Project Canterbury

Handbooks of English Church Expansion


By the Rev. A. E. David, M.A.

London and Oxford: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1908.

Chapter IV. The Province of New South Wales

THE death of the first Bishop of Australia practically closes the first period in the history of the Church, for during the later years of his life rapid changes had been taking place which both civilly and ecclesiastically were introducing a new era. The convict system, as we have seen, had been terminated, and although "the emancipists" still formed a ponderable element in the population, they were largely outnumbered by the free settlers. Again, the discovery of gold not only further increased the proportion of this latter class, but, in stimulating commercial development, raised an entirely new set of problems. Through these changes Australia found herself "precipitated into manhood" and plunged into the vortex of political struggle. Thus questions of trade, land, and labour became the burning topics of the hour. [52/53] Very wisely the Colonial Office recognized that these could not be satisfactorily settled in England and that the colonists must work out their own political destiny. Accordingly, in 1852, an Act relating to Australia was passed by the Imperial Parliament providing for the separation of Victoria from New South Wales, and granting a constitution to the new colony. In 1854 Tasmania (Van Dieman's Land), and in 1856 South Australia, were granted similar powers. In 1859 the northern districts of New South Wales were constituted a new colony under the title of Queensland, but it was many years later before West Australia, the remaining division of the island-continent, received the privilege of self-government.

By the formation of Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia into dioceses, the Church in a measure had anticipated the action of the State, but, unlike the three new colonies, which possessed absolute autonomy in relation to New South Wales, the dioceses were still united to the See of Sydney by the fragile thread of metropolitan jurisdiction under Letters Patent. Unhappily this thread was severed when the Letters Patent were pronounced invalid, and no effort was made by the Church to replace the jurisdiction [53/54] thus taken away. On the contrary, the pernicious example of the State was followed, and the glamour of autonomy proved so attractive that each diocese, left to go its own way except for such slender limitations as were subsequently imposed by the constitution of General Synod, became a distinct unit of government. The history of the Church, therefore, from this point becomes chiefly the history of separate and independent dioceses, meeting together at stated intervals for purposes of consultation and the preparation of legislation, but careful to maintain individual authority intact. In tracing this history it will be preferable for convenience' sake to depart from strict chronological order, and in the first place to deal with such dioceses as have grouped themselves into ecclesiastical provinces, and subsequently to take those which, owing to geographical position, have been unable to reach this stage of organization and remain autocephalous.

It is obvious that in the course of their growth the majority of dioceses must present many similar features. At the outset there is the missionary stage, during which the diocese is dependent upon external help, and the ministry is mainly [54/55] itinerating. Then follows the period of organization, in which constitutions are formed and provision made for self-government and the development of local resources. Finally there comes the stage of maturity, when the organization has been completed and the diocese has been furnished with the various means of maintaining its independence, viz., synods, sustentation and pension funds, colleges for the training of local clergy, and so forth. Some of the older dioceses have reached this final stage, such as Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, and, to a certain extent, Tasmania, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Ballarat. Others are still in an intermediary position, whilst a few newly-formed dioceses, such as Carpentaria and Bunbury, have not been able, so far, to divest themselves of their missionary character. In tracing this evolution it is unnecessary to enter into details repeated in the case of each diocese. The description given of the development of Sydney applies mutatis mutandis to other parts of Australia, so that salient features alone will be noticed. Also it may seem that in the following pages undue stress is laid upon the work of Bishops, and that the labours of the parochial clergy find little recognition. In a new country this is almost necessarily the case. The [55/56] personal side of the equation has a far greater value than is possible in long-established communities, and if the policy and leadership of the Bishops is dwelt upon to the exclusion of the humbler tasks of the parochial clergy and their lay helpers, the reason is that, in the early days at least, the personality of the Bishop was the chief element in diocesan progress. Australia has been singularly happy in the persons of her diocesan founders, chosen from the rank and file of the home clergy, and their work in the Antipodes is a proof of the wonderful reserve force which is possessed by the Anglican Church.


This, however, is a digression, and we must resume the narrative at the death of Bishop Broughton. For three years the Metropolitan Diocese of Sydney lay vacant, administered by Archdeacon Cooper, the father of the late venerated Dean of Sydney. In May, 1855, the newly-appointed Metropolitan, the Right Rev. Frederick Barker, arrived, accompanied by two chaplains, the Rev. Edward Synge and the Rev. P. G. Smith. He found forty-eight licensed clergy in the diocese, of whom ten were resident in Sydney. This [56/57] number was quickly increased to fifty-six, but the rapid growth of population owing to the development of the mining industry made additional clerical assistance a matter of extreme urgency, and the question of the supply of locally-ordained clergy at once engaged his attention.

