Biography of John O'Brien
Monsignor Patrick Joseph Hartigan was an Australian Roman Catholic priest, educator, author and poet.
He was born at Yass, New South Wales and ordained after study at St Patrick's Seminary, Manly. Writing under the pseudonym "John O'Brien" Hartigan's verse celebrated the lives and mores of the outback pastoral folk he ministered as a peripatetic curate to the southern New South Wales and Riverina towns of Thurgoona, Berrigan and Narrandera, in the first two decades of the 20th century. His poetry was very popular in Australia and was well received in Ireland and the United States.
The refrain We'll all be rooned from his poem Said Hanrahan has entered colloquial Australian English as a jocular response to any prediction of dire consequences arising, particularly, from events outside the interlocutor's control.
Hartigan died in Lewisham, an inner suburb of Sydney in 1952.
A John O'Brien Festival is held annually in Narrandera.
John O'Brien's Works:
Around the Boree Log and Other Verses 1921
The Parish of St Mel's 1954
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"We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan
In accents most forlorn
Outside the church ere Mass began
One frosty Sunday morn.
The congregation stood about,
Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock and crops and drought
As it had done for years.