In March 1841 the Census showed a population for the Port Philip District of 11,758 (Melbourne 4,479).|
Their recorded Religion - Church of England 6194, Church of Sctland 2045, Wesleyan Methodists 651, other Protestant Dissenters 353, Roman Catholics 1441, Jews 59, Mahomedans and Pagans 10
One historian says in the early days of the settlement 'it was long remembered in Melbourne that its three leading clergymen, the Rev James Forbes (Presbyterian), the Rev AC Thompson (Episcopalian) and the Rev PB Geoghegan (Roman Catholic), had been seen walking in Melbourne streets with their arms linked'.
BaptistsSource- Baptist Church to 1847
Many Aboriginal people came from a range of Victorian communities to visit the confluence of the Merri Creek and the Yarra River. Most, however, were from local clans of either Woiwurrung-speaking (who were also referred to as the ‘Yarra Tribe’) or Boonwurrung-speaking (also known as the Western Port Tribe’).
[It was over this country, and these peoples, that William Thomas’s authority as Assistant Protector extended.] From March 1839, William Thomas was the Assistant Protector responsible for the Western Port or Melbourne District of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate. Although based at Narre Narre Warren, he began, in December 1841, to visit the confluence of Merri Creek and the Yarra River. In March 1842, Thomas witnessed many Woiwurrung people decamp from Narre Narre Warren (the central protectorate station of his district) as their water supply from Dandenong Creek failed.
The Merri Creek was selected on 3 June 1842 as the temporary headquarters of the Native Police Corps, under the command of Captain H. E. P. Dana. The site served this purpose until the relocation of the Corps to Narre Narre Warren in September 1843. Late in 1842, Thomas built a hut that was to become known as the ‘Assistant Protector’s Quarters’ or ‘Merri Creek Protectorate Station’. From 1843, the Merri Creek–Yarra River confluence was, in effect, the ‘Central Station’ of the Western Port District. Due to reductions in government funding of the Protectorate in 1843, infrastructure, building works and staffing at the Merri Creek Protectorate ‘station’ never matched the levels provided for the Protectorate Stations of Loddon, Mt Rouse, Goulburn or Narre Narre Warren.
From July 1842 until February 1843, the Western Port Protectorate schoolmaster, Noble Keenan, conducted European-style school classes from the site, to children of the families who frequented the encampments there. From Keenan’s departure in February 1843 until June 1844, William Thomas assumed responsibility for teaching Aboriginal children, most likely from the former Native Police Corps Barracks building erected during the Corps’ occupancy. In August 1845, the former Protectorate schoolmaster at Narre Narre Warren, Edward Peacock, attracted Aboriginal children to Sunday school classes at Richmond. He was supported in this venture by Mr Mortimer and the Committee of the Collins Street Baptist Church.
In November 1845, the Committee communicated with Superintendent Charles Joseph La Trobe, with the view to receiving government sanction and assistance in the establishment of a permanent school for the children of the ‘Yarra tribe’. The former residence of the McArthurs, situated at the confluence of Merri Creek and the Yarra River, was granted for use as a school and mission house.
Edward Peacock, who was a parishoner of the Collins Street Baptist Church and regular attendant of their Committee meetings, was employed as schoolmaster at the new institution. Some additions were made to the site’s structural features, including a schoolroom, dormitory building and part of a stable. Pupil numbers were high in the first six months of operation, and the school received support from government, church and public subscription. One reason for this was that Billibellary, an influential and important Wurundjeri ngurungaeta, or spokesman, gave his support to the scheme. From the second half of 1846, however, several factors contributed to a decline in attendance. Billibellary’s opinion of the school had radically altered. His opposition to the motives of the school and his death in August 1846 had important and far-reaching ramifications for the future of Merri Creek Aboriginal School. His death caused the Woiwurrung people to abandon the confluence for much of the rest of that year. The outbreak of a new wave of influenza from the middle of 1847 had a more lasting effect on the movements of Aboriginal people away from Melbourne.
