Text Size



Watchman, Thu 19 Aug 1920 1


    About the middle of February, 1919, a warrant was issued in West Australia for the arrest of a “Christian Brother” named Frederick Phillip Carmody—whose name “in religion” was probably “Brother” Alolysius, or Liguori, or Sancta Maria—on four distinct charges of abominable offences of which the victims were four young boys who had been placed under his tuition. We have a copy of the charges in full, all sworn to, but they are too filthy to be more than alluded to here. Now we have no means of knowing whether the charges are true or nay part of them, but the fact remains that they were made and a warrant issued. There the case seems to end. The man disappeared and there has never been an arrest. If innocent he must have been acting a foolish part in hiding for eighteen months and not asking for a chance to clear his character.

    With this, or his guilt or innocence, however, we have nothing to do. What we want to point out is that the man has not been arrested. Nor have we heard of instructions being issued to the police to make diligent search throughout the Commonwealth for the man or of pickets being set all round all the establishments where his “brothers” are to be found, or of private houses of his co-religionists being watched for traces of him. So far as we know there was not even a search of the Orphanage in which he held a position of responsibility and of which the alleged victims were inmates. Singularly enough the press was almost silent on the matter. It was unsavory enough, of course, but they could have said plenty without one word to offend the most fastidious.

    Of course, we are not going to say that the man is guilty, because some boys would say so, than we would say a girl was insane because a bishop swore to it, but we do say that there seems a wonderful difference between the way things are when Romanism prefers diligent to letting matters drop. No “slimy sectarians” have been doing amateur detective work in connection with “Brother Carmody,” or whatever his holy name is. There have been no KC’s or MsLA rushing about in chase, and no volunteer bands of Protestant boys have scoured the places where the man is hiding, and, of course, it is practically certain that he is by this time beyond reach.

Katoomba, n.d. Image: NSW State Library collection. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
Katoomba, n.d. Image: NSW State Library collection.
Reproduction: Peter de Waal

    If he had been ab ill-treated “sister” escaping from injustice instead of a “brother” escaping from justice would he have had as good a chance? Recent events seem to give some sort of an answer to this, and one that is worth thinking over.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday Times, Sun 17 Oct 1920 2


    A warrant for the arrest of Brother Carmody, which was issued over a year ago, was put into effect in Sydney last week, and Detective-Sergeant Fraser left with him in the Katoomba yesterday. Brother Carmody is accused of having indecently dealt with boys [Stanley McKenna , John Webster, Barney Zeeb] at the Clontarf Orphanage, 3 where he was employed till 1918.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Daily News, Wed 10 Nov 1920 4


    The first person to descent the gangway of the ss Katoomba this morning, when the vessel berthed shortly before daylight had broken, were Detective-Sergeant Fraser and Frederick Philip [sic] Carmody, who had been arrested in the Eastern States upon warrant. Carmody was, until December 26, 1918 employed at the Clontarf Orphanage, and will stand his trial shortly on several serious charges.

    Carmody is stout, and of medium height. He has apparently been living rather well since he left this State and his general appearance was suggestive rather of a member of the sporting fraternity than that of his former calling. He wore a modishly cut suit of grey, with blue and white striped collar, shoes and fashionable socks, and in fact had quite a “Yankee touch.” He did not appear to be greatly perturbed at the situation he is in, and chatted apparently lightheartedly with the detective.


    Four serious charges were preferred against Frederick Philip Carmody (26), clerk, who is of respectable appearance, before Mr GT Wood, RM, at the City Court this morning.

    Against Carmody there are two serious charges, and two allegations of indecently dealing, which are alleged to have been committed at Victoria Park between October and December 1918.

    Detective-Sergeant Purdue applied for, and was granted, a remand for eight days. Accused, who was not represented by counsel, made no effort to secure bail.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The West Australian, Thu 11 Nov 1920 5


    Excursion to Wheat Belt.—The Railway Department advises that the bookings by the special train to the wheat belt on November 19 are heavy, and as the available accommodation is being rapidly applied for, those who desire to make the trip should make early application.

    Public Service Appeal Board–To-morrow morning the Public Service Appeal Board will resume its sittings and deal with the sectional appeals of the civil service. It is anticipated by the civil servants that the board will announce its decision on the subject of immediate relief regarding which evidence has already been heard.

    State Elections.—In connection with the nomination of candidates to stand in the interests of the Country Party at the next State elections, the secretary of the Primary Producers’ Association (Mr SH Johnson) intimated yesterday that the name of Mr H Carson, farmer, of Hutt, had been received from the district council as an additional candidate for Irwin.

