Scholarly Musings: Francis McGarry - Affect and Evangelisation on the Alice Springs Catholic Mission

Past Event

Tuesday, 1 May 2018 - 11am to 12pm

Francis McGarry: Affect and Evangelisation on the Alice Springs Catholic Mission

With Charmaine Robson

‘I’m not wild, no, I’m a quiet man’, said Francis McGarry, a 38-year-old department store salesman, who in 1935 left his home in the beachside suburb of Manly and travelled to central Australia to take up work as a Catholic lay missionary. The long and heartfelt letters he penned to his family in Sydney in the 1930s and 40s documented the founding and daily operation of the Little Flower Black Mission in rich detail, while divulging his ideas and feelings about his work. This talk explores the crucial role of emotions in relations between McGarry and the Aboriginal people he encountered.

Charmaine Robson is an independent historian with an interest in health and religious histories. She is a sessional lecturer in Australian history at the University of New South Wales. Her most recent publication examined Australian government policy for Hansen’s disease sufferers. Her PhD thesis, awarded in 2013, focused on the care of Aboriginal people with Hansen’s disease by missionary sisters in the twentieth century. 


Image: Frank McGarry, 1939


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