jesuits in South Australia and the Northern Territory (State Library of New South Wales)
Australian Jesuit Provincial Archives (Hawthorn, Melbourne).

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Aloysius Kranewitter entered the Austrian province of the Society, 21 September 1836, and 1846-48 was spent prefecting and studying theology in the Theresianum College, Innsbruck. He was ordained in 1848 and set out for South Australia, the same year wide Maximilian Klinkowstrm and a group of German migrants under the leadership of Franz Weikert, who wanted a chaplain for the group. The life of Klinkowstrom details the planning for this journey.
They arrived in Port Adelaide, 8 December 1848, and on 14 December he and his German companions set out for the area of Clare in the north. On 20 December, land was selected at Sevenhill, two miles south of Clare. Kranewitter worked among the farmers in the area for the next few years, being the only priest in the region that included Clare, Burra, Undalya, and Saddleworth.
On 28 January 1851 a site was chosen for a residence at Sevenhill, then called the Barnburnie region, and building began in 1853 after the arrival of Brothers George Sadler and John Schreiner. Mass was celebrated in a weatherboard chapel built that year. Vines were planted very early on and the first grapes were served on Easter Sunday 1852.
These were the days of the gold rushes in Victoria, and so, in 1852, travelling overland, Kranewitter visited the largely Irish miners working in the area of Bendigo.
When Pallhuber arrived early 1856, Kranewitter left Sevenhill, 28 March 1856, for Austria to complete his theology and tertianship. On 5 April 1859 he took final vows at Baumgartenberg Austria, arrived back in Melbourne on 21 August, and reached Sevenhill on 6 September. On this journey Joseph Moser and two brothers, John B. Schneider and James Matuchewsld accompanied him.
Upon his return, Kranewitter engaged in pastoral work until1870, chiefly at Burra, Saddleworth and Undalya. He was also minister at Sevenhill, 1866-70, and did some teaching in the new school. In 1870 he was sent to the Irish Mission to evangelise Germans in Melbourne and its neighborhood and left Sevenhill, 21 May 1870. The South Australian Germans rendered some assistance. He resided in the parish of Richmond, but was constantly engaged in missionary work, especially in the semi-rural area of Nunawading.
In 1876, Kranewitter, distressed at the sufferings of the Catholic clergy of Germany under the Kulturkampf originated by Bismarck, organised the German Catholics of Melbourne to
contribute generously to a fund to assist them. All the churches of the diocese had sermons preached and funds were collected for this cause; £640 was raised.
While giving a retreat in 1880 he died in the presbytery at Heidelberg of an inflammation of the lungs.
His contemporaries acknowledged Kranewitter as a model religious, childlike and simple. He showed good judgment and prudence in secular affairs, and was a good spiritual director of his people. His chief memorial was Sevenhill, which becaine a complex of boarding school, seminary for diocesan students, Jesuit noviciate and scholasticate, wine cellars and the base from which the priests made their circuits of the mid-north. These journeys covered 25,000 square miles, from Morgan to Blinman, across to Wallaroo, Port Pirie, Port Augusta and even down to Port Lincoln. From Sevenhill more than 40 stone churches and schools were built.
The Australian province owes much to this first Jesuit in Australia who worked as a missionary for over 30 years.

Note from Patrick Dalton Entry
He translated many of the early German documents, such as the letters of Father Kranewitter and the diary of Brother Pölzl.

◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1933

Jesuit Pioneers

A Page of Australian Mission History (1848-1901)

To the lover of the few “antiquities” we have in Australia a visit to the wine country near Adelaide is well worth while. There, in the midst of sweetly undulating fields and sun-kissed vine yards, are “remains” that tell a story of great deeds of forgotten heroes. To day, the motorist, as he speeds northwards from the beautiful “garden city”, little dreams that where now the broad North Road stretches straight before him, some eighty years ago a lonely Jesuit Missionary urged on his faltering horse through trackless bush seeking for the Highland shepherd's hut or, more rare, for the few rude farm houses of the Austrian settlers. And yet, if he only knew it, these woods and hills and vineyards could tell a story, quite unknown to most Australians, but worthy of an undying record in our history. Hidden in their midst, the modest buildings of rough-hewn stone built by the Jesuit Missionaries and their own silent graves, remind us to-day of these men, who left home and Fatherland and sailed away into the great Southern Sea to lay the foundation of God's Church in this “lovely morning land”.

It was in May last that I drove from Adelaide to the old Jesuit College at Sevenhill; a drive of some ninety miles through the autumn-tinted vine yards; and it was then that I longed to let others share with me the thrill I felt on hearing of the labours of the men who had toiled for fifty-three years ministering to the scattered Catholic population and founding a diocese to hand over to others when time was ripe.

And here fortune came to my aid. For treasured in the old library in Sevenhill, in the original German, are the letters and relations of the early missionaries, and these were being translated by one of the Fathers residing there to-day. A few extracts from these, chosen here and there, will reveal, far better than anything else, the noble story of self-sacrifice and zeal.

Father Peter Sinthern SJ, an Austrian, writing on the occasion of the Centenary of the restoration of his Province, begins his “Memoir of the Mission in Australia” with words that we may well echo to-day:

“On the 8th December, 1848, the first Jesuit Missionaries, two Austrian Fathers, set foot on Australian soil; in 1901 the last Austrian Superior handed over the Mission to his Jesuit Brethren of the Irish Province, and returned to his Austrian homeland. To-day, when missionary activities have everywhere received such a mighty impetus, it is certainly fitting that these 53 years work of the Austrian Jesuit Mission should be known to a wider circle. They fill a page of glory in the mission history of Austria, and of the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus”.

Father Sinthern recalls the circum stances which led to the foundation of the Austrian Jesuit Mission:

“Founded in 1836, the colony (of South Australia) ten years later was already in a position to export a considerable amount of grain. The discovery of the copper mines at Kapunda and Burra-Burra gave a strong stimulus towards its further development. Great efforts were made to entice townsfolk, tradesmen, and farmers to emigrate to the colony from Germany and from England. Among the newcomers were a number of German protestant families, who settled in the neighbourhood of Tanunda and Angaston, The good news sent home by these induced other Germans to follow in their footsteps, and the resolution to emigrate was made more easily in the midst of the confusion of 1848, the year of revolutions

A well-to-do Catholic of Silesia, Franz Weikert, allowed himself to be persuaded to act as the leader of a group of emigrants. He sold his large farm in order to be able to pay the passage money for all the group, a matter of £1000, there were to be none but Catholics among the company of travellers, ... Weikert, who was a thoroughly practical Catholic, did not wish to find himself and those who shared his destiny, without a priest in his new home. To secure a priest he approached the Superior of the St Ludwig Mission-Verein in Bavaria, the Reverend Hofkaplan Muller, of Munich, who referred him to the Provincial of the Austrian Jesuits, and thus it was that the Austrian Jesuits secured their Australian Mission. The General of the Jesuits approved of the Mission but insisted on two conditions, that not one, but two Fathers should go, and that, as far as possible, they should remain together in Australia. It was at Innsbruck that the Pro vincial communicated the decision of the General to the assembled Fathers, and then asked who was ready to go. There was silence for a minute, and then a young Viennese, Father Max Klinkowstrom, came forward and said, “Ecce ego, mitte me”. (Here am I, send me.) And he was sent. Then a second announced his readiness to go, a young man, Father Aloysius Kranewitter, a Tyrolese, who at his first Mass had begged God to send him wherever the need of priests was greatest. He was the second one chosen for the Mission, ... The good ship ‘Alfred’ took all the travelling companions on board at Hamburg on the 15th August, 1848, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. On the next great feast of Mary, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the 8th December, at Adelaide, the first Austrian Missioner set foot for the first time on Australian soil”.

Fortunately, Father Aloysius Kranewitter was a good letter-writer, and the story of the early days of the Mis sion is best told in the letters he wrote to his Provincial at home in Austria:

“On the 4th December we heard the cry, ‘Land! Land!’ and could you describe the emotions in the hearts of all of us at the cry? It was Kangaroo Island that lay straight in front of us. On the 5th December we lay in the Outer Harbour of Adelaide; we had still to go up a narrow bight to reach Port Adelaide, the harbour of South Australia proper. This inlet of the sea follows a serpentine course inland for about two English miles and the water is very shallow. A good - tide and wind are necessary to sail up it, and often a ship must lay in wait for eight days for a favourable chance. We reached Adelaide on the 8th December, having left Hamburg on the 15th August.

