Born: 12 February 1817, Waterford City
Entered: 16 December 1836, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: c 1850
Professed: 08 December 1857
Died: 04 January 1905, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia
Mission Superior Australia : 1866-1872; 01 November 1879 - 02 September 1833
by 1847 at Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1853 Theology at St Beuno’s
Early Australian Missioner 1866; First Mission Superior 01 November 1879
◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was an older bother James - RIP 1907
His early life after Ordination in the Society saw him as rector at Tullabeg from 09 October 1861. previously he had been Minister at Clongowes, where he had been a teacher and prefect for Regency earlier.
1866 he was sent to Australia as Mission Superior, and duly sailed in the “Great Britain” to Melbourne.
Paraphrasing of “The Work of a Jesuit in Australia : A Grand Old Schoolmaster” - taken from a Sydney Journal, who took it from the “Freeman’s Journal” :
The name of Joseph Dalton is known and reverenced by many people, both Catholic and Protestant. He was known as “the grand old man of the Order” in Australia. Though he is known throughout Australia, it is possible that many don’t quite realise the benefits this man brought through his practical, wisdom, foresight and hard work during the past quarter of a century. The Catholic community were hampered by the fact that the State withheld all aid from higher scholastic institutions, witnessed by the fact that both St Patrick’s Melbourne and Lyndhurst Sydney were both closed before the Jesuits came. Towards the end of 1865, William Kelly and Joseph Lentaigne came to Melbourne, and were quickly joined by Joseph Dalton, Edward Nolan and John McInerney and they reopened St Patrick’s. Three years later, Joseph with consummate foresight, purchased seventy acres at Kew - at that time a neglected little village near Melbourne - and today stands Xavier College. It was bought for 10,000 pounds. When the Richmond Parish was handed over to the Jesuits in a dreadful state, Joseph bought some land where he immediately set about building a new Church and Presbytery. He also built a fine Church at Hawthorn, and a chapel at Xavier, where poor children were taught for free.
1879 Joseph was sent to Sydney, leaving behind a lot of disappointed friends. He came to Sydney at the invitation of Archbishop Vaughan. There he found the chief Catholic school also closed. So, he rented St Kilda at Woolloomooloo and began a day school. Soon, after Daniel Clancy was installed in what was now called St Aloysius at Surrey Hills.
1880 With more foresight, Joseph purchased Riverview for 6,500 pounds, and immediately started a boarding school there. The early seven scholars lived in very cramped conditions in rooms which were multi-purpose - classroom, dining room, bedroom etc.
There was also a school built at Lavender Bay in Sydney.
The value of Joesph Dalton’s contribution to Catholic - and indeed Australian - education in Sydney and Melbourne is incalculable. In the end, ill health forced him to retire from his work, and all he had to show for it was a pair of crutches. Hopefully people will donate to the “Dalton Testimonial” which intends to build the “Dalton Tower” in his honour and grateful memory.
He died at Riverview 04 January 1905
Note from Joseph O’Malley Entry :
1858 He was sent as Fourth Prefect to Clongowes with Joseph Dalton (1st) and William Delaney (3rd)
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was the third of two sons and four daughters and was raised in Waterford City. His early education was at St Staislaus College Tullabeg and Clongowes Wood College. He was admitted to the Society by Patrick Bracken who was Provincial at the time, and he sent him to Hodder, Stonyhurst, England for his Noviciate.
1838-1846 He was sent to Clongowes Wood College as a Prefect
1846-1848 He was sent to Lyon for Philosophy and recover his health, but the French Revolution of 1848 meant he had to come back to Ireland.
1848-1851 He came back to Ireland and he was Ordained prematurely by Dr Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin, at Maynooth.
1851 He was sent to Clongowes for a year of teaching Grammar and Algebra
1851-1854 He was sent to St Beuno’s Wales to complete his Theology
1854-1861 He was sent back to Clongowes Wood College in a mainly non-teaching administrative role, and he completed his Tertianship during that time (1857).
1861-1865 He was appointed Rector at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg on 09 October 1861. During his time as Rector the school expanded to enable boys to complete their secondary education for the first time, and he improved the quality of the school buildings and scholastic standards. He was appreciated there for his kindly yet military approach to discipline and good order.
