BA Santamaria

Bartholomew Augustine Santamaria, usually known as B. A. Santamaria (14 August 1915 – 25 February 1998), was a political activist and journalist.

Santamaria was born in Melbourne. The son of a greengrocer who was an immigrant from the Aeolian Islands in Italy, Santamaria was educated at St Ambrose’s Catholic Primary School in Brunswick, behind his father’s shop, and later at St Joseph’s College in North Melbourne by the Christian Brothers. He finished his secondary education at St Kevin’s College as dux of the school.

While his background was Italian, his intellectual formation was in the largely Irish Catholic education system. He was bright, studying arts and law at Melbourne University.

After graduating, he did not practise law, but worked instead for the church as a layman for the Australasian National Secretariat of Catholic Action.

Catholic involvement in Australian political culture in the early part of the 20th century had been somewhat marginal; for example, the Federation conventions contained few Catholic participants. But the 1930s saw a flourishing of Catholic intellectual and cultural life in Australia, such as the Campion Society, of which Santamaria was a member.


Gregory Melleuish, Bob Santamaria, ‘the most significant’ figure in Australian politics never to have been in parliament (The Conversation)

David Broadbent, BA (Bob) Santamaria (Hall of Fame, Melbourne Press Club)

BA Santamaria (Wikipedia)

Book given as a wedding present to BA Santamaria and his wife Helen (nee Power) on the occasion of their marriage in Hawthorn, Victoria, October 1939 and signed by members, including Frank Keating, G McLaughlin, Ken Mitchell, Kevin Kelly, Gerard Heffey, David J Nelson, K J Wallace, Gerard McDonald, John McEncroe, Vincent Archdeacon, ?, Davern Wright, John Spillane, J Downey, Frank Maher, John Maloney, Alban Pisani, Stan Ingerswen, Tom Butler. Courtesy of the Santamaria family.