Project Canterbury

All Saints' Church, Brisbane 1862-1937

By D. L. Kissick, B.A.

Brisbane: Published by All Saints' Parish, 1937.


The work of the next three rectors, the Venerable Archdeacon David, the Rev. F. Anstruther Cardew and the Rev. Arthur James Maclean may well be considered together since each was at All Saints' for only a short period.

When Canon Robinson resigned, the parishioners wished the Ven. Archdeacon Jones to return as rector of his old parish but the Bishop would not allow this. The following letter which appeared in the "Moreton Mail" on October 23rd, 1896, clearly typified the storm of opposition which this refusal aroused.


Right Reverend Sir, I trust that I am not taking too great a liberty in writing to you upon the subject of the appointment of a successor to the Rev. C. G. Robinson as Rector of All Saints' Church. I am but voicing the feelings of great numbers of the parishioners in saying that I am bitterly disappointed in the selection made; not that Archdeacon David can be considered in any way unsuitable, far from it, but in ignoring the great claims of the Rev. T. Jones. You do not need to be told what he has done for the Church in this Diocese that I believe finds a place in the records of Synod. It is hardly necessary, either, to recapitulate what he has done in other respects, but if one half of the acts of unostentatious charity and of self-sacrificing devotion to the interests of the Church could be written it would read like an extract from the "Lives of the Saints." All this has caused Mr. Jones to be regarded by many people with feelings akin to veneration, and the fact that you have virtually rejected him as Rector of the Church which he may claim to have built, has shocked and chilled the sympathies of thousands towards the Church, and has also, I am sorry to say, deepened and intensified the feeling of dislike with which you are regarded. I do not wish or intend to be in any way disrespectful, but I feel that I am justified in saying that the manner in which your Lordship is regarded is nothing less than a misfortune to the Church; weakening as it does your power of usefulness by detracting from the weight which ought properly to attend the public utterances of one in your position, and by causing many to turn a deaf ear to appeals they would otherwise listen to.

There is no course you could have taken which would have so tended to modify and abate this feeling, as the reappointment of Mr. Jones to his old charge, as it is, the feeling of many is that they will never be able to sit and listen to the new rector without feeling that his presence there is due to a great injustice. Mr. Jones is no ordinary clergyman, he holds a position in the esteem of thousands, both within and without the Church, enjoyed by but few clergymen in Queensland of any denomination whatsoever; and the knowledge that such a man has been slighted and ignored can not but react unfavourably upon the interests of the Church and impair the influence of those to whom this injustice is believed to be due.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) H. GREEN.
Brisbane, September 2nd."

Bishop Webber chose the Rev. F. A. Cardew to fill the vacancy, putting Archdeacon David in charge till such time as this priest could arrive. On October 16th, 1896, the institution of the Venerable Archdeacon David to the charge of the parish took place, the Bishop officiating. The Venerable Archdeacon David, whose brother, Professor David, did such fine work in South Polar expeditions, had come to the Diocese in 1891 as examining and mission chaplain. A great scholar, a keen business man but above all a Christian gentleman, he was several times appointed Diocesan Commissary and Administrator during the Bishop's absences, and it was hoped by many that he would become the first Archbishop of Brisbane. When the Rev. F. A. Cardew did arrive to take charge of All Saints' parish (April 24th, 1897), the Archdeacon returned to his normal duties. In 1905 he resigned and went to England, where he became examining chaplain to the Bishop of Rochester and Chaplain of Dulwich College. While holding these positions he wrote "Australia," one of the books in the series of "Handbooks of English Church Expansion." He died in 1913 and, as he was so well liked at All Saints', it was proposed that a stained glass window should be placed in the church in his memory. It was intended that it should have been erected at the same time as the Peattie Memorial Window but for some reason the project was allowed to drop.

Little of importance happened during Archdeacon David's short rectorship except the inception of the Good Friday procession through the parish followed by a lantern service, the other services remaining as they had been in Canon Robinson's time.

The pulpit and chancel were renovated by Mr. Norris, sacristan for many years and an artistic and indefatigable worker. It was probably he who painted the ceiling and walls of the chancel blue relieved with gold stars. A year or two later he made and gave a white processional banner. When he went to Rockhampton to live, All Saints' felt the loss very much.

