WHILE AGO someone asked me if I could identify a half-remembered hymn book from his boarding school days in Sydney. It turned out to be the good old Living Parish Hymn Book, a diminutive little red book once widespread across Sydney, now washing up into the bookshelves of those who like the “old hymns”.
It was compiled by Rev. Anthony Newman in the early 1960s. The first edition was printed in 1961 so included Latin prayers for Benediction. Later editions include the New English Mass Text, with a glimpse into the changing translations in the early years. Most editions have little to no Latin, except for the title of some hymns in English translation.
The book has an old fashioned flavour, but avoids sentimental excess. Some hymns still retain “thee” and “thy”. Some more modern compositions use “you” and “your”.
The compiler seems to like Msgr Ronald Knox. Blessed Cardinal Newman also is well represented. There are a few Gelineau psalms.
The hymnbook is notable for the inclusion of the Hymns for the Year of Grace by James McAuley and Richard Connolly. These are some of the best hymns to come out of Australia, but all difficult to find online due to licensing considerations, except Holy Father God of Might from Richard Connolly available through Small Church Music.
The little pew book came first, starting in 1961. The Accompaniment Book was first printed in 1964. All the copies I have seen are labelled “Low Setting”, perhaps to placate those who will forever maintain the organ is playing too high. The Preface gives some guidelines for choosing hymns – no mention of the propers, though they use the terms “Introit” and “Gradual”.