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In conversation with Andrew Hamilton SJ

  • 29 June 2022
As part of the 30th anniversary of Eureka Street in 2021, and as we have launched Eureka Street Plus in 2022, I’ve been speaking with the team who first started the publication in 1991, alongside various people who have played a part in the Eureka Street story.

The name Andrew Hamilton SJ might be the most recognisable in Australian Catholic media. A Jesuit priest, Andrew Hamilton is the consulting editor of Eureka Street and has been part of the Eureka Street community for the entirety of its existence. He contributed an article to the very first issue of Eureka Street, a piece on Burmese refugees. 

With a weekly column, Hamilton’s work is close to the heart of Eureka Street. Much loved by the readership, his pieces are known for quiet wisdom, balance, and regard for the dignity of all people, especially those most affected by whatever issue is being discussed. Marked by a genuine respect for his interlocutors, his work poses questions designed to inspire reflection and discussion. His work is deeply thought and deeply felt.

But his Eureka Street column represents only a part of his prolific output. He also writes for Australian Catholics, Madonna magazine, and writes pieces on prominent feast days throughout the year which are made available to Catholic publications around Australia.

In all his work, regardless of publication, Andrew shares considerations on human dignity, the importance of accessible language and his hopes for a better world. Every pricky moral question and its implications are debated with a tender approach, placing compassion and care for people at the forefront. ‘I’ve written extensively on refugee issues, something I feel extremely strongly about.’

'It’s better to try and find an angle which people to hold quite divergent sides of the same topic. Both groups can find a way in without direct conflict, there’s something in it for both of them.'

In this interview, Hamilton discusses his concern for refugees, his writing schedule and how he’s able to be so prolific. An avid cyclist, he also touches on how to make a bicycle spontaneously combust while riding through Scotland.

Some people like to drop the names of illustrious people they’ve met and places they’ve visited in conversation, often symptoms of an over-inflated sense of self. Andy Hamilton is the opposite. He’s lived a vibrant life of scholarship and adventure – read through the backlog of his column and he’ll drop breadcrumbs hinting at this – but