Project Canterbury

Cable Clergy Index

The Formation of the Cable Clergy Index

By the Reverend Michael W. Blain

About forty years ago Dr Kenneth CABLE a professional historian at the university of Sydney and a leading Australian church member from S James King Street Sydney began collecting information about early clergy of the Australian church. As his interest developed he gradually and constantly extended the chronological reach until he was at his death working on all the clergy from penal times through to those ordained in 1961 the year when the Anglican Church of Australia was constituted.

Initially Ken was joined in the project by his school friend the Revd Noel POLLARD then Master of New College university of New South Wales. Noel worked throughCrockford’s Clerical Directories filling in clerical appointments. After he moved to England he joined the staff of S John’s theological college, later becoming vice-principal of Ridley theological college Cambridge. In Cambridge he mostly worked in the university library with its large collection of school registers and church newspapers. He also delved into the archives of university colleges.

Ken’s wife, Mrs Leonie CABLE, joined the project soon after it commenced. All three searched for ordination and licensing information in the diocesan registries across Australia and England. Leonie came to regret that they began before the computer age. The future of these cards in pencil and inks and written in different hands and variable legibility seemed unlikely to get into a form for publication. Funds were not available from any church source, people were not available who could both decipher the cards, understand the church terminology, and transcribe the information into a database.

From 1994 Ken and Leonie helped Michael BLAIN with his own new historical research on the clergy of New Zealand, a project begun in 1992. With the crucialadvantage of a computer his work developed readily and was published online with Project Canterbury. In Christchurch New Zealand Michael much enjoyed the phone calls to Ken and Leonie in Sydney, and deeply appreciated Ken’s hand transcriptions for him of his cards of all the priests in the CABLE index who had also served in New Zealand.

Our friendships continued, and in 2008 Michael offered to transcribe the cards. This took him nearly three years, working from reams of photocopied sheets posted in dozens of packets to him in Wellington. Meanwhile another friend Christine HICKTON in Napier offered her genealogical skills by helping Leonie by researching and filling the gaps in family background for both the priests and the wives.

Project Canterbury