The diocese was not without some provision for this purpose. A Church of England Grammar School, known as King's School, Parramatta, had been founded in the days of his predecessor, and in this institution the sons of the more wealthy colonists were being educated, but owing to lack of endowment and for other reasons, the usefulness of the school was seriously impaired. Connected with the recently-established University, a hostel for resident undergraduates--S. Paul's College--had been started in 1854, in order to give theological instruction to Church students and so supplement the University course. Finally, advantage was taken of the munificent bequest of Thomas Moore, and a college for the training of candidates for Holy Orders was established at Liverpool, towards the building of which Bishop Barker himself collected a sum of over £4,000.

During the first eleven years of its existence Moore College, under its first principal, the Rev. [57/58] William Hodgson, sent out thirty-three clergy to the various Australian dioceses--a valuable addition to the handful of workers struggling to cope with demands well-nigh overwhelming. "Without Moore College I should be comparatively helpless," wrote the Bishop a few years later, and the effect of these reinforcements was soon felt in the increased vitality of Church life. In 1863 he was able to report that since his arrival eighty-eight new churches and school-churches had been opened, whilst the cathedral, begun by his predecessor, was making rapid progress towards completion. The Sydney Church Society, to the foundation of which allusion has been already made, had also felt the stimulus, and in five years had provided £44,000, whereby thirty-one additional clergy were being maintained, and the total number of clergy had risen to ninety-two. Thus, both in regard to the supply and training of the ministry, and also in respect of their support, the Diocese of Sydney was in a fair way of becoming independent of the Mother Church.

The life of a Colonial Bishop is largely occupied by long and exhausting periods of visitation, and although the area of the Diocese of Sydney had been so largely reduced by subdivision, vast [58/59] districts outside the centres of settlement demanded the personal oversight of the Bishop. To the west lay Bathurst and the extensive plains of the interior bordering the banks of the Murray, since constituted into the Diocese of Riverina, whilst to the south and south-west was situated the rough, broken country running inland from the coast and containing mountain ranges of considerable altitude. Pioneer work in these places was first undertaken by the Bishop's chaplain, the Rev. E. Synge, and to his energy and perseverance the Church owed her knowledge of these vast fields of uncultivated labour. Equipped with a compass, pack-horses, and the barest necessities for travel, it was not an uncommon thing for him to make itinerating journeys in the bush extending over a period of nine months at a time and covering a distance of over five thousand miles. His diaries afford an interesting record of the experiences of a pioneer clergyman in the early days. "Steering by compass N.N.E. over a wild and open plain," where kangaroos and emus were the only companions of his solitude, he describes his passage from station to station, his sole reward being the opportunity of holding a short service, when the day was done, [59/60] in some woolshed among shearers and people to whom no priest had ministered for sixteen years.

Such clergymen as Mr. Synge formed the backbone of the Australian Church, and though their heroic determination and faithfulness, for the most part, have been unrecorded, the present generation has entered into the fruit of their labours. Following in his footsteps and those of other "heralds of the dawn," Bishop Barker undertook lengthened visitations of these bush districts, stimulating the settlers to renewed efforts in the provision of buildings for divine worship and in finding sufficient support for resident clergy.

One result of these journeys was the foundation of the "Clergy Daughters School" at Waverley, Sydney, which has had a very prosperous career, and has relieved the bush clergy of much anxiety in connection with the education of their daughters. Another and more important development arising out of these visitations was the establishment of the new See of Goulburn in 1863, comprising the districts lying to the south and south-west of the original diocese. Six years later a further subdivision was effected by the foundation of the Bishopric of Bathurst, by which the Metropolitan [60/61] was relieved of the large area lying to the northwest of the Blue Mountains, and thus, with the exception of those portions of Australia which, by the original constitution, still remained technically within the jurisdiction of the See of Sydney, the diocese was reduced to its present limits.

In the meantime important steps were being taken in regard to the development of the constitution of the Church, the detailed history of which is given elsewhere. Following upon the conference of Australian Bishops (1850), at which the practical worthlessness of the territorial jurisdiction conveyed by Letters Patent had been recognized, the Bishop of Newcastle laboured assiduously to promote the self-government of the Church by means of provincial and diocesan synods. His hands had been greatly strengthened in securing this object by the Privy Council judgement of 1856 in the case of Long v. the Bishop of Capetown, in which the issue of Letters Patent by the Crown to Bishops in self-governing colonies was declared invalid, but the principles of autonomy advocated by him were by no means generally accepted. In view of this decision, however, it was felt that some form of synodical action which should not sever entirely the relations to [61/62] the Crown was necessary, and to this policy Bishop Tyrrell gave a reluctant consent, though personally he was in favour of securing synodical action by means of a consensual compact according to the precedents set by the Dioceses of New Zealand and Adelaide.

