Birth. death and marriage traditionally evoke our most powertul expressions of intimacy and sentiment. Yet for numerous Australian families up to the 1970s, those occasions triggered the opposite sentiments: estrangement, conflict and hostility, which sometimes endured beyond the grave. The cause: 'mixed marriage' between Catholics and Protestants in a pre-multicultural Australia, where religion was still code for a social and political identity that reflected English-Irish tensions derived from colonial days. This article is based on 48 oral histories recorded by Siobhan McHugh for a forthcoming doctoral thesis at the University of Wollongong. The marriages, which range from 1924 to 1983, are recalled by spouses, children and clergy. This article has been peer-reviewed.