James Duhig (Wynberg)

James Duhig (Wynberg)

Name: James Duhig (Wynberg)

Epoch: Early 20th Century (the \'Long Early Twentieth Century\')

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Residential Location

Map Coordinates: 27°27\'55.0\"S 153°02\'40.5\"E

Years At Location: 1927-1965

One Historical Setting: Most Rev. James Duhig, Wynberg, 790 Brunswick Street, New Farm (1928)

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James Duhig was the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane from 1917 to 1965.

Impact On Brisbane Society

James Duhig is a towering figure over Brisbane’s past. Queensland had a large Catholic representation in the population from early Irish migration, but also from much later migration from European, Asian, and African countries with significant Catholic traditions. Duhig’s impact was a connection between the Catholic population and his extraordinary skills as a church administrator, combined with the extraordinary length of time in his authority of Archbishop. The era of that long time also aided to the impact, when a sectarian Brisbane ethos meant that the ‘Protestant’ population could hardly ignore a powerful Catholic figure like Duhig. His background would strengthen his ties, or enhance controversy. Duhig was born in Limerick, Ireland, but had arrived in Queensland, at a young age, to be educated at the Irish Christian Brothers’ College of St Joseph’s, Gregory Terrace. Duhig then studied for the priesthood at the Urban University of Propaganda Fide.

Outside of his conventional Catholic theology for the times, Duhig was influential in the acculturation of Brisbane to an overoptimistic urban development and land settlement policies. Unsurprisingly, he was also an important source of Catholic social conservatism, finding his polemic in blaming the cinema for lack of cohesion in family life and for the ‘perversion of the young’. As a brilliant statesman, as well as the church politician, he knew the art of charm. It particularly helped that Duhig was a genuine patron of the arts, having cultivated a love of art and literature from an early age. His threadbare intellect in modernist debates could be easily forgiven. However, by the 1960s he was becoming an irrelevant figure in the ‘winds of change’.


T. P. Boland, ‘Duhig, Sir James (1871–1965)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/duhig-sir-james-6034/text10315, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 3 January 2020.;

Boland, T. P. (Thomas Patrick). James Duhig, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Qld, 1989.

Boland, T. P. (Thomas Patrick). James Duhig, Patron of the Arts: Brisbane, 1917-1965, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Qld, 1989.

Duhig, James. Crowded Years, Angus and Robertson, Sydney N.S.W., 1947.

Gregory, Helen. Vivant Professores: Distinguished Members of the University of Queensland, 1910-1940, University of Queensland Library, St. Lucia Qld, 1987.

Unnamed. Good shepherds 1859-2009: the Catholic bishops of Brisbane, Brisbane Archdiocesan Archives, Brisbane, Qld, 2009.

Unnamed. “Archbishop James Duhig” (http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bduhig.html). The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2012.

Image Citation

James Duhig. Archive: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. [Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12345751]