After much conference between the representatives of the Dioceses of Sydney, Newcastle, and Goulburn, a "Church Act" was passed by the Legislature in 1866, by which the State gave legal sanction to the constitutions of the Church in New South Wales, and granted undefined legislative powers to the synods of the same. Immediately after the passing of this Act the Metropolitan summoned his synod for the dispatch of business. The Synod of the Diocese of Newcastle had met already in the previous year without waiting for legislative sanction. A constitution having thus been framed providing for provincial and diocesan synods, the opportunity offered by the presence of seven Australian Bishops at the consecration of S. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, in 1867, was taken by Bishop Barker to hold a conference upon the question of forming a supreme legislative body for the whole Australian Church. At this conference certain resolutions [62/63] were adopted embodying the principles upon which a General Synod should be founded. These 'resolutions were submitted to the various dioceses of Australia, and received general approval. In 1869 the Provincial Synod of New South Wales met for the first time to consider what further steps should be taken for the better government of the Church; but, whilst the desirability of forming a General Synod was affirmed, the discussions upon the question of Church autonomy were much hampered by the prevailing opinion in favour of the validity of Letters Patent, and the fear of taking any action which might seem to violate the relations thought to subsist between the Church and the Crown. Finally an attempt was made to compromise matters by adhering to the issue of Letters Patent whilst maintaining that each diocese should have a voice in the appointment of its own Bishop. So far, the Bishop of Newcastle was the only leader in New South Wales who had a clear perception of the ecclesiastical situation. The coping-stone to the organization of government of the Church was ultimately placed in position by the formation of General Synod in 1872. Thus the gradation between diocesan, provincial, and general synods [63/64] was completed after many years of discussion and struggle. The consideration of the nature and character of this gradation, and of the vicious principle adopted, whereby the diocesan synod is rendered actually supreme, must be deferred to another chapter.

In the meantime the Metropolitan was actively engaged upon diocesan affairs, for, though the subdivision of the original Diocese of Sydney had brought him welcome relief, the extension of the city of Sydney itself taxed his energies in no small degree, whilst upon him lay the burden of those portions of Australia not as yet incorporated in any diocese. In 1874, and again in 1876, he paid visits to the far-distant territory of North Queensland, and was successful in arousing so much interest that the Diocese of North Queensland was founded in the latter year. This was practically his last undertaking of any importance, and, after a long and arduous episcopate of twenty-eight years, he was called to rest at San Remo in 1882. His death removed from the diocese an administrator of no mean capacity, under whose wise and energetic rule it had become equipped with the necessary spiritual and material resources for carrying on the campaign of the Church. The [64/65] handsome chapter-house connected with the cathedral at Sydney, erected in his memory, testifies to the general esteem in which he was held. Holding pronounced evangelical views, Bishop Barker succeeded, as men of distinct convictions are wont to do, in giving a definite direction to the theological teaching of his diocese, which, in after years, proved a source of difficulty to his successor, and has been not without influence in the wider field of Church organization in Australia. For the Diocese of Sydney has shown itself somewhat jealous of any changes which, in the judgement of its leading clergy and laity, seemed to open the way to interference with its distinctive character.

The episcopate thus closed covered a period of critical importance to the Australian Church, during which problems of great moment were directly raised. The granting of self-government to the colonies opened up immediately the question of the relations of Church and State, and the decisions given in the Colenso troubles showed the need for self-government within the Church, and the withdrawal of State aid to ecclesiastical bodies rendered the reconstruction of the whole system of the supply of material resources a [65/66] matter of imperative necessity. The scarcity of clergy led to the provision of a theological college and local ordinations, a step which, in view of recent national aspirations, was an event of primary importance, whilst the rapid subdivision of the larger dioceses proved once more the value of episcopacy, as the essential form of Church government. In this period lay "those seeds of things" from which has emerged the Church of to-day, in its weakness and its strength, but full of promise of larger growth and greater strength in the future.

The new method of election to the See of Sydney adopted by General Synod proved so cumbrous and unsatisfactory, that the new Primate of Australia and Metropolitan of New South Wales, Canon Barry, Principal of King's College, London, was virtually chosen by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The new Bishop succeeded to a diocese fairly well organized, for most of the constructive work had been already accomplished, whilst synodical action had become better understood and was working smoothly. Thus the record of Dr. Barry's episcopate is one of steady development, though, unhappily, disturbed on more than one occasion by ritual [66/67] troubles in connection with the erection of a reredos in the cathedral, and the opposition offered to the Principal of Moore College. He resigned in 1888, to the great regret of his diocese and of the whole Australian Church. His vigorous personality and great intellectual gifts, although exercised for so short a time in Australia, did much towards enhancing the prestige of the See of Sydney, and prepared the way for making the Primacy a fact and not merely a name in Australian Church life.

