Outback church 1The first Catholics to live in Australia arrived with the First Fleet in 1788. They were mostly Irish convicts, together with a few Royal Marines. One-tenth of all convicts transported to Australia were Catholic, and half of these were born in Ireland. For up to date information, visit the ACBC's Pastoral Research Office.


St Kierans in Moe Catholics form a spiritual community which can these days be real - in church, parishes, and dicoceses. This community can also be virtual, linked by social media. It is body made up of many different people, united by a common bond of enduring  love. One of the best ways of describing the Catholic Church is that it is like a family. 


St Marys 2

There are 33 dioceses in Australia (28 of them territorial divisions), four dioceses of Eastern Catholic Churches and one military diocese, for the pastoral care of Catholic members of the Australian Defence Forces and their families. The 2009-10 Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia lists 1349 parishes, including 34 belonging to Eastern Catholic Churches. To find your nearest parish, visit the ACBC's web page here.


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How many Catholics are there in Australia?

According to the 2016 Australian Census, the Catholic population was 5,291,817 or 22.6% of the total Australian population.

Between 2011 and 2016, the number of Catholics decreased, and the proportion of Catholics in the population also decreased. In 2011, the Catholic population was 5,439,267 or 25.3% of the total Australian population. In 2006, the Catholic population was 5,126,884 or 25.8% of the total Australian population.


Religious women in Australia Jospehites

The 2013-14 Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia records 5058 religious sisters, 847 religious brothers and 1,174 religious priests. Among more than 100 congregations of women religious were the Josephite Sisters, Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Charity. There were five congregations of brothers, including the Christian Brothers, Marist Brothers and De La Salle Brothers. Priestly orders included the Jesuits, Augustinians, Dominicans and more.

Bridge Mackillop David Mann

The fabric of modern Australia was built by many people, and with the invaluable contribution of our Catholic citizens, clerical, religious, and lay. These men and women have contributed to the country and its structures that we enjoy today. Here, we name some - but we would also love to hear from you about whom you consider a 'prominent Australian Catholic.' So email a link to the life of your candidtate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and put 'cathaus contenders' in the subject line. We will consider your suggestion for inclusion.