Having more than enough of ship life, we seized the first opportunity of landing. We wore fortunate enough to be able to do this in the afterncon. A launch lay alongside the ‘Alfred’ and its pilot agreed to bring the passengers to land at a reasonable price. At four o'clock Father Klinkowstrom and I, Mr Weikert and three other of our company, stood on Australian soil; in front lay a broad stretch of deep sea and behind was a plain bounded by hills covered with green trees stretching right across in bow shape from side to side. The first thing we noted was the sand with its mussels and cockles, and then the plant life, all new and unknown to us. Not a shrub, plant or tree like those at home, except perhaps the red stock-gilliflower that grew wild in the sand ridges.

Adelaide is situated about two German miles inland. Hackney-coaches ply constantly between the harbour and the city, and these brought us there by eight o'clock in the evening. It was only after much trouble that we found the ‘Catholic Chapel’, and the residence of the Bishop, as well as that of the Right Reverend Dr Bockhaus.

Great was our joy to have reached the goal of our voyage, and it was a great consolation to us to have completed the journey on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and on the next day to be able to say Holy Mass again after such a long interruption. ... Weikert, a simple, honest countryman, the father of eight children, and a fervent Christian, leased a piece of land about 60 miles north of Adelaide, near a little hamlet called Clare Village. Most of the inhabitants of the village are Irish Catholics, and they have built a small church, which the Bishop will consecrate soon. Since I, as far as the languages go, could help at the same time the German family of Weikert and the Irish Catholics, I decided to accompany him. The Bishop approved of the plan. He thanked Weikert for bringing us with him, and commissioned me to give especial attention to the German catholics, who live scattered about the country. I was to visit them and often go the rounds of my district, and if at any place there were a good many living together he would secure me an altar stone and Mass vestments for them; up to the present, owing to the scarcity of priests who could take care of them, often, for a very long time they had had no opportunity of attending to their religious duties, and this put many of them in danger of losing their faith. I very gladly undertook this task and on the 14th December (1848). I set off with Weikert for Clare Village.

It was midsummer, all the grass was dried up with the heat and the sun burnt fiercely, though the heat of it was tempered by a slight cool breeze. Even in our own Tyrol it is more fatiguing to travel on foot in the summer heat than it is here. The heat is not so oppressive, since it is freshened by a prevalent sea breeze, and heavy dew falls every night, although often for months on end there is not a drop of rain. On the 20th we arrived at Clare Village, and took up our residence in a perfectly new house which an Irish Catholic had built on a section of land a little off the road in a low-lying valley”.

Father Kranewitter's companion, Father Max Klinkowstrom, after but a few months labour among the Catholics in Adelaide, was compelled by ill-health to return to Europe. He sailed on 17th March, 1849. Happily Father Kranewitter was not left alone for very long, for in the month of April, 1849, two Jesuit Laybrothers, Brothers Schreiner and Sadler, arrived in Australia to help him in his Mission.

“Our little house, of split tree trunks bound together, with a roof of thatch, has only two rooms, but all the same we three live in it with a German doctor quite satisfactorily.... We are living about half a mile from Clare in a delightful valley, quite alone, in peaceful isolation. Brothers Sadler and Schreiner are active at work on the farm, I see to the spiritual ministrations for all of us, and every first Sunday make a missionary visitation to the German settlements. My flock here is certainly a small one, but in the German villages I have already found more than fifty Catholics. The poor people are planted in the midst of Protestants of a fanatical and pietistic stamp, and hardly have the courage to proclaim themselves openly as Catholics. But already much of that has been changed. The Protestants do not dare to mock so constantly as they used to do at the Catholic Church, and a young man who through cowardice had allowed himself to be taken up by one of their congregations came back after my third visit to his good mother the Catholic Church. I find the good people most zealous in their attendance at Mass, and although many live two or three leagues from the house in which I say Mass, they are always most regular in attendance, and the delight that they always show at having their spiritual director once more with them, is always a rich reward for the tiring journey. I travel about 30 leagues to these people, and on the way I rarely meet a soul, and still more rarely a human habitation; and as one finds here instead of fresh springs and murmuring brooks, only now and then a tank of collected rain water, the heat of the sun and the thirst is very trying during one's travels. ...

This so far is the scope of my missionary work. It is a small beginning, but in the course of time we may easily advance much further than that. This rests largely with my superiors and depends on the hidden de signs of eternal Providence. The colony is in process of growth and the number of its mines are a guarantee of abiding prosperity. It is probable that the number of German Catholics will soon greatly increase, and what has been done in America may soon be accomplished in South Australia too; to say nothing of the aboriginals the conversion of whom will give work for us to do of no small magnitude. All the attempts made on them by the Protestants of the various sects have so far proved useless. ... The conversion of our blacks will always remain a difficult and repulsive task - here; for all the evil conditions that men found among the lowest tribes in America are to be found amongst these people. They have no fixed place of abode, but wander over the country in small groups, they are divided into many different tribes, they either have no chiefs or have little respect for them, they are not at all numerous, and yet every second hundred of them will have their own peculiar language; so little is the idea of a Supreme Being developed amongst them that you would hardly credit their ignorance. They are not of evil disposition, you would rather say that they are of a kindly nature; they are not a warlike race, and in general are devoid of any outstanding sign of real character. They shun work like lazy children and for a little bit of work they want ‘Plenty to eat’; but in spite of all this I believe that a missioner of the True Church would not work without profit among them”.

Inscrutable are the ways of Divine Providence. Reading these lines of the Jesuit Missioner eighty years after he penned them, we wish that his dream of a great and populous Catholic land had come true. But he had not reckoned with the greed and folly of men. The poor aboriginals are gone, and gone because unchristian men denied them the right to live and refused to them the civilizing message of Christian Truth. Gone also are the prosperous German villages because the call of the “accursed gold” lured the simple farmer from his vine-garlanded cottage to the reeking “diggings” of Victoria.

Bitter, indeed, are the thoughts of what might have been but for the folly and the greed of men.

Father Kranewitter, it is true, even early in his Mission work, experienced many disappointments and saw the promise of failure, nevertheless he planned and prayed with his eyes fixed on a glorious future. His letters home show him as a man of God and as a shrewd and prudent man of affairs; to his foresight we owe the founding of the German and Polish settlement at Sevenhill and the College and lands that gave stability to the Jesuit Mission and served as a spiritual centre from which radiated through the South the life-giving light of the Faith.

“As I told you before we bought a piece of land on which to found a permanent station, and here again I must say that God in His loving Providence has blessed our plan and prospered it. ... The Mission now owns 700 acres of land of which a part is over grown with stout gum trees, while a part consists of rich soil suitable for tilling and pasture, but most of all for the planting of vines.

‘What a beautiful place for a college!’ said a protestant on a visit to us, rightly guessing, even though he was not a prophet, at the thoughts which we, however, had not yet openly expressed. The fine healthy position of the place beside a spring of water which one so rarely finds in Australia marks it off as especially appropriate for such a purpose, and one could hardly undertake anything more profitable to the good cause in Australia than the cpening of a college to train up men in the true Catholic spirit.

But in these times when the hire of labour is so costly, since the discovery of gold mines, when one nust give an ordinary labouring man $50 a year and his keep, and pay a brick layer 14/- for a day's work, building is not to be lightly undertaken. But, when in the second half of 1855, as we had expected, the price of labour became more moderate, we set our hands to the work in God's Name, and started to build a house to satisfy our immediate pressing needs, and to accommodate a few pupils”.

In October, 1852, there had joined Fr Kranewitter one who was to become the best known and best beloved priest in South Australia, Father JosephTappeiner. This heroic missionary at first, owing to his as yet imperfect knowledge of the English language, restricted his labours to the German population, while Father Kranewitter atterded the distant stations and looked after the Irish Catholics in Clare, the Burra, Undalya and Saddleworth. From 1853 to 1855, Father Tappeiner visited regularly Tanunda, Adelaide and Romburnie.

Father John Pallhuber arrived in the beginning of 1856 He was destined to do strenuous work as a missionary, for which he had been prepared by a seven years' residence in the Province of SJ Maryland. USA. His arrival was opnortune, for Father Kranewitter left Sevenhill on March 28th, 1856, to proceed to Austria for the completion of his theological studies and the making of his third year of probation. Of his recall Father Kranewitter writes:

“In November, 1855, my fellow-worker, Father Tappeiner, made his first mission journey 100 English miles to the north, and visited afterwards all the scattered Catholics of German speech south of here. At Christmas he stayed in Adelaide to assist in the work there. On his return he brought the news that my successor, Father Pallhuber, sent by our superiors, had arrived in Adelaide from North America. My orders were to return to Europe to complete my studies and prepare for my profession. On the 28th March on board an English ship I was carried out on to the high seas once more, we rounded Cape Horn and under the loving protection of God reached London after a voyage of 100 days. At the beginning of August, 1856, I stood once more on my native soil, which I had left eight years before”.

