The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Australia on 5 March 1854 at St Francis’ Church, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne by Fr Gerald Ward.
 
Fr Gerald Archbold Ward was born in London 1806 and migrated to Australia on the 787-ton Digby on 7 September 1850 with Fr Patrick Dunne and 42 other passengers. Fr Ward died the 14 January 1858 at the age of 52.