FUNERALS of yesteryear were on a much grander scale and attendance than those that occur today.
Our photo this week is from a postcard from a private collection. It features the funeral procession watched by a large number of the public who lined the route to the crypt in Bathurst cemetery which was to house the remains of the Bishop in April 1928.
St Patrick's School can be seen to the right and the Bishop's residence in the centre. This same photo appeared in the Times newspaper on Wednesday, April 11.
The Times reported on the death of His Lordship: "The Catholic Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael O'Farrell died at the Orange Presbytery at 9.30 last evening, Tuesday 3rd April, 1928."
It had come as a great shock to the Catholic community throughout the diocese.
Following his death, his remains lay in state in St Joseph's Church in Orange until Good Friday at 2pm, when his body was brought by road to Bathurst.
His cortege was met at Dunkeld by clergy from Bathurst as well as a number of Catholic laity and then moved to the Roman Catholic Cathedral in William Street.
The Bishop then lay in state here until Easter Monday, the day of the funeral.
The public had already been informed that there were to be no wreaths or flowers as was the practice with Bishops and priests.
Members of the Bathurst Band were requested to be part of the procession and were asked to meet at St Patrick's School in Keppel Street near the Catholic Cathedral.
During the service, mourners were told of what the Bishop had achieved over the previous seven years.
Bishop O'Farrell was described as a gifted administrator who planned and calculated so wisely, who laboured so hard and unselfishly, that he had never a thought of himself when the salvation of a soul was in question.
Others looked on him as an earnest preacher from whose mouth the Divine Word lost none of its force. Gratitude was expressed that with all his gifts and graces, the Bishop was considered a very human person.
From St Stanislaus' College, the Very Rev. Dr. Wigmore, CM.; Rev. Fathers Teppleton, CM.; Souter, C.M.; Martin, G.M.; Phillips, CM. and Howard, CM. were inside the cathedral.
Other representatives attended from such places as Wellington, Dubbo, Gulgong, Mudgee, St Vincent's Ashfield, Forbes, Trundle and Perthville, as well as Bathurst.
Many had arrived on the train and were met at the Bathurst Railway Station and transported around by local Catholic families who owned cars.
Eight members of the Guilds and Hibernians carried the casket from the St Michael and John's Catholic Cathedral to the hearse, while Bishop Norton, assisted by a large number of priests, chanted a portion of the burial service.
There was a very large crowd assembled out the front who completely blocked the pedestrian traffic, while, for a time, the street was a congested mass of people, all anxious to obtain view of the proceedings.
What was described in the Bathurst Times as one of the most impressive scenes was that created by the concourse of Sisters of the various convents from Bathurst, Perthville, Kelso and Orange assembled at the northern side of the cathedral who then marched, lit candles in hand, from the convent gates to where they formed in double file and stool with bowed heads. It was a spectacle of that deep reverence never to be forgotten, they reported.
The order of the funeral procession had already been set out so when the funeral procession moved off, it had assumed enormous proportions.
Other churches acknowledged the death of the Catholic Bishop. In St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church on the corner of George and Howick streets, Rev. A. Campbell Grieve informed parishioners that the Catholic Church in the district had sustained loss and suffering through the sudden passing of its official head, the late Dr. M. J. O'Farrell, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.