1865 He was asked to volunteer for the newly founded Irish Mission in Australia. He was aged 49 at this time, his confreres described him as a man of great energy and vision, who communicated a driving ambition for the success of any venture to which he committed himself,
1866-1872 He arrived in Melbourne, and he lived at St Ignatius Richmond as Superior of the Mission, and he remained in that role unti 1872. During that time he was also Rector of St Patrick’s College Melbourne (1867-1871). The Jesuits worked the “Richmond Mission”, which included the suburbs of Kew, Hawthorn and Camberwell, and he began building the Church of St Ignatius at Richmond which was completed in 1870. The Church building at Hawthorn was opened in 1869, but it did not become a separate parish until 1881. He also bought 69 acres of land at Kew for Xavier College in 1871, and the College was opened in 1878
On 14 October 1869 Joseph accompanied the Bishop of Melbourne, Dr Goold, to New Zealand. Discussion were had there with the Bishop of Dunedin, Patrick Moran, about the possibility of establishing a Jesuit college and parish. In the short term, insufficient manpower prevented the establishment of St Aloysius College, Waikari along with the Parish of Invercargill until 1878. Continuing manpower shortage resulted in the College being closed in 1883, and the Parish was handed over in 1889.
1878 moved to St Kilda in 1878 and he started St Kilda House (1879), later called St Aloysius College, and he was Rector there for one year. He had provided Jesuits for the St Mary’s Parish North Sydney in 1878, and then went on to establish St Ignatius College Riverview with its 118 acres in 1880, with 26 pupils.
1879-1883 He was again made Mission Superior from 01 November 1879 to 02 September 1883
1888-1893 He was the First rector at St Ignatius College Riverview, and at the time he was 71 years old. He was also doing Parish work in Sydney at the same time. Later he was an Assistant to the Rector, supervised the farm and garden and was Spiritual Father to the community and the boys.
1895-1903 He was Assistant Bursar and Spiritual Father at St Ignatius Riverview. He did no teaching.
He finall died of old age after suffering a bout of rheumatism. Upon his death, plans were immeduately accepted to build a chapel as his memoral, and this was completed in 1909.
When he first arrived in Melbourne he described the Catholic people as very needy, not practising religion and having slight education. He believed they were oblivious to God and the sacraments because of bad example, mixed marriages, drunkenness, poverty and hard work, and only thought of a priest at the hour of death. He noted that if parents were like that, what hope had the children. Later, he observed with concern that many Catholic boys were educated in colleges run by heretics, which was a great danger to the faith. Many Melbourne Catholics had petitioned him for a boarding school, which was considered essential to prevent another generation of Catholic youth being educated in non-Catholic schools. Xavier College was opened in response to this need.
His former students, including the Australian poet Christopher Brennan and Sir Mark Sheldon revered him for his warm-hearted character, unaffected manner and gentleness. They were strongly influenced by his concern for them as people. He was also a keen judge of character. His firm but kindly style was recalled “I would rater take a hiding than hear Dalton say he is surprised and pained, because I know he is speaking the truth, and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves”.
Patrick Keating, later Superior of the Mission and Rector of Riverview, wrote that “Fr Dalton is a man of most wonderful influence with outsiders. I don;t think there is a priest in Australia who is more known and respected as he is.....” His wisdom, tact and common sense made him the friend and confidant of bishops, especially the Bishop of Maitland, Bishop Murray. he won respect from vie-royalty and Membes of Parliament, including Lord Carrington, Sir Edward Strickland, and Siur Charles and Sir Frank Gavan Duffy, as well as distibguished overseas visitors such as William Redmond, the old Home Rule campaigner.
He always remained unequivocally Irish, but he showed no animosity towards England or Englishmen.
