Bischofs, Joseph Fr. (1878-1958)

Prepared by: 
Regina Ganter
Birth / Death: 

Born 21 March 1878 Dülken (Aachen)

Died 28 July 1958, George (South Africa), age 80


In the Pallottine Kimberley missions from 1905 to 1920, first as superior of Beagle Bay and then as Parochus in Broome. Was classified as an enemy alien during World War I and later became Regional Superior in South Africa.


Joseph Bischofs was the son of shoemaker Josef and Katharina née Kauffman. When he was ten years old his family moved across the border into Holland and he became a Dutch citizen.1 He entered the Limburg monastery in September 1897, at which time his mother had already died, and commenced his noviciate in the Rocca Priora in Italy in October 1897, where he made his profession in 1899. He studied philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained there in March 1903. 2 He served there as novice master for two years before he was sent to Beagle Bay on 22 February 1905. Describing his journey he published a series of travelogues in a Dülken newspaper, Sprecher am Niederrhein, a paper attached to the Kempen branch of the Zentrumspartei, the Catholic Centre Party.3


Beagle Bay mission was in trouble. The Brothers resented the superior Fr. Walter and the mission was under great financial stress from the debts arising from the purchase of the former Trappist properties. It had been visited by the Queensland Chief Protector of Aborigines, Dr. Walter Roth, who was conducting an inquiry for the Western Australian government in 1904, and who did not form a positive opinion.


In November 1905 Fr. Bischofs wrote a long letter to the Provincial. Although he was not in charge of the mission he suggested a number of staffing changes. He was less than impressed with the quality of the Brothers that had been posted by Limburg and thought that Brothers Sixt and Hoffman should have been sent away long ago. Even worse he thought was the stationing of secular lay helpers who had caused friction and scandal:


A foreign priest who stood in for us here for a while drank well over his thirst, for two weeks the fellow was walking around here, of course an annoyance like that does not settle for a while. The schoolmaster was worse, but I had him sent away directly. P. Russell is sitting around at Beagle Bay now and do you think that the mission can prosper under such circumstances? I don’t think so.4


To contextualise these comments, Fr. Russell had most likely been invited to the mission to make up the required twelve staff and happened to be there while Dr. Roth visited. Fr. Bischofs felt that more Pallottine Fathers were urgently required. Fr. Walter, from a wealthy background and used to certain comforts, did not have the support of the Brothers (see also comments by Wollseifer).


I once told Fr. Walter what the Brothers really think of him, and of course he was very taken aback about my disclosures. We have now reached an agreement that I will take over Beagle Bay and he will stay in Broome. Hopefully that way things will improve with the Brothers. I have already worked by myself in Beagle Bay for the last few months and managed fairly well. 5


In German, letters November 1905 and May 1907


In February 1907 Walter left the Kimberley for his Australian fundraising tour6, but not before causing further discontent at Beagle Bay by suggesting a non-Pallottine lay helper for study in Rome. Apparently the reason given was that ‘Mr. Fulton was too stupid as a Brother, but could do good service as a priest’, an explanation that clearly did not convince anyone.7 Fr. Bischofs annotated Fulton’s letter of application to Kugelmann in Rome with a warning:


Rev P General,

I am sure Mr Fulton would make a very good religious man. Now it will be your duty to decide the matter. As he himself is pleased with your opinion, whatever it might be, so shall I be the same. Only the Brothers would not like it very much to see him go to study. Non quaeritur ratio.

In Christo

Jos Bischofs8


In Rome the wry comment was added:


N.B: What Joseph is writing here about revolution and such like can only have come to him through his humility. Other than that everyone here quite likes him.

[NB Was der Joseph da von Revolution udgl. schreibt, kann ihm nur seine Demut eingegeben haben. Sonst hat ihn hier jeder gerne.]


But Bischofs’ comments on Fulton find support in Fr. Bachmair who also lent his voice of opposition to Fr. Walter’s idea, which he thought was unconscionable.9


Under Fr. Bischofs’ leadership the staff discontent at the mission was resolved. Br. Wollseifer referred him as ‘an amiable Father who got the mission on its feet’.10


Bischofs also published an article in Anthropos in 1908 describing the frontier conditions of the Kimberley11 and a short note in 1909 taking issue with the simplistic way in which Spencer and Gillen had treated the tjuringas. He argued that generalisations about different groups of Aborigines were counterproductive and misleading. He was one of the first missionaries to attempt an ethnographic examination of the Kimberley.