    Serious Charges.—Before Mr GT Woods, RM, at the City Courthouse yesterday, Frederick Phillip Carmody (36) described as a clerk, was presented on four charges of a serious nature. The offences were alleged to have been committed in 1918. On the application of Detective-Sergeant Purdue, a remand for eight days was granted in each case. The accused did not apply for bail.

    Preference to Soldiers.—In the Legislative Council yesterday the Minister for Education, replying to Mr Dodd, said that the Government had not made any provision on contracts made by them, such as the wheat marketing agreement and others, for preference to returned soldiers, but they would insist upon the principle of preference being observed in all future contracts where practicable.

    War Gratuity Bonds.—The Colonial Treasurer has completed arrangements for cashing war gratuity bonds of persons permanently employed by the State Government, and of persons employed by the Government in a temporary capacity for at least six months. Application forms may be obtained from the Departmental Accountant, or the Manager, State Government Savings Bank.

    Silver City.—The organiser of the Silver Chain Christmas Tree Fete will be glad if all the members of the gentlemen’s committee, who are co-operating with him will make a point of being present at to-night’s meeting which is to be held in the West Australian Chambers, at 8 o’clock. As the fair will open on December 13, it is specially important that all the plans for the festival should be finalised as early as possible.

    The New Harvest.—The Premier informed Mr Maley, in the Legislative Assembly last night, that in anticipation of the passing of the Wheat Marketing Bill, arrangements were being made to receive wheat at sidings in the northern district as from November 15. It was intended to provide in the Bill that cornsacks might be made a charge against advances as hitherto.

    Imported Butter.—Mr J Duffell asked the Minister for Education in the Legislative Council yesterday whether the Government had acquired the whole or any part of the butter imported from the Eastern States, and if so on what terms as regards quantity and price. The Minister replied in the negative, but added that the Government by guarantee had assisted the committee of the Western Australian Butter Factories’ Association to purchase 250 boxes at landed cost, viz, 2s 7¼d per lb the reason being to assist the local butter factories in marketing their product.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Daily News, Thu 18 Nov 1920 6


    Late this afternoon Mr Walter, RM, sent Frederick Phillip Carmody for trial on the second and third of the three charges preferred against him. One of the boys called to give evidence stated that Carmody on one occasion said: “Say a few prayers for me.”


    Mr WAG Walter, RM, at No. 3 City Court to-day commenced the hearing of the three charges preferred against Frederick Phillip Carmody, who is alleged to have committed a serious offence on several boys while he was engaged in an official capacity at the Clontarf Orphanage in 918.

    Carmody, whose age is given as 36 years, is clean shaven and ruddy faced. He was smartly dressed in a green tweed sac suit, black and white stripped collar, and a black tie. He was defended by Mr JP Durack, while Mr HCF Keall, with him Detective-Sergeant Purdue, appeared to conduct the proceedings.

    The evidence, which was mainly the contribution of boys, ranging from about 13 to 16 years of age, who had been part of their life in the orphanage, was of a most sordid character, and the public were refused admission.

    Detective-Sergeant Fraser deposed to his arrest of the accused in Sydney and his subsequent return to this State in custody.

    A boy of about 13 years of age who was born at Kalgoorlie, and for eight years had been an inmate of the Clontarf Industrial School, gave evidence.

    To Mr Keall: Carmody had said that if witness made any mention of the incident to the officials they would take Carmody’s word before witness’.

    John Jerome O’Connor, a Christian Brother, stated that he had been at the orphanage for the past eighteen years. He knew the accused, who was one of teachers on the staff. Carmody took his holidays about Christmas, 1918, and had not since returned. He had been in the place three and a half years prior to that time. It was part of Carmody’s duty to see the lads to their dormitories, and he was responsible for them.

    Dr Blanchard told how, acting under police instructions, he had visited the orphanage, and examined about twenty of the boys. His discoveries in two instances were consistent with the boys’ allegations.

    After the evidence of another lad a year or two older had been adduced, Mr Keall announced the close of his case on the first charge.

    Carmody, who reserved his defence, was committed for trial.

    Relative to the second charge, a number of boys were again called, who related the details of their alleged experiences with the accused.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Mercury, Fri 19 Nov 1920 7


Perth, November 18.

    At the City Police Court to-day, Phillip Carmody, who had been arrested at Sydney, was committed for trial on the charge of indecent dealings with boys in the RC Clontarf Orphanage, where he was a teacher.


    To the Editor of “The Mercury.”

    Sir,—Attention is directed to the unsatisfactory conditions existing in Amy-street, Moonah, with regard to the disposal of soil from three soldiers’ homes there. Evidently these houses are just on the line of demarcation, twixt Moonah and the bush, the result being that the nightsoil cart, whilst calling at houses only a few yards distant, is presumably not permitted to visit the houses mentioned. Before Moonah talks about amalgamation with Hobart it might be well to consider the advisability of amalgamating with what, to all intents and purposes as regards menaces to public health, is part of itself.—Yours, etc,

Tassie Digger.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The West Australian, Mon 6 Dec 1920 8


    Nisi Prius.—At 10.30, in No 1 Court, before the Chief Justice: Mia Mia Pastoral Co, Ltd (plaintiff), and Thomas W Boyle (defendant), part heard.