His diaries reveal a restrained and diplomatic man of considerable warmth, but abpve all, practical, blanck and white and pious.They also indicate a range of prejudices, such as democracy - he never liked the outspokenness of the boys.He showed a strong consciousness of religious differences, combined with a friendly ecumenical spirit. Non-Catholic boys were always treated justly. However, one’s religion could be used to explain a good or evil action, although the evidence was not always one way or the other! He was quick to note the efficacy of Catholic practices, such as the wearing of the scapular. When commenting on the worthiness of a man to become a jrsuit Brother he tought would make a good religious, praising him for being a very steady, sensible, pious man, very humble and docile. he had an aversion to alcohol, especially among empl,oyees, who were frequently drunk, and ye he allowed the boys to be served wine on Feast Days!
He was not an innovator in education, not a scholar or intellectual, but a simple and courageous man with extraordinary strength. He founded four Colleges and gave them the traditional Jesuit character of the European model. He accepted the existing standards of educated Catholic gentlemen and communicated these to others. His spritiuality was pious and practical, religious beliefs demanded application to real life. He was concerned for the faith of Catholic students, their academic progress and character debvelopment, keen that they be influential in the development of Australia. His educational views were religious and academic, hoping to provide what was necessary for the sound development of students. The pattern of schools and parishes and basic style of educational practice established By him still remains strong in the works of the Society in Australia.
◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
by David Strong
Dalton, Joseph (1817–1905), Jesuit priest and missioner, was born in Co. Waterford at Slieveroe or Glenmore 12 February 1817, third of two sons and four daughters of Patrick Dalton and his wife Mary Foley, who married on 15 January 1809. In 1841 they were living at 11 Michael St., Waterford. Dalton was educated by the Jesuits at St Stanislaus’ College, Tullabeg, 1833–4, and Clongowes Wood College, 1834–6. The fees for two years for the latter were £71. 0s.. 0d., indicating that the family was comfortably placed.
On completing his schooling, Dalton was admitted to the Society of Jesus by Fr Patrick Bracken, the Irish provincial, 16 December 1836. For the next two years he completed his noviciate at Hodder House, Stonyhurst, England, and on 17 December 1838 took his vows before the master of novices, Fr Thomas Brownbill.
Dalton was immediately sent to Clongowes Wood College as division prefect until 1846, when he went to France to recover his health and study philosophy at Lyons. Because of the revolution of 1848, he returned to Ireland and was ordained to the priesthood prematurely 2 June 1849 by Dr Daniel Murray (qv), archbishop of Dublin, at Maynooth. A further year of teaching grammar and algebra at Clongowes followed in 1851, before returning to England and St Beuno's, Wales, to complete his theological studies. In 1854 he returned to a non-teaching role at Clongowes, mainly administration, completing his tertianship in 1857. Dalton was appointed rector of St Stanislaus' College, Tullabeg, 9 October 1861. He remained there until October 1865, when he was nominated to the newly formed Irish Jesuit mission in Australia in his fiftieth year. His Irish colleagues of the time described him as a man of great energy and vision, who communicated a driving ambition for the success of any venture to which he committed himself.
He arrived in Melbourne, and resided in the parish of Richmond in 1866 as superior of the Jesuit mission in Australia, and remained superior until 1872. He was also rector of St Patrick's College, East Melbourne, 1867–71. He was superior of the mission again, from 1 November 1879 to 2 September 1883. The Jesuits worked the ‘Richmond mission’, which included the suburbs of Kew, Hawthorn, and Camberwell, from 1866, and Dalton began building the church of St Ignatius at Richmond, which was completed in 1870. The building of the church of the Immaculate Conception at Hawthorn was opened for worship in 1869, but did not become a separate parish until 1881. Dalton also bought sixty-nine acres of land in 1871 for Xavier College, which opened in 1878. The college has produced many distinguished alumni, especially in the medical and legal professions.
On 14 October 1869 Dalton accompanied the bishop of Melbourne, James Alipius Goold (qv), to New Zealand. Discussion took place with the bishop of Dunedin, Patrick Moran (1823–95), about the possibility of establishing a Jesuit college and parish. In the short term insufficient manpower prevented the establishment of St Aloysius' College, Waikari, and the parish of Invercargill, until 1878. Continuing manpower shortage resulted in the college closure in 1883, and the handover of the parish in 1889.