Episcopalianor Church of England
For notes on the Church of England in Tasmania see Rev Mr Grainger who, in 1840, joined Rev Mr Naylor and Rev William John Aislabie in Tasmania.
The Reverend T. B. Naylor, of Hobart Town, a Church of England clergyman, visited the Settlement, and conducted service on 30th April, 1837. He also solemnized the first marriage at the Settlement, and christened John Melbourne Gilbert, son of James and Mary Gilbert, the first white child born at this Settlement.
Captain Lonsdale reported to the Bishop that there was no clergyman at the Settlement, and stated that "some of the inhabitants read the Church service at their own residences to such as were disposed to attend, and that he did the same to the soldiers and the convicts." (7). Two laymen however, were responsible for occasional ministrations; George Langhorne who had been appointed Missionary to an Aboriginal Mission Station on the banks of the Yarra Yarra, beyond Anderson Street, South Yarra; and James Smith who became secretary of the subscribers for the erection of a wooden church in William Street, when that subscription was started after the first death and funeral at the Settlement. The building was offered to Captain Lonsdale for use as a church and schoolroom, as he stated subsequently "for Church of England service." The Commandant collected further subscriptions, and the sum spent in plastering the walls and installing a cedar pulpit and pews raised the total expenditure to about £100. It was, however, "a mere wooden shell, and incapable of keeping out the cold." In December 1838, the building was moved to the westward, and rebuilt with additions on the site adjoining that of the future pro-Cathedral, St. James' Church. It was "surmounted by something very like the traditional gallows, carrying a large and sonorous ship's bell." (8). The foundation stone of the pro-Cathedral itself, was laid on November 9th, 1839, by Mr. La Trobe, the newly appointed Superintendent of Port Phillip District. The cost of the church was about £6,000, of which £1,560 came from the Colonial Treasury. Further extensions were made in 1840, increasing the sittings to 200. At this period, there were three churches in Melbourne; St. James' Church of England; one Wesleyan Chapel; and a temporary wooden building which was the precursor of St. Francis' Roman Catholic Church. There were also 16 public houses, three butcher's shops, and three baker's shops.
Until the arrival of a resident minister, James Smith and George Langhorne conducted the services at St. James' Church. The Reverend James Clow, a Presbyterian minister officiated there for several months in 1838.
Reverend Adam Compton Thomsonarrived in the brig "Jewess" on On September 26th, 1840 and on November 30th, he was able to open a little stone building at Brighton. Dr. W. B. Wilmot, a layman, carried on the services, until the Reverend Brickwood was appointed to minister there in 1849, after the arrival of Bishop Charles Perry.
Rev Adam Compton Thompson/Thomson served for many years at St James Church, Melbourne.
In The Book of Common Prayer among the Nations of the World, in Chapter 32, "Translations Into Dravidian Languages" being Sanskrit, the form of speech of Southern India, the 9th paragraph ends with the sentence - The Thirty-Nine Articles were translated by the Rev Adam Compton Thompson, and published in 1842.
In 1842 prisoners were attended by the Colonial Chaplain the Rev. A. C. Thompson, who continued till the arrival of the Bishop of Melbourne, he then moved to Van Dieman's Land and afterwards back to England.
"I have known," says a contemporary, "that most excellent pastor and worthy man, the Rev. Adam Compton Thomson, perform the burial service over six persons, the marriage ceremony on three couples, baptize several children and visit sick persons in town and its suburbs, all in the course of one day."
In 1843, Bishop Broughton again visited the colony, landing first at Geelong,
By early 1846, the Colonial Bishopric's Fund, founded by Bishop Blomfield, of London, had borne fruit and three bishops had been selected for Australia, and when Bishops Charles Perry, William Tyrell, and Augustus Short were consecrated for the Australian church, and Robert Gray for South Africa, on St. Peter's Day in June, 1847, it became popularly known as "the birthday of the Colonial Church."
On the 18th June, 1846, that the foundation stone of St. Peter's, Eastern Hill, was laid by Superintendent La Trobe, in the presence of the Reverends Adam Compton Thomson, incumbent of St. James', Melbourne, and Ebenezer Collins, of Geelong.
