Who we are

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.

Ministry Mission

Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.

Peace, Justice, Creation

We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.

Spirituality

We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.

Current News

The Northern Territories’ longest serving missionary and the world-wide MSC Society’s senior member, died in Darwin on Friday 29th May, aged 102. Bishop Eugene Hurley, in his tribute to Brother John, spoke of him as an “icon of the Territory” who had won the love and respect of the Aboriginal people for his work on the Tiwi Islands, Port Keats (Wadeye) and Daly River (Nauiyu). “He was a great religious brother who committed his life to serving other people”.  

 

John was especially revered for introducing the game of Australian Rules to the Tiwi people, where he is known as the “Father of Football”. After his death a fine tribute appeared in the Melbourne daily newspaper, “The Age”, praising his significant contribution to the promotion of Australian Rules, and not only in the Northern Territory, for many Aboriginal players from NT went on to successful careers in some of the major teams in the AFL.

The Northern Territories’ longest serving missionary and the world-wide MSC Society’s senior member, died in Darwin on Friday 29th May, aged 102. Bishop Eugene Hurley, in his tribute to Brother John, spoke of him as an “icon of the Territory” who had won the love and respect of the Aboriginal people for his work on the Tiwi Islands, Port Keats (Wadeye) and Daly River (Nauiyu). “He was a great religious brother who committed his life to serving other people”.  

 

John was especially revered for introducing the game of Australian Rules to the Tiwi people, where he is known as the “Father of Football”. After his death a fine tribute appeared in the Melbourne daily newspaper, “The Age”, praising his significant contribution to the promotion of Australian Rules, and not only in the Northern Territory, for many Aboriginal players from NT went on to successful careers in some of the major teams in the AFL. 

 

John was born in the Riverina, NSW, on 28th December 1906. As a young man he qualified as diesel engineer. However, at age 20 he decided to join the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and did his formation at Kensington NSW. After profession on 26th October 1930, Brother John’s first assignment was to the newly established MSC college: “Downlands” in Toowoomba Qld. He stayed at the college for 10 years as teacher and athletics’ coach before being appointed to the Northern Territory Missions in 1941. He would spend the rest of his life as a “Territorian”. 

 

Most of the war years were spent at Port Keats. He moved to Bathurst Island in 1944 and spent 16 years serving between Bathurst and Melville Islands with one year break in 1950 as supervisor of the Channel Island Leper Station. In 1960 he received a new appointment to the Daly River Mission where his responsibilities included mechanic, supply truck driver, supervisor of the boy’s boarding house – and football coach. In 1970 he returned to Port Keats. While there he wrote his first book: on the history of the Port Keats Mission (published in 1972). 

 

When almost 70 years of age he returned to the Tiwi Islands – his great love. The Tiwi people called him Punderelime (‘crocodile tail’). In retirement he continued his research into the history of the mission settlements and wrote brief accounts of the stories of Daly River, Bathurst Island and Santa Teresa Missions. In 1986 he was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) for his work among the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. 

 

At the age of 92 he moved to “The Ranch”, the MSC centre beside Darwin harbour at Nightcliff. When 98 and needing more professional care he transferred to the Darwin Nursing Home and in February 2009 to the new Masonic Homes Tiwi Gardens Aged Care Facility where he died on 29th May. His funeral service was held in Darwin and he is buried among his beloved Tiwi people on Bathurst Island.