In 1859 Father Kranewitter returned to Australia where he worked on the South Australian Mission until 1870. when he was sent to take care of the German Catholics in Melbourne. For ten years as a member of the Jesuit Community at St Ignatius', Richmond, he discharged this duty faithfully, winning for himself universal esteem. The History of the Society of Jesus in Australia says of him:

“A model religious, cheerful, exact in all details of duty, of tender piety and gentle as a child, he was beloved by his penitents, who made it their mission to induce others to choose him as confessor. A wetting received during a visit which he paid to a country district to say Mass and administer the Sacraments, brought on an illness which affected his lungs, and consumption caused his death in less than a year. He removed for changes of air a few days before he died to Heidelberg, a village near Richmond. On the day of his death he asked by telegram to be relieved from the obligation of reciting the Divine Office. He also sent word that he felt much weaker, but thought there was no necessity for any Father to visit him just then. As he grew worse he was urged to have another telegram sent, but he shook his head, saying, ‘God is good, He will take care of me’. His trust in the Divine goodness was not in vain; for as soon as the first message reached Richmond, Father Mulhall determined to go at once to Heidelberg. He did so, and on entering the sick man's room, the latter exclaimed: ‘Thanks be to God that you are here’. A short time afterward's Father Kranewitter died”.

The College of St Aloysius, Seven hill, founded by Father Kranewitter, was therefore the first Jesuit College in Australia. For thirty years it struggled against difficulties of every kind, the great distance from any centre of population, the scattered nature of the Catholic stations and the lack of funds, until finally in 1886, when the colleges in other States were opened, it was closed. It became, what it is to-day, the Church and Residence of St Aloysius.

We must not forget, however, that in spite of its chequered career, nearly 400 pupils had passed through its classes during these 30 years, and some of these achieved distinction in after life, One of the first pupils was Julian Tennison Woods, afterwards so well known as a priest and scholar.

For a time Sevenhill served as the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus, and in 1866 there came to St Aloysius' College to enter the Society, Thomas O'Brien, a native of Sydney, the first Australian to enrol under the banner of St Ignatius. It is interesting to note that as Father Thomas O'Brien he was the last Rector of the old College when it closed its doors in 1886.

In the meantime, as year by year missioners arrived from Europe, the work of spreading the Gospel went forward steadily: from the rough stone fortress at Sevenhill the “White Horse men of Christ”, as so many valiant knights, sallied forth bearing the Stand ard of the Cross, preaching, teaching, healing and by their selfless lives win ning the love of the simple pioneers and kindling in their hearts the love of Christ. Churches and schools and stations they raise as they push farther and farther into the unknown, following in the wake of the intrepid settlers. I cannot name them all, but just a few to show how far-flung and how thorough was the work of these Jesuit Missioners: Mintaro, the musical Spanish of its name recalling the rapture of the muleteers as they drove their teams on to the mines at Burra-Burra; Tanunda with its glorious grapes; Wakefield; Kooringa of the mines; Bomburnie with its model German Village; Undalya and Farrell's Flat; then far away to the north, Jamestown and Port Augusta.

Of this rapid spread of Catholicism Father Tappeiner tells in a few vivid lines in a letter to the home land:

“When the foundation was laid of the church at Mintaro there wore only three Catholic families with their dependants in the place, now it is our strongest station. The whole district, especially towards the north, is dotted with the homes of practising Catholics so that the larger number of them find it necessary to assist at Mass outside the doors of the Church”.

At the end of the letter he adds: “What I say of Mintaro is true, more or less, of the other stations, no church can hold all the faithful. Fifty or more are obliged to hear Mass at the church door..”.

Among all the missioners the personality of Father John Pallhuber stands out as being that of a Xavier or an Anchieta. A scholar to whom the direction of the studies at the College at Sevenhills were entrusted, and who was the wonder of all for the breath and versatility of his learning, theologian and classical scholar; and, as an Apostle. one who counted as naught toil and danger in the quest of souls.

From Sevenhill he writes:

“Every month I cover, at the very least, 1000 English miles. Here is the routine I follow: On Thursday morning I leave on horseback or by the waggon, taking with me everything I shall need on the journey, including a chalice and wine for Mass.

I have two routes to choose from, one of which will secure me a night's lodging once on my way, and the other perhaps three. Either way I must go through fields and scrub and even forests, some of them stretching for more than 20 English miles. As for water, there is scarcely a drop, and what there is, is | foul or salty; at times I lodge at a shepherd's hut, where I say Mass and baptize the children, Before my track was well-worn and familiar, I got lost sometimes, but, thanks be to God, I have always been fortunate enough to find my way again; not everyone has been so fortunate, for several have met disaster on this trail.

On Friday evening, as a rule, I reach Kadina, a little town of two to three thousand inhabitants, about 60 miles from Sevenhills. Here for the last five years I have invariably lodged with the same family. As soon as I arrive I visit the sick and transact any business that awaits me; then on Saturday morning, at half past nine, I hear confessions and say Holy Mass, after which I visit the good folk and settle their little troubles. I then go to Port Wallaroo, six miles away to the west by a rough horse track; in this small place of some 3000 souls I first made known my arrival and arrange for the morrow, and in the evening make my way back to Kadina. At six o'clock on Sunday morning I ride or drive to Wallaroo, where I hear confessions and say Mass, give an instruction and baptize the children; at ten back as fast as I can to Kadina, where I do the same. I have some thing to eat at midday and at about two o'clock I set out for Moonta, another town of three or four thousand people, twelve miles to the south, where I go through the same round of work. At midday, according to the needs of the case, I return to Kadina or to Wallaroo. Then lest my normal work at Sevenhill should suffer, I must, sometimes on Monday evening, more usually on Tuesday, and in exceptional cases on Wednesday, set off on my return journey.

It was only the tall gums and the laugh of the Kookaburra that reminded me, as I stood waiting for the high power car that was to whisk me back to the ugliness of modern life, that I was in Australia and in the twentieth century. Surely this old stone house, with its high gables and its dormer windows, its stone-flagged passages and its dungeon-like cellars, is a little bit of medieval Europe that has lost its way in the bush or has slept or wandered for centuries in the manner of the fables ! And this old Gothic church, built by the hands of religious brethren, surely it has watched over the fortunes of some Austrian village and seen the centuries slip by, seen Crusaders ride past and heard the toscin sound as armies, like the ages, rolled on! And I thought of the more than thirty heroes that sleep their last sleep in the vault beneath the old church, of Pallhuber the scholar, a peer of the grandest mis sionaries, of the beloved Tappeiner, of Rogalski of the Poles, whose little church I had seen abandoned at Hill River, its door ajar and still the glorious oil-painting of St Stanislaus over the altar, sent it was from Poland to raise the hearts of the exiles; I thought of them all, how far away from home and friends and from their beloved Fatherland, they had dreamed a great dream of founding another great Catholic land, had prayed for strength in this same stone church, before this same tabernacle over which hung, as it hangs to-day, the great Madonna sent them by King Ludwig of Bavaria, and how strengthened to bear the heats and burden of the day, they had gone forth, from their very door at which I stood, down that same straggling path, out into the bush”.

Of such men and of such a work as they have done there can be no thought of failure.


◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1934

The First Jesuit in Australia

Early Letters (1849-1851)

The splendid story of the pioneer priests of Australia should be better known. We love to trace the story of our pioneers, and in fact, are inclined to surround them with a certain halo of romance: none deserve better our study and our respect than those brave men, who left home and friends, and faced the hardships and the dangers of an un known continent, to spread the Kingdom of Christ in this our great South Land.

As I read, for the first time, last year, the letters of the first Jesuit in Australia, written to his Superiors at home in Austria and published by them in 1851, I felt that here was a man, whose person ality would surely call forth the admir ation of others as it had done mine, and whose achievement was worthy of being placed on record in the land of his adoption.