He was succeeded by the present Primate in 1890, Canon W. Saumarez Smith, Principal of S. Aidan's College, Birkenhead. The cumbrous method of election was again exemplified in this appointment, for, owing to an informality, the first election was declared invalid, and the whole of the lengthy process had to be formally repeated. With these examples before them General Synod again and again attempted to devise some method by which the claims of the See of Sydney to elect its own Bishop, and the claims of the other dioceses of Australia and Tasmania to an equal voice in the selection of their Primate might be adjusted, but these efforts were met by a non-possumus on the part of the Sydney representatives, and, in [67/68] despair of reaching a satisfactory conclusion on these lines, General Synod in 1900 provided that in future the Primate should be selected from among the existing Metropolitan Bishops. Thus the historic connection between the Primacy and the mother diocese seems to have been potentially severed.

The struggle in connection with this question shows the important position to which the Primacy had gradually attained, and is indicative of a new phase in the history of the Australian Church. Already, in the civil sphere, tentative efforts were being made towards the federation of the different colonies into a Commonwealth under a Governor-General and a supreme legislative body, and instinctively Churchmen were moving towards the adoption of a policy of greater centralization which the constitution of General Synod did not render sufficiently actual. In the undefined powers of the Primacy they seemed to find what they sought. Thus during recent years the history of the Diocese of Sydney is intimately connected with that of the Church in other portions of the Commonwealth. It is a time of Church Congresses, of a general Self-Denial Fund, of a Missionary Jubilee, and of other [68/69] events which indicate greater consolidation and a tendency to united action, which point towards a dawning consciousness among the Australian dioceses of their position as a national Church.

Among other features which mark this new phase has been the increased activity of the Australian Board of Missions, which, largely supported in New South Wales, founded in succession the Anglican Mission to the Papuans of New Guinea, and the Yarrabah Mission to the aborigines in North Queensland, the latter of which, through the assistance of the board, has since established a daughter settlement on the Mitchell River. As Chairman of the Executive of the Board of Missions, the Primate naturally played a large part in this enterprise, until the formation of New Guinea into a separate diocese relieved the Board of direct control of that Mission. As indicating the same tendency, the action of General Synod of 1901, in establishing an Australian College of Theology, should be noted. The college is entrusted with powers to examine candidates and confer degrees in divinity, and, although still in the days of its youth, the institution already has done much to promote sound learning among the younger clergy, and to raise in several dioceses [69/70] the standard of intellectual attainment required for admission to Holy Orders. In time the work of the college will be more definitely felt, and through such agencies there is good hope that the stigma which in popular opinion attaches to colonial Orders may be removed.

Whilst thus by the logic of events occupied with many interests and activities outside his own province and diocese, the Primate has witnessed a quiet and unostentatious growth within his own immediate jurisdiction. Sydney tends more and more to become the emporium of the commerce of the southern seas, but the Church, through the steady labours of Bishop and clergy, has more than held her own in the increase of population, as is evidenced by the returns of the last decennial religious census. The long-deferred foundation of the new Federal Capital within the Province of New South Wales in some respects may affect the position of the Archbishop of Sydney, and may possibly afford a satisfactory solution to the Primacy question, but whatever changes the immediate future may bring forth, the historic position of the See of Sydney cannot be altered. It will remain the mother diocese of the whole Australian Church.


The history of the subdivision of the Diocese of Sydney into the five existing daughter dioceses of the province needs little elaboration. Reference has been made already to the foundation of the See of Newcastle in 1847. Early in the following year Bishop Tyrrell arrived, accompanied by the Rev. H. O. Irwin and the Rev. R. G. Boodle, together with seven candidates for Holy Orders. The port of Newcastle, at the mouth of the Hunter River, formed the natural centre for the diocese, though Morpeth, a township some twenty miles distant inland, was selected as the place of episcopal residence. Nominally the see embraced an area of 600 by 700 miles, but the settled districts covered a region of about 500 by 250 miles, chiefly occupied by squatters, for the larger coal deposits of the Hunter basin had not as yet been developed. To the north the diocese extended to Moreton Bay, including the far-distant Burnett and Wide Bay districts. The Bishop found fourteen clergy at work attempting to cope with the demands of this vast area, and the reinforcements brought with him came as a welcome addition to his staff. The conditions of Church [71/72] life were deplorable. Writing of these in 1851 the Bishop described the situation as one of universal bankruptcy. A heavy debt hung over every finished church; numbers of churches begun were abandoned owing to lack of funds, and remained monuments of past folly; large districts were untouched by the ministrations of the Church, and the tendency to rely upon the Government for aid had produced a general paralysis. With a view to probing the existing evils to the bottom, in three years he had visited the whole of his extensive diocese, making journeys sometimes extending over twelve hundred miles. A ready response was made to his efforts, and at the close of this period he was able to report that every church was free of debt, and the works previously abandoned in despair had been resumed with renewed energy, and were approaching completion.