Link to original articles . (Translation by Regina Ganter)   (Translation by Regina Ganter)


In May 1907 Bischofs went to Perth to pick up the first nine Sisters of Mercy for Beagle Bay, a welcome addition to the mission. Thereafter the government was willing to allocate removed children to the mission, and school attendance increased. In May 1909 he wrote to the Western Australian Premier to ask for an increase in funding, arguing that the mission was running up a shortfall of £500 every year and had debts with the Broome stores of £950.12 Help came after a cyclone in 1911, by which time Bachmair was mission superior, and Bischofs was Parochus in Broome.


Fr. Droste’s diary suggests that as Parochus Bischofs maintained a hands-on involvement with the mission. On one occasion he went bush with Br. Krallmann to muster cattle for sale, and he went on a picnic with the mission girls to Bernhard Well.13 According to pearling master (and later an intelligence officer) H. V. Howe, Bischofs was


‘more of the Father Nicholas type, a man of easy disposition, a good mixer. He liked a glass of sherry and liqueur at the Continental in the evenings, was no mean adversary at billiards and was very popular among all sections of the community in Broome, not averse to playing billiards and having a glass of sherry.’14


His popularity paid off when a collection in Broome in January 1912 resulted in £101, and Fr. Bischofs thought that maybe the town ‘is not as bad as its reputation’.15


But his amicable nature may also have played against him later on. The British consular agent in Kupang alleged that Bischofs visited Kupang in 1912 and made statements to the effect that the German missions in German controlled territories were better off than the German missions in the Kimberley – an observation that was later twisted into the idea that ‘Bischofs must be watched’.16


As Parochus he tried to cover the Kimberley vicariate on horseback and wrote in February 1913 that for the last three months he had done 40 miles a day in the saddle in 112-118 degrees in the shade. Halls Creek hadn’t had a priest for 24 years.17 He also travelled to Derby to hear confession, celebrate mass, and perform baptisms. 18


In September 1913 Bischofs accompanied Chief Protector Gale on a four-day inspection of the mission.19


Bischofs was in correspondence with Fr. Walter ‘the old knight-errand’ (‘der alte Kämpe’20) who counselled from his eagle’s nest at the Vogelsburg to give up Beagle Bay altogether. The Brothers and Fathers at Beagle Bay combined forces to combat this idea. Bischofs felt that ‘agriculture has no future here’ but the ‘stock will carry us through’.21


Fr. Walter had started to gather material for his book and several, including Brother Wollseifer were only too happy to send reminiscences. Bischofs also continued the work on indigenous languages commenced by Fr. Emo and the Trappists. He later passed on his material to Fr. Nekes before the latter came to the Kimberley:


Thank you for the letter, glad that you will do the language. I knew this Mr Bird personally, he was the school master on Sunday Island. Lombadina is between BB mission and Sunday Island. I had earlier Trappist writings for my work. I checked it with our blacks, and some of the words seemed unfamiliar to them, possibly because of Disaster Bay where the Trappists had many faithful helpers. I confined myself to Beagle Bay, in Lombadina and Sunday Island I think there is more of the untainted language.


I sent my manuscripts to Pater Walter when he wrote about Australia. He promised to send them Limburg for safekeeping. In Australia there should still be old things from Pater Nicolaus [Emo]. I shall also write to dear P Droste today to send the documents to you if Pater George Walter sent them to BB. I hope that everything is in Limburg as Pater Walter promised. When I sent him the work he had already written his articles, so he didn’t need them any more. I also sent him a larger work, 16 typed pages about habits and customs of the various Australian tribes. He probably didn’t need them so you can ask him for it. If you need photos about the blacks you should get someone to ask the Protector of Aborigines in Perth and Brisbane. They both have nature photos of great ethnologic value. Otherwise you can find the photos in Spencer and Gillen, the Arunda tribes of Australia. 22


Just as the mission was becoming prosperous, other forces gathered to cast their shadow.


