The Quiet Man Documentary Launch

27 September 2019

The Quiet Man documentary launches at Notre Dame’s Sydney campus

The Institute for Ethics & Society at The University of Notre Dame Australia hosted the official launch of The Quiet Man, a documentary about the life and legacy of Father John Neill OP, on Thursday 26th September.

Father John is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Catholic universities in Australia and has been instrumental in Australian Catholic education for more than 50 years. Very well-respected and loved on campus, he has received an Order of Australia for services to education and to the Catholic Church in Australia. Having served Notre Dame as a founding Trustee-Governor in Western Australia, Father John later became Chaplain of the University’s new Sydney campus and Parish Priest at St Benedict’s Church, where the Broadway campus is located.

In a private member’s statement to NSW Parliament this week, James Griffin, MP, congratulated Father John on the screening and described him as a pillar of support. “In my mind, Father John possesses two of the greatest qualities that a person can have—humility and tenacity,” he said.

Directed by Tim Perkins, former senior lecturer in Notre Dame’s School of Education, The Quiet Man tells the story of Father John’s life in his own words and through the testimony of many who have shared the journey with him. Father John dreamed of a Catholic University in Australia, having been inspired as a young man by Notre Dame University in the United States, and the film follows how this dream was realised – right from the humble origins of Father John’s own experience at school, when no one would have guessed he’d go on to become a foundational influence in the establishment of two Catholic universities.

Intended as a people’s celebration of the man and the film, nearly 100 people from the University and parish community attended the documentary screening, where the film’s producer Dr John Rees, Associate Professor and Acting Director of the Institute for Ethics & Society, described what a remarkable journey making the film has been. “What started as a conversation between Tim and I about our indebtedness to Father John in our work at Notre Dame, evolved over several years to become The Quiet Man,” he said.

“We hope that in honouring Father John Neill we are also keeping alive important parts of the remarkable tale of Catholic education in Australia, including the unfolding story of Catholic universities. As Father John has taught us, telling a story is not about nostalgia for a distant past. Rather, it is about interpreting the past so as to give direction to the future.”

Media Contact: 

Nancy Merlo +61 2 8204 4044 | +61 415 517 589 |

Photo: Nancy Merlo