Timeline of the Catholic Church in Australia

Events

First mass

1788

La Perouse enters Botany Bay and his chaplain, Abbe Mones, celebrates the first Mass within Australian territory

First Fleet lands Sydney Cove

Approx. 1788

The first fleet commanded by Arthur Philip with more than 1300 people in the boat. Although most were British, there were also African, American and French convicts

Catecomb era

1798

Convicts were forced to go to English mass.

Fr Dixon celebrated the first offical mass

1803

First official mass celebrated by prisoner priest, Fr Dixon under strict government supervision

First Catholic school and church

1819

Fr John Terry open the first Catholic school in Parramatta. Governor Macquarie buys land on which the settlement's first Catholic church are built

St Mary's Chapel

1821

St Mary's Chapel’s foundation stone is laid by Governor Macquarie and blessed by Fr Therry. The site is near a barren brickfield

Australia census

1828

Australia's first census is held and reveals a white population of 36,598, among them 1,236 Catholics

St Mary's Chapel finally completed

1833

St Mary's Chapel finally completed and mass is celebrated by Fr Terry.

Five sisters of Charity

1838

Five sisters of Charity arrive in Sydney with a mission to help the poor and disadvantaged

Australasian Chronicle

1839

The weekly Catholic newspaper, Australasian Chronicle is launched

Modifications of St Mary's Cathedral

1851

St Mary's Cathedral is modified to the designs of renowned British architect, Augustus Pugin.

St Vincent's Hospital

1857

St Vincent's Hospital is established in Sydney by the sister of charity, offering services to all but especially the poor

Sisters of St. Joseph

1866

Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods found the Sisters of St. Joseph

Mary MacKillop

1867

Mary MacKillop becomes the first Sister and Mother Superior of the Sisters of St Joseph

Mother Mary MacKillop excommunication

1871

By the bishop of Adelaide, Laurence Sheil, Mother Mary MacKillop is excommunicated

Arrival of the Jesuits in Sydney

1878

Five hundred men have worked as Jesuit priests, brother or
scholastics

St Vincent de Paul Society

1881

First St Vincent de Paul Society established in Sydney established at St Patrick Hill

Death of Mary MacKillop

1909

Catholic Teachers' Federation

1922

Formation of the Catholic Teachers' Federation

Australia's prime minister

1929

James Scullin becomes Australia's first Catholic prime minister

Catholic Immigration office

1950

To welcome and assist new immigrants, Catholic Immigration is founded

Pope Paul VI

1970

Pope Paul VI makes the first-ever Papal visit. The visit occurred arriving in Sydney on 30th November in that year.