    In Chambers.—At 11, before Mr Justice Rooth.


    The following cases have been set down for hearing at the December session of the Criminal Court, which will be opened at 10.30 am to-morrow:—Edwin Vernon Penny, uttering, York; William Wedd, stealing, Belmont (two counts); Frederick Phillip Carmody, indecently dealing, Victoria Park (three counts); Herbert Neil Nye, stealing, Perth; Arthur James Dunn, stealing, Kalgoorlie; Lawrence James Austin Stanley Sheldon, manslaughter, Laverton; Charles Athelstan Park, wilful murder, Balfour Downs Station; Gunboor and Gelin, wilful murder, Labul Island; David Spencer Hancock, stealing, North Fremantle.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Daily News, Tue 7 Dec 1920 9


    “You have pleaded guilty to three charges of having indecently dealt with boys under the age of 14 years,” said the Chief Justice (Sir Robt McMillan), when sentencing Frederick Phillip Carmody in the Criminal Court this afternoon. When called during the morning, Carmody declined to make a statement before sentence was passed.

    “I have had an opportunity of looking through the depositions,” His Honor continued “and I have never come across a more filthy case. I am sorry to find that you have used your position and have done your best to corrupt a number of young fellows who were in your care.

    “You are sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on each charge, the sentences to be cumulative.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Brisbane Courier, Wed 8 Dec 1920 10


Perth, December 7.

    In the Criminal Court to-day Frederick Phillip Carmody, formerly a teacher at the Clontarf Catholic Orphanage, pleaded guilty to three charges of having indecently dealt with boys, and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on each charge, the sentences to be cumulative.


    Mr EG Manson (secretary of the Queensland Institute of Accountants, incorporated) advises that the names of the under mentioned were inadvertently omitted from the list of those who qualified at the October, 1920, examination of admission to membership of that institute:—J Tierney (State Insurance Office), Brisbane; WWJ Burton, G Grant (Federal Taxation Office, Brisbane); LR Smith, Accounts Branch, GPO, Brisbane.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The West Australian, Wed 8 Dec 1920 11


    The December sittings of the Criminal Court were opened before the Chief Justice (Sir Robert McMillan) and juries yesterday morning. The Crown Solicitor (Dr Stow) appeared for the prosecution in each case.


    Frederick Phillip Carmody, who was not represented by counsel, pleaded guilty to three charges of having, during 1918, dealt indecently with three boys under the age of 14 years at Victoria Park.

    His Honor said that after reading the depositions in connection with the charges he was bound to say that he had never come across a more filthy case. There were only three charges laid against the accused, but it was very evident from the documents that there were others that could have been brought. Accused would have to go to gaol for three years, with hard labour, on each charge, the sentences to be cumulative.


1     Watchman, (Sydney, NSW), Thu 19 Aug 1920, p. 6.

2     Sunday Times, Sun 17 Oct 1920, p. 1.

3     Clontarf Boys Orphanage was first established in Subiaco in 1872 and managed by the Sisters of Mercy. In 1897 the Christian Brothers assumed direction of the orphanage, taking care of 81 boys. A new site for an orphanage was sought, found and purchased on the banks of the Canning River in 1897. The foundation stone was laid in 1901. The building was ready for occupation in September 1901 and the boys were transferred from their Subiaco home. Brother Ryan was the Superior at this time. The boys who were at Clontarf between 1901 and the 1930s were usually aged between six and fourteen and the population ranged from 100 to 150 boys. The Christian Brothers that cared for them numbered about five or six. The boys were accommodated and cared for, given a primary school education, religious teaching and basic training in manual skills and farm properties. Government funding for the boys was withdrawn at the age of fourteen and this was when boys left the home.

4     The Daily News, Wed 10 Nov 1920, pp. 6, 7.

5     The West Australian, Thu 11 Nov 1920, p. 6. Emphasis added.

6     The Daily News, Thu 18 Nov 1920, pp. 2, 8. Emphasis added.

7     The Mercury, Fri 19 Nov 1920, p. 8. Emphasis added.

8     The West Australian, Mon 6 Dec 1920, p. 8. Emphasis added.

9     The Daily News, Wed 10 Nov 1920, pp. 6, 7.

10   The Brisbane Courier, Wed 8 Dec 1920, p. 8. Emphasis added.

11   The West Australian, Wed 8 Dec 1920, p. 8.