The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Arch J McEncroe

© Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Fr . McEncroe was born on 26 December 1794 at Ardsallagh, near Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland. He was educated at Flynnn’s Grammar School, and after attending Maynooth Seminary was ordained in 1819.

In 1822 he volunteered to go to the American Mission with Bishop England of Baltimore.  Whilst in America he was the editor of Bishop England’s ‘The United States Catholic Miscellany’.

Fr. McEncroe returned to Ireland in 1829, and in 1832 was made the official Chaplain of the Catholics of Australia.  During his first 10 years in Australia he spent much of his time and energy caring for the convicts. He spent the years between 1838 and 1842 in Norfolk Island. Once back in Sydney he became editor of The Australasian Chronicle for four years, eventually, after many changes in management and name, owning the publication. In 1848 this paper merged into the Daily News and Evening Chronicle, which was Sydney’s first evening newspaper. Fr. McEncroe kept the type and printing press, and in 1850, using his own money launched a Catholic paper, The Freeman’s Journal.

The following appeared in The Freeman’s Journal on 28 July, 1855:

“On Thursday, 19th instant, the foundation stone of St. Bridgets’s Chapel was solemnly laid by the Venerable Archdeacon McEnroe, assisted by the Rev. Dean Coffey, in a temporary erection, specially prepared for the occasion.

After the Gospel, the Rev. Father Therry delivered an eloquent and truly edifying discourse, well suited to the occasion.

After the sermon the acolytes, clergy and people walked in a procession to the site of the contemplated building; when arrived thereat the Ven. Archdeacon, invested in cape, etc., addressed the congregation for a short time on the nature of the ceremony about to be performed.

He then proceeded to bless and deposit the first stone, in accordance with the Rubrics of the Roman Ritual.

After the conclusion of the ceremony the faithful present deposited their offerings in gold and silver, and notes, on the stone with a zeal and liberality which was highly praiseworthy.

The amount contributed on the occasion was very considerable.

The new chapel is to be 18 feet by 50 feet, to be built with stone buttresses.

It will serve both as a school and Church on fitting occasions.

We have much pleasure in stating that great praise is due to Messrs. Luke Hughes, Kernan, Curran, Carberry, Grainger, and Kinshela, for their very zealous exertion in forwarding this building.”

Fr. McEncroe was a prominent member of many benevolent societies and a pioneer of the temperance movement. For many years he was responsible for the direction of Catholic education, and during this time he introduced the Sisters of Mercy and Marist Brothers into his parish schools.

The 1863 Australian Almanac, in Ecclesiastical Lists, page 119, lists Archdeacon McEnroe at St Patricks, Sydney district.,M1

8 March 1864 he is listed in the Western Post and Mudgee Newspaper as being a member of the Roman Catholic Church and receiving an allowance of 200 pounds per annum.

He died on 22 August 1868 at St Patrick’s, Church Hill, where he had been Parish Priest since 1861. His funeral was one of Sydney’s biggest and he was interred in the crypt at St  Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.


Faith of our fathers, living still, Pamela Tromp