Biography of John O'Brien
Monsignor Patrick Joseph Hartigan was an Australian Roman Catholic priest, educator, author and poet.
He was born at Yass, New South Wales and ordained after study at St Patrick's Seminary, Manly. Writing under the pseudonym "John O'Brien" Hartigan's verse celebrated the lives and mores of the outback pastoral folk he ministered as a peripatetic curate to the southern New South Wales and Riverina towns of Thurgoona, Berrigan and Narrandera, in the first two decades of the 20th century. His poetry was very popular in Australia and was well received in Ireland and the United States.
The refrain We'll all be rooned from his poem Said Hanrahan has entered colloquial Australian English as a jocular response to any prediction of dire consequences arising, particularly, from events outside the interlocutor's control.
Hartigan died in Lewisham, an inner suburb of Sydney in 1952.
A John O'Brien Festival is held annually in Narrandera.
John O'Brien's Works:
Around the Boree Log and Other Verses 1921
The Parish of St Mel's 1954
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The bishop sat in lordly state and purple cap sublime,
And galvanized the old bush church at Confirmation time;
And all the kids were mustered up from fifty miles around,
With Sunday clothes, and staring eyes, and ignorance profound.
Now was it fate, or was it grace, whereby they yarded too
An overgrown two-storey lad from Tangmalangmaloo?
A hefty son of virgin soil, where nature has had her fling,
And grows the trefoil three feet high and mats it in the spring;