Labour History

Class Factors in the Radicalisation of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, 1913–17

Labour History (2014), 106, (1), 189–204.


Revisiting the legendary opposition to conscription for World War I by Daniel Mannix, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, this article offers new evidence to support the hypothesis that working-class strongholds of Melbourne and their political leaders influenced the radicalisation of Mannix. In particular, West Melbourne where Mannix was living between 1913 and 1917, is discussed; and an analysis is offered of the context and timing of Mannix’s public statements at Clifton Hill, Preston and Brunswick in relation to the first referendum of 28 October 1916. Drawing on fresh analysis of newspaper reports and the relevant secondary literature, the article concludes that Mannix won leadership in a rare alliance between labour militants and an archbishop by supporting and helping articulate the already developing demands of a mass movement.

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3.Ian Turner, Industrial Labour and Politics: The Dynamics of the Labour Movement in Eastern Australia 1900–1921(:Hale & Iremonger, 1979), 115;James Griffin, completed by Paul Ormonde, Daniel Mannix: Beyond the Myths(:John Garratt, 2013), 158. Google Scholar

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6.For example,A. D. Gilbert, “The Conscription Referenda, 1916–17: The Impact of the Irish Crisis,” Historical Studies 14, no. 53(October1969):54–72. See also, among others,McKernan, Australian Churches at War;Max Charlesworth, “Australian Catholics and Conscription,”inForwardandReece, Conscription in Australia, 22–65;Ken Inglis, “Conscription in Peace and War, 1911–1945,”in Forward and Reece, Conscription in Australia, 242–59. Google Scholar

7.The following are the major books on Mannix:Cyril Bryan, Archbishop Mannix: Champion of Democracy(:Advocate Press, 1918);E. J. Brady, Doctor Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne(:Library of National Biography, 1934);Frank Murphy, Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne(:Polding Press, 1972);Niall Brennan, Dr Mannix(:Rigby, 1964);Walter Ebsworth, Archbishop Mannix(:H. H. Stephenson, 1977);Michael Gilchrist, Daniel Mannix: Priest and Patriot(:Dove, 1982);B. A. Santamaria, Daniel Mannix: The Quality of Leadership(:Melbourne University Press, 1984);Colm Kiernan, Daniel Mannix and Ireland(:Allela Books, 1984);Patrick Mannix, The Belligerent Prelate: An Alliance between Archbishop Daniel Mannix and Eamon de Valera(:Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012);Griffin, Daniel Mannix. See alsoPatrick Morgan, Melbourne before Mannix: Catholics in Public Life 1880–1920(:Connor Court, 2012). Google Scholar

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19.Researchers with greater local knowledge than the present writer will find scope for further analysis in the detailed lists of parish leaders and visiting dignitaries which were published in theAdvocateon this and the other occasions under discussion. Google Scholar

20.Noone, Hidden Ireland in Victoria, 113–14; and on the William Rooney Society, see117–18. Google Scholar

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29.Griffin, Daniel Mannix, 134ff. According to my notes taken on 15 March 2013, when launching Griffin’s book at Newman College, Melbourne, Barry Jones said that Griffin disagreed with Mannix about World War I being a trade war but that he, Jones, agreed with Mannix. Google Scholar

30.“Mr Hughes: Economic Conference Resolutions Explained,” Sydney Morning Herald, 22 June1916, 7. Thanks to Doug Newton for assistance on this point. Google Scholar

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36.Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, On War and Peace: Three Articles(:Foreign Language Press, 1970), 12. Google Scholar

37.Angus Mitchell, Roger Casement(:O’Brien Press, 2013), 212, 291, 368. Casement published a booklet on this topic, The Crime against Europe: A Possible Outcome of the War of 1914(:The Continental Times, 1915). Google Scholar

38.Chris McConville has noted that writers such as Patrick O’Farrell have forgotten that “after 1917, the Russian and Irish uprising were often seen in tandem.” SeeChris McConville, “Patrick O’Farrell on the Irish in Australia,”inIrish-Australian Studies: Papers Delivered at the Sixth Irish-Australian Conference July 1990, ed.Philip Bull,Chris McConvilleandNoel McLachlan(:La Trobe University Press, 1991), 263. Google Scholar

39.Ebsworth, Archbishop Mannix, 215. Google Scholar

40.McKernan, Australian Churches at War, 122–23. In recent years McKernan seems to have shifted to understanding the anti-conscription campaigns more in terms of sectarianism than moral leadership or class politics. SeeMichael McKernan, “That Prolific Mother of Strife,” Griffith Review, no. 7 (February2006):151–57. Google Scholar

41.Burgmann, Revolutionary Industrial Unionism, 198. The wording of the poster was: “To Arms! Capitalists, Parsons, Politicians, Landlords, Newspaper Editors and Other Stay-At-Home Patriots. Your country needs YOU in the trenches! WORKERS Follow Your Masters.” Google Scholar

42.Paul Adams, The Best Hated Man in Australia: The Life and Death of Percy Brookfield 1875–1921(:Puncher & Wattmann, 2010), 127. Google Scholar

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Author details

Noone, Val