The new Anglican mission in Wyndham and the Presbyterian mission 125 miles out of Derby are not yet affecting us. Eventually the government will surely send them some children who would have otherwise come to Beagle Bay, but for now the new missions can’t expect much because there have been attacks there, too. The government cannot expose the children to danger of being murdered. 23

In German

Die neue anglikanische Mission in Wyndham und die presbyterianische Mission 125 Meilen von Derby machen uns zur Zeit noch nichts zu schaffen. Späterhin wird die Regierung ihnen ja schon einige Kinder schicken, welche sonst nach Beagle Bay kämen, aber vor der Hand können die neuen Missionen nicht viel erwarten da auch dort Überfälle stattgefunden haben. Da dürfte die Regierung die Kinder nicht der Gefahr ermordet zu werden aussetzen.


In April 1914 there were news that the Benedictine missionaries at Drysdale River had been attacked. Emo quashed the reports, blaming the captain of the boat who was supposed to ferry provisions for landing in the wrong bay. But there had been a previous shooting, and in 1914 Fr. Bischofs reported from Broome:


The mission had received a few mixed boys from the government and one of these fired a gun from the kitchen window into the air. The blacks ran away and left the missionaries lying half dead in their blood. Pater Superior P Altimira recovered after a few months, Pater Alcaldi will always suffer from his wounds. A few days ago I had news from Bishop Torres that he will send a new Pater and Bother to the Drysdale mission so that Pater Alcaldi can return south. At the moment the blacks appear quiet. But the missionaries are too few for this dangerous place. … One can only pray for the poor missionaries. It is lucky that among the blacks there is one who has been in service with whites and is looking for a wife among them. He told the missionaries a few days ahead of the attacks. But we cannot understand why the Benedictines didn’t pay more attention to the words of the black assistant. Although the blacks had announced their attack in detail, the missionaries went without protection among them when they begged for provisions. Instead of distributing provisions to a large group one should have told them to come to the mission fence in small groups.24


Moreover, the shadow of war fell over the mission effort:


Here in Broome we are in constant agitation about the great war in Europe.25


This ‘constant agitation’ was driven by the hysteria that gripped efficacious minor officials. The Pioneer warship had paid a visit to Beagle Bay on 8 October 1914 searching for a wireless.26 In Broome ‘Fr. Boschoff’ and ‘Captain Francks had been singled out for special investigation.


A couple of years earlier, Bischofs – certainly unadvisedly – had filled in an extensive questionnaire for the information of potential migrants sent by the ‘Society for the Protection of Germans Abroad’ (an initiative dating back to 1848). Among the 50 questions were some quite unnecessary ones, such as a request to join the society as a full or ‘confidential member’, to send one’s photograph, to disclose one’s relatives in Germany, to ‘hang our posters’ or ‘disseminate our leaflets’ and to give ‘full particulars’ about any German newspapers, hotels, churches, hospitals, schools and clubs in the area. Bischofs, apparently taking the questionnaire at face value, recommended the opportunities in the pearling industry. This letter was intercepted by the censor.


During 1915 Italy entered the war and the Pallottine General in Rome took refuge in Switzerland. The Cameroon missions were lost, their staff interned in France, and no more support could be expected from the Pallottines. Bischofs went to Perth to confer with Bishop Clune about the future of the Kimberley missions, and an interview with the Chief Censor raised the issue of the questionnaire. The Censor concluded that Bischofs was ‘a very intelligent man’ but ‘never attributed any military value to the information’.27 In February 1915 the definition of ‘enemy alien’ was extended to include naturalised British subjects and Australian-born children or grandchildren of enemy aliens.


In March 1916 Edmund Piesse was appointed as Director of Military Intelligence, and in that year also Major George Steward founded Australia’s first secret service, the Counter Espionage Bureau specialising on ‘fifth column’ activities. The investigations into ‘enemy alien’ activities were stepped up.


