Joseph Byrne (bishop)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Reverend
Joseph Byrne
2nd Roman Catholic Bishop
Diocese Bathurst
Installed 9 August 1885
Term ended 12 January 1901
Predecessor Matthew Quinn
Successor John Dunne
Other posts President, Seminary of St Charles Borromeo (1875 – 1885) and
President, St Stanislaus' College (1884 – 1885) both in Bathurst, New South Wales
Ordination 15 February 1847 (Priest) in Rouen Seminary
Consecration 9 August 1885 (Bishop)
Personal details
Born 18 June 1843
Dublin, Ireland
Died 12 January 1901(1901-01-12) (aged 57)
New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Parents Patrick and Maria Byrne
Occupation Roman Catholic bishop
Profession Cleric
Alma mater St Lawrence O'Toole College and Rouen Seminary

Joseph Partick Byrne DD (18 June 1843 in Dublin, Ireland – 12 January 1901 in New South Wales), an Australian suffragan bishop, was the second Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Bathurst, New South Wales. Reverend Byrne was consecrated by Bishop James Murray in 1885 and served until his death in 1901.

Early years and background[edit]

Born in Dublin, Ireland to Patrick Byrne, and his wife, Maria, Byrne was educated in Dublin at St Lawrence O'Toole College (Hardcourt Street, Dublin) and Rouen Seminary where he was ordained a priest in 1865. Whilst at St Lawrence O'Toole College, he met Matthew Quinn. When Quinn was consecrated as the inaugural Catholic Bishop of Bathurst, Byrne volunteered to accompany Quinn to Australia aboard the Empress. Initially working as a priest in the Diocese of Bathurst, Byrne deputised in Murray's Diocese of Maitland during the latter's absence in Europe from 1869 to 1873. Returning to Bathurst in 1873, Byrne was instrumental in the establishment of Australia's first seminary in Bathurst, named in honour of St Charles Borromeo and in the formative years of St Stanislaus' College where he also served as President, from 1884 until 1885.[1]


Modelled in the style of Quinn, his predecessor, Byrne built on the established foundations by adding churches in Gulgong, Coonamble and Stuart Town, and a convent at Wellington. In 1887 the Brigidine Sisters and in 1884 the Patrician Brothers provided a boost to teaching in the diocese. Byrne also established the St Vincent de Paul Society and in 1888 invited the Vincentian Fathers to take over St Stanislaus' College and St Charles' Seminary; the latter which was closed in 1896 after St Patrick's Seminary in Manly was opened in 1889.[1]

In 1875, Byrne sent Father John Dunne to Dubbo as parish priest and over a period of ten years helped him establish a brick church and the Convent of Mercy, which had day and boarding schools, before recalling him to Bathurst to administer the cathedral parish, supervising the construction of a Patrician Brothers' monastery and enlargement of the cathedral. Dunne eventually served as vicar-general from 1900, a role that Byrne had served under Quinn's direction.[2]

Byrne followed a similar pattern of rejecting the independence of the Josephite community, formed by Father Julian Tenison-Woods in conjunction with Mary MacKillop. Byrne barred Woods from exercising any further influence; destroying letters and records, and demoting him to the rank of episcopal confrère. Byrne favoured one of Tenison-Woods' graduates, a young geologist, John Milne Curran, who was ordained a priest in 1885. Byrne granted Curran permission to accept appointment as lecturer in geology and mineralogy at the Sydney Technical College and later as government geologist, before returning to Bathurst to edit the Catholic newspaper, The Record.[1] Byrne also facilitated the establishment of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes which was formed out of the Bathurst diocese.[3]

Byrne died of cancer, whilst serving in office as Catholic Bishop of Bathurst.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Duffy, C. J. "Byrne, Joseph Patrick (1843–1901)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Duffy, C. J. "Dunne, John (1845–1919)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Cleary, Henry (1907). "Bathurst". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Matthew Quinn
2nd Catholic Bishop of Bathurst
Succeeded by
John Dunne