Historian Fr Tom Boland at the memorial to the three pioneer priests in Nudgee CemeteryPicture courtesy The Courier-Mail THREE of Brisbane’s forgotten pioneer priests have had a memorial erected to them at Nudgee Cemetery.
They were buried more than 130 years ago in the vicinity of what is now Lang Park. Details of their fate were uncovered following a decision last year to reconstruct the stadium.
The priests were Irishmen Patrick O’Grady and William Bowe, who died between 1864 and 1867, and Italian Joseph Pompeo, who died in 1870.
The memorial was blessed and dedicated by Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop John Gerry on January 10, the anniversary of the birth of Fr Bowe.
Historian Fr Tom Boland, who spoke at the ceremony, said the three pioneer priests had brief lives and brief ministries, but in their distress strove to serve the people of Queensland, and deserved the monument erected to them.
‘Today,’ Fr Boland said, ‘we do our best to make up for the neglect of Frs Bowe, O’Grady and Pompeo.
‘We know little of their actual ministry here. All three lived only a short time in the colony. It is plain that all three came to Brisbane with tuberculosis.’
‘Sufferers were often sent to Australia as a last resort, a kill or cure expedient. In these three cases it was to kill – in a very short time.’
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