The British Consular Agent at Kupang wrote a particularly toxic report in July 1916 t to the effect that ‘Bischofs must be watched, I have heard him make statements at Kupang in 1912’, and that the missionaries ‘use their influence with bigoted Roman Catholics from Manilla’, and offered ‘a refuge for all classes of Manillamen, mostly divers and seamen’. Their ‘picked and trusted Manillamen could convey mail to Manilla and from there to Europe’ since ‘frequent visits are made to Singapore by these men’. He added that he had visited the mission some years ago and found the missionaries ‘unable to speak English and so ignorant’ that they could well hide behind a mask of innocence.28


Shortly afterwards Commander Burrows, captain of the Encounter informed Steward that the others were ‘quite harmless’ but Bischofs was ‘too clever by half’ and found it ‘quite odd’ that he was a German with Dutch naturalization papers.29 Bischofs’ Australian naturalisation was never mentioned, and Steward wrote to Piesse that ‘I thought Bischofs, of the Trappist mission, was interned’.30 Piesse replied that as a result of the report from Kupang Bischofs had been asked to leave Broome.31


On New Years Eve of 1916 Bischofs announced to the congregation at Beagle Bay that the military authorities had ordered him to leave.32 Marcella Joseph, who was a child witnessing the event, recalls that soldiers arrived to take Fr. Bischofs away ‘we were all frightened. We all ran to the sisters’ convent after mass’.33 Sr. Nailon adds, without disclosing her sources, ‘Actually Fr Bischofs [was] removed by the crew of a navy ship.’34 It is highly unlikely that Bischofs’ departure was quite so dramatic. According to Fr. Droste he boarded the Norman pearling lugger for Broome on 15th January 1917.35 In early February 1917 Piesse was not quite sure whether or not Bischofs had left Broome, and reported on 16 February that ‘Bischofs has now arrived in Perth’.36


A telegram from a code-named agent in Perth confirmed that Bischofs left Fremantle for Sydney on 7 April 1917 on the Indarra ‘clean shaved but once wore full dark beard and moustache’. Western Australian intelligence officer Captain Corbett had given a favourable report on Bischofs, but Steward now had the priest marked out as ‘a dangerous man’ whose ‘luggage should be carefully searched’. At St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney Corbett made a visual identification to confirm Bischofs’ identity. Bischofs had received a permit to leave from the military headquarters and ‘intends leaving for South America’.37 Presumably he needed a special permit to leave because he was an Australian citizen, but had no passport.


Fr. Bischofs was posted in Armidale for the remainder of the war. In March 1919 he wrote to Fr. Creagh that ‘war is over but the peace treaty will not reconcile the nations’ and that the position of the Kimberley missions was still unresolved.38 This was seen as another ominous statement requiring underlining, quoting, reporting and interpreting. The last intelligence report on Bischofs, dated 21 Sept 1921, was annotated that he had been issued an Australian passport and ‘gone to Chili on mission work’ [sic]. This was the first and only acknowledgement in his file that he was an Australian citizen. In Armidale he was cordially farewelled by his confreres and congregation with a gold watch. He was not going to Chile. Read more


Fr. Bischofs had never felt part of the Limburg fraternity:


You once asked me which Province I belong to. Well I wanted to be in the Italiana but was told my letter arrived in Rome too late and the places in the Pia Societa had already been allocated. So I was tucked into Limburg because I happened to be at Beagle Bay and Beagle Bay happened to belong to Limburg at the time. Unfortunately I have very little in the way of filial attachments to Limburg.


In German

 Früher haben Sie mal gefragt zu welcher Provinz ich gehöre. Nun ich wollte zur Italiana gehören aber man sagte mein Schreiben sei zu spät in Rom angekommen als die Plätze in der Pia Societa vergeben wurden, und so wurde ich nach Limburg gesteckt, da ich gerade in Beagle Bay weilte und BB gerade zu Limburg gehörte. Leider habe ich für Limburg sehr wenig Sohnesgefühle.39


From 1922 to 1928 he was rector at the Holy Cross Church in Milwaukee and in February 1929 he left for South Africa and worked in the parish of St. Saviour in Oudtshoorn for over 20 years. In 1934 he became Regional Superior and retired just before World War II, by which time he was ‘frail and unable to work’. His last eight years were spent in a rest home in Rosemoor, George, where he died at age 80. 40


‘Mit innigem Wunsche dem guten Missionarfreunde P. M. Kugelmann,
ergebenst, P. Bischof PSM.


With sincerest wishes to the friend of missionaries, Fr. Max Kugelmann,

most sincerely yours Fr. Bischof PSM (n.d.)


