Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Therry, John Joseph

THERRY, JOHN JOSEPH (1791–1864), ‘the patriarch of the Roman catholic church’ in New South Wales, was born at Cork in 1791 and entered Carlow College in 1807; there he originated a society bound to devote itself if need be to foreign mission work. He was trained for the priesthood under Dr. Doyle, and ordained at Dublin in April 1815 to a curacy at Cork.

Therry was one of the priests sent out by the government to New South Wales in December 1819. He reached Sydney in May 1820, and ministered at first in a temporary chapel in Pitt Street, and at Paramatta often in the open air. For several years he was the only Roman catholic priest in the colony; but he was a devoted pastor, travelling great distances to his services. He came into collision with the governor, Sir Ralph Darling [q. v.], in 1827, and was for a time deprived of his salary as chaplain, but his work was continued with unabated vigour. On 29 Oct. 1829 he laid the foundation stone of St. Joseph's Chapel, which is now part of Sydney Roman catholic cathedral. In 1833 he was made subordinate to William Bernard Ullathorne [q. v.] and then to John Bede Polding [q. v.], and was sent by the latter in 1838 to Tasmania. Having returned to Sydney, he became priest at St. Augustine's, Balmain, where he died rather suddenly on 25 May 1864.

[Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates, &c.; Mennell's Dict. of Austral. Biogr.; Sydney Morning Herald, 26 May 1864; Ullathorne's Catholic Mission in Australasia (pamphlet), London, 1838.]

C. A. H.