Home' The Southern Cross : November 2015 Contents Page 22 November 2015
Crossword No. 167
Thomas James O’Loughlin was born in
Kilkenny, Ireland, in circa1866 and came
to Australia to administer the vast estate of
his uncle, Martin O’Loughlin, after he died
Described as a “mining magnate and
horse racing man”, Martin had emigrated
to Victoria following the Great Famine
and made his fortune in the gold mines of
Ballarat. His will included funds to build a
church in memory of the O’Loughlin family
Thomas returned to Ireland for the opening
and blessing of St John the Evangelist
Church in 1908.
Three years later he married Kathleen
Murphy, the fifth eldest daughter of
Mr James Murphy of Ballybur Castle,
Kilkenny, in the same church. The
Southern Cross reported on November
10, 1911 that “Our Irish exchanges report
that a very interesting wedding took place
six weeks ago at the O’Loughlin memorial
The article noted that Thomas had been
conferred a Knight of St Gregory three
years earlier in recognition of his eminent
services to Catholicity in Ireland and
Australia and that he had now been
conferred the title of Count by Pope Pius
X. “After the ceremony, the bride’s father
entertained the Bishop and clergy and a
large company of friends to dejeneur at the
Club House Hotel. In proposing the health
of the bride and bridegroom, his Lordship
announced, amidst great applause, that
the Pope had been pleased to confer the
title of Count on Mr Thomas O’Loughlin.”
(Count is one of the noble titles granted by
the Pope to prominent Catholics.)
When Thomas and Kitty returned to
Ballarat in January 2012 they were greeted
with much fanfare. The local newspaper
reported in detail that they received a
“hearty public welcome” at a ball in the St
Thomas and Kitty had five girls, Kathleen,
Margaret, Helen, Agatha and Dorothy, as
well as a son, Gerard, who died in 1922.
Sadly, Kitty and her daughter Mary both
died in childbirth in 1925.
In her obituary she is described as a
“greatly-esteemed and widely-loved lady”,
of a “gracious and winning disposition”.
“She was in very truth an exemplary
Catholic mother and open-handed
benefactress of the poor,” the article said.
Kitty had four sisters in the Irish province
of the Loreto Order and her daughters
attended Loreto Convent, Mandeville Hall,
in Melbourne. Loreto College in Adelaide
was a beneficiary of the O’Loughlin
family- a beautiful white statue of the
Mother and Child set in the centre of a
lily pond has an inscription stating it is a
memorial to Countess O’Loughlin, “a great
benefactress to the convent”.
The extent of the family’s connection
with Adelaide is difficult to ascertain but
there is reference to Count O’Loughlin
visiting Archbishop Bishop John O’Reily,
archbishop of Adelaide from 1895 to 1915,
who came from his home town in Ireland
and whose relatives were known to him.
The bishop and Thomas both attended St
Keiran’s College, Kilkenny.
Thomas was also a personal friend of
Melbourne Archbishop Daniel Mannix
whose Raheen residence was close to the
O’Loughlin’s home in Kew – Tara Hall, the
former residence of Sir John O’Shanassy,
an early Victorian premier.
Archbishop Mannix called on the bereaved
family when Thomas died suddenly at the
age of 63 and presided at his requiem
Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
At the opening of the St Francis Xavier’s
Cathedral extension in April 1926, the
two men were among the estimated
crowd of 10,000 people. The Southern
Cross reported that a platform was
arranged in front of the high altar for
the “meeting” in the Cathedral and
surrounding grounds. The Archbishop
(Spence) presided and with him on the
platform were....Archbishops Mannix and
Redwood, Bishops Foley and McCarthy...
the Attorney-General (Hon WJ Denny),
Dr JB Gunson and Count O’Loughlin (of
“His Grace the Archbishop announced...
that they had among them a great friend
and benefactor from Melbourne. In the
list of extras was a baptistery costing 345
pounds. A baptismal font of marble and a
statue of St John the Baptist was to come
from Italy which were the gift of count
O’Loughlin, as a memorial to his late wife.
The count was absent from Australia when
the foundation stone of the extensions
was laid, but he had given him 500 pounds
before he left for England and on that day
he had informed him that he intended to
make a further donation of 500 pounds
(Cheers). The count was on the platform
and he knew he would not like him (the
speaker) to make that announcement,
but that did not matter. Further, they
were aware that an ecclesiastical college
had been opened by the Archbishop
of Melbourne at Werribee, and Count
O’Loughlin had presented a bursary for the
education of a priest in their own diocese
in that college. That gift would enable
them to keep a South Australian student
always at the college, for it represented
about 1000 pounds or more. (Applause)”
Just prior to his death Thomas was made
a Privy Chamberlain to his Holiness Pope
Pius XI, most likely for the prominent role
he played in the reception for Cardinal
Cerretti at the Eucharistic Congress in
Sydney in 1928.
Count O’Loughlin’s benefactions to the
Catholic Church are believed to have been
more than 100,000 pounds.
On his sudden death on June 21, 1929, at
the age of 63, it was said that “there was
scarcely a Catholic institution in Australia
that was not in some way or other
indebted to him”.
In the Melbourne Catholic newspaper,
The Advocate, a lengthy obituary noted
that the “high regard in which Count
O’Loughlin was held far and wide” was
evident in the number of convents,
orphanages and Catholic organisations
represented at the Pontifical Requiem
Mass. The hierarchy was represented by
not only Archbishop Mannix but also the
Archbishop of Perth, the Bishop of Ballarat
and more than 80 priests.
A most generous benefactor: Count O’Loughlin
1 Second given name of noted
racehorse trainer; usually
known by short form.
10 Stray; make a mistake.
11 Minor crashes (colloq.).
13 Crafty; dishonest.
14 Osculate; press with the
17 First homicide victim
according to The Bible.
19 Of exceptional holiness;
Melbourne Cup winner.
20 Broadcast information.
22 Personal name.
24 Barbarity; inhumanity.
29 Confederate general.
30 Nickname of racehorse
trainer in 1 across (3,4,4).
1 Medieval nasty warrior or
Melbourne Cup winner (5,6).
3 Prefix – three.
4 Domestic birds.
5 Adopted English surname of
17th Century painter of Dutch
6 Mineral aggregate.
7 Personal title of address
8 Australian symbol or
Emblem – especially of Spring
12 South Eastern SA town or
Melbourne Cup winner.
15 Compass point.
16 Military group (init.).
17 Liturgical vestment.
18 Cricket ‘extra’; non-
22 Southern African or
Melbourne Cup winner when
dog disrupted the race.
23 Old cloth measures.
24 Letter of alphabet.
25 Receipt (abbr.).
26 Oral care product brand
27 Locale in South Sudan near
Solution page 22
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Throughout St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral there are various plaques recognising individuals who have generously
contributed to the building over the years. One name mentioned in several places, including the baptistery and the
honour board, is that of Count Thomas O’Loughlin who evidently made significant donations in memory of his wife
Kitty. So who was this philanthropist and loyal supporter of the Catholic Church, why was he a “count” and what
was his connection to St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral? Using the National Library Archive online tool Trove and other
historical records, JENNY BRINKWORTH discovered the answers to these questions.
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