Source: UI-902 Bischofs ZAPP


6 November 1905


Mein lieber und hochw. Pater Prov.

Noi non ci connosciamo, tante volte abbiamo litigato a Roma, Lei era Boero ed io inglese o meglio il contrario. Lei forse non si ricorda ma io mi ricordo bene.

[We don’t know each other but have at times disputed in Rome, you were the Boer and I was the English, or at least the adversary. You will not remember, but I remember it very well.]

Alles was ich eigentlich von der Mission sagen könnte kann ich doch schlecht berichten wenn ich als Visitator nach B.B. gekommen wäre, würde die Sache ja ein wenig verschieden sein aber jetzt bin ich einfach Missionar und so kann ich nicht aus der Schule schwatzen, wie ich es als Visitator vielleicht hätte tun müssen. Ich habe zuviel Erfahrungen bei den Pallottinern gemacht und die haben mich gelehrt vorsichtig zu sein; natürlich werde ich ganz und gar meine Pflicht tun aber auch nichts mehr, denn soviel ich erfahren habe, darf man bei den guten Pallottinern nicht zu offen sein sonst könnt es einem leicht schief gehen. … da man nach meiner Erfahrung bei den Pallottinern noch nicht richtig zu unterscheiden weiß zwischen notwendigen und nicht notwendigen Sachen, welche trotz Amtsgeheimnis veröffentlicht werden dürfen. Ich bin etwas kurios … und wenn ich einmal hereingfallen bin so suche ich mich ein andermal vor einer ähnlichen Dummheit zu schützen. Das bin ich; und nun etwas von den Anderen.

Den P. W. kennt man in Limburg besser als ich ihn kenne, die Brüder kennt man dort ganz gut, nur hat man nicht nach dieser besseren Erkenntniss gehandlet als man die hiesige Mission mit eben diesen Brüdern beschenkt hat. Dies war einst, und jetzt? Otempora omores. P.W. arbeitet fleißig aber die Brüder wollen von ihm nichts wissen. Viel haben in dieser Beziehung die Fremden geschadet, wo Brüder sind da können keine Fremden leben und herrschen wie das hier in BB eine Zeit lang gewesen ist. Auch jetzt haben wir wieder ein paar Skandälchen gehabt wegen den Fremden, und wir werden lange an dem Nachteile zu kauen haben, den uns diese Helden eingebrockt haben.

Ein fremder Priester welcher uns hier vertrat [pencilled annotation: P Russel] hat sich mal ordentlich über den Durst getrunken. Zwei Wochen lang ist der Kerl hier herumgelaufen, natürlich bleibt das für lange Zeit ein großes Ärgernis. Der Schulmeister hat es noch schlimmer gemacht, den habe ich aber sofort wegschicken lassen. Der P Russel sitzt nun in BB und meinen Sie vielleicht daß unter solchen Umständen aus der hiesigen Mission etwas werden kann? Ich glaube es nicht.

Hätten wir anfangs mit unseren eigenen Leuten arbeiten können, so hätten wir sicherlich jetzt eine recht schöne Mission. … Es ist ganz sicher daß unsere Mission einmal einzig dastehen wird wenn wir uns nur durch die augenblicklichen Schwierigkeiten durchschlagen können. Auf jeden Fall müssen wir mehr Priester haben, sonst können wir nichts ausrichten. Schwestern werden wir wahrscheinlich von Australien erhalten, die deutschen Schwestern könnten uns hier nur sehr wenig nützen. Soviel PW [Pater Walter] mir gesagt hat, sind Ihm Schwestern für anfangs nächstes Jahr (1906) versprochen worden. … Nächster Tage wird der PW die Abrechnung schicken, ich hatte gemeint daß dieselbe schon längst nach Limburg gewandert sei. Manchmal ist es hier sehr schwer die Sachen zusammen zu machen, denn wenn ich in BB bin kann ich höchstens alle 5 bis 6 Wochen mit Broome shriftlich oder mündlich verkehren. Die Entfernung beträgt 99 Meilen und ohne richtige Ver.....von Broome aus hat man etwas bessere Verbindung mit Perth wo der eifrige P Withe [White] die Pallottiner verbreitet. Die Kirche daselbst wird bald fertig sein. Er bezahlt alles mit in der Umgegend gebetteltem Gelde. ....

