Patrick Joseph Donovan
June 23, 2015
DONOVAN, Patrick Joseph- – – – SPC 1901-1903
DoB:– – 17 March 1886
Father:- – Daniel Donovan, farmer at Pirron Yalloak, VIC
Mother:– – Margaret, nee McGuire
Patrick Donovan was a boarder at St Patrick’s from the town of Colac in Victoria’s Western District. He was a member of the Draughts Club and was mentioned as being very studious in his Matriculation year; -‘-¦besides a creditable pass in eight subjects, secured honours in English, French and Latin’.
Upon leaving SPC, Patrick entered the Sacred Heart Monastery in Kensington, Sydney. After the usual three year term of probation and study, Patrick received orders from Archbishop Kelly in 1909. In 1911 the College Annual reported that he
-‘-¦will receive [the] diaconate and priesthood early in the year; he has had a distinguished and highly successful career as a clerical student; those who were witnesses of his earnestness and studiousness in his old matric days will not be surprised to hear of his success’.
The College reported on the war service of Fr Donovan in the Annual of 1916-17, claiming that –
-‘-¦ he is as far as we know, the first old St Pat’s boy to go as Chaplain during the present war, and we are sure he will do credit to his Alma Mater and his Order in the land of shot and shell. He will have a special eye on any of his old College mates, many of whom he will meet at the front. We are proud of our first chaplain, and we trust and pray that Fr Donovan will return to his native land safe and sound, and with a mantle of glory for himself, his Order, and his Alma Mater’.
Service No:– –
Rank:– – Captain, Chaplain
Unit:- – 1st- / 2nd / 3rd Light Horse Brigade
Fr Donovan enlisted on 2 April 1916, aged 30 years. He was five feet, five and a half inches tall. He embarked from Melbourne aboard the Euripides on 4 April 1916, bound for Egypt. Almost immediately upon his arrival, he was transferred to Hospital Ship Kanowna with invalids returning to Australia. He was the Ship’s Chaplain, leaving Suez on 11 May and arriving in Melbourne on 15 June, 1916. Once again, he embarked from Australia, but this time when he arrived in Egypt he was assigned to the 1st Light Horse Brigade for duty on 11 October 1916.
For the next two years he remained in Egypt, attached to the Light Horse. In January 1918 he was admitted to the No 14 General Hospital as a -‘walking case’, suffering from enterocolitis. This condition is typically an inflammation of the digestive tract and small intestine, and may be caused by various infections with bacteria, viruses or parasites. Fr Donovan would have suffered severe abdominal pain and frequent bouts of diarrhoea. He was discharged from hospital on 2 February 1918.
By October that year, Fr Donovan was transferred from Egypt to Park House Camp in England where he remained for about one months’ recuperation. On 8 November 1918 he embarked for Havre, France where he served as Chaplain for a further six months. In May 1919 he returned to London and prepared for repatriation to Australia. He travelled as Ship’s Chaplain aboard the Rio Negro, disembarking at Melbourne on 22 July 1919.
Fr Donovan was hospitalised from July to October 1919 suffering from -‘Debility: Pain across heart and in head -“ is easily tired after slight exertion -“ is anaemic’. The medical report upon his discharge from hospital noted that his -‘disability [was] not considered permanent. He should find a gradual improvement’. On 12 December 1919, his appointment was officially terminated.
Rev Fr Patrick Donovan returned to the Sacred Heart Monastery in Kensington, Sydney, where he lived until his death on 11 April 1957. He was 71 years of age.