Roy Boylan (1918-1979) 


“Go tell everyone!” 

Two and a half years in a POW camp in Bavaria during World War II was a formative experience for Roy Boylan. Life was hard. During that time, he also encountered the German aid agency Miserior. He returned to Australia well aware of the social problems of the time, both here and abroad, and with a drive to do something about it. 

In the 1950s, Communism in the trade union movement was perceived as a threat. Through ‘the movement’ and industrial groups, Roy joined in the successful campaign to return them to non-doctrinaire control and to function along the lines of Catholic Social Teaching. In 1956, he founded the Paulian Association which were lay formation pastoral groups which met regularly to discuss scripture, the world and the personal part each person played in their community. It was modelled closely on the Cardjin theory of ‘see judge act.’ Roy always emphasised the ‘act.’ Parish Paulian groups often met with Roy collectively when ‘Go tell everyone’ virtually became the theme song of the Association. 

He saw the problems in Oceania, particularly Papua New Guinea and, in 1961, formed the Paulian Lay Missionary Society (PALMS) and there ensued a stream of enthusiastic lay people who joined the work. 

In the early 1960s, the United Nations was publicising the abject poverty of substantial portions of the world’s people. Roy was a central figure in the formation of Australian Catholic Relief which later became Caritas Australia. It was Roy who came up with the iconic name ‘Project Compassion.’ 


Roy was always a ‘doer’ and was a substantial force in the establishment of what is now Caritas Australia.