James Quinn was born in Rathbane Co. Kildare on the 17th of March 1819. he was the son of Matthew Quinn, farmer, and his wife, Mary (nee Doyle)
He studied at the irish College in Rome and, in August 1846, he was ordained as a priest in Rome. He served at Blackrock, near Dublin during a cholera epidemic. From 1850 he was President of the St Laurence O'Toole Seminary. He was Confessor and director of the Sisters of Mercy and helped organize the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin. In 1859 he became a bishop.
Bishop James Quinn was appointed as the first Catholic bisop of the newly established diocese of Brisbane. He was eager to establish a migration scheme to bring people from Ireland to Brisbane. When his first proposal of a scheme was rejected by the government, he set about establishing the Queensland Immigration Society. He outlined his motives in setting up the QIS as follows.
To alleviate the stress prevailing in Ireland
To procure for this colony a population capable of demand for labour in it
To secure for single females immigrating to this colony sufficient protection, which was not secured to them under any existing system of immigration
The scheme ran for three years and in that time 13 ships brought more than 4,000 Irish settlers to Queensland.
Bishop James Quinn remained in Queensland for the rest of his days. He died on the 18th of August 1881 at the age of 62.
This Chronicle is created with thanks to James Tolhurst for his research and contributions.