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Biographical entry Curran, John Milne (1859 - 1928)

Clonmel, Ireland
29 June 1928
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Geologist and Priest
Alternative Names
  • Curran, Michael (Also known as)


John Curran adopted the name Michael for much of his adult life. He was a priest, geologist and lecturer in New South Wales during the 1880s and 1890s. Curran published many geographical reports in the top publications of the time and was awarded a travelling lectureship in the Department of Public Instruction. His book The Geology of Sydney and the Blue Mountains which was published in 1899 became the standard reference for this area.


Curran migrated to Australia in around 1875 as part of a drive to set up a seminary to train Australian and Irish priests of the diocesan clergy. During his six years at the Bathurst seminary, Curran became interested in geology - a passion he never lost. He was ordained in 1881 and sent to Dubbo as the diocese's school inspector. While in Dubbo Michael Curran began detailed geological research and his article On fossil plants from Dubbo was published in the prestigious Linnean Society's Proceedings. His other publications and surveys dealt with the geology and petrology of Bathurst and other areas and included studies on leucite-basalt rocks and carboniferous and Silurian fossils.

Michael Curran had built a strong reputation as an outstanding geologist, so was appointed lecturer in geology and mineralogy at Sydney Technical College (1897-1902). During this time he still maintained his clergy duties at Bathurst and went on numerous field trips. After leaving the University, Curran was appointed government geologist.


c. 1875
Life event - Migrated to Australia (New South Wales)
1875 - 1881
Education - Student at St Charles Borromeo Seminary in Bathurst
1881 - 1884
Career position - Inspector of Schools of the Bathurst diocese, New South Wales
Career position - Priest in the Cobar mining district
c. 1886 -
Career position - Priest of the Bathurst diocese including Dubbo
Award - Medal and travelling lectureship received for the paper Contribution to the microscopic structure of some Australian Rocks from the Royal Society of New South Wales
Career position - Geological survey of the Bungonis natural mineral spring
c. 1897 - 1902
Career position - Lecturer in Geology and Mineralogy at the Sydney Technical College
Career position - The Geology of Sydney and the Blue Mountains published in Sydney
1903 -
Career position - Government Geologist in New South Wales

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Powerhouse Museum

  • Curran, John (Michael) Milne (1859-1928), 1887 - 1894, MRS 4, MRS 202; Powerhouse Museum. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Curran, J. Milne, 'On a Natural Mineral Spring at Bungonia', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 28 (1894), 54-59. Details


McCarthy, G.J.