The Rev. G. A. Sale remained as curate after Canon Robinson left and the Rev. C. A. Hutchinson was also appointed in order that All Saints' could give assistance to a number of small district churches. Among those so helped were St. John's, Bulimba, St. Peter's, West End, St. Philip's, Thompson Estate, St. Paul's, East Brisbane, and St. Paul's, Cleveland. The Rev. C. A. Hutchinson, on being made vicar of Thompson Estate and West End in 1899, presented All Saints' with a set of frontals, superfrontals, veils and bookmarkers.

On March 22nd, 1897, a special meeting was called and at it Archdeacon David tendered his resignation of the parish, stating that he was acting on medical advice and that, as the Bishop had decided to procure a new rector while in England, the Rev. F. A. Cardew would take charge of the parish until the new priest arrived. The Rev. F. A. Cardew was the brother-in-law of the Venerable Archdeacon David. After his resignation the Archdeacon lived in a house in Wickham Terrace (opposite the Rectory) and this house was known as the "clergy house" for with the Archdeacon lived three clergy and the first two students of the theological college. All attended the daily offices at All Saints' and said Sext and Compline in a small oratory in the house. They lived under a strict rule, spending much time in district visiting. Later the college was transferred from this house to All Saints' rectory, then to Bishopsbourne, then to Nundah, and at the present time is housed in a new building at Bishopsbourne.

The Rev. F. A. Cardew was priested in London in 1892 and, after spending three years in Kensington, came out to St. Michael's, New Farm. From there he went to Charleville where he was the only priest and had to serve as far out as Birdsville and Sturt's Stony Desert. He was appointed as vicar of All Saints' as from April 24th, 1897, and as rector in December of the same year but resigned in December, 1899. On his return to England, he worked in Suffolk until he obtained the chaplaincy of St. George's, Paris. In 1923 he became Rural Dean of France and a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, positions which he still holds. An active worker, he did much to heal the factions caused by Canon Robinson's resignation. He bound the men of the parish together in a Guild of Perseverance, and the girls in a Guild of St. Mary and a branch of the Girls' Friendly Society and a Band of Hope. The parish was in debt to the extent of £510 when he took charge and he tried hard to extinguish this but the deep-seated resentment of the congregation owing to their beloved Canon's removal and the Bishop's refusal to allow the Ven. Archdeacon Jones to return to the parish, prevented him from obtaining much support and, at the Rev. F. A. Cardew's resignation, the debt stood at £415.

He continued Canon Robinson's policy of stressing the Eucharist as the people's service and the central act of worship and was rewarded by seeing the bulk of the congregation form the habit of remaining for the Communion Service which followed Matins on the third Sunday in the month. A complete change took place in the proportion which existed between the number of persons communicating at the early celebrations and those communicating at the midday service. When first he came, the number communicating at the late service was nearly double that of those communicating at the early service but, in 1898, the number of early communions made was nearly half as large again as the late ones, "this shows that the Church's ancient rule of receiving the Blessed Sacrament fasting is rapidly becoming the rule of our consciences." The evening congregations though large, fluctuated with the weather, a number of persons then attending being strangers and those attracted by the music or mere curiosity.

During Lent, daily celebrations were held and in Holy Week evening services were conducted by lay missioners. Both morning and afternoon Sunday Schools were continued and the Christmas of 1897 was marked by the introduction of the midnight Mass. The Rev. F. A. Cardew also inaugurated the envelope system and in 1899 had the organ repaired. In 1899, All Saints' Day was called the Dedication and Patronal Festival and, for the first time, was observed on a week day with due ceremony, holy Communion being administered at 10 a.m. and a sermon preached, while in the evening Solemn Evensong with a sermon was held. During 1899 a petition concerning the services at All Saints' was preferred to the Bishop by a strong Protestant element which had returned to the Church after the dissolution of the "Free Church," though the less wavering element were by this time gladly resorting to regular confessions and communions.