Dalton moved to Sydney in 1877, where he started St Kilda House (1879), later named St Aloysius' College, and was its rector for one year. He provided Jesuits for the parish of St Mary's, North Sydney, 1878, and established St Ignatius' College, Riverview, with its 118 acres, in 1880. He was its first rector until 1888, when he was 71 years old. During this time he also did parish work in Sydney. From then until 1893 he was the assistant to the rector, supervised the farm and garden, and was spiritual father to the community and the boys. From 1895 to 1903 he was assistant bursar and spiritual father. He did no teaching.
Upon his arrival in Melbourne, Dalton described the catholic population as very needy, not practising religion, and with slight education. He believed that they only thought of a priest at the hour of death. Later, he observed with concern that many catholic boys were educated in colleges run by ‘heretics’, which he considered was a great danger to the faith. Many Melbourne catholics had petitioned him for a boarding school, which was considered essential to prevent another generation of catholic youth being educated in non-catholic schools.
Dalton's former students, including Australian poet Christopher Brennan and Sir Mark Sheldon, revered him for his genial and warm-hearted character, unaffected manner, and gentleness. They were strongly influenced by his genuine concern for them as people. Fr Patrick Keating, later superior of the mission and rector of Riverview, wrote that ‘Fr Dalton is a man of most wonderful influence with outsiders. I don't think there is a priest in Australia who is more known and respected than he is . . .’ (Fr Patrick Keating to Fr Thomas Brown, 29 January 1885; RSJA general curial archives, Rome). Dalton's wisdom, tact, and common sense made him the friend and confidant of bishops, especially Bishop Murray of Maitland. He won respect from viceroyalty and members of parliament, including Lord Carrington, Sir Edward Strickland, and Sir Charles (qv) and Sir Frank Gavan Duffy, as well as distinguished overseas visitors such as William Archer Redmond (qv) (1825–80), home rule campaigner.
Dalton was not an innovator in education, nor a scholar or intellectual, but a simple, practical, and courageous man with extraordinary strength. He gave the four colleges he founded the traditional Jesuit character of the European model. He accepted existing standards of the educated catholic gentleman, and communicated these to others. His spirituality was pious and practical; religious beliefs demanded application to real life. He was concerned for the faith of catholic students, their academic progress and character development, keen that they be influential in the development of Australia. His educational views were religious and academic, intended to provide what was necessary for the sound development of students.
Dalton died of old age after many years of suffering from rheumatism at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Sydney, 4 January 1905 New South Wales, aged 87, and plans were immediately accepted to build a chapel as his memorial. It was completed in 1909.
Dalton diaries, 1879–1902 (St Ignatius' College, Riverview, archives); letters in general curial archives, Rome, provincial archives, Melbourne, Australia, and Irish province archives, Dublin; newspaper extracts, 1886–1911; J. Ryan, A short history of the Australian mission (in-house publication, June 1902); Clongownian, 1905, 57–8; Anon., The Society of Jesus in Australia, 1848–1910; A. McDonnell, ‘Riverview in the eighties’, Our Alma Mater, 1930, 25; T. Corcoran, SJ, The Clongowes Record (c.1933); G. Windsor, ‘Father Dalton's likes and dislikes’, Our Alma Mater, 1975, 19–22; T. J. Morrissey, Towards a national university: William Delaney SJ, 1835–1924 (1983), 18; E. Lea-Scarlett, Riverview: a history (1989); E. Lea-Scarlett, ‘In the steps of Father Dalton’, Our Alma Mater, 1999, 37–44
◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University onlne :
Dalton, Joseph (1817–1905)
by G. J. O'Kelly
G. J. O'Kelly, 'Dalton, Joseph (1817–1905)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dalton-joseph-3358/text5063, published first in hardcopy 1972
Died : 5 January 1905, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Joseph Dalton (1817-1905), Jesuit priest, was born on 2 December 1817 at Waterford, Ireland. He was educated at the Jesuit colleges of Clongowes and Tullabeg and entered the Society of Jesus in December 1836. For the next thirty years he studied and worked in Jesuit Houses in Ireland, and became rector of St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg.