Such a result, accomplished in so short a time, affords eloquent testimony to the inspiring influence of a striking personality, and whether as chief pastor of a diocese, or as an ecclesiastical statesman of the first rank, the figure of Bishop Tyrrell stands forth prominently in the early annals of the Australian Church. Brief reference [72/73] has already been made to his labours in the latter sphere; in the former he was no less conspicuous, and, assisted by liberal grants from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, to which societies he frequently expressed his indebtedness, in the course of a few years he was able to state that "throughout the peopled portion of my diocese . . . the Gospel is now preached and the Sacraments administered." The principle upon which he acted throughout his visitations was that of enforcing a recognition of the true priesthood of the laity, and whenever he went among squatters and selectors he taught them to help themselves by holding family prayers in the evening, by reading the Morning and Evening Services of the Church on Sundays, and a sermon out of a book provided by himself, and by the formation of a lending library of devotional and other literature for the use of the men and shepherds employed on each station. The effect upon the rising generation of this early training in devotional habits was thorough, and is felt to-day in many an Australian family.

In 1859 he was relieved of the care of the Moreton Bay district, which he had twice visited, [73/74] and in 1867 of the greater part of the intervening portion of his diocese, embracing the New England plateau and the adjoining strip of coast, by the formation of the Sees of Brisbane and Grafton and Armidale respectively. With a smaller area to oversee, and less demands made upon his time, he was better able to devote his attention to the task of building up the material fabric of the Church. This had become a practical necessity, for the New South Wales Legislature had at last given effect to its long-threatened measure for abolishing State aid to religion by limiting the grants previously given to the various denominations to the lives of those already in receipt of them. In 1864 the Bishop inaugurated a scheme for a diocesan endowment of £50,000 at once, and ultimately of £100,000, to form the nucleus of a central fund out of which the stipends of clergy should be paid. The principle which he laid down was that no parish should be endowed to the full amount of the clerical stipend, but that a proportion should be contributed each year from local sources, to be added to the income derived from endowment. Living a frugal and self-denying life, he gave large sums personally to this fund, and his example was followed by the faithful [74/75] laity. But he himself, as in spiritual, so in temporal things, was the greatest benefactor to his diocese, which he loved so well and served so faithfully. When he was called to rest in 1879, after an episcopate of thirty-two years, during which he never came home," he bequeathed all that he possessed, invested chiefly in station property, to the Diocese of Newcastle. The bequest, then estimated at a quarter of a million sterling, was intended as an endowment of the chief diocesan institutions, but owing to the depreciation in the value of pastoral property, prolonged droughts, etc., the diocese had been obliged to raise money in order to retain this property.

Bishop Tyrrell was succeeded in 188o by the Rev. J. B. Pearson, Vicar of Newark and Fellow of S. John's College, Cambridge, whose profound learning was of great value in the deliberations of the bench of Bishops. His episcopate, which lasted over a period of ten years, saw a remarkable advance in the trade of the district through the development of the coal deposits, and the port of Newcastle in consequence became a place of export, whence the other Australian colonies were supplied from its mineral wealth. The time had arrived when it was felt that the [75/76] erection of a mother church for the diocese was desirable, and the foundations were laid and a portion of the superstructure of a cathedral begun on a commanding site which overlooks the harbour and city of Newcastle, but owing to the illness of the Bishop, and for other reasons, the cathedral, though now roofed in and used for divine service, still remains in a state of partial completion. The later years of the Bishop's episcopate, which had been marked by much earnestness and ability, were unhappily clouded by such an utter prostration of health that he was physically unable to resign his see. During the three years' interval thus occasioned, the diocese was administered by the Dean, the Very Rev. A. E. Selwyn. Ultimately the Bishop so far recovered as to be able to resign his see, and the diocese, which had suffered severely through this period of uncertainty, was placed in a position to elect his successor. Bishop Pearson died in England four years after his resignation, having partially recovered from his long and distressing affliction.

In 1891 synod chose the Bishop of North Queensland (Dr. Stanton) as his successor, and he was accordingly translated from the northern see. The choice was in every respect a happy [76/77] one. Bishop Stanton lived to be the senior Bishop of the Australian bench, and for years, as a prominent member of General Synod, and through his personal knowledge of the Australian clergy, he exercised a widespread influence. It was a speech of his in the General Synod of 1886 which led the Australian Church to pledge itself to the support of missionary work in New Guinea, of which mission one of his own clergy, Albert Maclaren, became the founder. Proximity to Sydney enabled him to take an active part in connection with matters affecting the whole Australian Church, and from the date of his accession ,to the See of Newcastle he became the trusted adviser of the Primate. In the domestic affairs of his diocese also his influence was no less marked, and his broad sympathies, combined with absolute selflessness, won for him general esteem, whilst especially to his younger clergy he was literally a "Father-in-GOD." Bishopscourt at once was made the home of many of these, the training of whom he supervised, stimulating their reading by his own studies, and assisting them by his advice. When, in 1905, he was laid to rest at Morpeth, he bequeathed to his successor a diocese which during his episcopate, despite periods of [77/78] flood and drought, had made both material and spiritual progress.

