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By a Broken Rites researcher
Father Hugh Edward Murray was ordained in the late 1950s as a Catholic priest in the Vincentian Fathers religious order, which is also called the Congregation of the Mission. When he appeared in Sydney District Court in 2010 (on multiple indecent-assault charges), he was aged 81.
Broken Rites Australia has researched Hugh Murray in the annual editions of the Australian Catholic directory.
He was listed for the first time in the 1959 directory — at St Vincent's College (a boarding school, now defunct) at Bendigo in northern Victoria and he evidently spent several years there.
During the mid-1960s, he was listed at St Vincent's parish, Ashfield, Sydney (this parish is staffed by Vincentians) and next at Medina parish, Perth (this parish, too, was staffed by Vincentians).
Between 1967 and 1987, Hugh Murray spent about twenty years living often at Joseph's Seminary, Eastwood, NSW, which was the Formation House for the Australian Province of the Vincentians. This seminary was near St Anthony's parish church, Marsfield. Murray was not at Eastwood EVERY year: e.g., the directory for 1971 listed him at St Joseph's parish in Malvern, Melbourne (a parish staffed by Vincentians). Murray does not seem to have been listed in the 1974 directory but he was listed at the Eastwood seminary again in 1975.
While stationed at the Eastwood Vincentian house, Murray was also a school chaplain at the Marist Brothers Eastwood boys school (from fourth class through to Year 12) for several years in the late sixties and early seventies. He had close contact with the students, including hearing their private confessions.
A former Eastwood pupil has told Broken Rites that Murray was sometimes referred to as "Huge" Murray because of his substantial stature.
In the late 1970s, one of Hugh Murray's postings was for another stint at St Vincent's College, Bendigo, Victoria.
Also, during his long career, Murray also spent time at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, New South Wales.
In the early and mid 1980s, Murray's address was given as "St Joseph's seminary, Eastwood", Sydney, although this building was no longer a seminary. This house is now called Curzon Hall, Marsfield, and it now caters for weddings and corporate events. From January 1985 to December 1987, Murray also served as the Parish Priest (i.e., the person in charge) at the Marsfield parish.
The Marsfield parish website has said: "After Dec 1987, he [Hugh Murray] left us to join Vincare, which is an outreach of the Vincentians in an attempt to alleviate the distress and suffering of those with HIV and AIDS."
In an internet article, Fr Hugh Murray says that in the late 1980s he became a chaplain to HIV/AIDS sufferers, and he was based in Tempe House at Arncliffe (a building that was being vacated by the Good Samaritan Sisters, who had operated a laundary there). Murray lived there for six years. Murray says in his article that other Vincentians who spent time living at this address included Brian Spillane and Guy Hartcher.
In the 1994 directory, the address of this Arncliffe building was given as 95 Arncliffe St, Arncliffe. In 1994, Murray was listed as the "superior" there.
From 1995 onwards, Reverend Hugh Edward Murray was listed as "in retirement", living at a Vincentian communal house in Marsfield, Sydney. He was still listed (as Rev. Hugh Murray) at this Vincentian address in the 2010 edition of the annual Australian Catholic directory.
Court proceedingsIn 2009, Hugh Edward Murray appeared before a Sydney magistrate, charged with multiple counts of indecently assaulting boys between 1966 and 1978. The events, allegedly involving three boys, allegedly occurred in Sydney and Bathurst. The police investigation was conducted by detectives from Bathurst.
The magistrate sent the case on to the Sydney District Court, to be dealt with by a judge.
The case came up in the Sydney District Court in September 2010. Murray's defence lawyer opposed the case against Murray (aged 81) because of Murray's age and health. The prosecutors later managed to have the Murray matter scheduled to come before the same court again in 2011.
On 29 July 2011 (by which time Murray was a year older), Judge Greg Woods granted Hugh Edward Murray a permanent stay (that is, a permanent stoppage of the case) on account of his age and health.