Archives of Catholic Diocese Of Parramatta

Diocesan Archives image
Surveyor’s drawing from the archives, showing the Catholic chapel at Penrith, 1841.

The Parramatta Diocesan Archives hold the records of the administration of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta since the Diocese was first established and the Most Reverend Bede Vincent Heather DD appointed the first Bishop of Parramatta on 8 April 1986.

The archives primarily hold records from 1986 onwards, with a small quantity of pre-1986 records, including early land grants and correspondence from the Archbishops of Sydney transferred from the Sydney Archdiocesan Archives.

If you are looking for records of the Catholic Church in Western Sydney prior to 1986, the Archdiocesan Archives hold many of these. For more information, visit the Archdiocesan Archives.

Parish records remain at the Parish that created them, or in the case of amalgamations, at the Parish that succeeded the original Parish.

The Parramatta Diocesan Archivist is always happy to receive applications for access to the Diocese’s archives.

Parramatta Diocesan Archives

Archives and Records Manager - Lienntje Cornelissen
Suite 7 Level 1 10 Victoria Road Parramatta NSW 2150
(PO Box 3066 North Parramatta NSW 1750)
Ph: 02 8838 3433
Fx: 02 9630 4813

Sacramental registers

Churches keep a register of baptisms, marriages and burials and an extract from the register can be provided for faith purposes if required. If you are a family historian, all the early registers were copied by the Government of NSW in the 1850s.

This information can now be accessed at the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.

Microfilmed copies of the early registers of St Patrick’s Church Parramatta (now St Patrick’s Cathedral) are available at the State Library of NSW and Parramatta Local Studies library.

The Parramatta Diocesan Arms

Coat of Arms of Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
Coat of Arms of Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.

Arms (or ‘Coats of Arms’) are a way of identifying people or places, and Sees of the Roman Catholic Church have displayed Arms since time immemorial and they serve a useful purpose: buildings constructed by the Diocese may have the Arms inscribed on their fabric, usually on the exterior above a door, and documents and certificates produced by the Diocese too may have the See Arms inscribed.

Bishops, Archbishops, and Abbots may all display Arms, as of course does the Pope.

The Arms that a Bishop displays are combined with the Arms of the See he rules (the term is ‘impaled’) and this Coat of Arms is seen on documents that the Bishop signs.

The Arms of the Diocese of Parramatta reflect colours and images that are identified with Parramatta and the wide area of the See.

There are two basic elements in our Arms: a metaphor of the geography of the diocese, and the signs of the unifying force of Christ. The colours used by Parramatta generally are Blue and Gold and are the basis of our shield.

Coat of Arms of Bishop Fisher
Coat of Arms of Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP.

The blue of the shield runs from the City to the Blue Mountains, as shown by two points at the top of the top of the shield.

The shield is cut in half by the river - this represents the Nepean Hawkesbury River. Over the shield is the monogram representing Christ the King - the letters X and P are, in Greek, the first two letters of the name ‘Christ’ - and this monogram is crowned, showing the kingship of Christ in our lives: in Heraldry, this shows the Parramatta diocese is protected by Christ.

Next to the shield is a processional cross, and above it is a mitre: these insignia show that this is a Roman Catholic Diocese.

You may be aware that Heraldry uses a unique language to describe Coats of Arms: for example ‘or’ means the colour gold, ‘argent’ the colour silver, and ‘azure’ the colour blue.

Here is how our Arms are described: “Azure, indented of two throughout in chief, the chief argent, overall in fess a fess wavy argent charged with a barrulet wavy azure, overall in pale the monogram XP crowned or.”