The Dempsey Medal

An Honour from the Archbishop of Sydney

The Dempsey Medal is awarded annually by the Archbishop of Sydney to members of the Catholic clergy and laity.

This Honour is named in recognition of a lay Catholic pioneer from Sydney’s early European settlement.

James Dempsey was transported to Sydney in 1802 for his involvement in the Vinegar Hill rebellion in Co. Wexford.

The home of this Carmelite tertiary was used to preserve the Blessed Sacrament and became a gathering place for Catholics with recitations of the Rosary each weekday and Vespers on Sundays during the period when the colony was without priests for almost a decade from 1810.

Dempsey was an Irish stonemason who oversaw the building of the first bridge across the Tank Stream, the military barracks, the Rum Hospital, and the original St Mary’s Cathedral.

The Dempsey Medal seeks to encourage and to recognise outstanding contributions and service by members of the Sydney Archdiocesan community to the local Catholic Church or the wider society.

Although the Dempsey Medal is awarded for outstanding service or witness to parish, diocese or community, it is primarily intended to recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution in the context of their local parish.

At the discretion of the Archbishop, the Dempsey Medal may be awarded to a non-Catholic in recognition of outstanding collaboration in, support for, or contribution to works of the Archdiocese or its parishes.

Nominations for the Dempsey Medal are assessed in the same way as nominations for Papal Honours but the decision to make the award rests solely with the Archbishop of Sydney rather than the Holy See.

All nominations must be kept strictly confidential.

Forms for making a nomination may be completed and sent to the Chancellor, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, St Marthas, 38 Renwick Street, Leichhardt NSW 2040.

For more information and nomination forms see below: