THE Catholic Diocese of Wagga Wagga was created on July 28, 1917 and it was not without initial opposition by some ecclesiastical authorities.
The Riverina region had been part of the Catholic Diocese of Goulburn since 1862, but an Apostolic Delegate recommended that the creation of the new diocese would be an “important development of the church in the southern area”.
Catholic priests had been known to travel and minister through the region that would be the Wagga Diocese from the 1830s.
The first parish in the region had been established at Albury in 1854, with the appointment of the first resident priest. Wagga became the second parish in 1871.
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The reconstruction of the Sydney and Goulburn dioceses resulted in 15 parishes being calved from Goulburn that were annexed to create the new Wagga Diocese. Goulburn received the same number of parishes from Sydney.
Wagga Diocese would cover 24,000 miles (62,160km) and included an area marked out for an irrigation scheme that would become the MIA.
The Wagga Diocese officially separated from Goulburn in 1918, upon the inauguration of the first Catholic Bishop of Wagga Wagga, Joseph Wilfrid Dwyer.
Bishop Dwyer’s first act was to appoint Monsignor Buckley as Vicar-General of the diocese.
The bishop was held in high esteem having served as parish priest at nearby Temora since 1912.