Life of Martin Griver from Catalonia to Western Australia focus of book launched by Notre Dame Alumnus

Notre Dame alumnus Odhran O’Brien with a copy of his book Martin Griver – Unearthed. Photo Credit: Jamie O’Brien

28 April 2015

A book detailing the life and journey of Perth’s second Catholic Bishop from working the vineyards in Catalonia to living in a Spanish-style palace overlooking the Swan River in Western Australia will be launched on Tuesday 28 April 2015.

Culminating more than seven years of research and writing on Bishop Martin Griver, Odhran O’Brien, an alumnus of The University of Notre Dame Australia’s School of Arts & Sciences, will launch his first biography Martin Griver – Unearthed at the Redemptorist Monastery Church of Saints Peter and Paul, North Perth.

The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth, will launch Faith, Ireland and Empire by Christopher Dowd and The Most Reverend Barry Hickey, Emeritus Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth, will launch Martin Griver – Unearthed on the evening.

“Bishop Griver was an unusual priest in that he was a qualified surgeon – both a man of science and a man of God. Social justice through caring for the underprivileged was a priority for Bishop Griver,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien completed a Bachelor of Arts (Major: English Literature, Minor: History) at Notre Dame where he was invited by Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Dr Shane Burke, to take part in the exhumations of Bishop Martin Griver and Bishop Matthew Gibney in preparation for the restoration of St Mary’s Cathedral. This experience led him to apply for the scholarship being granted by the Archdiocesan Historical Commission for a student to undertake Master’s level research on the life of Bishop Griver.

This scholarship provided Mr O’Brien with the opportunity to complete his Master of Arts (Research) thesis at Notre Dame, where he was also an Adjunct Research Scholar during the first year of preparing the manuscript for publication.

“Notre Dame provided unique research opportunities that inspired my love of history and led me to publishing the book,” Mr O’Brien said.

Associate Professor Deborah Gare, Discipline Coordinator, History, on the Fremantle Campus, said it was exciting to see the publication of Odhran O'Brien's work on Bishop Griver as a result of significant research driven by Notre Dame and the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.

“While Bishop Griver's story adds significantly to our understanding of colonial history in Western Australia — particularly that of faith and politics — much of his story continues to shape the modern church and its society,” Associate Professor Gare said.

The book can be purchased through the Archdiocesan Historical Commission at the discounted rate of $20 until the end of April – contact At the end of April, it will be sold at the recommended retail price of $40.

Sandra De Witt: Tel (08) 9433 0594;