Dem Pater W [in pencil: Walter] habe ich mal gesagt was die Brüder alles von ihm denken, natürlich war er sehr erstaunt über meine Eröffnungen. Wir haben uns jetzt dahin vereinigt daß ich BB übernehmen werde während er hier in Broome bleiben wird. Hoffentlich wird es auf diese Weise etwas besser gehen mit den Brüdern. Ich habe jetzt schon mehrere Monate allein in BB geschafft und ich bin ziemlich gut fertig geworden. Aber eines ist sicher, auch wenn ich oder ein anderer mit diesen Brüdern zu schaffen hätte so müßten doch Br Bernhard und Six fortkommen, denn mit ihnen ist es immerhin schwer richtig auszukommen. Für den Augenblick werde ich schon fertig werden, aber sehr lange kann es doch mit den beiden nicht gehen, denn nach meiner Ansicht haben die beiden einen Fehler den man im Noviziate nicht durchgehenlassen darf. Sie wollen herrschen und wo es solche Leute gibt dort kann nie wahres geimeinschaftliches Leben blühen. Späterhin wird sich mein Urteil bestätigen. Hätte PW sich früher dieser beiden entledigen können, ich bin sicher er hätte nicht soviele Schwierigkeiten gehabt. Ich glaube daß man die anderen Brüder noch alle halten kann. Das religiöse Leben wird gut gepflegt, in dieser Beziehung bin ich mit den Brüdern sehr zufrieden. Auch die Arbeiten machen sie vortrefflich und zwar alle ohne Ausnahme. Mit mir scheinen sie auch zufrieden zu sein, nur eines wollen sie von mir, was ich natürlich nicht tun kann .. ich sollte den PW hinausschmeißen und da kann ich ihnen doch wohl nicht zu Gefallen sein, denn ich kann und werde niemals gegen meinen eigenen Obern vorgehen .. dadurch würde ich ja nur meine eigene Autorität ruinieren und sicherlich keinen Frieden schaffen.


Das große Unglück mit Lennartz41 hat uns Alle mit Schrecken erfüllt, möge Gott geben daß die deutsche Provinz es recht bald überstehen könne. Meine Ansicht über Australien ist dass die Mission mit der Zeit ein schönes Feld für unsere Tätigkeit werden kann nur muß mit Mannschaften geholfen werden. Das Geld wird sich schon finden lassen.

In christlicher Confratur Bischofs Josef PSM




Perth 11. 5. 07

Hochwürdiger P. Provinzial


Bitte zurückschicken


Seit einigen Tagen bin ich auf Wanderschaft. Die Schwesternfrage scheint jetzt endgültiger Lösung sicher. So Gott will werde ich am 25. dieses Monates 9 Schwestern von St. John of God nach B. B. M. bringen. Hoffentlich wird nun die Mission besser vorangehen.

Die Regierung hat auch mehr Kinder versprochen, wovon für unsere Mission stets viel abhängt. Die Geldschwierigkeiten sind noch immer ziemlich drückend, hoffe jedoch bald gute Nachricht von P. Walter und P. White’s Bettelreise zu erhalten. Der Bischof hier ist uns noch stets recht gut gesinnt und arbeitet so viel er kann für BBM.Sonst geht es noch gut in der Mission. Brüder sind noch alle recht gesund und munter. Sixt hätte

-2 –

ich schon lange fortgeschickt, wenn ich das nötige Geld hätte. Es geht halt nicht mehr mit ihm. Er lebt ziemlich getrennt von den anderen. Er hat Krach gehabt mit P. Walter, wurde excommuniciert und seit der Zeit geht er auch nicht mehr zu den hl. Sakramenten. Zur Messe und zu den Übungen gehr er auch per forma weil ich ihn darum gebeten habe. Bei meiner Rückkehr werde ich noch mal versuchen ihn zu den Sakramenten zu bringen, wenn er es auch nur aus Liebe zu mir tut; es ist dann stets noch besser als Ärgernis.

P. Thomas [Bachmair] hat sich auch gut eingelebt und es gefällt ihm besser als im Anfang. Mir geht es noch recht gut. Bin zufrieden und wohl. Wir haben jetzt Winter und Morgens ist es empfindlich kalt.

