Reverend Dean Fitzgibbon

FITZGIBBON Daniel (Reverend Dean)

born: 15 May 1833 Newcastle West, County Limerick Ireland,
died: 16 June 1876 Mount Gambier


Daniel Fitzgibbon studied classics at Rathkeale in County Limerick before attending the All Hallows College in Dublin where he continued his studies for a short time. He then proceeded to Rome where he studied for six years in the Propaganda and distinguished himself for both his piety and application to study.  During his stay there he was seriously injured while attending the opening of a new Church in Rome. With the Pope and Cardinals in attendance, the church was densely crowded when a portion of the church collapsed and the Reverend Fitzgibbon together with other students were seriously injured. Reverend Fitzgibbon was ordained in 1856 for the diocese of South Australia but due to ill health was initially sent back to Ireland to recuperate where he acted as a curate for approximately a year.  His health still in a precarious state, he was ordered by his doctors to stop studying and to go to a warmer climate, so he boarded the vessel Robert Morrison and sailed for Australia arriving in Adelaide on 10 July 1860.  The voyage was so beneficial to his health that Reverend Fitzgibbon was able to resume his duties. After a short stay in Adelaide, he was appointed to assist Rev. Julian Tenison Woods at Penola and when the district was divided in1864, he took charge of the Mount Gambier mission. In 1867 the title of Dean was conferred on him by the Most Reverend Dr Shiel in reward for his energetic labors in the cause of holy religion. Except for a short stint at Kapunda in South Australia, Reverend Dean Fitzgibbon worked tirelessly in Mount Gambier for 16 years. He was only 43 when he died.

To quote from his obituary: As a scholar, a gentleman, and a priest, he endeared himself to everyone with whom he came in contact by his counsel, by his courteous demeanour, by his zeal in the cause of religion and also by his charity, which was almost proverbial.

Sources
Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA: 1861-1954) Wednesday 21 June 1876, page 2 Death of the Reverend Dean Fitzgibbon
GenealogySA – Ship passenger arrivals in South Australia

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