Edward Francis Kelly was born in Wellington, NSW, on 22nd March, 1917. He was the ninth of Denis and Elizabeth Kelly’s ten children. For education opportunities, the family moved to Sydney, and there Edward attended several schools, completing his final years through the Marist Brothers at Kogarah. He entered the Novitiate of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Douglas Park, and in 1938 was sent to Rome to continue his studies at the Gregorian University. He obtained his Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology and returned home just as World War II was beginning. He completed his studies in Victoria and was ordained on 10th March, 1942, at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.
Father Kelly held many positions within the Sydney Archdiocese. From 1948-54 he was on the staff of the Apostolic Delegation at North Sydney. On 25th March, 1969, he was consecrated bishop at St Mary’s Cathedral, and took responsibility for the Western region parishes of Sydney. That same year he also held the position of Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Gilroy. With the death of Bishop Brennan, the Toowoomba See became vacant, and Bishop Kelly was appointed successor in 1975. On 11th February, 1976, he was installed in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toowoomba, by Archbishop Francis Rush of Brisbane.
Throughout his Episcopate great support was given to the Youth of the Diocese, he established Concannon College Residential Complex at the USQ and the James Byrne Retreat between Toowoomba and Highfields. Bishop Kelly was also a member of the Australian Committee for Mass Media, and their representative to Serra International. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Southern Queensland in 1993.
Upon his seventy-fifth birthday, Bishop Kelly notified the Holy See of his retirement and moved to Tugun in early 1993. On 16th June, 1994, he celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal ordination in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toowoomba. After a short illness, Bishop Edward Kelly passed away at Currumbin Hospital, on 2nd September, 1994, aged 77 years. He is buried in the Toowoomba Lawn Cemetery.
See Also: Past Bishops of Toowoomba