This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983
Morgan Peter Jageurs (1862-1932), monumental mason and Irish patriot, was born on 10 October 1862 at Tullamore, King's (Offaly) County, Ireland, only son of Peter Jageurs, monumental mason, and his wife Mary, née Casey. The family migrated to Queensland in 1865, moved to Sydney in 1868 and finally to Melbourne two years later. Morgan was educated at St Brigid's School, Fitzroy, and Christian Brothers' College, East Melbourne, of which he was joint dux. He was apprenticed to several trades and in 1883-84 attended the National Gallery Art School. He travelled extensively in Europe before joining his father in 1892 in Jageurs & Son, monumental sculptors, marble and granite merchants, Sydney Road, Parkville. The business carried on a large trade in ecclesiastical furnishings as well as monumental work. On 17 February 1892 he married a teacher, Bridget Maria Bartley, at St Patrick's Cathedral where he had been an altar boy.
Jageurs was prominent in almost every Irish cause. In 1881 he joined the committee of the Victorian branch of the Irish National (Land) League, later the United Irish League, and became its very active secretary, working closely with Joseph Winter and Dr N. M. O'Donnell in support of the Home Rule movement. He was on close terms with the Irish leaders Michael Davitt (who was godfather to his elder son), John Dillon and the Redmond brothers. Jageurs was a student of Irish language and literature and an enthusiast for Irish music, art and sports; professionally he was noted for his Celtic memorials. A founder of the Celtic Club, he encouraged close relations between the Celtic societies. He was an exemplary Catholic, worked vigorously for the Catholic Young Men's Societies movement and was president of the St Patrick's Society in 1889-1900. He wrote widely for the Irish-Catholic press and was a doughty controversialist. During the South African War he was a member of the Peace, Humanity and Arbitration Society of Victoria, founded by Professor J. L. Rentoul.
The events of 1916 and after were to cause Jageurs much distress. That year he succeeded O'Donnell as president of the United Irish League and waged a vigorous defence of John Redmond and the constitutional party against the Sinn Fein 'wreckers'. At the same time he was charged under the War Precautions Act regulations for such offences as protest against denial of free speech to Sinn Feiners and pleading for Sir Roger Casement's life. The Celtic Club, of which he was president, stood firm in defence of Dominion Home Rule, but it was a losing battle within the Irish-Catholic community. Writing to H. B. Higgins, whom he revered, Jageurs deplored 'the sinister and powerful influence of Dr Mannix'. He welcomed the Irish treaty of 1922 but, 'weary and sick after 41 years hard work' dropped out of communal politics. However he never lost faith in the spirituality of the Irish people and their comparative lack of materialism.
Survived by his wife, three daughters and a son, Jageurs died at Brighton on 28 April 1932 and was buried in Melbourne general cemetery. His elder son had died in World War I.
Geoffrey Serle, 'Jageurs, Morgan Peter (1862–1932)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jageurs-morgan-peter-6819/text11801, published in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 2 August 2014.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983