Matthew Gibney

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The Most Reverend

Matthew Gibney
3rd Roman Catholic Bishop
Matthew Gibney.jpg
Bishop Matthew Gibney
Installed1 November 1886[1]
Term ended14 May 1910
PredecessorMartin Griver
SuccessorPatrick Clune
Ordination14 June 1925 (Priest)[2]
Consecration23 January 1887 (Bishop)[1]
Personal details
Born(1837-11-01)1 November 1837
Died22 June 1925(1925-06-22) (aged 87)
Perth, Western Australia
BuriedSt Mary's Cathedral, Perth
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
OccupationRoman Catholic bishop
Alma materCatholic Missionary College of All Hallows, Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland

Matthew Gibney (1 November 1835 in Killeshandra, Cavan, Ireland – 22 June 1925 in Perth, Western Australia), an Australian metropolitan bishop, was the third Roman Catholic Bishop of Perth, serving from 1886 until 1910.

Gibney gave Australian bushranger Ned Kelly his last rites following a shoot out at Glenrowan, Victoria in 1880.[2]

Early years[edit]

He was raised on the family farm in Killygorman townland, parish of Kildallan, County Cavan. Gibney studied for the priesthood at the preparatory seminary at Stillorgan and from 1857 at the Catholic Missionary College of All Hallows, Drumcondra, Dublin. He was ordained priest in 1863 and arrived in Perth, Western Australia later that year.

On a trip to the colonies on the east coast of Australia, Gibney was travelling by train between Benalla and Albury when at Glenrowan, he heard of the Siege of Glenrowan and left the train. Gibney tended to the injured Ned Kelly, heard his confession and gave him the last rites.[2][3]

Bishop of Perth[edit]

In January 1887, Gibney was consecrated as the Bishop of Perth. His episcopate was marked by a number of poor investment decisions as the diocese purchased shops, offices, houses and a hotel in Perth as well as a newspaper, exerting editorial influence by banning the publication of horse racing information; leading to the paper's eventual demise.[2] As the diocese's debts mounted, Gibney was forced to resign in May 1910.[2] During his episcopate he was closely involved with the founding of the Beagle Bay Aboriginal community north of Broome, along with what eventually became St John of God Health Care.[2][4]

Gibney died of cancer on 22 June 1925 and was buried in St Mary's Cathedral.


During restoration work in the cathedral from 2003 to 2006, the brick and plaster crypt containing the coffins of Gibney and Bishop Martin Griver were discovered by archaeologists under the floorboards of the cathedral.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b "Bishop Matthew Gibney". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Callaghan, V. E. "Gibney, Matthew (1835–1925)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Father Gibney at Glenrowan". The Argus. Melbourne. 19 July 1880. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  4. ^ Sisters of St John of God, "Our Founding Story", Retrieved 2011-02-28. Archived 2004-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Ned Kelly's bishop's tomb found under Cathedral pews". Catholic News. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  6. ^ Laurie, Tiffany (14 October 2006). "Cathedral reveals the secret of its lost bishops". The West Australian. p. 3.
  • Appointment of the Very Rev. Matthew Gibney, Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Perth, Western Mail, 25 Sept. 1886, p. 11
  • Kimberly, W.B. (compiler) (1897). History of West Australia. A Narrative of her Past. Together With Biographies of Her Leading Men. Melbourne: F.W. Niven.

Further reading[edit]

  • Winship, John A (2010). Our cathedral : a history of St Mary's Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia (paperback). Perth, Western Australia: Archdiocese of Perth. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-453-75519-8.
  • Matthew Gibney (1837–1925) bishop of Perth by Rev. Kilian P. Mitchell, in Breifne Journal, No. 16 (1973–1975), pp. 562–579.
  • Matthew Gibney (1837–1925) Bishop of Perth by Rev. Kilian Mitchell, in Breifne Journal, No. 37 (2001), pp. 402–405.
  • The many missions of Matthew Gibney (part I) by Joan Frances Carney, in Breifne Journal, No. 37 (2001), pp. 405–435.
  • The many missions of Matthew Gibney (part II) by Joan Frances Carney, in Breifne Journal, No. 38 (2002), pp. 537–567.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by 3rd Catholic Bishop of Perth
1886 – 1910
Succeeded by