The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Fr J Moriarty

© Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Father John Moriarty (1853 - 1919) was born in Dingle, County Derry, Ireland and was ordained at All Hallows, Dublin. He arrived in Australia in 1880, having travelling out with his classmates Fr. T. O’Reilly and Fr. J. Mahoney.

Fr. Moriarty served in the Sydney parishes of Haymarket, Newtown, Leichhardt and the country parishes of Bulli, Bega and Moruya, before in 1910 becoming the Parish Priest of Prospect and Blacktown and also the Chaplain of the St Vincent’s Boy’s Home at Westmead. At this time there where there were 100 boys living at St Vincent’s.

Although he lived at the Boy’s Home at Westmead, he made frequent visits to his parishioners in the Prospect and Blacktown districts. It is reported that he often walked from Prospect to Quakers Hill to visit parishioners, at other times he drove a strange four wheeled buggy that was drawn by two black ponies. He wore an unusual tall black hat most of the time.

Fr. Moriarty’s records show that in 1912 there were 12 families attending the Prospect church and 12 families attending the Blacktown church. Each church had an old organ, Prospect had 19 seats or forms, Blacktown had 14.

In December, 1918, under Fr. Moriarty’s guidance, a committee was formed to work towards the establishment of a Catholic school in Blacktown. This resulted in the Sisters of Mercy commencing to teach in Blacktown in January 1919. Each day they travelled from their convent at Parramatta.

He died suddenly from a blood clot on the brain on 16 June, 1919. A Solemn Office and Requiem Mass was held in the Home Chapel, the celebrant of the Mass being the Right Rev. Monsignor O’Reilly, assisted by many priests. He was laid to rest at Rookwood cemetery.

Source: ’Faith of our fathers, living still’  Pamela Tromp