John Forrest DD, the exuberant scholar/priest recruited in Ireland in 1859 to set up the Catholic St John’s College at Sydney University, found life in colonial NSW much to his liking. However, it soon became clear that divisions within the Church, even more than a shortage of candidates for degrees, would put paid to his high hopes for the college. Relations between the colony’s English archbishops and Irish ecclesiastics were often poisonous, and he was in the Irish camp. Fortunately his interests and friendships extended well beyond the Church and university, and so does this story. Characters who make major appearances, as well as some colourful churchmen, include the extraordinary Henry Parkes and other notables of politics and the law. A central event is the attempted assassination of Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred in Sydney in 1868.
‘…a fascinating account… Sydney never seemed so exciting.’ – The Sydney Morning Herald
‘…full of interest and intrigue.’ – The Canberra Times
‘…deserves to be read by all those with an interest in the Irish diaspora, the history of New South Wales or the study of modern Catholicism’ – Australasian Journal of Irish Studies