Aloysius Kranewitter was born near Stams in the Tyrol on the 4th April, 1817. The beauty and the majesty of the mountains that nurtured the lofty spirit of Andreas Hofer, did not fail to inspire the soul of young Kranewitter, for when he had completed his studies in the Gymnasium of Meran, he felt drawn to consecrate his life to a great ideal, and entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Gratz in 1836. Until his ordination in 1848 his course was the usual one followed by the Jesuit Scholastics; he studied the Classics and then Philosophy; taught for five years . in the College at Innsbruck and finally went through his theology. At his First Mass, we are told, he prayed that God would choose him for a mission in that part of the world where priests were needed most. Events which followed, little expected as they surely must have been, show how fully his prayer was answered. In the year 1848, amidst the turmoil of universal revolution, the Jesuits were expelled from the Austrian Empire. Many sought refuge and a field to work in, far away in the missions of the United States and Canada and of South America, while the rest were dispersed among the provinces of Europe.

It was just at this moment that a strange request was made to the Father Provincial of Austria, Father James Pierling. He was asked to supply two Fathers to accompany a band of Catholic emigrants from Silesia, leaving home to settle in the recently-established colony of South Australia. A bold request certainly was this, made in the simplicity of his Faith by Francis Weikert, the leader of the venture. To send two fathers to an unknown land, with a party of farmers, of their own Faith and Fatherland, it is true, but going to seek their fortune among strangers and with out any certainty of what the future might bring, would seem to us rash, indeed. Yet this was the means Divine Providence employed to send the sons of St Ignatius to this great South Land.

Father Pierling called together the Fathers at Innsbruck and asked for volunteers, and then it was that Father Kranewitter stepped forward and offered himself for this mission, joining himself to a young Viennese, Father Max Klinkowstrom, who had first expressed his readiness to go. They boarded the good ship “Alfred” at Hamburg and set sail on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, 1848. Their voyage is described by Father Kranewitter in his first letter to his Provincial, written 10th June, 1849.

“The whole sea voyage comes back to me iike an unpleasant dream, the remembrance of which bring's little that is joyful, for nothing is more disagreeable than to be tossed for months on end on the wide desert sea, which one has already been gazing on to satiety. Certainly one learns from experience inore than from a thousand books, but the study is painful. On the 15th August our ship left Hanburg harbour, and on the 19th we left the mouth of the Elbe. We were hardly foating on the waves of the sea before its al most magic power displayed itself. In about an hour nearly half the passengers Were afflicted with sea-sickness. Our course lies by the Gulf Stream and the Trade Winds towards Rio de Janeiro, then we make for the Cape of Good Hope, and from there direct to Adelaide with the West Trade Winds, which always blow more strongly toward the South. The reckoning is about 90 to 100 days to Port Adelaide. On the 20th August, as we sailed past Heligoland, a Danish frigate, which tay at anchor off the south of the Elbe, caught sight of us. She at once set after us with full sail. But as she had seen us a little too late, and was stationed north of the island, though she exerted her self for an hour, she could not overtake us, and at 1 pm regretfully she turned back on her course.

On the 23rd I had to baptize a child of Protestant parents; and the day before, after I had blessed it, a child was plunged into the depths of the stormy waves. At 12 o'clock that night I was called to the bedside of another child struggling with death. It was carried off with convulsions next day. The last day of our first month out, we had the misfortune to discover that in our cabin there were some who were practically nothing but Christian pagans. An historical discussion which occurred at table revealed the fact. One of our cabin mates declared that quite a number of historical assertions had as little truth in them as the Bible itself. This declaration naturally led to others, and it became quite plain that those unfortunate men had long suffered shipwreck in matters of faith. On another occasion one of these gentlemen maintained that were the Catholic religion logically consistent in all its teachings, real belief would not be found any more among its members; the Protestants were already taught in their schools to cast off all belief, I was ready to argue with him on this matter, after I had instructed hin as to what faith and religion really was; we could not engage in any argument regarding religion unless that were clearly settled.

The 2nd September was a Sunday, the Feast of the Guardian Angels. It was the first day on which we were able to preach on deck to our ship's company, consisting of Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Christian heathens. After that, my companion, Father Max Klinkowstrom, preached overy Sunday when the weather was fine and the sea calm, and he was always sympathetically listened to. ... I had time on my hands in abundance to cast my thoughts back to you and all my be loved friends at Innsbruck, to my homeland, and those dear to me there. Hardly a night passed that I did not dream that I was just as near to you as I really was far away, and with every minute was going farther away from you all. Still this was not home-sickness, nor regret, nor a longing to go back again; it was simply a painful feeling deep down in the soul.

On the 11th October we stood before Rio's lovely harbour. The finest art could not produce a more beautiful picture. On the right and on the left at its entrance, rocky heights rise up, separated only by a narrow strait, the veritable pillars of the harbour fashioned by Nature itself. On each side, on three terraces strong forts frown, with 30 cannon on each terrace. Our three-master ran up the German flag and the favouring breeze soon brought her between two lines of forts. We were questioned as to who we were and where we came from. The German flag had not yet been seen in these waters, so we had to declare this also. Then a cannon from the left hand fort announced our arrival. A general permission was given for us to land.

Of course we availed ourselves of the opportunity. Four negroes rowed us ashore. Rio is a city of 190,000 inhabitants, of whom about two-thirds are blacks. These do all the hard labour, for it is considered a disgrace for a white man even to carry anything through the streets of Rio; you see niggers in swarms loaded like beasts of burden, and they sing a howling kind of alternating chant as they haul things along. It is a doleful sight. Our first trip was to a German hostel, and the first thing we asked for was fruit. They brought us oranges and Musa paradisiaca (Bananas. Translator's note). These last were a novelty to us. They are round and long in shape, not unlike very long potatoes, about three to four inches in length, of a dark-yellow colour when ripe, with a skin about the thickness of the back of a knife, light and soft; the fruit is rather mealy, with little juice, but with a very pleasant flavour. It is quite a common fruit here.

We had a pleasant surprise when we met the only German priest to be found in the whole of Brazil, who happened to be here at the time. He is called Reis, and comes from Vienna. He was formerly a Redemptorist, but of late years he has been settled in the neighbourhood of Rio, about 10 miles from the city, and he comes, from time to time, to town for the confessions of the large number of German Catholics who live in Rio. He was very kind and obliging to us, and was able to give us reliable information about religious conditions here. We were not a little shocked by the picture he drew for us, and if he were not a priest we would not have believed half of what he told us. There is a general indifference and neglect in matters of religion, though there are four or five religious houses in the city, and the Italian Capuchins on a hill near the city are real men of God. He recommended a visit to these last, but it was too late to do so that evening, as we had to stay the night in the German hostel. Later in the day, how ever, we visited the Church of the Carmelites, where there were devotions in honour of St Theresa. But little was the devotion we found there! When we entered the brightly-lit church, it was like going into a café; people stood in groups engaged in open conversation, while loud music of a very inferior type resounded from the choir. Hardly anyone knelt, except some few, these mostly negroes, at the communion rail. The next morning, in nasty weather, we visited the Capuchin Fathers. Our route led up to a pretty hill, one of four in the city, on three of which are the homes of religious, The one to which we climbed rose in terraces, and I could see on it a small church with two towers, on the left of which was a large building like a monastery. I thought this must be where the Fathers lived whom we were going to visit, but the church was shut up, and all around I saw Brazilian soldiers. I was told I must go on further, Finally I found a second small church on the very top of the hill and a new building beside it; this was what I sought. I was received very kindly, and I had the great delight of saying Mass once more. The little Italian that I knew proved very useful to me in making myself understood by the Father Superior. His whole appearance was one of kindliness, piety and mortification, and when I told him who we were he invited us to stay with him. Nothing could have been more welcome to us, and even yet, whenever I think of it, there comes vividly back to my memory, standing there on its hill, the little monastery and church where we were so courteously received. I shall never forget the kindness of these sons of St Francis; only God in His charity can repay them for it. The Capuchin Father's have a residence in Rio which they recruit with subjects from Italy. There are four priests and a lay brother there at present, distinguished by the poverty and simplicity everywhere found among the Franciscans, and most kind and obliging, My companion (Father Max) was suffering from a severe earache and had to keep his bed. But the kindness of the Fathers made it possible for me to visit the city on several occasions. The streets are very dirty; they have pavements at the side, but one is in constant danger of tripping on them, as they are so badly built and full of holes. The houses are all low lying, only a few two stories high, so that with its large population the city is spread out over a large area. It has hardly any noteworthy buildings. There is a museum, but it is badly arranged, and has only a small collection. Near the entrance are two wire cages in which are kept Brazilian snakes of about 12 feet long; most of the Portuguese do not go any further than these, and they seem to take the greatest pleasure in teasing the poor beasts with little sticks. The way to and from the town always took me past that little church, so that I naturally was anxious to have a closer view of it, I found that it had once had a building attached to it at one side, and this had either been pulled down or fallen down in decay. The stones that lay round about showed that it had been a building with a broad pillared en trance. The church, of no great size to look at, had two little towers over the entrance, and over the door was a date, 1565, and a little above the date the word Jesus. You can imagine what I conjectured from this. And my conjectures were confirmed by what I learnt from the Capuchin Fathers. it was the first and the last residence of the Society of Jesus in Rio, the church itself built perhaps by Father Anchieta. It was the most beautiful site that Blessed Anchieta could have chosen for a residence. Built on a terrace on the hill side, the building had one of the best positions in Rio; in front was a fine view of the beautiful harbour and the whole city, and behind was a fertile slope suitable for a nice garden.

