Thomas Vincent Corcoran & Thomas Finbarr Cahill

Thomas Vincent Corcoran O.S.A

North Face
In Memoriam
Rev. Thomas V Corcoran, O.S.A.
Rector of St Monica’s Cairns
Died 5 December 1901
Aged 37 years
Erected by his devoted and grateful flock


Thomas Vincent Corcoran was born c1866 in Craigie, Fethard, County Tipperary to James Corcoran and Margaret, nee Grant.

“On the 29 October 1997 he entered the novitiate at Orlagh and made his Solemn Profession 3 years later. In 1893 he was appointed to the Vicariate in North Queensland and posted to Croyden at the end of 1895. In 1896 he was appointed parish priest of Cairns (St. Monica’s) a position he held until his death in 1901 of fever.” (Out Where the Dead Men Lie).

If he had remained in Ireland, he would probably never have worked in a Parish, but coming to Australia put him in charge of a Vicariate at the age of 35, much younger than the normal age in Ireland.

The North Queensland Register of the 17 August 1898 stated ‘he is revered by not only his flock but by every citizen of Cairns. He takes an active part in all affairs affecting the welfare of the town and district and no social gathering is complete without Father Corcoran. Since his arrival in Cairns, matters catholic have advanced rapidly in both town and country. His ministrations extended from Mareeba, Geraldton (Innisfail), Port Douglas and Cardwell ‘.

The Morning Post reported “His last piece of missionary was to attend the victim of the late Mungana tragedy. On that occasion be was ill and weak, yet it will rebound ever to his credit that he went at the call of duty, to return with a heavy attack of enteric fever” also “The children of St. Monica’s school will march in the procession, and members of the Hibernian Society will attend in their regalia. During yesterday the flags on all the principal business places and on shipping in the port, including the A.U. S.N Co.’s steamer Wodonga, were flying at mast as a tribute of the very deep esteem which Father Corcoran was held. ‘ Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still.'”

Father Corcoran officiated at many funerals held at McLeod Street and upon his death on the 5 December 1906 his burial was officiated by Father Doyle.


Thomas Finbarr Cahill

East Face
Rev Thomas F Cahill O.S.A.
Of Cork Ireland
Died 2nd May 1936
Aged 32 Years


Thomas Finbarr Cahill was born Cork City, Ireland in 1904. He studied at Orlagh and from there he was sent to Rome where he completed his studies and was ordained in October 1926. From Rome he was sent to North Queensland where he served in Cairns until 1929 and then went to Innisfail until 1933, where he found working with the Italian settlers very rewarding. From there he went to South Johnstone where he built St Rita’s church and in 1934 was given the responsibility of the Mareeba parish. While there he used to have long treks to the Gulf Country, where he often camped out night after night with the sky for his roof. On one of these trips he took ill and made his way to Cairns, where they operated for appendicitis, but it had ruptured and he fell into a coma, dying on the 2 May 1936 at the age of 32. He was so well thought of by the people of Innisfail that a special train ran to bring the parishioners to Cairns for his funeral.

His short life as a priest was devoted to his work in the Far North only. A brother and sister of the deceased survive, residing in Cork, Ireland. His parents pre-deceased him.

Information Compiled By: Cairns District Family History Society Inc.