Austrian Jesuits had begun a mission to the German settlers near Clare, South Australia, in 1848 but were diffident to extend their work to Victoria where Dr James Goold was eager to found an Irish Jesuit Mission. The Jesuit priests, William Kelly and Joseph Lentaigne, reached Melbourne in September 1865. Dalton was appointed superior of the mission and arrived in April 1866. The first of his many tasks was to revive St Patrick's College, which had opened at East Melbourne in 1854 with a government grant but closed after eight years through maladministration. Dalton appointed Kelly to its staff and by 1880 'Old Patricians' could boast many graduates at the University of Melbourne, and two of its three doctorates in law. At St Patrick's Dalton was also persuaded by Goold to train candidates for the diocesan priesthood, but he resisted Goold's pressure for a more ambitious college until he had sufficient resources. On land bought at Kew in 1871 he built Xavier College which opened in 1878 and cost £40,000.
Dalton was also entrusted by Goold with the parochial care of a very large area centred on Richmond where some of the colony's most eminent laymen lived. With William Wardell and a magnificent site, Dalton worked towards the grandiose St Ignatius Church, capable of seating almost his entire 4000 parishioners. In his district he built other chapels, schools and churches, including the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn. He gave many retreats, lectured often on secular education, and engaged in controversy which led once to litigation. He went with Goold to reorganize the diocese of Auckland in 1869 and after Archbishop John Bede Polding died, the Irish Jesuit Mission was invited to Sydney in 1878. As superior there Dalton took charge within eight months of the North Sydney district, founded St Kilda House, the forerunner of St Aloysius College, Milson's Point, and was its first rector. He also bought 118 acres (48 ha) at Riverview where, as rector, he opened St Ignatius College. There he lived after his retirement in 1883 and died on 5 January 1905.
Dalton founded two great public schools and made more than a dozen foundations, of which only one at Dunedin proved abortive; they involved debts of at least £120,000 which were mostly paid by 1883. He published nothing and his inner life is not revealed in his diary (1866-88). Those who knew him well attested that he was first and foremost a holy priest, and he was widely revered in Richmond and Riverview. His energy and vision were striking, and his work established the Irish Jesuits in the eastern colonies.
J. Ryan, The Society of Jesus in Australia (privately printed, 1911)
papers and St Patrick's College records (Jesuit Provincial Archives, Hawthorn, Melbourne).
◆ Australian Jesuits
A story often graced, but sometimes grim
'Dalton lost 40 per cent of his workforce, his team, in one year. Did it stop him? Of course not. He was never one to look back.' Fr Ross Jones SJ, Rector of St Aloysius' College Milsons Point, recalls the life and ministry of the school's founder, Fr Joseph Dalton SJ, on the occasion of the school's 140th anniversary.
The 140th Birthday of the College is only possible because there were great men and great women who preceded us and built the sure foundation. The larger-than-life and the unassuming, the people of faith and wisdom, the living and the dead. ‘A house built on rock’ as today’s Gospel encourages. That’s why we are here. So many people of influence and so many stories to recall and share. We could spend many days speaking of all those heroes and telling their stories. But I will recall just one. Our Founder, Fr Joseph Dalton SJ.
Joseph Dalton was born at Waterford, soon after the restoration of the Jesuits and their return to Ireland. Young Joseph went to school at Clongowes Wood, whence our present ‘Gappies’ hail. Dalton joined the Society of Jesus and later became Rector of two Jesuit Colleges in Ireland. Then the new Irish Mission to Australia was launched.
The Provincial wrote to all the Jesuit communities inviting volunteers to be missioned halfway round the world. Dalton later said, ‘I couldn’t expect anyone in my community to volunteer if I, the superior, didn’t put my name down first.’ So he did. And the Provincial chose him. He was then aged 50 — at the time, that was more than the life expectancy of a male in Ireland. Imagine that. Dalton is living the magis. Never past his ‘use by date’. For him, there was always another door to be opened.
He left for Australia, with two other Jesuits, as superior of the new Mission ‘Down Under’. In pre-Suez Canal days, the good ship Great Britain took the passage around the Cape. By all reports, it was a tough journey. Passengers did not see land after leaving Wales until they sighted Australia.
