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Byrne, Neil Joseph

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Robert Dunne: Archbishop Of Brisbane

Picture of Robert Dunne: Archbishop Of Brisbane
Ostracised by his church and criticised by his clergy, the redoubtable Robert Dunne was an archbishop out of step with his times. In an age that was sectarian, he was not; in an age that judged single mothers, he did not; in an age of triumphal and combative Irish Catholicism, he was a peacemaker. Reared in Ireland's comfortable merchant class and educated in Rome, Dunne came to colonial Australia as a priest in 1863. He was Bishop of Brisbane from 1881, then Archbishop from 1887 until his death in 1917, when he was succeeded by James Duhig. Dunne was a man of culture and sensitivity, but his conservative temperament put him at odds with what was then the radical Catholic Church hierarchy. This distinguished story is a major contribution to Australian social, cultural and religious understanding, a revealing portrait of a complex church leader and his times. With literary elegance, flair and originality, as well as assiduous research, Neil J Byrne has thrown light on an important Catholic figure and on four decades of significant social change in Australia.