But now the church is closed - there are only left now in Brazil two establishments of the Jesuits, away in the interior, the nearest being S Catarina, 40 miles from Rio. How gladly would I have flown there! But the time was too short; we had to be on board ship by next Sunday evening.

It was the Sunday of the dedication of the church, the Feast of St Theresa, and I was delighted to be able to say Mass still on that day, the best way in the circumstances of celebrating the dedication. That Sunday we had our last meal with the Fathers. My colleague was so much better that he was in a condition to continue the voyage. As the time for our departure approached, the good Fathers did not wish to let us go, and wanted us to stay longer with them; my colleague should first completely recover from his illness. We excused ourselves by saying that our destination was Australia; the Fathers undertook to get us berths on another ship, and even to pay for them! Surely the argument that we could not leave our own people unaided was sufficient to persuade us not to go away yet? This was a plea that had its attractiveness indeed. We could visit our bro thers at S Catarina, we could see Brazil with its primitive forests, we could recreate ourselves by a pleasant journey, we could stay for a time with people so worthy of a visit, and perhaps we could do quite an aniount of good. work among the many Germans to be found in Rio and else where! But our call was further afield. We had quite a tender leave-taking, and the kind Fathers were moved to tears at our departure”.

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, the 8th December, 1848, Father Kranewitter and his companions landed at Port Adelaide. Weikert who had sold his fine property in Silesia and had paid the passage of nearly all the little band of exiles, found him self, soon after landing, abandoned by them and in serious financial straits. He was compelled, therefore, to lease a piece of land about 60 miles north of Adelaide, near a little hamlet called Clare Village.

What was Father Kranewitter to do? The plan of the little Catholic Settlement had fallen to pieces. He consulted the Bishop of Adelaide, Dr Murphy, who arranged that Father Klinkowstrom should stay in Adelaide, but that Father Kranewitter should go north with Weikert and his family and share their home, making of it a centre from which he could sally forth to attend to the spiritual needs of the Catholics scat ered thinly in the surrounding country. He became, indeed, a shepherd, who had to go in search of his flock, As he had no horse, nor money to buy one, he travelled on foot, seeking for his fellow emigrants. He found many of them sett led near Angaston and east of Gawler, some fifty miles from Clare Village.

“On the first Sunday of the month I pay a missionary visit to the German settlements. My congregation is as yet very small. I have found about forty Catholics, who live in the midst of bitter Protestants and hardly dare to profess their faith. However, a change for the better is apparent. Protestants are becom ing more tolerant and the Catholics come regu. larly to Mass, wherever it is said, even from a distance of eight or ten miles”.

After some months of this life, alone in the household of the farmer, the welcome news came to the missionary that help would soon arrive. Great was the Father's joy when two good Brothers of his own religious family arrived to share his labours !

“On the 20th we arrived at Clare Village, and took up our residence in a perfectly new house that an Irish Catholic had built on a section of land a little off the road in a low lying little valley. As people speak here it is a large liouse, though it is only one storey high with five rooms and no windows. Though this dwelling seemed to us mean and narrow, it was the best in the neighbourhood, and its pretty setting, together with the pleasant mildness of the climate, made it quite a tolerable place to live. We found the church only half finished, and, so I had to hold Divine Service on Sundays and Feast Days in the house of an Irishman. I could not start on my rounds as soon as I should have wished, for the winter rains came on too soon, and I had no horse at my disposal. I have now remedied that defect, and next week I hope, under the protection of the most Blessed Virgin after the Feast of her Assumption, which I intend to celebrate here, to begin my first mission journey. May the Holy Mother and our loving Father Ignatius secure blessings from heaven for the enterprise.

My companion, Father Max Klinkowstrom, remained in Adelaide to attend to the spiritual needs of the German Catholics in the city; he carried out this duty conscientiously until he was compelled to return to Europe. The climate of Australia was quite unsuitable for him, and the doctor in Adelaide, Dr Bayer, a German, told him that the Australian sun played havoc with such as have trouble with the liver, that it was like poison for him, and that he must go back. Violent head pains and diarrhoea had nearly brought him to the edge of the grave already. On the 17th March, 1849, as an English ship sailed that day for London, he took ship back to Europe, God in His love so arranged matters that the news of his departure reached me at the same time that your letter to me arrived. I received your letter before Holy Mass, and at once recognised the handwriting of the address, but did not open it then I, first seeing myself left so deserted in union with the Holy Sacrifice, united my will with that of the all-beneficent God. After Mass I opened the letter and what a surprise I had! I am not to be left alone; for your letter informed of the arrival in the near future of two helpers from Europe. Think with what delight I devoured the lines of your dear script full of fatherly affection. Was it not the merciful providence of God that brought together the sad depar ture of my dear companion and the consoling news of the near arrival of two others. How happy I was to see good Brothers Schreiner and Sadler arrive here in April, quite hale and hearty, just at the time that we needed hands for our work. We are building on to our house a hut in which will serve as a sleeping com partment for the two new-comers; they are now having plenty of hand work and much discomfort; but soon things will be better and their work will be richly rewarded. I have inade a contract with Weikert to share with him for some years labour and attention to the property and profits, expenses and receipts. Our neighbour who has a lease of the better part of the block of land on which we live is going back to Adelaide and has handed over to -: us his small house and his lease under very favourable terms. And so we have living accommodation which is sufficient for our means, though not attractive in appearance, and sufficient income to live on. For this year then we have two pieces of land for cultivation and so are quite safe financially. We intend to keep house with Weikert for two years, and meanwhile look round for an opportunity and then buy from the Government a fertile piece. of land in a good position. If this plan is not unpleasing to God and has His blessing, I am quite sure that it will prosper. Unless I am much mistaken, in four years I should be in the position to send you the passage money for those who would be pleased to come to us, especially if you would send us some inore help ers, for labour is very costly here. These should not look for easy conditions at first, and must be ready for hard work; but, as I said before, labour reaps a quick profit here.

Make whatever arrangements seem best to you, and let us know of your intentions. With my heart full of gratitude I kiss your hands for sending me here, and for the help that you have sent me too. If it should please you to make any changes in our disposition, or send us anywhere else, we would gladly exert our selves to obey the slightest indication of your wishes; if we should receive further helpers it i would be an inexpressible consolation. Mean while, we act according to the first suggestions you gave us, making no change, which was to aim at securing a good piece of land with fertile soil, and to get our good brothers to cultivate it.

You might think that this country is al most over supplied with priests, seeing that a bishop and ten priests have charge of a Catholic population of only about 4000 souls; but that is not so at all. South Australia is a colony in process of very fast development. The first settlers only came here about 19 years ago, and already the population has grown to 40,000. Every month ships come from England with immigrants, and every year from Germany, and of the immigrants a small number set themselves up in the city, while the greater number settle on the land.

If the growth in population continues I shall soon need priests for a college. Any helpers who are coming to us or intend to come in the future should bring with them, above all things, all that is needed for saying Mass. We have a small church without a tabernacle or altar pictures, and, except for the set of Mass Vestments that I brought with me, there are hardly any serviceable ones to be got.

