Skip to main content

Cardinal Moran
, 1886-88

by Johnstone O'Shannessy & Co

photograph (support: 16.5 cm x 10.8 cm)

Patrick Francis Moran (1830– 1911), Catholic churchman, was orphaned at eleven and sent from his native Ireland to Rome, where a relative was rector of the Irish College. In 1853, by which time he was developing an interest in Australasian affairs, he was ordained priest. From his twenties onward he published extensively on all aspects of Irish Catholic history. By the age of twenty- five he spoke ten languages, ancient and modern, and on his return to Ireland in 1866 he was appointed professor of Hebrew and Scripture at Holy Cross College and he also taught at the Catholic University of Ireland. Having become non-resident vicar-general of Maitland, New South Wales, in 1866, he was made a bishop in the early 1870s. In 1884 he was appointed Archbishop of Sydney; less than a year after his arrival he was made a cardinal-priest in Rome. Over the decade he presided over the construction of St Patrick’s seminary at Manly, to which he contributed his accumulated manuscripts, books and museum pieces. He travelled indefatigably in Australia and New Zealand in the discharge of his duties, dedicating ten cathedrals and in twenty years laying eighty-eight foundation stones for churches and schools; he consecrated his greatest project, St Mary’s in Sydney, in 1905. At the same time, he returned often to the northern hemisphere on business. He was a proponent of Federation, but failed to win a place on the New South Wales delegation to the Convention. Always suspicious of Protestants, in the 1880s and 1890s he spoke out on behalf of the Chinese and was dubbed ‘The Chows’ Patron’ by the Bulletin; he was an advocate

of female suffrage and the union movement, and his supposedly socialist leanings ultimately alarmed conservative Catholics, to say nothing of others. Having died at Manly, he was interred in the crypt of St Mary’s. St Patrick’s seminary ceased to operate as a going concern in 1995; the buildings have since housed a hospitality school and function centre, and were used as sets for Baz Luhrmann’s film of The Great Gatsby.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
Accession number: 2010.48