On his decease the synod elected as fourth Bishop the Right Rev. J. F. Stretch, at that time Dean and Assistant Bishop of the Diocese. An Australian by birth, and educated at the Geelong Grammar School and the University of Melbourne, Bishop Stretch was the second nativeborn Australian to be summoned to the episcopate, in the first instance as Coadjutor Bishop of Brisbane. That Australia can educate and train such men as the new Bishop of Newcastle and the present Bishop of Ballarat, capable of maintaining the best traditions of the episcopate in pastoral care, learning, and eloquence, furnishes an encouraging prospect for the future, and marks an evident growth towards maturity of organization.


Reference has already been made to the pioneer labours of the Rev. E. Synge, and it was mainly to these that the formation of the See of Goulburn in 1863 was due. The nomination of the first Bishop rested with Archbishop Longley, who selected the Rev. Mesac Thomas, then Secretary to the Colonial and Continental Church Society. [78/79] He was the last Bishop to be appointed to an Australia see under Letters Patent, the validity of which, as conveying territorial jurisdiction, he consistently upheld to the end of his life. Bishop Thomas, on arrival, at once set vigorously to work amongst a population of fifty thousand, scattered over districts varying from twenty-five to four hundred and fifty square miles in extent. By 1865 the presence of a Bishop had given a marked impetus to Church work, and the number of clergy had risen from twelve to twenty-one. The broken character of the country made the work of visitation exceptionally difficult, and these journeys sometimes occupied twenty-four consecutive weeks, during which the Bishop travelled a distance of over three thousand miles. It was, therefore, with no small feelings of thankfulness that he was able to transfer one-third of his jurisdiction, in 1884, to the newly-formed Diocese of Riverina, leaving a reduced area of fifty thousand square miles to his own supervision. During his long episcopate, which lasted over a period of twenty-nine years, he saw many changes in the social conditions of Australian life, and not least in his own diocese. He records how on one of his early visitations he had the melancholy privilege of preaching to men [79/80] who had not had an opportunity of attending divine service for twenty-five years in one instance and thirty in another.

Before his death, in 1892, the main line between Sydney and Melbourne passed within a short distance of his doors, a beautiful little cathedral had been erected in the see city, and he could speak of ninety-two churches, with accommodation for eleven thousand worshippers, and of fifteen parishes, "enriched by valuable glebes presented by generous donors or purchased by the liberality of parishioners." He came to a district, a large portion of which was practically unexplored, with a scattered handful of clergy ministering to pioneer settlers; he left a diocese equipped in almost every department of diocesan organization.

The vacancy was filled by the election of the Rev. William Chalmers, Vicar of S. Andrew's, Brighton, Victoria, a priest of considerable colonial experience, who had previously worked as an S.P.G. missionary in Borneo. Both as a parish priest in Melbourne, and in the wider sphere of Australian ecclesiastical affairs, Dr. Chalmers already had attained considerable prominence. To his able advocacy was due the [80/81] establishment, of the Australian College of Theology, the interests of which he assiduously promoted until his death. Shortly after his appointment to Goulburn the financial crisis which overtook Australia in 1893 seriously affected the endowment funds of the diocese, which were found to have been insecurely invested. A considerable portion of these were irretrievably lost, and as a consequence much of the Bishop's energies were directed towards their replacement. In view of this and other similar experiences in regard to endowments, at the instance of the Bishop of Goulburn, General Synod, at its session in 1896, required that before the vacancy in any see should be filled a complete return of its endowments should be made to the Primate, who should satisfy himself that the stated income was properly secured. This wise provision, however, came too late in the case of Goulburn, for the depletion of the diocesan funds seriously hampered for some years the development of spiritual ministrations. After a short episcopate of ten years, thus beset with financial trouble, the Bishop was called to rest in 1902, much regretted by all who knew him.

In the same year the Bishop of North Queensland (the Right Rev. C. G. Barlow) was translated [81/82] by synodical election to the vacant see. In view of the proposal to erect the new Federal Capital somewhere within the district covered by his jurisdiction, the battle in connection with which is still being waged, the diocese may expect great changes in the future, and in all probability these will take the shape of adapting the ecclesiastical administration so as to conform to the central organization of the State. In situation and climate, sites in the neighbourhood of Goulburn present many advantages for the erection of an Australian Washington, and in the unsettled state of the Primacy question, some rearrangement of diocesan boundaries may enable the Church to find a solution, satisfactory to all interests, in the creation of a new Primatial See in close proximity to the future Federal Capital.


In 1867, measures were taken to reduce the limits of the Diocese of Newcastle by the formation of the new See of Grafton and Armidale, thus relieving the original diocese of the whole of its northern territory. The arrangement was not ideal since it involved the creation of two ecclesiastical centres within the new area, virtually [82/83] unconnected with one another, namely, Grafton on the Clarence River, near the coast, and Armidale situated on the New England plateau. The Rev. W. C. Sawyer was chosen by the Archbishop of Canterbury as first Bishop, but to the sorrow of his diocese he was drowned within three months of his arrival, as he was returning to his house after holding service in Grafton.