Rev G Collier arrived on the 'Australia' from Liverpool, with his wife, 2 chn and 2 servants. Source Melbourne Courier 27 Feb 1846
For Melbournians of 1847, the appointment of Perry as first Bishop of Melbourne, showed the growing importance of a town, now to become a city, the residents of which were appealing to the Queen to shake off what was called the incubus of Sydney control.
See Early Years with a picture of St James Church, William St, Melbourne
Chapter 2 begins - THE Church of England in the colony was full of hopeful excitement about New Year time in 1848, watching for the signals to announce the arrival of the clipper-ship "The Stag," for on board her came the first Bishop of Melbourne. She reached Hobson's Bay on Sunday, 23rd January, in that year. Superintendent La Trobe, the mayor, the incumbent of St. James' Church (Rev. A. C. Thomson), and at least a hundred others, went out in boats to welcome him; and as the Bishop left the ship the crew manned the yards and gave three farewell cheers, which were answered by the crowd on Liardet's beach. He was brought in a barge up the river, and lodged in the parsonage in Bourke Street. To a congregation that crowded St. James', he preached his first sermon on Friday, 28th January, and was duly installed. This was the beginning of the Diocese of Melbourne. Bishop Perry had sailed on the 6th October, 1847, and with him were the Reverends H. B. Macartney, Daniel Newman and Francis Hales, whose diary is in the possession of the Victorian Historical Society, and also Mr. Willoughby Bean, Mr. Edward Tanner, and Mr. H. H. P. Handfield. The Bishop had a team of six clergy, for the Reverends Thomson, Collins and Wilson were already at work, and three catechists. His episcopate lasted 29 years, during which time the infant colony of Victoria had developed into the leading state in Australia.
On August 2nd, 1842, Trustees were appointed to erect a Church of England School at Geelong, and to use the school as a temporary place of worship. In the same year, the Reverend A. C. Thomson opened a small stone building at Brighton that served as its first schoolroom and temporary church. The following year, the same progress was made in Portland by the Reverend J. Y. Wilson. St. Peter's School House in Melbourne, dates from 1848. The arrival of Bishop Perry in 1848, and also of the Roman Catholic Bishop later in the same year, supplied a stimulus to the sectarian schools. Church effort developed into the Denominational System of 1848, and life revolved around Denominational issues. By 1850, there were 24 Church of England schools in the colony, out of a total of 54 Denominational Schools. In the year 1851 there came Separation, economic freedom and self-government for Victoria; and also a National Board of Education.
In July 1851, Melbourne's 29,000 residents celebrated Separation. In September 1851, an event of great importance, the gold discoveries, took place. In 12 months, 70,000 were added to the population of Victoria. Ten years later the population rose to over 500,000.
William John AislabieBenjamin Aislabie wed 13 MAR 1798 to Ann Hodgson at Chigwell, Essex, England. William John Aislabie was born 29 Nov 1804 and Christening: 17 May 1805 at St Botolph Without Aldgate, London, London, England, the son of Ann and Benjamin Aislabie. He was educated at Eton ; matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1826 ; graduated in honours B.A. 1830 ; and won the Tyrwhitt Hebrew scholar ship the same year. He was appointed Chaplain 1830. He served at Secunderabad from 1831 to 1834, when he obtained an appointment in Van Diemen's Land and left India. A daughter was born 11 Nov 1831 at Secunderabad, and a son was born 16 Feb 1834 at Masulipatam, the lady of the Rev. W. S. Aislabie, chaplain at Secunderabad, of a son. See database of the British India Society. Georgiana, second daughter of Benjamin Aislabie, Esq., Park Place, Regent's Park, wed on 27 Feb 1840 at Meerut, to Edward James Pratt, Esq 16th Lancers
On Fri 14 Nov 1834, the 'Hobart Town Courier' recorded the death at sea on board the Princess Victoria, William, son of Revd. W.I. Aislabie aged 8 months.
