Fellows of Senate

The Most Rev Archbishop John Bede Polding

The Most Rev Archbishop John Bede Polding (1794-1877), Catholic archbishop, was a Fellow of Senate from 1856 to 1877.


Profile

(1794-1877)
Fellow of Senate 1850 - 1869

His background

John Bede Polding was born in Liverpool, England, on 18 October 1794.

He arrived in Sydney on 13 September 1835 as the first Catholic bishop. St Mary's Chapel became his cathedral, and he started work ministering to the 20,000 Australian Catholics.

For the next 30 years Polding worked to create a truly Australian Catholic Church. He was a recognised academic, and fought for the right of people to be educated. He is credited with laying the foundations of Catholic education in Australia. He particularly wanted to see locally-born priests, statesmen, lawyers and physicians. He helped establish St John's College at the University of Sydney and Mary's College, Lyndhurst. He also established the monasteries of St Mary's, Sydney (1843) and Subiaco, Rydalmere (1849).

More visionary than practical administrator, Polding dreamt of building a Church based on Benedictine principles and practices. His ‘Benedictine dream’ took a different course and is now seen in the establishment of two Benedictine communities of women: the Benedictine Community at Jamberoo whose first members Polding brought from England in 1848 and the Sisters of the Good Samaritan which began in 1857.

In 1873 he gradually withdrew from active work. His final years were spent raising funds to re-build St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, which had been destroyed by fire in 1865.

When Polding died in 1877 his funeral was the largest ever held in Australia. More than 100,000 people joined the funeral procession through the streets of Sydney.

1854

The Most Rev Archbishop John Bede Polding, image from the 'Illustrated Sydney News', 15 April 1854, NLA Newspapers.

1867

The Most Rev Archbishop John Bede Polding, image from the 'Illustrated Sydney News', 16 November 1867, NLA Newspapers.

1891

The Most Rev Archbishop John Bede Polding in 1891, picture by Henry Samuel Sadd, 1891, nla.pic-an9997459, National Library of Australia.

His membership of Senate

The Most Rev Archbishop John Bede Polding (1794-1877) was a Fellow of Senate from 1856 to 1877.