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.



This project was supported with funding made available by the ACT Government under the ACT Heritage Grants program