James Darcy Freeman

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Styles of
James Freeman
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Sydney

Sir James Darcy Freeman KBE (19 November 1907 – 16 March 1991) was an Australian cardinal and the sixth Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria Regina Pacis in Ostia. He was ordained a priest of the Sydney archdiocese on 13 July 1930, appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney on 9 December 1956 and ordained Titular Bishop of Hermopolis. In 1973 he was elevated to the cardinalate.

Early life and priesthood[edit]

Freeman was born on 19 November 1907 in Annandale, New South Wales, to Robert Freeman, a tramway driver and his wife Margaret Smith. He was educated at the Sisters of Charity, Elizabeth Bay, and the Christian Brothers high school at St Mary's Cathedral College, Sydney where he was regarded as a good student who enjoyed literature, music and sport. He was able to obtain special permission from Rome to be ordained a priest at the age of 22. He attended seminary at St Columba's Springwood and St Patrick's College, Manly. He was ordained on 13 July 1930 by Archbishop Bartolomeo Cattaneo and incardinated in the Archdiocese of Sydney. He then served as an assistant priest in Grafton, Murwillumbah, Strathfield, Mosman and at St Mary's Cathedral. Following that he became the private secretary to the archbishop and chaplain to the Christian Brothers College of St Patrick's College, Strathfield. He also served as administrator of Haymarket parish and parish priest of Stanmore.


Freeman was elected in partibus infidelium as Bishop of Hermopolis and auxiliary of Sydney on 9 December 1956. He was consecrated on 24 January 1957 at St Mary's Cathedral by Cardinal Norman Gilroy and later translated as Bishop of Armidale on 18 October 1969. On the retirement of Norman Thomas Gilroy, he was promoted to Archbishop of Sydney on 9 July 1971.


Freeman was made Cardinal Priest of the Title of Our Lady of Peace of Ostia, 5 March 1973. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1977.

Retirement and death[edit]

Freeman retired as Archbishop of Sydney on 12 February 1983, to St John, Vianney Villa, Randwick. He died on 16 March 1991 at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, at the age of 83 and was buried in the crypt of St Mary's Cathedral.


Freeman is the Patron of the Freeman Catholic College at Bonnyrigg Heights, which opened in 1985 and has a student population of 1,220 and a teaching and support staff of 114. In 1987, the Cardinal Freeman Centre was established at Granville as part of the St Vincent de Paul Society to provide accommodation and support for the homeless men in the western suburbs of Sydney who have been affected by drug- and alcohol-related problems. The Cardinal Freeman Village in Ashfield is a retirement home providing accommodation to 380 people.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Edward Doody
6th Catholic Bishop of Armidale
Succeeded by
Henry Kennedy
Preceded by
Norman Thomas Gilroy
6th Catholic Archbishop of Sydney
Succeeded by
Edward Bede Clancy