The 26th January is Australia Day, the day when Australia marks the anniversary of the arrival of British ships there in 1788. On this day the first governor, Sir Arthur Philip, who lived for many years in nearby Bath, raised the British flag over Sydney Cove.
Downside’s links with Australia are strong and rare. In 1835 the Downside monk, Dom Bede Polding arrived in Australia and spent many years travelling the country. From archival material here at Downside we know he was regarded as a hard-working and conscientious priest. In 1842 his hard work was rewarded and he became the first Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.
Bishop Polding was followed in his position by another Downside monk, Dom Bede Vaughan, who became Archbishop of Sydney on Polding’s death in 1877. Thus Downside can claim to have laid the foundations for the Catholic Church in Australia with the dedicated hard work of these two monks. Happy Australia Day!
The pictures below show Bishop Polding first, with Bishop Vaughan following.