William John Aislabie, (Chaplain of the Richmond District) on Fri 31 July 1835 the 'Hobart Town Courier' announced the birth of a son on 19 July 1835 (wife Amelia had a son Rawson).
The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831-1842) Monday 15 December 1834 reported that Van Dieman's Land has acquired two able pastors, the Rev Mr Naylor who has now recovered from illness, and the Rev Mr Aislabie, who preached a very imnpressive sermon in St David's Church on Sunday.
Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828-1857) Tue 11 Oct 1842 Page 4 records a petition, signed by the Ministers of the Church of England - Phillip Palmer AM, A Archdeacon; William Bedford Senior Chaplain; William Gerrard (who agrees with subject, but not the petition); James Norman; WH Browne LLD; RR Davies BA; WL Gibbon MA; J Walker MA; George Wilkinson BA; Wm Richardson BA; WJ Aislabie BS; John Burrowes BA; Thomas Wigmore BA; EJ Pogson BCL; Henry Fry BA; George Bateman MA; Rochfort Burrow Grange MA; Edward Freeman MA; Wm Bedford junior BA; George Otter MA; Joseph Mayson
Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828-1857) Tuesday 1 August 1843, Page 3, Enthronement of the Bishop at St David's Cathedral, Mr Marriott new Archdeacon, Rev Mr Aislabie read the Liturgy
On 3 Feb 1845 his household furniture and effects were sold by Auction by Mr Stacey.
The Courier, Thursday 6 February 1845 - Mr Buckland is to do duty at Richmond during Mr Aislabie's absence in England. The Courier Thursday 6 February 1845 announced the sailing of 'The Derwent' and passengers included Rev Mr Palmer, Mrs Palmer and family, also Rev Mr Aisladie, Mrs Aisladie and family. Other passengers included Dr MacLeroy, R.N. the Surgeon Superintendent of the female convict ship the Phebe.
The Courier < Saturday 19 April 1845 > reports problems between Bishop Dr Nixon and the Church of England clergy, (a reason for Rev Aislabie returning to England) and these are clearly stated page 2. Colonial Times for Tue 8 Aug 1843, when clergy were refusing to go into schools due to unfriendly attitude by teachers. He was appointed Rector of Alpheton in Suffolk in 1848, and retained the appointment till his death in 1876.
Rev Rochfort Burrow Grangewas ordained a Deacon at the Chapel Royal, with BA, St John's College Cambridge, on Trinity Sunday 21 May 1837, by the Lord Bishop
Ipswich St Peter's Parish Records, Suffolk, records the issue of Stipendiary curate's licence; The Rev. Rochfort Burrow Grange, at stipend of £60 p.a. FB101/C3/4 7 Oct. 1827.
Three generations of Clergy - Rev. Richard Chapell Grange, of Sallymount, co. Wicklow born 1736 and died 1779, wed Mary Rochfort in Ireland. Their son Rochfort Grange wed 10 Apr 1794 to Caroline Ann Burrow at Bromley, Kent, England, and son Rochfort Burrow Grange christened 28 Sep 1795 at Bromley, Kent, UK wed c1834 to Sarah and only child Ann Caroline Grange christened 20 Mar 1836 at Lingfield, Surrey, England. The drawing of 100,000 acres of Wellington lots was held in London on the 29th July, 1839. Rev Rochfort Grange is recorded as a Householder (entry 146, Ghuznee St and entry 701, Wright St) in early Wellington, New Zealand - book published 1928.
The family were in Sydney in 1840, wife and daughter appear to stay there, Rev Mr Grainger Cabin - arrived 24 April 1840 from Sydney on the Strathfieldsaye
Rev Rochfort Burrow Grange was in Melbourne when he conducted the wedding ceremony by banns for Abraham Dathe Ward married Harriet Ridley, daughter of Edward Ridley and Jane Taylor, on 21 Sep 1840 at Parish of St James Melbourne, Bourke, Vic, Australia. On 13 Jan 1841 Rev Mr Grange departed in the Industry for Launceston and returned. The Industry departed 20 Mar 1841 from Launceston for Port Phillip with Rev R.B. Granger, Passenger, arrival reported 26 Mar 1841 in Port Phillip Herald.