I shall now tell you something about the financial side of our farming. All the soil is wonderfully fruitful here. The first year, without any help from manure, it produces a very fine crop of wheat. A section of land cuch as the immigrants usually buy or lease here is 80 acres forming a square, so that each acre runs for 200 feet in both directions. The work of cultivating a piece of new land is certainly hard and constant, but the return is great; to take an example, a ton of potatoes cost £10, or 100 florins of English money, and a good acre gives a return of five to six tons, and often eight to nine. A ton of oaten hay is worth £5. Wheat is, at the least. al ways a profitable crop, good land giving 20 to 30 bushels (a bushel is equivalent to a tyrolese staar) per acre, and a bushel of wheat is sold for 37. The climate is extremely mild, so that the keeping of cattle practically costs nothing, as they can be let run freely on the pasture lands during the whole of the year without the need of stalls for shelter; you only have to milk the cows morning and evening in an enclosure of some kind. It is winter here now, but it is little different from a summer in the Tyrol. On the coldest day we have had there was some ice in the morning, but the sun soon made it melt. The winter here merely serves to provide the soil with moisture so that it may be in a condition to produce its various types of fruit. One finds practically no fruit growth here, but whatever one plants and cultivates gives a good crop, especially vines and Southern European fruit trees. No one, then, will have a reason to re gret tilling this soil, But whoever expects to find everything here already will be bitterly disappointed. Hence it is necessary to bring with one house and land implements, and seeds of all kinds.

As regards the black natives living here, they are, in a word, just grown-up children. They are swarming at this moment all around our house with a number of scraggy-looking dogs; but as I can make nothing yet of their language, I am not in a position to announce the gospel to them. They are very like our gipsy folk in Europe in appearance, and the only beggars in the country. I intend to write sone more about them in my next letter, when I have got to know them better myself, and also after I have learnt more about them from the German Catholics whom I shall meet on my mission round. It is possible to send let ters to Europe every month from Australia now, and there are prospects of a fast steamship service between Australia and Europe; I would make good use of this for sending letters.

The struggle for very existence which absorbed so much of the missionaries' time, must have caused Father Kranewitter to chafe at the slow development of their spiritual work. Two plans he had at heart, with which he hoped to lay the foundations of an enduring apostolate; firstly he wished to form a purely Catholic settlement with its church and school and secondly he longed to establish a College of the Society of Jesus. To realise both these projects he prayed and worked, and thanks to his trust in God and his courage and foresight, realise them both he did, before he was recalled to Europe in 1856. He writes to his Provincial on 2nd May, 1850:

“I have just made my mission visitation of the German settlements for the first Sunday in April, after which I went on about 30 Eng lish miles to Adelaide to pay a visit to an old Catholic lady and her daughter who arrived in Australia about four months ago to strengthen their Faith, which had met with various strong trials; I got back on the sec ond Sunday to the station where I always say Mass on that day. A few minutes before I began, a letter from overseas was handed to me, sent to my address by Dr Backhaus, What a delightful surprise it was to receive a letter from Your Reverence! I opened the envelope - there were two enclosures - and in one of them two most valuable money bills. This was quite beyond my expectations. At once the thought flew to iny mind - Is it the passage money? I did not read the letters then, but laid then quietly together, and first at the Mass that I was on the point of celebrating I availed myself of the opportunity of begging God to make me fully resigned to whatever the letter might bring me. After my devotions I could not wait long before opening the letter I was longing so much to read. You I could not easily realise the effect that your beloved writing and your fatherly words had on me under the circumstances in which I was, I still less could I put it in words. We send you our most heartfelt thanks for the generous gift of all that the letter contained. We shall consider it as a treasure entrusted to us, and make use of it in the very best way we can. As I was not more than 50 Erglish miles from Adelaide, I decided to make the most of my opportunity and to return to Adelaide, to cash the draft, to have an interview with the Bishop, Dr Murphy, and communicate the whole matter to him, and to find out from him in person what way I might act most in accordance with his wishes, so that I should be able to send you news at once about the matter. What an improvement has been made in our affairs in the course of a year Your Reverence will already have seen from my other letter. We are in such a fortunate condition that very soon we may hope to have a proper German Mission Station; what our hampered circumstances have so far made impossible, will certainly be a reality in the course of a year, if God so wills.

Most of the German settlers that I visit at present on my rounds are to be found in a place which is very unprofitable to them, where they settled on their first arrival, owing to their ignorance of the condition of the land. All this can be remedied now at one stroke. It is quite easy to se

MacKillop, Donald, 1853-1925, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/291
  • Person
  • 27 April 1853-02 February 1925

Born: 27 April 1853, Portland, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 07 June 1872, Sevenhill, Australia - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Ordained: 1885, St Beuno's, Wales
Final vows: 15 August 1887
Died: 02 February 1925, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 01 January 1901

Brother of Saint Mary MacKillop; Cousin Colin McKillop - RIP 1964, and Ken McKillop - RIP 1945

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His sister with Father Tenison-Woods founded the “Sisters of St Joseph”, and they had a convent in the North Shore Parish. Their focus is on the education of poor children, and so tend to be situated in remote bush areas, where they had very little access to Church and Mass.

Memory of James Rabbitte :
“In 1882 Donald McKillop came to Europe for studies. I met him around 1894 at Riverview. He was then Superior, having been appointed in 1890, of the Daly-River Mission - a Mission the Austrian Fathers had established for the conversion of the Aborigines in the northern territory. A considerable amount of money had been spent there, and they had schools for boys and girls, machinery for working timber etc. Donald had come south to recuperate his health and collect money for his Mission. He was accompanied by two native boys, educated in his schools. Unfortunately the money collected was lodged in a bank which closed while Donald was at Riverview.
He was a man of above average height, with a broad forehead and a flowing beard. years later his health was bad, and he died in Adelaide 02 February 1925.

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online
McKillop, Donald (1853–1925)
by G. J. O'Kelly
G. J. O'Kelly, 'McKillop, Donald (1853–1925)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974,

anthropologist; Catholic missionary; Catholic priest; Indigenous culture recorder; schoolteacher

Died : 2 February 1925, North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Donald McKillop (1853-1925), Jesuit priest, was born on 27 April 1853 in Portland, Victoria, brother of Mary who founded the Josephite Sisters, the largest Australian congregation of nuns. He was educated at St Aloysius College, Sevenhill, South Australia, where he entered the Society of Jesus in June 1872 and did his noviceship and studies in rhetoric and philosophy until 1877. He then taught at the college until 1882 when he was sent for theological studies to Innsbruck in 1883, to north Wales in 1884-85 where he was ordained priest and to Roehampton for his Jesuit studies. With two Jesuit companions he returned to Adelaide on 14 October 1886, all three destined for the mission to the Aborigines in the Northern Territory. This mission, conducted in 1882-90 by the Austrian Jesuits from Sevenhill, involved nineteen Jesuits and had the largest number of Aborigines of any in the Northern Territory. Anthropologists such as W. E. H. Stanner and Ronald Berndt single it out for its insights and appreciation of Aboriginal culture.

The policy adopted on the mission stations followed the model of the Jesuit Reductions in eighteenth-century Paraguay, and McKillop became its most forthright exponent. In 1887-89 he was attached to the Rapid Creek station, near Palmerston, to work and study the Mulluk Mulluk dialect, the lingua franca of the Daly region. Late in 1889 he was sent by Fr Anton Strele to found a new station at Serpentine Lagoon on the Daly. With four companions he laboured for a year among the Madngella and other tribes who had never seen whites, but with little effect.

In December 1890 McKillop was made Superior of the whole mission which then had three stations and a residence in Darwin. He was responsible for the whole venture but the financial upkeep bore heavily on him since the assistance promised by the bishops did not materialise. Deeming the stations had failed, he closed them and in August 1891 concentrated his eleven Jesuits in one new station on the Daly. Despite some successes the policy of small, self-supporting agricultural townships did not attract the Aboriginals and most converts were inconstant. The station was struck by severe poverty and his begging tours in the south and east in 1892-93 were unsuccessful because of the depression and apathy.

The continuing decimation of the tribes made the Jesuits seriously doubt the survival of the Aboriginals. McKillop clung to his policies of preserving the native culture but outside factors crowded in to produce a tragic desperation as he foresaw the end of 'the daydream of my life'. In vivid prose he often lashed out in the press at 'blood-stained Australia', at the white and Chinese population and at the government, whom he castigated for pusillanimity in granting land and finance to missions in tribal territories. Worn-out and seriously ill he was ordered south in October 1897. Leadership of the mission then became mediocre and after floods in 1898-99 the station was closed.

McKillop's direction had been realistic but his criticism of official policy probably lost him co-operation from the government. In intermittent good health he worked in Jesuit parishes in Norwood, South Australia (1898-1901), in Victoria at Hawthorn (1902-03) and Richmond (1904-10), Sevenhill (1911-13) and Norwood from 1914 until he died on 2 February 1925 in North Adelaide. His 'Anthropological Notes on the Aboriginal Tribes of the Daly River, North Australia' had been published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 1892-93. The evidence of J. L. Parsons and Charles J. Dashwood to the select committee on the proposed Aborigines' bill of 1899 suggests that the failure of the Jesuit enterprise in the territory helped to confirm the negative character of government legislation on Aboriginals for the next decades.

