During a meeting of priests held at Coogee in New South Wales in October 1969, two priests, Peter Williams and Bill Aliprandi, raised the possibility of forming an association of Australian priests.
An ad hoc committee was elected and formally directed to call a national convention of priests after Easter 1970. All priests were invited with a view to forming a national association of priests. The organisation came not from above, but from within the ranks of all clergy.
At Hunters Hill in May 1970 the majority of the 400 priests present voted in favour of establishing a national body and elected a committee to canvass the views of all priests across Australia. The priests who responded to a questionnaire indicated their support of a national body.
On 2nd September 1971 at Hunters Hill a meeting of 107 delegates voted to constitute itself as a National Council of Priests.
Fr John Lanigan of Melbourne was elected the first Chairman and Fr Brian Jordan elected the Assistant. The gathering was organised by Frs Julian Miller and Les Cashen.
The Committee met with the Australian Episcopal Conference in January 1972 and received encouragement from the Bishops to establish a representative body of priests. The second National Convention of Priests took place at Hunters Hill in May 1972 and proposed guidelines for the new association. The proposed guidelines were adopted at a meeting of delegates during a meeting in Melbourne at the time of the 1973 Eucharistic Congress.
Since that time the elected Committee has met four times a year and a National Convention has been held every second year in a different venue.
At the Convention in Banyo, Queensland, September 1975, it was decided to have a paid membership giving members the right to vote for committee members.
In March 1998 the NCP took over the rights to publish The Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia. The NCP publishes The Official Directory on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, as a service to the Australian Church. In 2004, a dynamic internet version was published to co-exist with the print version, allowing information to be updated as changes happen throughout the year.
In July 2000 the NCP Secretariat was established, and a full-time Executive Officer was appointed.
The National Office now operates from purpose designed modern offices, in the Belmont Parish/School Precinct in Geelong, Victoria.
NCP Committee and Conventions Timeline
To download the ‘NCP Committee and Conventions Timeline’
Past Chairmen (L to R) – Les Cashen, Frank Marriott, Gary Russell, Tony Redden & Denis Minogue.