175 Years of Augustinians in Australia

In 2013 the Augustinians celebrated 175 years in Australia. The Australian connection began in 1837 when
Dr William Ullathorne, Vicar of the Australian Mission, was in Europe, recruiting priests for the church in Australia. He met an Irish Augustinian, James Alipius Goold OSA, who at the age of 26 gained permission from his superiors to take up the challenge in Australia. 

He arrived on February 24, 1838, and since that date, the Augustinians have remained the longest, continuously serving religious order in Australia along with the Sisters of Charity.

Bishop Polding appointed Goold as Parish Priest at Campbelltown, where he built churches and schools, winning repute as an outstanding missionary pastor by his piety and diligence. In 1847, he was appointed as bishop of the new diocese of Melbourne. Goold was only the second Roman Catholic bishop in Australia.

During his time in Melbourne, Goold led a drive to build churches and schools and to recruit religious orders to the diocese. He engaged enthusiastically and was politically proactive in the Australian public debate over the issue of State Aid for Catholic education.

Goold was an expansionist. He persuaded his own Irish province of the Augustinians to establish a seminary and novitiate in Melbourne. Other Augustinian friars came to Australia and in the late nineteenth century, Augustinian life and ministry was focussed in Far North Queensland and Northern Victoria. Within a few years, the Augustinians were also ministering in the colonies of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania as well.

By the 1940s there was a period of active promotion of Augustinian religious life among Australians. Many others joined the Order in the years that followed.

Today, the Australian Province of the Augustinians stretches from Mareeba in Far North Queensland to Melbourne on the south coast of Victoria. Augustinians are responsible for parishes at Mareeba (Diocese of Cairns), Coorparoo (Archdiocese of Brisbane), North Harbour (Diocese of Broken Bay), St Clair (Diocese of Parramatta) and South Yarra (Melbourne).

They also founded and administer two Colleges: Villanova College (Coorparoo, Brisbane) and St Augustine’s College (Brookvale, Sydney), where the Goold Wing, was opened and blessed in 1987. In addition, they run the St John Stone Centre for Augustinian spirituality at Greystanes (Parramatta).

Wherever they minister, they try to bring Augustine’s sense of community to those whom they serve. It is based on the community of the followers of Jesus and described in the first three chapters of the Acts of the Apostles.

James A Goold OSA