Select Bibliography
V. L. Solomon, N. T. Times Almanac and Directory (Palmerston, 1886-90)
Roman Catholic Mission Reports, Parliamentary Papers (South Australia), 1886-89, 1891-94, 1896-99
R. M. Berndt, ‘Surviving influence of mission contact on the Daly River…’, Neue Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft, 8 (1952)
G. J. O'Kelly, The Jesuit Mission Stations in the Northern Territory, 1882-1899 (B.A. Hons thesis, Monash University, 1967)
Australian Jesuit Provincial Archives (Hawthorn, Melbourne).

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Donald MacKillop, brother of Saint Mary McKillop, was a student at St Aloysius' College, Sevenhill, 1867-71, and entered the Society there, 7 June 1872, the third Australian to do so. He also studied rhetoric and philosophy, and did his regency there as well. He left for Europe in 1882, and studied theology at Innsbruck, Mold and St Beuno's, being ordained in 1885. Tertianship followed at Roehampton, London.
He arrived back in Adelaide, 10 October 1886, and went to the Northern Territory Mission, first at Rapid Creek, 1886-89, where he worked and studied the Mulluk dialect, and then to the Daly River, 1889-90, when he was appointed superior of the mission.
This mission, founded by the Jesuits at Sevenhill, 1882-90, involved nineteen Jesuits and had the largest number of Aborigines in mission stations in the Northern Territory Anthropologists praised the Jesuits for their insights and appreciation of Aboriginal culture.
MacKillop completely reorganised the mission. He obtained a new grant of higher and more fertile land on the Daly. abandoned Rapid Creek and concentrated all the missionaries at the new station of St Joseph's or "new Uniya". He installed a pump for irrigation, obtained a sewing machine for making clothes, planted coconuts and vegetables, learned the Larrikiyah language and used it in the small school. Unfortunately, only one adult was baptised in the nine years of the mission at Rapid Creek. When the whole Northern Mission was closed, 78 adults and 197 infants had been baptised, in addition to 78 being baptised in danger of death. If success were measured in terms of baptisms only, then the value of the mission would have to be questioned. He was critical of government for not granting sufficient land and finance to missions in tribal territories.
MacKillop encountered hard times in 1892. He had few funds, was suffering from influenza, and there were food shortages. During June 1893, he went on a tour collecting money and publicising the mission, and returned to the Daly in July 1894 with £800 and a magic lantern. In time he acquired a herd of pigs and a steam engine for sawing and pumping. Tobacco and sugar cane were planted. Leather was made from goat and bullock hides. Despite all this work, the mission was closed in June 1899 after disastrous floods.
MacKillop had been a real pioneer in accumulating knowledge of the religion and customs of the Aborigines. The Jesuits shielded them from exploitation and cruel treatment. Conversions were very slow, yet the influence of the Jesuit missionaries was long remembered. MacKillop's “Anthropological Notes on the Aboriginal Tribes of the Daly River, North Australia” was published in the “Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 1892-93”.
During the last years of the mission, MacKillop became unwell and was replaced as superior, going to the Norwood parish, 1897-1901. He spent time in the parishes of Hawthorn, Richmond and Sevenhill. During his final years at Norwood, 1913-25, he was impaired in health, but was a consulter, 1914-21. He said Mass, heard confessions and preached from time to time.
At his death, he was remembered as a man of gifts and attainments, exceptional knowledge of scientific matters, an eloquent preacher, and devoted priest. It is coincidental that the first three Australian Jesuits, MacKillop and the two O'Brien's, John and Thomas, all died in 1925 within a few months of each other.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Donald McKillop SJ 1853-1925
Fr Donald McKillop was born in Western Australia on April 25th 1853. He entered the Austro-Australian Mission in 1872. His sister, with Fr Tennison-Woods founded the congregation known as “The Sisters of St Joseph”, which is widely spread in Australia.

In 1894 Fr Donald was Superior of the Daly River Mission, which had been founded by the Austrian Fathers for the conversion of the Aborigines in the Northern Territory. In 1893 he came south to recruit his health and to collect money for the Mission. He was accompanied by two native boys educated in his own schools. Unfortunately the money collected was lodged in a bank which failed while Fr Donald was at Riverview.

His health was never good and he died at Adelaide on February 2nd 1923.

Melzer, Augustin, 1864-1911, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1741
  • Person
  • 03 February 1864- 20 June 1911

Born: 03 February 1864, Bohemia, Czech Republic
Entered: 10 May 1886, Sankt Andrä, Austria - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Final vows: 02 February 1898
Died: 20 June 1911, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 01 January 1901

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was one of the Austrian Brothers who remained in Australia after the amalgamation of the Austrian and Irish Missions.
He was stationed at Kew College and he died there 20 June 1911.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Augustin Melter entered the Society 10 May 1886, and left Europe for Australia in 1888. He worked on the Northern Territory Mission as cook, carpenter and refectorian, first at Rapid Creek, 1889-90, then at the Daly River, 1890-99, and finally at Palmerston or Port Darwin, 1900-01. After the amalgamation of the two missions, he transferred to the Irish Mission.
He continued his domestic duties in the parishes of North Sydney and Norwood, as well as at Loyola College, Greenwich, St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, and finally, Xavier College, Melbourne, 1908-11.
Melzer was a carpenter by trade, and a very clever artisan. He could turn his hand to the management and repair of all kinds of machinery He also had an excellent command of English, and for a time taught in the school among the Aborigines.
Not long at Xavier College, he was struck down with illness in 1909. He was unable to do much after that, but bore his sickness with cheerfulness.

O'Brien, John F, 1850-1925, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/313
  • Person
  • 04 October 1850-18 March 1925

Born: 04 October 1850, Adelaide, Australia
Entered: 05 March 1868, Sevenhill, Australia - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Ordained: 1880, Adelaide, Australia
Professed: 02 February 1884
Died: 18 March 1925, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia

John O’Brien, younger brother of Thomas O’Brien (ASR) - RIP in Linz, Austria 9 August 1925 (same year)

Diocesan Administrator in Port Victoria, South Australia - known as “Francis S O' Brien”

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He did his Novitiate under Father Strele
1878 He and Thomas Carroll came to Europe for studies having done a Regency also at Sevenhill. They had been fellow Novices at Sevenhill. He returned to Adelaide in June 1882.
1883 He was with Father Strele, the Superior of the Mission, at Port Darwin.
(In some Catalogues he is given as John Francis O’Brien of Francis. 1902 Catalogue P Franc Ser O’Brien is given as residing at Port Darwin)
1902 He succeeded Carl Dietel as Superior at Sevenhill. John Ryan Sr wrote “He is very kind and gentle and will look after the old men. He was Superior until 1906. (cf Letters of Fr Fleury and Dr Kelly in Australian Letters).
1912 Having been a teacher at Spiritual Father at St Aloysius, Sydney, he was appointed Superior of the Residence at St Aloysius, Sevenhill. When he came out of office he remained there as Spiritual Father until his death 18 March 1925.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John O’Brien, brother of Thomas grew up in the Sevenhill region, his father being Sevenhill's first postmaster in 1856. He was educated at St Aloysius' College, Sevenhill, 1862-67, and entered the Society at the college, 5 March 1868 He completed his juniorate, philosophy, regency and some theology at Sevenhill before leaving Australia for Europe. He finished theology at Innsbruck, 1878-81, being ordained by the bishop of Adelaide, Dr Reynolds. He completed tertianship immediately after theology. He returned to Adelaide, 11 June 1882, and left to set up the Northern Territory Mission with Anton Strele, John Neubauer and Georg Eberhard.
He worked first at Rapid Creek, and then was named superior of a new station on the Daly River, Sacred Heart remaining there until 1891, when he founded a new station St Joseph's. 1891-98. Life there was very difficult, the priests suffering from sore eyes, diarrhea and malaria. O'Brien also had a crop of boils and influenza. After this period of serious illness he was appointed administrator of the diocese of Port Victoria and Palmerston, and remained in Palmerston until 1902, when he returned to Sevenhill as superior and procurator, 1902-06.
O'Brien then spent a few years in the parish of Norwood, and teaching at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1908-12. He returned then to Sevenhill, and was superior, 1912-17. Towards the end of his life he became blind, and upon his death, was buried in the crypt of the church.
He was a man of great strength, physical and spiritual. He spent twenty years in the Northern Territory seventeen of them in missionary work. He had a cheerful disposition and his good humor helped him make friends easily with both black and white people. He was a dedicated priest and missionary.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926

Note from Thomas O’’Brien (AUT) Entry - brother of John O’Brien
Obituary :
Fr Thomas O’Brien
Fr Thomas O’Brien, the first Australian Jesuit to be ordained died at the College of Freinberg in Austria, on the 9th of last August. His brother, Fr John O'Brien, died last year at Sevenhill. Father Thomas entered the Society in Australia, and made his studies in Austria. He returned to Australia. did work at Norwood, Sevenhills, Sydney, and was for a time superior of the South Australian Mission. Some 26 years ago he was recalled to Austria, and taught at the College of Karlsburg. At the war he was transferred to Freinburg, where he died at the age of 83. A very holy and edifying life was crowned by a happy death.

