Monday, March 02, 2009

Moore College to move to St Philip's York St (after the deaths of the Principal and a Bishop)

Not now. But in 1935. 

Oh yes. 1935.

(For the record, John Woodhouse is very much alive, as are all the Bishops.)

There is an historian working at St Philip's at the moment. It's an historic church (Australia's first parish), and it is in many ways responsible for the evangelical nature of the Sydney Diocese. The historian is trawling through the Parish Council Minutes and writing down whatever looks interesting. She showed me the Minutes of a meeting on August 24, 1935. If you care to take the time to read the minutes below, you will find some remarkable things. Some preliminary remarks:
  • The Archbishop was the newly appointed Howard Mowll.
  • The Parish of St Philip automatically had (up until 1935) as its rector the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese.
  • The Bishop/Rector, whose death if referred to, was Bishop Kirby, who died on 12 July, 1935. This meeting happened 6 weeks later.
  • The Principal of Moore College who died was Principal Davies. 
  • His successor was T.C. Hammond (who become the Rector of St Philip's as well as the Principal).
  • The Harbour Bridge was opened in March, 1932.
  • This meeting (to ask St Philip's it's views on a potential move) was over in one hour!
I love this stuff. 

So, take a few minutes, if this interests you! (I've included the headings, to make it readable):

The Archbishop was in the Chair. Those present were: Mesdames Mares, Levick, Murphy, D'Arcy-Irvine (M), Hancock, Broadley and Gray. The Misses E. Mares, E. Mannix, P. Mannix, Conway, Harvey, Rowe, Davis. Messrs. A. Mares, Levick, Banks, Cowper, Blissett, Archdeacon Charlton, Rev. Newby-Fraser and Rev. Broadley. Rev. H. Broadley acted as secretary.

The Meeting opened with prayer a little after the half-hour owing to the Archbishop being delayed.

-- Archbishop late

The Archbishop apologised for his lateness and then went on to say that he had summoned the meeting because he wanted to discuss with them an important matter, namely the question of the future of St Philip's. He had invited others than those legally entitled to come because he wanted to know the feeling of a gathering of those interested in St Philip's.

-- Should the Assistant Bishop be automatically Rector of York St?
The appointment of a new Rector was more than merely a parish matter. Some years ago it was decided that the Bishop-coadjutor was to be the Rector of the parish. The load of work was such that he had discussed the position with Bishop Kirkby who had agreed that the two positions ought to be separated. Before making any appointments the Archbishop wants to gain more light on the subject.

-- Is there 'leading' in the coincidental deaths of the Principal and the Bishop?

He remarked on the coincidence of the deaths of the Principal of Moore College and of the Bishop, and wondered if there was a leading for him in those events. It had suggested to him the possibility of linking up Moore College with St Philip's. If that was to be brought about, it was desirable that action be taken by Ordinance at Synod. Such a proposal must be acceptable to the Standing Committee which is due to meet on Monday 26th inst. Before going before Standing Committee the Archbishop wanted to test the feelings of the representatives of St Philip's.

-- Architects and feasibility plans done in four days

The subject had been mentioned to Moore College Council which after a meeting last Tuesday the 20th said that a decision hinged on the question as to whether there was enough land at St Philip's to rebuild the College there. Architects had been consulted on Wednesday 21st and the reply was to the effect that the plan was feasible. Plans drawn up had been brought along by the Archbishop.

-- St Philip's not as big as it should be (and not enough money to get a 'first class man' in the Pulpit!)

The next matter was to get the situation defined from St Philip's point of view, which was also that of the Archbishop. The church is a city church, the population has greatly decreased in the parish, and the congregation is not as big as it should be. The next Coadjutor-Bishop may not be connected with St Philip's and the problem of financing a really first class man in St Philip's pulpit has to be faced. If the stipend of the Bishop-Coadjutor is taken away there is not enough left to get a first-class man.