At some time he returned to Van Dieman's Land - In 1843 he was one of 21 Clergy of the Church of England in the Archdeaconry of Van Dieman's Land, wanting Govt assistance to establish schools maintained by the churches - noting that using 1841 Census figures, there were 8 Church of England to each in 3 other denominations. In 1841 the Rev. Francis Russell Nixon was appointed the first Bishop of Tasmania, Installation recorded on Page 2, in Hobart Courier for Friday 28 July 1843. Courier Page 4, for 17 Nov 1843 prints the Lord Bishop of Tasmania's list of those Surrogates for issuing Marriage Licenses within Van Dieman's Land
He was at St Matthews Church, Rokeby, Clarence Plains 1844 - 1847. The Courier (Hobart, Tas) Wednesday 4 August 1847 records his appointment in the Commission of the Peace.
Ann Caroline Grange wed 7 Aug 1855 to Robert Peel Raymond, youngest son of the late James Raymond Esq., at St James's Church in Sydney, NSW and had 7 chn.
IndependentsRev Waterfield arrived in 1838.
Services held in the home of John Gardiner,and after Fawkner's hotel was opened, in the large room of that establishment.
Chapel was erected in Collins St in 1839
MethodistsRev James Dredge, Mrs Sarah Dredge, Master Theophilus Dredge and younger children came 3 Jan 1839 on the coastal ship Hope.
James Dredge was baptised in 1796 in the small English village of Britford, within sight of Salisbury Cathedral. His wife Sarah and four surviving children — left England on board the barque Elizabeth, bound for Australia. After three months in Sydney, the Protectors were formally gazetted and travelled by boat to Port Phillip. Four Assistant Protectors were assigned districts where, with the aid of two convicts, they were to protect the native people from ‘any encroachment on their property and from acts of cruelty, oppression or injustice’. They were given the powers of a magistrate to help in this work. James Dredge's district covered more than a quarter of the present state of Victoria, stretching an unspecified distance to the north-east of Mount Macedon. If he had time, he was also to induce the Aboriginal people to assume more settled habits; to teach them how to cultivate the ground and build habitations; to educate the children and to instruct them in elements of the Christian religion.
James W. Dredge, a schoolmaster from Salisbury in England who arrived in Melbourne in the barque Hope, out of Sydney, on 3 January 1839. On 21 May he wrote in his diary, 'A shepherd has been murdered by the blacks on the Goulburn so hope to be off tomorrow'. His gear was loaded on a bullock dray and his men, two ex-convicts on parole, wore corduroy jackets, trousers, shirts, hats and shoes, which he supplied for £1.5.0 per man. On 22 May he wrote, 'Left Melbourne 2 p.m. on Billy, his horse which had cost £50 in Port Phillip. 26 May Pitched tent on bend of river a little above Clarkes'.
Here he built a hut, getting the blacks to cut bark for his roof as it leaked so badly. By Christmas he had peas, beans, cabbages, carrots and potatoes from his own garden, although it had been a hard summer in 1839 after a long drought of seven months. Though he quickly succeeded with his garden, James Dredge had so many other difficulties that he resigned and the protectorate was moved further down the river nearer to Murchison.
Standing up for the Aborigines resulted in James being regarded as a failed colonist, a lonely figure who attracted derision as he stood against the weight of colonial opinion on Aboriginal rights. After just seven months on the Goulburn he tendered his resignation under controversial circumstances which highlight the rift between his humanitarian views and the Port Phillip of 1840.
PresbyterianRev James Clow had retired from being a chaplain in the East India Company, and retired in Port Phillip. Rev Clow, who died 1861 aged 69, performed divine service till Rev James Forbes arrived in Jan 1838. A schoolhouse was erected and in 1841 the first Scotch church was erected in Collins St. Rev Love arrived from Scotland and settled in Geelong in 1840.
