Fr James GooldA Brief History, of the Augustinians in Australia.

The first Catholic priests which came to Australia were Fr James Harold, Fr Peter O'Neill and Fr James Dixon. Each was sentenced to deportation to New South Wales as convicts at the turn of the nineteenth century. Fr Harold was charged with having fostered sedition in his parish.He was initially sent to New South Wales as a convict and later spent several years on Norfolk Island. He eventually left the colony in 1810. Fr O'Neill had been wrongly accused of aiding in the killing of a government soldier. Later on after Fr O'Neill had served time as a convict he was found to be inocent of the charge, pardoned and returned to Ireland in 1803. Fr Dixon was charged on suspicion of having taken part in the Wexford Rebellion of 1798 against the English.He was tried and sentenced to death, this being on very slender evidence. This sentence was later commuted to transportation to New South Wales.

After settling into his new exsistance in the penal colony of New South Wales, Fr Dixon's sparkling personality impressed the Governor (Philip Gidley King) who attempted to pardon all three priests but failed to do so. However, he did grant Fr Dixon restricted permission to undertake his ministerial practices. Shortly after having received permission from the Governor it was again withdrawn. This was attributed to a Catholic uprising at Castle Hill, which the Governor suspected was supported by Fr Dixon. Fr Dixon was returned to Ireland in 1808 and died in 1840 as Parish priest of Crossabeg. As a result the colony had no Catholic Priests between 1808 and 1818 the Catholic Faith being up held by dedicated lay people.

In 1838 the first Augustinian priest came to the colony, his name was FR James Alipius Goold O.S.A. Fr Goold sailed to Australia upon the "Upton Castle", he built the first Catholic Church Building in Campbelltown in the year 1842.

 

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