After some delay the Rev. J. F. Turner was nominated to the vacant see, and reached his diocese towards the end of 1869, to enter upon labours which lasted until 1894. During this period the organization of the diocese slowly took form and shape. At Armidale, a substantial cathedral church was consecrated in 1875, followed in 189r, by the erection of a large residential grammer school, which through the exertions of Archdeacon Ross, obtained a share of the Moore bequest after successful litigation with that object. At Grafton, similarly, a cathedral church was partially built, and opened for worship in 1884. The difficult nature of the country, and the necessity for duplicating diocesan machinery, which involved constant travelling, wore down the Bishop's strength, and after a long period of continued ill-health he resigned his see [83/84] in 1894, intending to return to England, but he died at Naples on his homeward voyage.

He was succeeded by the Very Rev. A.V. Green, Dean of Ballarat, one of the most brilliant of the younger Australian clergy, who, though English by birth, had received his education and training in Melbourne. His arrival infused fresh life into a diocese, the work in which had languished during the later years of his predecessor's episcopate. Monetary difficulties beset him at the outset, but the diocese responded generously to his leadership, and, assisted by English contributions, succeeded in restoring much of the endowment funds which, as in the case of Goulburn, had been depleted through injudicious investment. Australian in education and spirit, it was natural that Bishop Green should adopt measures tending towards greater self-reliance on the part of the Australian Church, and one of the chief benefits which he conferred upon his diocese was the establishment of a Theological College at Armidale, where local candidates for the ministry could receive a sound and efficient training. This institution, begun in a small way, has largely contributed towards one of the most pressing needs of a country diocese--the supply of clergy.

After six years of vigorous work, during which Church affairs progressed with remarkable rapidity, Bishop Green returned to Victoria in 1900, as second Bishop of Ballarat.

In electing a successor, the choice of synod fell upon the Right Rev. H. E. Cooper, who five years previously had been consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of Ballarat, where as parish priest and archdeacon he had obtained twenty years' experience of the conditions of colonial life. His translation took place in 1901, and in him the Diocese of Grafton and Armidale possesses a Bishop whose quiet courage and determination have been of the utmost advantage. In the near future a subdivision of the diocese must take place, for through the rapid extension of the dairying industry, and the consequent increase of settlement upon the coast lands, the constitution of Grafton into a separate see is becoming a matter of imperative necessity.


To the north-west of Sydney, beyond the range of the Blue Mountains, lay the town of Bathurst, with the vast hinterland of Riverina extending to the banks of the Murray River. For many [85/86] years Bishop Barker felt the increasing impossibility of giving this district its due need of episcopal oversight, and his efforts to constitute Bathurst a separate bishopric were eventually successful. In 1869, all the preliminaries had been settled, and a vast area of about 120,000 square miles was assigned to the new see. The appointment as first Bishop of the Rev. S. E. Marsden, born in Sydney, and a grandson of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, whose work among the convicts of Botany Bay, and amongst the Maori of New Zealand has been recorded, revived many ancient memories, and assured him of a more than ordinary welcome. Arriving in his diocese in 187o, he was "appalled by the magnitude of the work," which lay before him. The city of Bathurst contained some 6,500 inhabitants, but to reach the scattered population in the outside districts clergymen sometimes had to travel more than 8,000 miles a year. Work of this kind could only be carried on at high pressure. Bathurst became its natural centre, and the Church of All Saints was constituted the cathedral. Gradually the diocese was mapped out into parishes and districts, ministered to for the most part by itinerating clergymen, and in these circumstances [86/87] it came as a welcome relief when by the formation of the Diocese of Riverina, some 20,000 square miles were transferred to the new see. For sixteen years Bishop Marsden faithfully carried out his laborious duties until, in 1885, finding his strength unequal to the task, he resigned, and accepted at the invitation of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol the lighter work of an Assistant Bishop in that diocese.

A period of two years intervened before his successor was appointed, Canon Camidge, Vicar of Thirsk, a sturdy Yorkshireman, who in spite of nearly twenty years' continuous labour, and recently of impaired health, still discharges the duties of his office. Despite the vicissitudes of flood and drought, and the constant need of workers, the record of these years has been one of steady growth and of difficulties surmounted--among which provision of spiritual ministrations in the outer bush districts has not been the least.