22 Jan 1841 The foundation stone of the first Scot's Church laid by Dr David Patrick. Samuel Jackson was architect, Webb and Alee were the stone and brick contractors and James Rule contractor for carpentry, plumbing and glazing. 15 Nov 1841 - 15 Trustees appointed to the Savings Bank of Port Phillip were: James Simpson, Thomas Wills, Skene Craig, J D L Campbell, George Ward Cole, James Graham, Charles Hutton, Jones Agnew Smith, Robert Martin, Rev A C Thompson, Rev J Forbes and Rev P B Geoghegan. La Trobe was President and J Simpson Vice President.
Rev Dr Lang, Senior Minister of the Presbyterian Church, is recorded in Geelong Advertiser for 28 Feb 1842 as giving a farewell address to his congregation at Sydney on 6 Feb, where he announced his intention of proceeding to New Zealand with the view of establishing the Church of Scotland in that colony, on the Voluntary system (with no connection to the state, unlike the arrangement in New South Wales).
In 1842, 3 clergy arrived, Rev Messrs Gunn, Mowbray and Laurie. Sir George Gipps has refused to give government aid until they have completely formed congregations.
Rev Peter Gunn arrived in January, 1842 and was specially appointed to serve the Gaelic speaking people in and around Melbourne. He won election for pastor for Scots Church, Campbellfield. Source - Melbourne Weekly Courier 24 Jan 1845 and died in 1864 aged 52.
View a photograph taken Aug. 15, 1979 by John T Collins of his tombstone in Campbellfield cemetry
Rev Thomas Mowbray arrived 26 Jan 1842 from Greenock went first to a form a congregation in the Merri Creek district and then to one in Sydney. Following a breakdown in health he moved to Brisbane and established a school in the grounds of his home Riversdale, now Mowbray Park
Rev Alexander Laurie, and Mrs Janet Laurie arrived 9 Feb 1842 from Leith and was to form a congregation at Portland, then Geelong Advertiser 20 May 1844 announced they have left Portland to live in Belfast.
John Dunmore Lang, (1799-1878), a Presbyterian clergyman, was the Colony’s first Presbyterian minister, becoming also a politician, educationist, and supporter of free immigration. He arrived in Sydney in May 1823 from Scotland and through private funds begun the Scots Church, which was finished in 1826.
Roman CatholicsRev Fr Patrick Bonaventure Geoghegan arrived in Melbourne 15 May 1839 on the ship Paul Pry following his appointment to the newly formed parish of Port Phillip. He conducted his first Mass in Melbourne on 19 May 1839 on an altar prepared for the occasion by Mrs. Coffee. He also performed Melbourne's first Roman Catholic baptism on this day on Catherine, the daughter of Thomas Connor and Elizabeth (Kavanagh).
His details Caholic clergy - Patrick Bonaventure Geoghegan was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was baptised in March 1805. After he was orphaned at an early age some of his relatives sought to have him raised as a Protestant, however a Franciscan priest arranged for his placement in an orphanage. The Franciscans later arranged for his schooling at Edgeworthstown, County Longford, Ireland. His education was furthered at the Irish College at Lisbon, Portugal and the Franciscan Order at Coimbra, Portugal.
After ordination as a priest in Portugal he was appointed to St. Francis' Church, Dublin, Ireland. In 1837 Dr. William B. Ullathorne, Vicar General of the Australian mission, visited Dublin and following an interview with him, Patrick volunteered for seven years work in Australia. Fr. Geoghegan arrived at Sydney, New South Wales on the 370 ton barque "Francis Spaight" on 31 December 1838. He spent some months in New South Wales before being transferred to Melbourne in May 1839 by Bishop John Bede Polding.
On 26 August 1839 Fr. Richard Walsh arrived at Melbourne from Sydney on the 351 ton barque "Christina" to act as Fr. Geoghegan's assistant. Church services in Melbourne continued to be held in temporary premises for some time.
In June 1841 Baptisms were solemnised by Rev Michael Ryan at Roman Catholic St Francis, Melbourne
On 11 Sep 1841 the Geelong Advertiser announced the arrival of Rev Michael Ryan who intends to be a resident in Geelong
On 4 October 1841 Fr. Geoghegan laid the foundation stone for St. Francis' Church on two acres of land at the north-east corner of Elizabeth and Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne. This church was opened by him on 23 October 1845. He later laid the foundation stone for St. Mary's Church, Geelong in August 1846.
