The author writes ... 'ever since I began to research my roots I felt a need for a reference on the very early Catholics. In the absence of one I set out to reconstruct it. I hope I have achieved my goal with this work.' The Catholic Church in Australia began on the River Thames in London in 1787 when some members of the First Fleet first embarked. According to a Father Walsh, a Catholic Priest and Pastor to prisoners aboard the Thames hulks, the First Fleet included 300 Catholics. In his letter to the British Government he had sought an official appointment as Catholic Chaplain to those Catholics destined for Botany Bay.
This book is a listing of most of the 10,000 Catholics and their families in New South Wales up to late 1820. The sources used to create this index were:
- all Indents for ships arriving in the Colony from Ireland before 1821
- Fr. Therry's Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials for St Mary's Sydney, and St John's Church, Campbelltown
- 1806 Muster
- 1814 Muster
- 1822 Muster
- 1828 Census
- cemetery records, including gravestone inscriptions at St John's, Campbelltown
- Michael Hayes' Papers, including their analysis, in part, by former Irish Ambassador to Australia, Thomas Kiernan, in his thesis, Transportation from Ireland 1781-1816
- some family records
- Jess Hill's 'Convict Women 1788-1818'
- indexes to baptisms, marriages and burials of the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
- The Society of Australian Genealogists' indexes to the Bigge Report, Bonwick Transcrips, Kerrison James and Rumsey collections
- James Donohoe 'Norfolk Island 1788-1813: The People and their Families', and other unpublished material.
Having regard to the fact that the identity of the early Catholics in many cases could only be found through their children (many of the first arrivals had died or moved on) certain assumptions had to be made. If a child was Catholic, it would be reasonable to believed that one of the parents was a Catholic.
Many names have been spelt wrongly in various records and in some cases where it was felt confident to do so, they were corrected.
Aliases are included in the index.
Part 1: Introduction
Editor's Historical Observations
Miracle of Father Jerimiah O'Flynn
Father Therry's Register
Part 2: Explanation of Entrie