Here Bishop Camidge has been enabled to found at Dubbo a "Bush Brotherhood," on the example of that previously established by the Bishop of Rockhampton at Longreach, which bids fair to solve one of the most difficult problems which beset the Bishops of these large dioceses, [87/88] years Bishop Barker felt the increasing impossibility of giving this district its due need of episcopal oversight, and his efforts to constitute Bathurst a separate bishopric were eventually successful. In 1869, all the preliminaries had been settled, and a vast area of about 120,000 square miles was assigned to the new see. The appointment as first Bishop of the Rev. S. E. Marsden, born in Sydney, and a grandson of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, whose work among the convicts of Botany Bay, and amongst the Maori of New Zealand has been recorded, revived many ancient memories, and assured him of a more than ordinary welcome. Arriving in his diocese in 1870, he was "appalled by the magnitude of the work," which lay before him. The city of Bathurst contained some 6,500 inhabitants, but to reach the scattered population in the outside districts clergymen sometimes had to travel more than 8,000 miles a year. Work of this kind could only be carried on at high pressure. Bathurst became its natural centre, and the Church of All Saints was constituted the cathedral. Gradually the diocese was mapped out into parishes and districts, ministered to for the most part by itinerating clergymen, and in these circumstances [86/87] it came as a welcome relief when by the formation of the Diocese of Riverina, some 20,000 square miles were transferred to the new see. For sixteen years Bishop Marsden faithfully carried out his laborious duties until, in 1885, finding his strength unequal to the task, he resigned, and accepted at the invitation of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol the lighter work of an Assistant Bishop in that diocese.

A period of two years intervened before his successor was appointed, Canon Camidge, Vicar of Thirsk, a sturdy Yorkshireman, who in spite of nearly twenty years' continuous labour, and recently of impaired health, still discharges the duties of his office. Despite the vicissitudes of flood and drought, and the constant need of workers, the record of these years has been one of steady growth and of difficulties surmountedm among which provision of spiritual ministrations in the outer bush districts has not been the least.

Here Bishop Camidge has been enabled to found at Dubbo a "Bush Brotherhood," on the example of that previously established by the Bishop of Rockhampton at Longreach, which bids fair to solve one of the most difficult problems which beset the Bishops of these large dioceses, [87/88] namely the removal of clerical isolation, and at the same time the promotion of efficient service.


Carved out of the Dioceses of Goulburn and Bathurst, the See of Riverina owes its foundation to the munificence of a prominent laymen, the Hon. John Campbell, M.L.C., who generously gave a sum of £10,000 for its endowment. As its name implies, the diocese lies chiefly within the banks of several navigable rivers, and consists of a series of apparently interminable plains covering an area of about 70,000 square miles. Except for the great mining centre of Broken Hill with its 25,000 inhabitants, connected with Adelaide by rail, the population is mainly pastoral, and the country is divided up into large sheep stations. The absence of railways renders necessary the same long and exhausting journeys on horseback which marked the life of the pioneer in the early days. The first Bishop was the Right Rev. Sydney Linton, previously a Norwich vicar, who during his short episcopate of ten years, by his saintly life won the affectionate regard of his diocese. The small township of Hay was selected [88/89] as the most convenient centre, and there an episcopal residence was erected, the material of which consists of wood and corrugated iron. The space between the outer iron wall and wooden lining being filled and rammed with sawdust. The result is said to be eminently satisfactory. In view of the large area to be covered, the number of clergy are lamentably few. None the less, synodical action has been established, and the diocese before the death of its first Bishop possessed almost all the necessary departments of organization. Unhappily the erection of the see house and other objects caused a heavy indebtedness in the diocesan funds, and Riverina supplied a third example of the way in which the endowments of Australian sees have been seriously reduced by injudicious finance.

The appointment of a successor to Bishop Linton was vested in the Bishops of the Province of New South Wales, and in 1894 they chose the Rev. E. A. Anderson, Vicar of S. Paul's, West Maitland, a priest who had previously worked under Bishop Stanton in North Queensland. Some difficulty occurred in connection with his consecration, for Mr. Campbell had [89/90] made it a condition of endowing the see that all future Bishops should be consecrated in England. Ultimately, in 1895, the new Bishop was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in compliance with the terms of the trust.

The expansion of the' Province of New South Wales from one diocese into six, the outline of which has been briefly traced, furnishes a good example of the process of Church extension which is being gradually carried on throughout Greater Britain. In its main features the process has been repeated in the story of the development of .the other dioceses in Australia. One after another they have passed from the stages to which allusion has been made into a self-contained and independent form of life. The withdrawal of the State connection and State aid led to the establishment of synodical action which provides for all matters of internal government and outward development, whilst the chief part of the material needs are being met from local resources. In this connection it is noteworthy that one family gave £5,000 towards the endowment of the See of Goulburn: an Australian layman gave £2,000 to that of the Diocese of Grafton and Armidale, whilst the See of Riverina [90/91] owes its existence to the munificent gift of £10,000 by a member of the Colonial Legislature. In these and other ways, particularly in the provision of local clergy, the Province of New South Wales has led the way, and left an impress upon the life of the Australian Church which is likely to remain indelible.

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