In 1897, the parish protested to Synod that the Rev. F. A. Cardew had not been appointed in accordance with the Benefices Canon, but received the reply that the Presentation Board after discussion did not see its way clear to, make a nomination to the Bishop so elected to leave the appointment to be dealt with by the Bishop alone. In December, word having been received that the vicar had been made rector, the Parochial Council had its dissent to this appointment entered in the minute book despite the rector's protest. At the next parochial council meeting the Archdeacon took the chair and moved that no action be taken regarding the Rector being appointed without the parochial nominators being consulted. The motion was lost and the matter was again brought up at the next Synod but with no effect. Only after the rector had purged the parishioners' roll of the dissatisfied members was quietness restored. The Rev. F. A. Cardew's farewell services, given on the Sunday within the Octave of All Saints' Day, 1899, were packed, a tribute to the way in which he had won the hearts of the people during his short stay among them. The Rev. H. C. Beaseley was the Peattie curate during the Rev. F. A. Cardew's rectorship.

The next rector, the Rev. Arthur James Maclean, MA, began his ministry at All Saints' in December, 1899. After leaving Oxford, he commenced his theological training at Leeds and was ordained deacon in 1884. He received an appointment to Tewkesbury and was priested the following year. In 1891 he came to Queensland and became rector of Gympie, but, after three years, returned to England and held two cures there during the next five years. In 1899 he again came out to Australia, this time to become rector of All Saints'. In 1901 he resigned but withdrew his resignation and remained till January, 1903. While in Brisbane he was chaplain to the Military Forces' in which he held the rank of captain. On leaving All Saints' he again returned to England and continued to do active work till just before the war; then lived in Sussex until his death in 1917.

His first sermon was preached at All Saints' on December 3rd, 1899, the subject being "Labourers Together With God."

On Christmas Day he entered in the service book a note saying that altar lights were commenced that day. Whether the use of the candlesticks given by Sir J. R. Dickson had been discontinued for some reason, or whether this entry refers only to the 11 a.m. service it is impossible to tell, but this certainly was not the first occasion on which lights had been used. One of the Rev. A. J. Maclean's first acts was to reorganise the envelope system in an attempt to put the finances in better order, there being a debt of over £400 when he took charge of the parish.

Just after his arrival, the parish suffered a great blow in that the Peattie fund was suspended until the settlement of certain legal questions. The Registrar of the Supreme Court had given his opinion that the will was invalid since it had not been signed by three witnesses and registered under the "Religious, Educational and Charitable Institutions Act, 186l." On these grounds Mr. Irwin, next-of-kin of Mrs. Peattie claimed to be entitled to the estate. With a church heavily in debt there remained no hope of a curate's stipend being provided from the parochial funds, hence the arduous duties of the large parish fell solely upon the rector. In July of this year, the Rev. C. G. Robinson, then Archdeacon of Dunedin, returned to Brisbane for a short visit and preached to a crowded church on two successive 'Sundays. Towards the end of the year it was feared that the Church and Rectory had become unsafe owing to the railway tunnel and would have to be closed or removed elsewhere, but in November this fear was dispelled and the Rev. A. Maclean wrote in All Saints' news in the Chronicle: "We are delighted to know that there is now little chance of the Church or Rectory being pulled down and removed elsewhere, anyhow for some years, if then. We are quite satisfied with it as it is and long may we remain undisturbed."

The next year, 1901, opened sadly for the congregation. While in Sydney taking part in the celebrations which marked the inception of the Commonwealth of Australia, a goal towards which he had worked strenuously for many years, the Hon. Sir J. R. Dickson, K.C.M.G., D.C.L., became ill and died within the week. His mortal remains were brought to the church he had served so faithfully for so many years, the service there being conducted by the Rev. A. J. Maclean, while at the graveside Bishop Webber and Canon Jones officiated. It is recorded that there were enough people present to have filled the church a dozen times over. The procession was headed by the cross and followed by the surpliced choir. Memorial services were held on the following Sunday, 13th January, the Bishop preaching in the morning and the Rev. A. Maclean in the evening. At the Easter meeting the Rector said: "Our Church and Parish sustained a very heavy loss by the death of Sir J. R. Dickson. He had been so long identified with All Saints' that it seems difficult, even now, to realise, that we can no longer look to him for his wise council and ever ready help. Before everything else he was a devoted churchman, and he always took a keen interest in the welfare of the parish. At one time church warden and for many years till the day of his death, our trustee, parochial nominator and representative in Synod, the interests of the parish could not have been in better hands, and his lamented death has caused a void which is unlikely ever to be filled." To which the wardens added: "Through Sir J. R. Dickson's generosity our parish has been helped through many a financial difficulty and his liberal subscription came to us as regularly as the seasons whether he was at home or abroad. A typical Churchman, his kindly presence at our meetings, and his generous and consistent support of the parish for so many years, will ever remain green in the memories of the parishioners of' All Saints'."

