Bob Maguire

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Bob Maguire
Born Robert John Thomas Maguire
(1934-09-14) 14 September 1934 (age 80)
Thornbury, Victoria
Occupation Priest
Radio presenter
Community worker
Known for John Safran vs God
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Fr Bob Maguire Foundation

The Reverend Father Robert John Thomas "Bob" Maguire AMRFD (born 14 September 1934 in Thornbury, Victoria[1][2]) is an Australian Roman Catholic priest, community worker and media personality from South Melbourne. Commonly known as Father Bob, Maguire was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989 "for service to homeless youth through the Open Family Foundation".[3]

In his younger days he used to be a beekeeper, which he describes as "one of the finest periods of my life".[4] A 102–minute documentary In Bob We Trust, about his life and retirement was released in October 2013.[5]


Maguire was born in 1934, and by 1950, both his parents and two of his sisters had died. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School in Prahran from 1940 to 1947, and Christian Brothers College, St Kilda from 1948 to 1953, and then studied theology at Corpus Christi College, Melbourne, where he received his training for the priesthood. In 1965 he joined the Army Reserve; during the Vietnam war, as a lieutenant colonel, he was commanding officer of the Character Training Unit for young officers.[6] From 1973–2012, a period of 39 years, Maguire was parish priest of Saints Peter and Paul church in South Melbourne.[6][7]

The "Bob Squad" is the Fr Bob Maguire Foundation’s volunteer fundraising and welfare provision arm that is styled on and inspired by Father Bob’s sense of revolutionary approach to social justice. Its slogan is "Viva La Bob" and makes many social and pop culture remarks that align it with the fighting spirit of other revolutionaries such as Che Guevara and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Father Bob Maguire Foundation began in 2003 "in an attempt to gather all my social investments together under one Board of Governance". Maguire started Open Family Australia "over 27 years ago",[8]

Media work[edit]

Maguire hosted a radio show on Melbourne radio station 3AW.[when?][citation needed]

He made a guest appearance on the SBS television program John Safran vs God with the Melbourne Jewish comedian John Safran. From November 2005 to January 2006, he joined Safran as co-host of Speaking in Tongues on SBS television.

He is a co-host of Sunday Night Safran on Australian national youth radio station Triple J on Sunday nights. His popularity[citation needed] is such that he now has his own website and podcast, in addition to the Triple J Sunday Night Safran radio show and podcast. Maguire once described his methods of preaching as "orthodox, yet unconventional". Famous for his occasional religious puns, Maguire once declared that "although we Catholic priests may have better quarters, it's the Anglicans who can afford the better halves!"[citation needed]

In October 2009 he started working as a Judge for the Public Speaking Contest Strictly Speaking, which aired in late 2010. He joined other judges including Jean Kittson and host Andrew Hansen.[9]

Community work[edit]

Maguire remains active in community work with Open Family, which he co-founded in 1978, and as president of the Fr Bob Maguire Foundation. He also established the Emerald Hill Mission and Beyond Care. He is a patron of Dance World and the Canonical Administrator to the Galilee Regional Catholic Primary School. According to Maguire, the most important funeral he has ever conducted was that of Victor Peirce.[10]

On 7 September 2009 Maguire announced on his blog that he had been contacted by Church authorities and asked to tender his resignation on his upcoming 75th birthday. He replied with a public announcement that he would leave the decision of whether he should stay or go to his congregation.[citation needed] Maguire was finally forced to retire at age 77. He held his last church service on 29 January 2012 at St Peters and Paul's Church in South Melbourne. It was reported as standing room only with at least 1,000 in attendance.[11]

This period of Father Bob's life was documented by the film In Bob We Trust, directed by Lynn-Maree Milburn. The film premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival on 27 July 2013.[12]

Honours and awards[edit]

Reserve Force Decoration (Australia) ribbon.png Reserve Force Decoration[3]
15 Sep 1980 National Medal (Australia) ribbon.jpg National Medal[13]
15 May 1986 National Medal with Rosette.png National Medal - 1st Clasp[14]
12 Jun 1989 OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Member of the Order of Australia "For service to homeless youth through the Open Family Foundation".[3]
1 Jan 2001 Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Centenary Medal "For long service to the congregation of St Peter and Paul's Church and the local community".[15]


  1. ^ "Fans rally to Father Bob Maguire". The Age. 13 September 2009. 
  2. ^ Joseph, Marion. "Father Bob Maguire to head Darebin's Australia Day celebrations". Northcote Leader. 
  3. ^ a b c "Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Australian Government. 12 June 1989. 
  4. ^ "Sunday Night Safran". 16 September 2007. 
  5. ^ "In Bob We Trust". Apparition Entertainment Pty Ltd. October 2013.  (Two-minute trailer available on youtube.)
  6. ^ a b "About Fr Bob Maguire". Father Bob Maguire Foundation. 
  7. ^ "Catholic Parish of Sts Peter and Paul". Retrieved 19 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "President's Message". Father Bob Maguire Foundation. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Anderson, Paul (2004). Dirty Dozen : Melbourne's gangland killings. Hardie Grant Books. pp. 201–202. ISBN 978-1-74066-574-2. 
  11. ^ Devic, Aleks (29 January 2012). "Crowds fill Father Bob Maguire's church for final service". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Groves, Don (29 July 2013). "'Patrick' and 'In Bob We Trust' wow MIFF audiences and critics". Inside Film. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  13. ^ National Medal: [1] [2]
  14. ^ National Medal - 1st clasp: [3] [4]
  15. ^ Centenary Medal

External links[edit]