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Australia. The religious history of Australia or Australasia, which term includes the British colonies of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, begins with the year 1787, when these islands became penal colonies of England. Among the convicts transported to Australia were many Irish Catholics, whose religion, joined with patriotism, was their only crime. Instead of being ministered to, as they requested, by Catholic priests, they were driven, even with the whip, to assist at the Anglican service, as no other religion was then tolerated in the colonies. In 1818, Pius VII. established the Vicariate Apostolic of Mauritius, with jurisdiction also over the Australian islands. For the Australian colonies the Rev. Mr. Flynn was appointed, on whom the Holy See had conferred the title of Archpriest with power to administer confirmation. But the colonial government, which consisted mostly of Protestant ministers, could ill brook the presence of a Catholic priest in the islands: so, when Father Flynn arrived in Australia, he was at once seized, put in prison, and finally sent back to England. This intolerance of the colonial authorities gave great offense, even in Protestant England. To reconcile public feeling, the English Government was obliged, in 1820, not only to permit two Catholic priests to serve the Irish exiles in the Australian colonies, but also to grant them a yearly support. Meanwhile, Catholic emancipation in England had borne its fruits it had also secured liberty to the Catholics in the British colonies. In 1832, the Rev. W. Ullathorne, a Benedictine, late Bishop of Birmingham, England, was appointed Vicar General and Visitor Apostolic of the desolate mission by the Holy See. There were, then, in all Australia and New Zealand, only one partly-finished Church, two chapels, and four free schools, in charge of only three priests. The result of his zeal and activity soon became manifest. In 1835, the Holy See named the Rev. Bede Polding, a Benedictine from England, Vicar Apostolic of "New Holland," which then comprised the whole of Australia, besides Tasmania, Norfolk, and other islands. This prelate's first care was to secure fellow-laborers for his extensive vineyard. Soon twenty-three priests came to join him, and in 1840 the first Sisters of Mercy arrived from Ireland, who took charge of the orphans and female prisoners. Five years after the arrival of Bishop Polding, the Catholics already formed one-third of all the inhabitants of the colonies. In 1842, Gregory XVI. raised the vicariate of "New Holland" to an ecclesiastical province. Sydney became a metropolitan see with two suffragan bishops, one at Adelaide, in New South Wales, and the other Hobart Town, in Tasmania. In 1844, Archbishop Polding held his First Ecumenical Council; it was attended by two suffragan bishops and thirty-three missionaries from all parts of the Australian Continent. The most important decrees adopted by this Council bore upon the life and manners of the clergy, the founding of Catholic schools in all the missions, and on the preservation and administration of Church property.