VALE ARCHBISHOP FRANK LITTLE DD KBE
The former Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Thomas Francis Little died peacefully in his
sleep on Monday night (7th April)at his home in Camberwell at the age of 82 years.
He was appointed the sixth Archbishop of Melbourne by Pope Paul VI, succeeding
Cardinal Knox on the 1 July 1974. He resigned from the position in 1996 for health
He is predeceased by his parents Gerald and Kathleen (nee McCormack) and his brother
Jack and is survived by his brother Gerald.
He was a passionate supporter of the Essendon Football Club.
Melbourne’s Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart said today that the death of Archbishop Little
will be felt deeply by many people in Melbourne.
“Archbishop Little will be fondly remembered as a dedicated caring leader of the Church
for 22 years,” Archbishop Hart said today.
“His sincere pastoral style and concern for his people was admired by all who met him.”
Archbishop Little was born in Werribee on 30 November 1925.
He entered Corpus Christi College, then at Werribee, in 1943 to begin studies for the
priesthood. In 1947, he continued his studies at Propaganda Fide College, Rome, and
was ordained to the priesthood in the chapel of the College on 3 October 1950, by
Cardinal Fumasoni Biondi.
For the next three years he pursued his doctoral studies through the Urban University in
Rome and was awarded his doctorate in 1953.
On his return to Melbourne in 1953 he was appointed as assistant priest to Carlton, then
assistant at St Patrick's Cathedral in 1955. From 1956 to 1959, he worked as Secretary
to the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Romolo Carboni, in Sydney. He returned to
Melbourne as assistant priest to St Patrick's Cathedral in 1959, Dean of the Cathedral in
1965 and parish priest of St Ambrose's, Brunswick in 1971.
During these years he was directly and enthusiastically involved in pastoral work with
the large number of migrants finding a new home in Australia, especially with the Italian
In Melbourne at this time he was actively involved in a wide range of activities. He was a
lecturer in the Provincial seminary, a member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Affairs
Commission, a member and Chair of Victorian Action for World Development, Episcopal
Vicar for the Apostolate of the Laity and chaplain to teams of Our Lady.
He was ordained as a Bishop on 21 February 1973 by Cardinal James Knox during the
International Eucharistic Congress held in Melbourne that year. Residing in Moonee
Ponds as Parish Priest, and as a regional Bishop, he was given pastoral responsibility for
the north western region of Melbourne.
In 1977 he was created a Knight Commander of the British Empire.
On the 10 April 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Theology by the
Melbourne College of Divinity.
Funeral arrangements will be posted on the archdiocesan website