En route, there was a duel on board and a case of smallpox. A cow, kept below decks to provide fresh milk for well-to-do First Class passengers, died of sea-sickness after only one week at sea. The crowd of Second Class passengers cheered maliciously as it was thrown overboard. But then the vacant cow stall was used to lock up troublesome passengers of the lower classes! Perhaps the cow had the last laugh. The three Jesuits were quite active on board and Dalton records that there were ‘three converts to the Faith’ along the way.
They arrived in Melbourne in 1866 to join two confreres already there — three priests and two brothers now in all. But in their first year, one of the brothers left to marry. And the other brother just plain disappeared — perhaps to the goldfields? So Dalton lost 40 per cent of his workforce, his team, in one year. Did it stop him? Of course not. He was never one to look back.
Fr Dalton immediately took over the decrepit and moribund Cathedral school, St Patrick’s in Melbourne, and soon turned it around. He was there for 12 years. Its enrolment, its spirit, its outcomes, all soared. Dalton never shied away from a challenge. Sadly, that great school, St Pat’s — ‘the Aloys of Melbourne’ — was taken from us by the Archdiocese in the 1960s and demolished.
Fr Dalton purchased 70 acres of land for the new Xavier College at Kew which opened in 1878. He established our two parishes at Hawthorn and Richmond with a primary school each. A man whose vision was nothing less than bold. Even during that first year at Xavier, he was negotiating expansion to Sydney.
In 1878 he moved to Sydney amid a great deal of anti-Jesuit feeling here and campaigns to thwart the Jesuits’ arrival. Even Archbishop Vaughan, who eventually invited the Jesuits to Sydney, was advised by his own brother, a Bishop in Manchester, that, in welcoming the Jesuits to his Archdiocese, he was only ‘creating a rod for his own back’. A number of NSW parliamentarians were on the offensive. Some Catholic quarters were also suspicious.
Dalton went into that lion’s den. And he soon won them over. His weapons would only be a natural openness and the conversational word.
Dalton took over the parish of North Sydney, which then extended from the harbour to Palm Beach across to Berowra and back. Huge! We are told those first Jesuits lived very poorly in a four-room shanty built from corrugated iron and flattened kerosene tins. Imagine that in a Sydney summer. But he was building God’s Kingdom — that was enough. I think Dalton lived out that Prayer for Generosity — ‘to toil and not to seek for rest’. Turning his attention to education, he then rented St Kilda House in Woolloomooloo, which was to become our St Aloysius’ College.
Dalton was Rector for one year before purchasing 118 acres to establish yet another boarding school at Riverview. Our ‘Founding Father’ also established the Lavender Bay parish and parish schools as well. Such an energetic man. The only foundation of his that was to fail was St Aloysius’ College and Parish in Dunedin, New Zealand, which operated 12 years between 1878 and 1889.
Fr Dalton remained at Riverview the rest of his life. Despite all those earlier misgivings and distrust of Jesuits, in his lifetime Dalton had become the friend and confidant of many members of the hierarchy, as well as earning the respect of vice-regals and parliamentarians. His pupils loved him. He died in 1905, aged 87, and was buried from St Mary’s North Sydney. The funeral was enormous. Church and civic leaders, parliamentarians, non-Catholic friends, families and so many Old Boys — all mourning such a great loss.
Interestingly, Dalton was no great innovator in education. He was not an academic or an intellectual. He left few writings, apart from his diary. And his faith was lived out simply and practically. But so pastoral. He loved others and was loved in return.
As a young man, he could never have guessed where his life would take him. But he left a mark beyond his dreaming, in a place beyond his imagining. Here. For us. Joseph Dalton’s story is a rich one. A story so often graced. But also a story sometimes grim. Dalton’s experience of success and failure, of hardship and ease, of the permanent and the passing, of allies and enemies, is something we all know from time to time. It is part of our story, too. That’s why he is such a good patron.
Apparently, during his life, Dalton’s favourite expression, a Latinism, to wish people well in a venture was Felix faustumque. ‘May it be favourable and prosperous.’
So today, we look about us here. Felix faustumque? Yes, it has been.