Fr. Michael Stephens OSA was appointed administrator of St Francis' during the time Fr Geoghegan was away ill, in Sydney, from April to September 1842. After Fr Geoghegan's return, Fr Stephens was appointed to Geelong.
Rev Daniel McEvey and Rev PB Geoghegan made visits to Melbourne Gaol in year of 1843
Geelong Advertiser 25 Apr 1844 announces the arrival of Very Rev PB Geoghegan by Saturday's steamer to conduct a solumn Jubilee, to commence on Monday 29 Apr and end on Thursday, assisted by Rev Michael Stephens.
Source - Port Phillip Herald 6 Jan 1846 - The 'Martha and Elizabeth' has brought to Melbourne the Rev M Bourgenis who is to assist the Very Rev Mr Geoghegan.
Rev John Joseph Thiery was in Melbourne 1846
Wesleyan Methodistsbegan with "Henry Reed, Esq., then a zealous Local Preacher in Tasmania, having the welfare of the native population in view, went over to Port Philip in 1835 with one of the earliest bands of settlers, and in one of the only two sod huts that had then been extemporised for shelter, read and expounded a portion of Sacred Scripture, and offered prayer to Almighty God." from the book on Early Story of Wesleyan Methodist Church at the website - a searchable site telling the story that begins with people from Tasmania -
In April 1836 the Rev Orton, a Wesleyan minister of Van Dieman's Land, who had accompanied Mr Batman when he brought his family across Bass's Straits, celebrated divine service when Melbourne consisted of 3 houses and 2 bark huts. Mr Batman's Sydney blacks, and local aborigines attended, with all others. The Church of England service was read, and an excellent discourse was preached on 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God'. Source - Page 314-5 of History of Victoria.
As a result of Rev Orton's report to the English Society that Messrs Tuckfield, Hurst and Skeavenden were sent to 'reclaim the aborigines' Wesleyans celebrated divine service in the house of Mr William Witton, an ironmonger who afterwards abandoned his business to devote himself to ministry.
A temporary chapel was erected by Mr John Jones Peers, a respectable builder
The first offerings of praise and worship within its walls were on Thursday, 24th June, 1841, when the Rev. W. Waterfield preached in the morning ; text, " Thy kingdom come"; collection, £17. Rev. J. Orton preached in the evening from Psalm cxxxii., verse 7, 8, and 9 ; collection, £35. The opening services were continued on Sunday, 27th, by Mr. Tuckfield preaching in the morning from Psalm Ixxxvii., verse 5. Rev. Mr. Forbes from Acts viii. chapter, verse 5 ; collections at two services, £70. The Rev. Samuel Wilkinson had arrived, as the first Minister regularly appointed, by arrangements made in Sydney, to occupy the post of Wesleyan minister in Mel- bourne. He came on March 9th, 1841 and continued as the Circuit Minister until the end of 1842, and the Circuit, under his administration, was blessed with a steady progress. In April of this year the membership numbered 162 full members, and 11 on trial, an advance of 55 on those reported at the first Quarterly meeting held in Mr. Wilkinson's time. The first settled gentleman was Mr Hursy, who was succeeded by Mr Schofield, and when he removed to Paramatta, by Mr Sweetman
Rev W Scholield made 19 visits to Melbourne Gaol in year of 1843
Geelong Advertiser 23 May 1844 report on excellent progress made by members of the Aboriginal establishment under the charge of Mr Tuckfield at the Buntingdale Mission Station.
SYMONS, John Christian (Rev.) (1821-1894) ( Wesleyan Methodist ) Born on 24 January 1821 at Lower St. Columb/Trevilly, Cornwall, England, Arrived at Melbourne on 9 November 1846 per "Maitland" from London, England. Acted as religious instructor to convict exiles on the voyage out. Returned to England and wed 1848
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England - Tetbury around 1735
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