Open main menu

The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Therry, Very Rev. John Joseph

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Therry, Very Rev. John Joseph, Arch-Priest of Sydney, was born at Cork, in Ireland, in 1791, and entered Carlow College in his seventeenth year. He studied for the priesthood under the famous Dr. Doyle, and was ordained in 1815. He was appointed to a curacy in Cork, where he happened to meet Father O'Flynn, who had gone out to Sydney in 1817 to afford the Catholics there the ministrations of their religion, and who had been imprisoned and expelled from New South Wales by order of Governor Macquarie. The matter was represented in the House of Commons with the result that the Imperial Government became responsible for sending out to Australia two salaried and accredited priests, of whom Father Therry was one. They sailed from Cork in Dec. 1819, and arrived in Sydney in May 1820. On presenting their credentials they were coldly received by Governor Macquarie, who warned them not to try to make converts, not to celebrate mass publicly except on Sundays and the holy days of the Church of England, and not to interfere with the religious instruction of Catholic children in the orphan schools, all the inmates of which must be instructed in the faith and doctrines of the Church of England. Against this last prohibition Father Therry protested, and was, on one occasion, suspended from his clerical office for his pertinacity, and only reinstated after an appeal to the Imperial authorities. Father Therry, who laid the foundation-stone of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, a year after his arrival, sent his coadjutor to Van Diemen's Land, and attended singly to the spiritual needs of the 10,000 Catholics of the colony for a period of five years, when Father McEncroe arrived. He did an excellent work amongst the convicts, and may be regarded as the apostle of Catholicism in Australia. On the arrival of the late Archbishop Ullathorne in Sydney in 1833, Father Therry became his subordinate. Subsequently he was stationed in Tasmania. Father Therry died at Balmain, Sydney, on May 25th, 1864.