Roman Catholic Diocese of Ballarat

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Diocese of Ballarat
Dioecesis Ballaratensis
St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat
Country Australia
Ecclesiastical province Melbourne
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Melbourne
Coordinates 37°34′18″S 143°51′00″E / 37.57167°S 143.85000°E / -37.57167; 143.85000
Area 58,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2006)
Increase 384,000
Increase 97,900 (Steady 25.2%)
Parishes Steady 52
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established 30 March 1874
Cathedral St Patrick's Cathedral
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Paul Bird CSsR
Metropolitan Archbishop Denis Hart
Emeritus Bishops Peter Connors
Catholic Diocese of Ballarat

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ballarat, based in Ballarat, Australia, is a diocese in the ecclesiastical province of Melbourne. It is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and was established in 1874. Its geography covers the west, Wimmera and Mallee regions of Victoria. The cathedra is in St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat.


The Diocese of Ballarat was established on 30 March 1874, from the Diocese of Melbourne. At the same time, the Diocese of Melbourne was made an archdiocese while Ballarat became one of its suffragans.

Bishop Peter Connors retired as Bishop of Ballarat on 1 August 2012 and Father Paul Bird CSsR was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed him.[1] He was ordained bishop on 16 October 2012. Bishop Paul Bird (born 17 Jul 1949) is a member of the missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist).[2]


The following individuals were elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Ballarat:[3]

Order Name Date enthroned Reign ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Michael O'Connor 24 April 1874 14 February 1883 8 years, 296 days Died in office
2 James Moore 12 January 1884 26 June 1904 20 years, 166 days Died in office
3 Joseph Higgins 3 March 1905 16 September 1915 10 years, 197 days Died in office
4 Daniel Foley 12 April 1916 31 October 1941 25 years, 202 days Died in office
5 James O'Collins 23 December 1941 1 May 1971 29 years, 129 days Retired at age 79. Bishop Emeritus of Ballarat. Died 25 November 1983[4]
6 Ronald Austin Mulkearns 1 May 1971 30 May 1997 26 years, 29 days Resigned. Bishop Emeritus of Ballarat[5]
7 Peter Joseph Connors 30 May 1997 1 August 2012 15 years, 63 days Retired at age 75. Bishop Emeritus of Ballarat[6]
8 Paul Bird 1 August 2012 1 year, 347 days

Other information[edit]

The diocese is bounded by the South Australian border (the Archdiocese of Adelaide and the Diocese of Port Pirie), the Murray River (the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes) and the Southern Ocean. To the east is the Diocese of Sandhurst and the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The diocese has 52 parishes, 39 clergy and four parish leaders. The seat of the diocese is St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat.

Child sexual abuse scandal controversies[edit]

The Diocese of Ballarat has been part of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, which are a series of convictions, trials and ongoing investigations into allegations of sex crimes committed by Catholic priests and members of religious orders.[7] Notable cases include:

  • Gerald Ridsdale, who pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a total of 41 children (comprising 40 boys and one girl),[8] and is facing further charges.[9]
  • Robert Charles Best, a Christian Brother, was sentenced in the Victorian County Court for 27 offences involving sexual abuse of 11 boys.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Catholic hierarchy - Bishop Paul Bernard Bird, C.SS.R.
  3. ^ "Diocese of Ballarat". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Catholic hierarchy - Bishop James Patrick O'Collins
  5. ^ Catholic hierarchy - Bishop Ronald Austin Mulkearns
  6. ^ Catholic hierarchy - Bishop Peter Joseph Connors
  7. ^ "Child abuse scandals faced by Roman Catholic Church". The Telegraph (United Kingdom). 12 March 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Former priest pleads guilty to child abuse". ABC News (Australia). 2 August 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Herald Sun, 21 June 2013, Victorian man Gerald Francis Ridsdale charged with 72 sex offences dating back to 1961.
  10. ^ Lowe, Adrian (8 August 2011). "Damage and misery: 14 years' jail for Christian Brother". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Cresswell, Joe (20 September 2011). "Pedophile Christian Brother Robert Best's appeal an insult-victims". The Australian. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 

External links[edit]