Beten Sie für uns.

Herzliche Grüße an alle bes. Pater Rector

tu Christo Fr. Bischofs



The Catholic Press, 15 September 1921 (Newspaper articles found in Trove reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Australia.)


On Friday afternoon, 9th inst., at the Bishop's House, Armidale, his Lordship the Bishop and the priests of Armidale presented Rev. Father Bischofs with a gold watch as a memento of the happy time spent by him in Armidale. His Lordship Dr. O'Connor referred to the excellent qualities of Father Bischofs as a missionary priest, and the excellent services rendered to the diocese by him during the past four and a half years, particularly in the outlying portions of the diocese, and it would be impossible to express the regret which both he and his brother priests felt at his departure. The Rev. Father Carroll, Administrator of the diocese, supplemented his Lordship's remarks, and thanked Father Bischofs for the great assistance he had given him in the parish. The Rev. Dr. Coleman, of Uralla, and the Rev. Fathers Foley, Donleavy and O'Brien also referred in eulogistic terms to the many good qualities of Father Bischofs. Father Bischofs suitably responded. On the evening of the same day the laity of the parish organised a farewell to Father Bischofs in the Catholic club rooms, and the building was well-filled. A presentation was made to Father Bischofs of an address and a wallet of notes. His Lordship Dr. O 'Connor and members of the clergy were present on the stage during the presentation, and his Lordship again took the opportunity of publicly expressing his appreciation for Father Bischofs services, and his great regret at his departure. Father Bischofs delivered a most touching and beautiful address of farewell. Father Bischofs left Armidale on Saturday evening for Sydney, and will sail for Europe by the Medie.42




Anthropos, Vol. 4 Nr. 1, 1909:252 (in German, translated by Regina Ganter)


Churinga’ and Totems in North-west Australia

The ethnological researches in this area demand particularly high levels of thoroughness and therefore much time to properly understand the many peculiarities that exist side by side. Heated battles are likely to emerge among the experts about the sacred pegs – I have not yet found a suitable German term for them. Certainly Spencer and Gillen have taken the issue too lightly and thereby misinformed many people, by not giving enough attention to the differences between individual tribes, which is at any much neglected.


Every tribe has a separate existence and ought to be studied as such. For example at Beagle Bay (Niol Niol) there are completely different laws about the sacred pegs than among the Derby and Broome blacks. In Broome they are permitted to be given to young people before initiation, but not among the Niol Niol. Two years ago a claim was published in a Perth newspaper that since the blacks of that area had totems they must also exist among the Niol Niol. But there are none known in this area and I wrote to that effect to the author of that article two years ago. One really doesn’t have to try very hard to notice the absence of totems here. P. Bischofs PSM, Beagle Bay.





1 31 March 1916 Captain Intelligence Section General Staff to HQ 5th Military district, in Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

2 Bischofs, Joseph [P] P1 Nr 12, ZAPP.

3 Sprecher am Niederrhein ‘Von Rom nach Australien’ (From Rome to Australia), 2 December 1905:1; 24 June 1905; 1 July 1905; 8 July 1905; 26 August 1905; ‘Briefe eines Dülkener Missionars’ (Letters from a Dülken missionary) 28 October 1905; 4 November 1905; 11 November 1905; 18 November 1905; 25 Nov 1905; 2 December 1905; 9. 12. 1905; 16. 12 1905; 23. 12. 1905; 30. 12. 1905; 5. 1. 1906; 13. 1 1906, and ‘Von Genua nach Neapel’ (no date) in Bischofs, Joseph [P] P1 Nr 12 ZAPP.

4 6 November 1905 Bischofs to Kugelmann in Australien 1900-1907 B7d,l (3) ZAPP.

5 6 November 1905 Bischofs to Kugelmann in Australien 1900-1907 B7d,l (3) ZAPP.

6 Bischofs at Beagle Bay to Provinzial (typed) 4. 2. 1907Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

7 Bachmair at BB to Kugelmann 20. October 1907, in Australien, Nachlass Kugelmann, B7d.l (1) ZAPP.

8Walter Ernest Joseph Futton to the Very Revd Father-General, PSM, Rome [Kugelmann], 17 February 1907, Australien 1900-1907 B7d,l (3) ZAPP.

