Updated 14 February 2017. On the afternoon of 28 January 1917, charismatic Coadjutor Bishop Daniel Mannix – soon to become Archbishop of Melbourne – for the first time spoke out publicly against the 1st World War, at St Ambrose Hall in Brunswick, while declaring open a new school.

This was a turning point in attitudes to the war in the Irish-Catholic community, whose leaders had previously either supported Australia’s participation, or at least not publicly opposed it. However, the previous October, Mannix had delivered an eloquent argument against conscription when opening a bazaar in Clifton Hill.

On the day of the centenary, at the actual venue, noted actor Rod Quantock delivered Mannix’s speech to a standing-room-only crowd at St Ambrose Hall Brunswick.

  • Read the excerpts read by Rod on the day
  • Dr Val Noone, a historian specialising in Australia’s Irish and Catholic history, introduced the speech and led discussion. NB: Val points out that whether or not Mannix used the word “sordid” is in contention.
  • The Shire at War blog documents how, far away in South Gippsland, Mannix was increasingly demonised after making this speech

A choir sang the new song commissioned as part of our anti-conscription centenary activities: Ghosts don’t lie, written by Stephen Taberner.

DATE AND TIME: 2pm Saturday 28 January


VENUE: St Ambrose Hall, 3 Dawson Street Brunswick.