Monday, December 12, 2011


Father James Dixon Celebrates Holy Mass illegally, Note the man keeping watch at the door (top Left) and the "chasuble"is a curtain.(Window in St.Mary's Cathedral)
The Official SYDNEY GAZETTE in 1803 announces that Mr. (Father James)DIXON
will be allowed to celebrate Holy Mass once every three weeks!!

The Catholic Emancipation Act was some 40 years in the future when Father James Dixon, sent out from Ireland a convict for political reasons,was permitted by the Governor of the Colony of New South Wales in the above published  Regulation dated 19th April, 1803 to celebrate Holy Mass  once every three weeks in three separate places in the Colony in rotation. Note that the Regulation REQUIRES gratitude, for this act of LIBERAL TOLERATION!by a MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN. Obviously on a bad day one could get handled rather roughly !

Anyone who thought he might go to Mass weekly by travelling to the designated one of the three locations from the two others not scheduled in a particular week, was to be disappointed. Magistrates were instructed to ensure that no-one did so.

In addition, those attending Mass were to report anyone muttering against the Authorities or planning or making a disturbance, and Mr (Father) Dixon was to ensure that nothing undesirable to the Authorities
took place!

Obviously the Governor Captain Phillip King R.N. was determined to run a tight (Protestant) Ship! But perhaps these mainly Irish Catholics could be induced by very modest concessions to gradually become more tractable.

The following year a small "rebellion"at Vinegar Hill in Sydney's present day Western Suburbs, resulted in 15 deaths and 9 subsequent executions and 66 being captured with no military casualties among the 70 or so soldiers involved in  the suppression effort.Father Dixon tried to mediate but, the Mass provisions were revoked , and he reverted to simple convict status and was deported to Ireland in 1808. In a horrendous journey home in chains, he found himself chained to a dead man for several weeks. In his further life in Ireland he would not talk about his convict experiences.

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