Francis McGarry and the ‘little flower black mission’: Encounters of a Catholic lay missionary with indigenous people of central Australia 1935-1944

Francis McGarry and the ‘little flower black mission’: Encounters of a Catholic lay missionary with indigenous people of central Australia 1935-1944 Journal Article

Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

  • Author(s): Robson, Charmaine
  • Published: 2018
  • Volume: 39
  • ISBN: 0084-7259

Abstract: The Little Flower Black Mission was the first Catholic mission in Central Australia. It was established in 1935 among the Eastern Arrernte people who were living in and around the township of Alice Springs. The Mission relocated twice - first to Arltunga in 1942 and then, in 1957, to a site 85 km south-east of Alice Springs, when its name changed to Santa Teresa. Officially, the Mission was founded by Catholic priest Father Patrick J. Moloney of the order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC). But it is Moloney's assistant, layman Francis McGarry who is the focus of this paper. McGarry's pivotal role in the establishment and day-to-day management of the Mission during its first nine years was unusual, if not unique, for a lay worker on a Catholic mission in pre-World War 2 Australia. This article begins by considering the factors that led Frank on this path - his background, faith and the Church's position on the evangelisation of Indigenous Australians - and then traces the foundation and development of the Little Flower Mission, including McGarry's interactions with the Aboriginal mission people, and concludes with his departure from mission life.

Cite this document

Suggested Citation
Robson, Charmaine, 2018, Francis McGarry and the ‘little flower black mission’: Encounters of a Catholic lay missionary with indigenous people of central Australia 1935-1944, Volume:39, Journal Article, viewed 12 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14664.

Endnote Mendeley Zotero Export Google Scholar

Share this page

Search again