Timeline of Events
  • Patrick Joseph Hartigan born
    13th October


    Patrick Joseph Hartigan born

    Born in Yass, New South Wales, Patrick Joseph was the fifth of nine children born to Partick and Mary Hartigan, both originally from Lisseycasey, Co.Clare, Ireland. (Image: Father Hartigan's parents, Catholic Weekly)

  • Baptism
    20th October



    Patrick was baptised with John Collins and Mary Hartigan as godparents. (Image: St Augustine's Yass, Catholic Education)

  • Yass Convent School
    1st January


    Yass Convent School

    Patrick attended the Convent of Mercy School in Yass (Image: Convent of Mercy, Yass, Sisters of Mercy)

  • St Patrick's College Manly
    1st February


    St Patrick's College Manly

    Entered St Patrick's College, Manly, at age 13. The family was poor, and Sister Bernard of Yass wrote to the President of the College to seek assistance. (Image: The young Patrick Joseph Hartigan)

  • St Patrick's College Goulburn
    1st December


    St Patrick's College Goulburn

    Uncertain of his vocation as a priest, Patrick moved to St Patricks Goulburn and studied with Father (later Bishop) John Gallagher (Image: St Patrick's College Goulburn, 1874)

  • St Patrick's College Manly
    1st January


    St Patrick's College Manly

    Patrick returns to Manly to continue his studies

  • 18th January



    Patrick Hartigan is ordained as a presbyter (priest) at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Goulburn. He celebrated his first Mass the next day.

  • Curate of Albury
    22nd January


    Curate of Albury

    Appointed to assisst Rev. Griffin in the Parish of Albury

  • When the Circus Came to Town
    9th August


    When the Circus Came to Town

    Father Hartigan had a deep love of Australian literature, and lectured in Albury as well as writing for the Australiasian Catholic Record. Father Hartigan had this poem published simultaneously in the Bulletin and the Albury Daily News under the nom-de-plume of "Mary Ann"

  • Inspector of Schools, Diocese of Goulburn
    1st August


    Inspector of Schools, Diocese of Goulburn

    The post of Inspector of Schools meant moving to Thurgoona and travelling around the Goulburn Diocese, mainly by train. Fr. Hartigan used the time to compose poems.

  • Renault
    1st January



    Purchases a second hand 8hp Renault motor car in Sydney, becoming the second priest in NSW to own a car.

  • The Man from Snowy River
    1st June


    The Man from Snowy River

    Administered the Last Sacrament to Jack Riley of Bringenbrong, reputed to have been "The Man from Snowy River". Dates for this are contradictory, but it seems Riley survived for 2 more years after the event. (Image: Jack Riley at his hut, source unkonwn)

  • 1st January


    The Little Irish Mother

    After using the pen names of "Mary Ann " and "A Country Priest" , Fr Hartigan begins publishing under the name of John O'Brien. He took the name from a milk cart proprietor known to sell adulterated milk.

  • Appointed as Priest to Berrigan
    1st January


    Appointed as Priest to Berrigan

    Continuing to write and publish individual poems such as "The Old Mass Shandrydan" (Image : Berrigan Post Office 1910, State Library of NSW)

  • Moves to Narrandera
    26th February


    Moves to Narrandera

    Using his new t-Model Ford car, Fr Hartigan relocates to Narrandera as parish priest. (Image: St Mels, Narrandera)

  • Angus and Robertson
    6th January


    Angus and Robertson

    George Robertson, partner of Angus and Robertson, meets Fr Hartigan and offers to publish a book of verse. (Image : George Robertson, State Library of Victoria)

  • Around the Boree Log
    1st November


    Around the Boree Log

    The first edition of 5,000 copies, with cover illustration by Patrick Lindsay, is a sellout

  • The Film
    1st January


    The Film

    Around the Boree Log was made into a film in 1925, but the reviews were not enthusiastic and Fr Hartigan himself did not like the result. An actor played the role of Fr Hartigan in the film (Image: Still from "Around the Boree Log" National Film and Sound Archive)

  • Holy Year Pilgrammage
    1st February


    Holy Year Pilgrammage

    Fr Hartigan travels to Rome as part of the Holy Year Pilgramage. He becomes ill, recuperates in Fiesole near Florence, and travels on to Ireland

  • Back Home
    10th October


    Back Home

    Fr Hartigan arrives back in Narandera after his voyage. (Image: The Convent at Narrandera)

  • Set to music
    1st January


    Set to music

    Dom Moreno, a Spanish Benedictine monk from New Norcia, sets twenty of the poems from "Around the Boree Log" to music

  • Hudson Roadster
    1st January


    Hudson Roadster

    A tremendous interest in cars, Fr Hartigan liked powerful cars and had a reputation as a fast but careful driver.

  • Retires as Pastor of Narrandera
    1st January


    Retires as Pastor of Narrandera

    Having said 8,500 Masses at St Mel's Church in Narrandera, as well as marrying 320 couples and conducting 485 funerals, Fr Hartigan retures as parish priest.

  • Becomes Chaplain of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Rose Bay
    1st February


    Becomes Chaplain of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Rose Bay

    Today known as Kincoppal - Rose Bay School, the Convent of the Sacred Heart were delighted to welcome Fr Hartigan as their Chaplain, a position which gave him more time for writing. He is a frequent visitor to the State Library in his research.

  • Rt Rev Monsignor Hartigan
    20th October


    Rt Rev Monsignor Hartigan

    In recognition of his contribution to poetry and history, as well as his service to the diocese, Pope Pius XII confers the rank of Domestic Prelate, giving the title of Monsignor.

  • Completes On Darlinghurst Hill
    1st January


    Completes On Darlinghurst Hill

    Although ill throughout the year and spells in Lewisham Hsopital, Monsignor Hartigan completes his history of the Darlinghurst Parish

  • On Darlinghurst Hill published
    1st May


    On Darlinghurst Hill published

    Monsignor Hartigan had to leave the Lewisham Hospital to attend the dinner at the Australia Hotel to celebrate the publication of the book, which sold out the first edition within a week.

  • Death of Monsignor Hartigan
    27th December


    Death of Monsignor Hartigan

    After a number of weeks in hospital fighting intestinal cancer, Monsignor Hartigan was given absolution in the evening and passed away shortly after.

  • Requiem Mass
    30th December


    Requiem Mass

    A Solemn Requiem Mass for Monsignor Hartigan is held at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. He is buried in the Catholic Cemetery in North Rocks, next to his mother and father.

  • 1st June


    Parish of St Mels published

    Frank Mecham, Monsignor Hartigan's nephew, collects the unpublished poems of John O'Brien as a volume "The Parish of St Mel's" published by Angus and Robertson

  • Biography published
    1st January


    Biography published

    Frank Mecham published the biography of Patrick Hartigan, "John O'Brien and the Boree Log" with Angus & Robertson

  • John O'Brien Festival established, Narrandera
    12th March


    John O'Brien Festival established, Narrandera

    An annual festival to celebrate and promote bush poetry, the John O'Brien Festival is established in Narrandera to coincide with St Patrick's Day.