A cultured, courteous Scotchman, considerate of others, hardly popular yet genuinely respected he had, throughout his long life, conscientiously served both the Church and the State. He came from Glasgow to Victoria, in 1854 and to Queensland in 1862, so he had been a member of All Saints' from its beginning. He was on the first parochial council and was warden at the time of rebuilding. He entered Parliament in 1872 and was in the ministry for many years, then Premier in 1898 and 1899. An ardent believer in the necessity for the federation of Australia, he was one of the men chosen to take part in the discussions in London in 1900. When the first Commonwealth Government was formed in 1900, he was given a portfolio as Minister of Defence. To All Saints', to Queensland and to Australia his death was a great loss.

After his death Bishop Webber wished All Saints' property to be taken from the hands of the remaining trustee (the Hon. J. Douglas, then Government Resident of Thursday Island), Mr. Graham Hart having died some years previously, and vested in Synod. Bishop Webber was already planning to build St. John's Cathedral in Ann St. and, for this reason, wished All Saints' to be sold. A special meeting was called on January 28th and, at it, the congregation voted that the control of the land should still continue to be vested in trustees. This resolution being conveyed to the Bishop, he called another meeting but the parishioners would not swerve from their proposed course of action and the Bishop adjourned the meeting sine die. At the Easter meeting the congregation elected Mr. George Eddington and Mr. Hugh Milman as additional trustees with the Hon. J. Douglas, a minute of the Executive Council was obtained on 31st July and on 26th October the names of the new trustees were endorsed upon the title deeds.

The Peattie fund, as has been said, had for the time being ceased, but when the Synod assessment was calculated it was still included as part of the parochial income and the parish, feeling this to be an injustice, refused to pay the assessment so was disfranchised. Such was the position at Easter, 1901, when the rector reported: "One cannot feel it has been a year of uninterrupted prosperity, or altogether of much progress. In my last report you must have noted that I was very enthusiastic and sanguine. This year, I must honestly say, I feel less so. It has been a year of anxiety. I had hoped that by now, there would have been some prospect in the near future of the recovery of the Peattie Fund which would have enabled me to obtain the much-needed services of a curate, but at present there seems no sign of this hope being realised. One man cannot do the work of two, and I must not expect to see the progress that 1 could wish until some help is afforded me in the work of this large parish. There have been fewer celebrations of Holy Communion and therefore less communions made although Easter was up to the average. The Sunday services have been well attended and leave little to be desired." At this time although there were 500 names on the communicants' roll, there were only 126 names on the parish roll and the number of communions made at Easter was only 248. The average number of Sunday communicants was 36.

Finances did not improve during the year so, at a special meeting called for October 8th, it was decided to take the regrettable step of letting the seats. From the end of 1864 All Saints' had prided itself upon being free and open to all, a fact of which the parishioners were reminded on each and every occasion on which the wardens had to appeal for funds.

It was now decided to let only alternate seats and that all seats should be free after the "Venite" at Matins and after the psalms at Evensong. However the seats were only let for one year from the beginning of 1902 and the following Michaelmas seat-holders were asked to allow all seats to be considered free. The liabilities stood at £362 at Easter, 1902.

On January 25th, 1903, the Rev. A. J. Maclean preached his farewell sermon taking "Change" as his subject. He was farewelled in the schoolroom on January 27th, Canon Jones being in the chair.

Archdeacon David and the Rev. S. Harris took the services alternately for a time, then the Archdeacon and the Rev. D. Price, at that time a minor canon of the Cathedral, officiated until Easter when the Rev. D. Price became priest-in-charge of the parish, the Bishop not wishing to make a permanent appointment as he anticipated closing All Saints' so soon as the new Cathedral was ready for use. With Easter, 1903, ended the period of rapid changes and the parish settled down to normal existence again. The last six years were ones which left no marked impression on the life of the parish--the three rectors although in themselves fine priests did not have charge of the parish long enough for their personalities to have any lasting effect upon the parochial policy.

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