Australian Mission

Repository: Irish Jesuit Archives

Identity Statement

TitleAustralian Mission
Archive ReferenceIE IJA/MSSN/AUST
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1848-1987
Extent Medium8 boxes


Creator(s): Irish Jesuits

  • Administrative History ↴

    The Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia was initiated due to the Will of Fr. John Joseph Therry (1790-1864), who named the Irish Jesuits as beneficiaries to his property in Australia, and by an invitation to the Irish Province by James Alipius Goold, Bishop of Melbourne (later Archbishop) (1812-1886) to set-up a mission in his diocese. The first two Irish Jesuits, Frs. William Lentaigne (1805-1884) and William Kelly (1823-1909), arrived in Melbourne in September 1865. Previously, two Austrian Jesuits, Frs. Kranewitter (1817-1880) and Klinkowstroem (1819-1896) had arrived in 1848 after Jesuit expulsion from Austria. The Austrian Mission centred on South Australia and the Northern Territory. In 1901, the Austrian and Irish missions amalgamated. Australia was made a Vice-Province in 1931 and Fr. Austin Kelly SJ (1891-1978) was named the first Provincial of the Australian Province in 1950.
  • Archival History ↴

    Material sent back by Irish Jesuits in Australia to the Irish Province.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Irish Jesuits ↴

    The papers of the Australian Mission provide a comprehensive history of the Irish Jesuit Mission, concentrating on the years 1865-1931. The Irish Jesuits worked as missionaries, educators, writers, chaplains, theologians, scientists, pastors and directors of retreats, mainly in the urban communities of eastern Australia.

    Subjects touched upon include: agreements with Archbishops in establishing Jesuit houses in a particular diocese; reflections on the journey to and from Australia; administration of schools, colleges, universities and Jesuit residences – (St. Patrick’s, Melbourne; St. Francis Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne; St. Aloysius, Dunedin (NZ); St. Aloysius College, Sydney ; St. Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney; St. Louis, Claremont, Western Australia; Newman College, University of Melbourne); parishes – (Norwood and Sevenhills in South Australia; Invercargill (NZ); Melbourne; Sydney; Toowong and Indooroopilly in Queensland); financial documents; expansion of the Mission; and correspondence between Father Provincial in Ireland and Jesuits in Australia. By far the greatest number of letters sent to Father Provincial in Ireland was from Fr. John Ryan SJ (1849-1922) (Superior of the Mission from 11 February 1901-14 June 1908; 9 April 1913-24 October 1917). Until the creation of the Australian Mission as a Vice-Province, the Irish Provincial was kept informed of every minor detail about the Mission and often decision making in Australia was delayed until approval from Dublin was given.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Accruals ↴

  • Arrangement ↴

    Material was catalogued in 2000, with some additions in 2006 and 2009, and has been divided into sections. As far as possible, papers relating to the same subject have been kept together.

    A. Establishment of Australia as a Mission (1857-1940)
    B. Administration of the Mission (1848-1926)
    C. Contacts with Ireland (1865-1949)
    D. Individual Jesuits (1865-1987)
    E. Photographs (1873-1961)
    F. Ephemera (1899-1965)
    G. New Zealand Mission (1864-1884)
    H. Tasmania Mission [ ]
    I. Australia as a Vice-Province (1913-1939)

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details:
Conditions Governing ReproductionNo material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.
Creation Dates1848-1987
Extent Medium8 boxes
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Copies InformationA microfilmed copy of the papers is kept by the Australian Jesuit Archives in Melbourne, Australia.
Publication NoteMcRedmond, Louis. "To the Greater Glory: A history of the Irish Jesuits". Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1991. Strong, Fr. David SJ. "The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848 - 1998". Halstead: New South Wales, 1999. [Fr. John Ryan SJ or Fr. Michael Watson SJ]. "The Society of Jesus in Australia". [1910]

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteDamien Burke
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. IGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of Descriptions40909