9 Bachmair at BB to Kugelmann 20. October 1907, in Australien, Nachlass Kugelmann, B7d.l (1) ZAPP.

10 Wollseifer to Kugelmann, 15 Juni 1910, Nachlass Kugelmann, B7d.l (1) ZAPP.

11 Die Niol-Niol, ein Eingeborenenstamm in Nordwest-Australien Author(s): P. Jos. Bischofs Source: Anthropos, Bd. 3, H. 1. (1908), pp. 32-40 Published by: Anthropos Institute Stable URL: Accessed: 17/10/2013.

12 Bischofs, PA to NJ Moore CMB, Premier, Beagle Bay Mission 6 May 1909 in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d,l(1) ZAPP.

13 Droste diary, 16 and 17 April 1914, ZAPP.

14 Sr Brigida Nailon CSB Nothing is wasted in the household of God – Vincent Pallotti’s Vision in Australia 1901-2001, Richmond: Spectrum 2001:34.

15 Bischofs to Provincial, 9 January 1912, Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d, l (1) ZAPP.

16 19 July 1916 British consular agent, Kupang C. M. Pilliet to British consul General in Batavia, W.R. D. Beckett in Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

17 Bischofs to Kugelmann, 17 February 1913, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d,l (1) ZAPP.

18 Bischofs to Provincial, 9 January 1912, Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d, l (1) ZAPP.

19 Droste diary 8-11 December 1913 ZAPP.

20 Bischofs to Pater Max (Kugelmann), 9 February 1914, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d,l(1) ZAPP.

21 Bischofs to Kugelman and Council, 6 March 1922, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d, l (1) ZAPP.

22 Bishofs in Milwaukee to Nekes, 28 November 1927 in Nekes, Australien B7d,l(2) ZAPP.

23 Bischofs to Kugelmann n.d. 1914, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d, l (1) ZAPP.

24 Bischofs to Kugelmann n.d. 1914, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d, l (1) ZAPP.

25 Bischofs to Kugelmann n.d. 1914, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d, l (1) ZAPP.

26 Droste diary, 8 October 1914 ZAPP.

27 31 March 1916 Captain Intelligence Section General Staff to HQ 5th Military district Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

28 19 July 1916 British consular agent, Kupang C. M. Pilliet to British consul General in Batavia, W.R. D. Beckett Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

29 7 September 1916 Navy to Major George Steward CMG Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

30 3 October 1916 Steward to Piesse Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

31 7 October 1916 Piesse to Major Steward Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

32 Droste diary, 1 January 1917 ZAPP.

33 Marcella Joseph, in Sr Brigida Nailon and Fr. Francis Huegel, This is your Place – Beagle Bay Mission, Pallottine Centre, Broome, 1990.

34 Sr Brigida Nailon CSB Nothing is wasted in the household of God – Vincent Pallotti’s Vision in Australia 1901-2001, Richmond: Spectrum 2001:51.

35 Droste diary, 1 January 1917 ZAPP.

36 8 February 1917 and 16 February 1917 Edmund Piesse, Director of Military Intelligence, to Major Steward Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

37 26 April 1917 Steward Melbourne to Mitchell in Sydney Father Bischoff – German Mission Station at Beagle Bay A367 1917/50 Barcode 61882 NAA.

38 6 March 1919 Bischofs from Bishop’s house Armidale to Creagh, Sr Brigida Nailon CSB Nothing is wasted in the household of God – Vincent Pallotti’s Vision in Australia 1901-2001, Richmond: Spectrum 2001.

39 Bischofs to Pater Max (Kugelmann), 9 February 1914, in Australien: Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d,l(1) ZAPP.

40Bischofs, Joseph [P] P1 Nr 12 ZAPP and Pallottine Necrology MS of the Pallottine Centre, Rossmoyne.

41 Lennartz builders who were constructing the Limburg monastery declared bankruptcy in 1905, and as a result the Pallottines lost 200,000 Mark. Antonia Leugers Eine geistliche Unternehmensgeschichte – Die Limburger Pallottiner-Provinz 1892-1932, St. Ottilien EOS Verlag 2004:462ff.

42 "Armidale Diocese." The Catholic Press (NSW) 15 Sep 1921: 32. Web. 30 Sep 2013