Parsch, Alois, 1843-1910, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1967
  • Person
  • 05 October 1843-08 November 1910

Born: 05 October 1843, Brunzejf (Ryžoviště), Moravia, Czech Republic
Entered: 21 September 1872, Sankt Andrä Austria - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Ordained: 1879
Final vows: 10 October 1883
Died: 08 November 1910, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
When he was Ordained he was sent to the Austrian Australian Mission.
He was one of the Austrians who remained in Australia after the amalgamation of the Austrian and Irish Missions in 1901.
He worked at Sevenhill and then at Norwood where he did Parish work. He died at Norwood 08 November 1910

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Parsch entered the Society, aged 29, as a diocesan priest, 21 September 1872, at the noviciate at Tyrnau. He studied philosophy at Posen, 1875, and theology at Innsbruck, 1876-'77 before teaching and prefecting at the Kalksburg College, 1878-81.
He left Hamburg on 6 April 1882, arrived in Adelaide on 11 June, and at Sevenhill on 19 June 1882. From 1889-90 he was stationed at Georgetown, and was a missionary in the districts of Gladstone, Laura, Beetaloo, Narridy, Redhill, and Mundoora. For the following two years he worked at Georgetown and then ministered in the Sevenhill area until 1903 when he went to Norwood until his death.

Scharmer, Vincenz, 1858-1923, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/397
  • Person
  • 19 July 1858-23 January 1923

Born: 19 July 1858, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
Entered: 14 August 1879, Sevenhill, Australia - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Final vows: 08 September 1890
Died: 23 January 1923, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia

Transcribed : ASR-HUN to HIB 01 January 1901

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was an Austrian Province Brother whom elected to stay with the Irish Fathers when they took responsibility for the Australian Mission in 1901.
1910 He was at Sevenhill
1912 He was at Xavier College, Kew, and he died in Melbourne 23 January 1923

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Vincent Scharmer entered the Society at St Andra, 14 August 1879, and after vows worked as a carpenter at Kalocsa, Hungary He arrived in Adelaide, 13 December 1883, and, with Josef Conrath, went to the Northern Territory Mission, 24 January 1884. He worked as a builder and carpenter during his time in Australia, first at Rapid Creek, 188489, and then at the Daly River, 1890-99. He also performed whatever domestic duties were required, which included caring for the Aborigines and sacristan. He went to Sevenhill, 1899-10, and finally to Xavier College, Kew, 1910-23.
He was a man of powerful physique, and an excellent carpenter. He was most valuable building structures on the Northern Territory Mission and had a reputation among the Aborigines for proficiency in the use of firearms. He saved the mission station on one occasion from the attack of some Aborigines by firing over their heads.
He had a most picturesque and unusual personality. At Xavier College he was so good with finances that he saved the college large sums of money. He carried out every duty entrusted to him with great thoroughness and even combativeness, for which he was known as “the Old Watch Dog”. He had a rugged appearance and an iron will. in performing functions he cared not for anyone except superiors. Directions were carried out to the letter. He even refused entrance at the Xavier gates to the current mission superior, until his identity was made clear.
There was something of the Prussian drill-sergeant in him. He kept four cats for his cellars, and they were all drilled like dragoons. He did much business over the telephone, and hearing him issuing orders gave one an admiration for the interpretative powers of Australian tradesmen. He was not easy to understand, yet the goods always appeared at the college.
He was also a skilled mechanic, a strenuous worker, and orderly to the last degree. His somewhat dour character was enlivened by a grim kind of humour. He loved a joke. Despite increasing sickness, he continued working for as long as he could stand on his feet. He was, indeed, a true and faithful soldier. with genuine kind-heartedness and much generosity.

Note from Friedrich Schwarz Entry
Frederick Schwarz entered the Society 29 July 1874, and arrived in Adelaide with Josef Conrath and Vinzenz Scharmer, 13 December 1883.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1923


Brother Vincent Scharmer SJ

(Born in the Tyrol, July, 1858;. entered the Austrian Province of the Society, August 14, 1879; came to Australia and spent some years on the Austrian Mission to the blacks in the Northern Territory; came to Xavier in 1910 and died there on the 23rd of January, 1923.)

In Brother Vincent Scharmer the College lost a most useful and devoted servant and a picturesque, if somewhat unusual, personality. In charge of the commissariat department, he saved the College large sums of money by his excellent management and avoidance of all waste. He carried out every duty entrusted to him with such thoroughness and, at times, combativeness, that he was popularly known as “the Old Watch Dog”. He liked that title, and it truly described him. He was somewhat rugged, both in appearance and in character, and had a will - or an obstinacy - of the wrought iron quality.

In carrying out instructions he cared not a jot for anyone except his superiors, and it was felt by all that to make him swerve from his instructions it would be necessary to pass over his dead body. If he was told to allow no one through a certain gate on a certain occasion, the Prime Minister or the Governor-General himself would have sought admittance in vain. In carrying out even such a task on one occasion he “put his foot in it” very badly. During the College Sports he was sent to the Minister to hold the gate on the back avenue and to allow no one through without a ticket. This was a precaution against the admission of undesirables. Brother Vincent made no invidious distinctions: he carried out his instructions to the letter, Several meritorious visitors without tickets had to look for admission elsewhere. Whether they were doctors or lawyers or members of Parliament mattered not in the least to Brother Scharmer. Then came along a tall and stately reverend gentleman, no less a personage than his own highest superior, Father T Brown, the head of all the Jesuit houses in Australia, but whom Brother Vincent had never seen before. “Tickets; please!” said he, blocking the way. Father Brown was highly amused, and not yet revealing his identity, maintained that he had no need of a ticket, “Your Reverence can't pass!” he said. And the sentry barred the way to his general! Father Brown tried every argument to effect an entry, but in vain. Only when he revealed his identity were the gates thrown open.

Brother Scharmer was a Tyrolese, but he had something in him of the Prussian drill-serjeant. He kept four cats for his cellars, and they were all drilled like dragoons. Every evening he whistled for them at a certain hour, and they came tumbling over one another to be at their posts on time. Not exactly that they loved him, but because they were trained on the strict military plan and dared not violate the regulations. Then they followed him down to the cellars, and each was locked into its respective dungeon. He gave away nothing to the mice.

He did a lot of business on the telephone. To hear him issuing orders gave you a high idea of the interpretative powers of our Australian tradesmen. It was little short of the miraculous that any of them ever understood a single word of his mumblings through the phone. Yet the goods came in all right - as a rule; but not always. One day le ordered as follows: “Ten backs off flour fifty pounds eack-ke”. This meant, “Ten bags of four of fifty pounds weight each”. He repeated the order five times, and the Kew grocer, despite his remarkable powers of interpretation, despatched 10 bags of four and 50 pounds of treacle!

He was a skilled mechanic, a strenuous worker, orderly to the last degree in all his business arrangements, and, as we have seen, faithful to a fault in all his appointed tasks. His somewhat dour character was enlivened by a grim kind, of humour; he loved a joke. His manful and religious disposition shone out conspicuously in the closing year of his life. He suffered much, but never repined. While clearly a dying man and unable to retain solid food in his stomach, and later on unable to swallow anything but liquid nourishment - and that with the greatest difficulty, he continued to work as long as he could stand on his feet. Undismayed by the approach of death, he treated in his grim way the break down of his physical forces almost as a joke.

He was a true and a strong man, a faithful soldier who never faltered at the word of command, and his genuine kind heartedness endeared him to everyone who knew him long enough to get a glimpse of the sterling qualities that lay beneath his rugged and unbending exterior. May the Lord rest his soul!

E Boylan SJ