-- The Harbour Bridge just opened, making St Philip's conspicuous

A big change has been made by the Bridge, the site is now very conspicuous. It is unfortunate that the hoardings had to be allowed on the property to raise funds; they make a bad impression on passers-by as to the attitude of the Church of England in the Diocese. In due course the hoardings will be taken away and the question will then be as to where the finances are to come from. Therefore the building of a new Parish Hall is of more than parochial interest.

-- Bringing Moore to York St to solve two problems

The two difficulties of the appointment of a suitable Principal of Moore College and of a Rector of St Philip's would be met if the Principal was to be made Rector of the parish and the Vice-Principal was to be the Curate. The Archbishop hopes that a strong Evangelical is going to be Principal of the College and likewise the Vice-Principal. Such a combination of Principal as a Rector is already at work in Oxford.

-- Use the students to do the Parish Work

In reference to the duties to the College interfering with the duties to the parish, the Archbishop said that in the College would be a team of young ordinands to do the work in the neighbourhood. If St Philip's is not linked with Moore College and not connected with the Bishop-Coadjutor, then the best man could not be got for St Philip's.

-- Newtown to be sold and the money given to York St Building!

If the College is to be brought to St Philip's, then instead of spending more money on the present site in Newtown, the property could be sold and the money gained by such a sale, together with the funds in the hands of St Philip's Trustees, could be used to put up really worthy buildings.

-- Objections by students (too noisy and no tennis courts!)

Various objections were that it was an advantage to have the College near the University, that it would be too noisy at St Philip's, that there would be too much distraction for the students, that tennis courts were not on the property, could be answered satisfactorily.

-- Some legal matters

If the Synod approves the scheme, the Principal of the College will be required to sign a document agreeing to cease to be Rector when he ceases to be the Principal. The Principal would live at Moore College for the time being. The Vice-principal would live at St Philip's. The Rectory would be left standing as the Principal's house until it was pulled down at some future time to make way for a residence in keeping with the rest of the buildings.

-- The plans shown

The plans were then shown and the meeting thrown open for questions. In answer to a question, the Archbishop said that the parish organisation would still go on, with the advantage of having an increased parochial staff.

-- Some questions from the Parish

In answer to another, it was stated that the Rector would have to be available for people who wanted him. There would be accommodation for 40 students.

In answer it was said that the parish nominators would still function just as they do when the Bishop is Rector.

-- The Archdeacon asks the Parish to support the Archbishop

Archdeacon Charlton suggested that support be given to the scheme; it commended itself to him and would create a centre of influence throughout the Diocese.

Mr. Levick moved that the Archbishop be supported by the congregation. Mr. Seatree seconded the motion and it was carried. The Archbishop said that the matter was not finalised by any means yet. It would have to go before Standing Committee and again before St Philip's and Moore College Council and again to Standing Committee. Archdeacon Charlton expressed the appreciation of the congregation at the interest and frankness shown by the Archbishop.

-- St Philip's York St's 'evangelical tradition' and 'strategic position'

The Archbishop replied that the matter was one of great importance to him owing to the Evangelical tradition of the parish and to it having been put in a position of such strategic importance.

The meeting closed with the Benediction at 5.50pm.

So, what happened?? T.C. Hammond certainly became Rector, but the College never moved. Does anyone want to trawl through Standing Committee and Moore College Council minutes?


Thoughts? What's changed? What has stayed the same?



Matthew Moffitt said...


If memory serves me correctly, Principal Davies was also one of the Diocesan Archdeacons (when the diocese had archdeaconries of Camden, Cumberland etc.).

Anthony Douglas said...

The thing that I love about this is the willingness of all to think outside the structures and work out what would be best for the gospel.

Not a picture of hidebound traditionalists with their noses stuck in a prayer book!

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant.

Natalie Swann said...

I am neither a feminist nor the daughter of a feminist, but I found it intriguing (and delightful) that there were so many women present at this meeting. In fact - they outnumber the men! I'm no history expert, but I suspect that's quite countercultural for 1935.

But it leads me to wonder, if such a decision were being made in 2009 how many women would be invited to the meeting?