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By a Broken Rites researcher
Father Sydney Morey was a sexually-abusive priest who flourished in the Ballarat Catholic diocese in western Victoria in the 1960s under the administration of Bishop James Patrick O'Collins.
Morey died in the late 1970s. According to an obituary in the Ballarat diocesan journal, Morey was originally an agricultural herd-tester in western Victoria. He trained as a Marist Brother but left before qualifying. He was aged 35 when Bishop James O'Collins accepted him as a student for the Ballarat priesthood.
Morey's obituary said that his personality was irascible and eccentric.
The Ballarat diocese extends from Mildura in the north to Warrnambool in the south. Complaints about Morey's sexual abuse have come from several districts, including Horsham and Terang.
In one of Morey's parishes, there was a family who owned a holiday house on the west Victorian coast, and Morey was allowed to use the house. A victim, “Paul”, has told Broken Rites that, about 1970, Morey used to take young boys to the holiday house. Paul said: “He [Morey] engaged in smutty talk about sex. He would sit us on his knee and we had to take it in turns to sleep in Morey's bed, where we got touched up."
In one family, Morey abused several boys, plus some of their male cousins.
Syd Morey (whose name has also been spelt as Sid Morey) was not the only sexual abuser in his various parishes. For example, one of Morey's parishes was Horsham (the parish of Saints Michael and John), which had at least four sexually-abusive priests — Fr John Day about 1950, Fr Leonard Monk about 1959, Fr Sydney Morey about 1967 and Fr Gerald Ridsdale in 1986-8.
These abusive priests were well protected during the administration of Bishop O'Collins, who ran the Ballarat diocese from 1941 to 1971. It was Bishop O'Collins who promoted John Day to the rank of a monsignor in the 1950s.
In 1961-63, Morey ministered in Mildura (the Sacred Heart parish) — and other offenders (John Day and Gerald Ridsdale) also served at this same parish in the 1960s.