Father Brian Maher Collection
The Father Brian Maher collection is a paper-based collection created and curated by Father Brian Maher and held by Family History ACT in Cook, ACT. The collection offers fascinating insights into the diffuse influence of early Irish and Catholic communities in Australia—speaking to their distinctive cultural identity, the complex networks of kinship that developed in the Australian colonies, and their economic and cultural contributions to building the ACT and southern NSW regions from the 1820s to the 1920s.
Father Maher, a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn since 1966, had a passion for researching and writing local histories throughout his career. The collection is comprised of Maher's personal research and records and donated materials and records from family researchers.
It features the family histories of Catholics, mostly Irish, who settled in southern NSW from the 1820s onwards, from Cowra to Queanbeyan and along the South Coast of NSW, including what is now the ACT.
The collection includes 439 files, sorted according to family names. It contains records of regular working-class people and notable figures in the region. Records in the collection include family charts, photographs, photocopies of title deeds, convict and emigration records, BDM records, accounts of local histories and family histories written over the last 50 years, letters and correspondence, and newspaper articles. More details on researching and accessing the collection can be found below.
Funding from the ACT Heritage Grants Program has enabled the collection to be digitised. A project to index the collection in a database is ongoing.
- NLA Community Heritage Grants 24th November 2023 FHACT receives an NLA grant for a Preservation Assessment of the Father Brian Maher Collection ... more
- 2023 Father Brian Maher Lecture 3rd April 2023 The Voices of Many: The significance of the Father Brian Maher Collection for research 4 April 2023 ... more
- Heritage Festival April 2023 2nd April 2023 Don't miss the Family History ACT activities at the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival ... more
- "Return to Tipperary" Weekend 3rd December 2022 ‘There are no strangers here only friends you haven’t met yet’. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) ... more
This project was supported with funding made available by the ACT Government under the ACT Heritage Grants program