Wellems, Anton Fr. (1904-1968)

Prepared by: 
Regina Ganter
Birth / Death: 

born 19. 4. 1904 Altstrimmig (Hunsrück)

died 7 July 1968 Altstrimmig, age 64

Fr. Wellems spent 32 years in the Australian Pallottine missions, mostly at Tardun and Wandering.

Fr Wellems
Source: Newsclipping in
Wellems, Anton, P. ZAPP



Anton Wellems entered the Pallottine gymnasium in Ehrenbreitstein at age 14. He received his habit in May 1924 and made his first profession in April 1926. He studied theology in Limburg and was ordained on 13 July 1930.1 He entered in the youth work the Pallottines were conducting in the 1930s, first in Rheinberg on the lower Rhine and then in Rößel (eastern Prussia).


He departed for Australia on 12 June 1934 and after short period in Broome was sent to Tardun to oversee the farm establishment. During World War II he was placed as parish priest in Morawa, and in 1950 Archbishop Prendiville appointed him as superior of Wandering mission, where he had a difficult relationship with the female teachers2 and tried to head of government removals of children once they completed school.3


In April 1966 he took his first holiday in Germany, after several operations for his failing eyesight. When he decided to remain in Germany he received many letters from indigenous children and youth. In March 1967 he was assigned as resident priest in a hospital in Polch and died suddenly during a holiday with his family.4





1Antonia Leugers Eine geistliche Unternehmensgeschichte – Die Limburger Pallottiner-Provinz 1892-1932, St. Ottilien EOS Verlag 2004:255.

2 Edmund John Gallagher ‘Wandering Mission as pat of the Pallottine Mission effort in assimilating the Australian Aboriginal’ thesis for Teacher’s Higher Certificate, 1971:50.

3 Sr Brigida Nailon CSB Nothing is wasted in the household of God – Vincent Pallotti’s Vision in Australia 1901-2001, Richmond: Spectrum 2001:274.

4 Pallottine Necrology.