E. K Miller.

Reminiscences of forty-seven years' clerical life in South Australia online

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Twelve Years Incumbent of St. George's, Woodforde, and St. Martin's,



T-iVenty-Ninc Years Incumbent of St. Stephen's, Willunga, St. Philip

and St. James', Noarhinga, and St. Ann's, Aldinga.

vltielaiDe :

A. H. ROBERTS, 131 King William Street,


\_All rights reserved.']




South Aust'ralia,

BY their humble SERVANT,




INHERE beincj, so far as I am aware, no concise
account published of the early efforts to establish
a branch of the Church of England in South
Australia other than is contained in " Annals of the
Diocese of Adelaide," ])ublished in 1852, long out of
print, and Canon Whitington's " Lif e of Bishop Short"
(to which this is designed as a companion volume), I
have thought it well to give in connection with these
Reminiscences a brief outline of those efforts, so far as
my own observation and experience enable me.

The memoranda referring to my own work are given
with the view of illustrating the actualities of mission-
ary life. Work and incidents kindred to those herein
recorded, fell to the lot of most of the pioneer clergy,
and I regard mine as having been in nowise an
exceptional experience.

I quite expect that some things 1 have recorded,
quotations I have given, and opinions 1 have ex-
pressed, will be adversely criticised. It is not within
the limits of probability that all others will view all
things spoken of precisely as 1 view them — and some

viii Preface.

may be displeased. Of course I should regret this ; but
the present position of the Church, and my sense of
duty to the Church, appear to me to call for " great
plainness of speech."

A principal object being to supply information to
the younger clergy and others, I have given details
concerning sundry matters well nigh forgotten, but
which have had, and yet may have, an important
bearing on the position of the Church in the colony ;
also drawing attention to certain dangers to which
it has become exposed, and from which it has suffered,
and is still suffering.

Bishop Short — who always spoke of himself as
a "high churchman" — and his original coadjutors
sought to establish a Church here on the principles of,
and adopted the manner of service of, the National
Church in England, and so long as those principles
and manner of service were adhered to, the Church
prospered ; but directly they were in any material
degree departed from, or thought so to be, suspicion
became engendered and trouble ensued.

Having been compelled, in the first instance, to
remove from Adelaide under medical advice, on ac-
count of my children's health, and ever since occupying
country cures, I had no opportunity till after my retire-
ment of becoming personally acquainted with the great
divergence from the original principles and manner

Preface. ix

of service that obtains in some of our Churches. The
result of such divergences I have endeavoured to
point out ; and if anything herein contained should
have the effect of calling the attention of the members
of the Church thereto, especially the clergy, and lead
to the adoDtion of remedial measures, and the more
thorough establishment of the Church in the colony,
my object in penning these Reminiscences will have
been accomplished,


Kensington Park, S.A.
Apeil 1895.


XIII. Sydney Mixut?;s ... ... ... ... 12ti

XIV. Education ... ... ... ... ... 14.")

XV. Exdowmexts ... ... ... ... ... 170

XVI. Dissent ... ... ... ... ... ISH

XVII. Voluntaryism ... ... ... ... ... 21.">

XVIII. Exchange of Pulpits ... ... ... ... :22(i

XIX. Alter.\tions in the manner of Conducting

Public Worship ... ... ... ... 244

XX. The Aborigines ... ... ... ... 270

XXI. Matrimonial Incidents ... ... ... 284

XXII. In Retirement ... ... ... ... 298

XXIII. CONCLU.SION ... ... ... ... ... 301







pl^T having been suggested to nie to jot down a few
PP incidents connected with, the earlier efforts to
J§1, establish the services of the Church of England in
South Australia, I have concluded to do so, and will
commence by stating how I came to be connected with
that important work.

While engaged as Sunday-school teacher and district
visitor at St. Peter's, Walworth, near London, under the
ministry of the Rev. J. Irons, and afterwards the Rev. G.
Ainslie, I became deeply interested in the published
reports of missionary work then going on, especially in the
account by the Rev. John Williams of those labours in the
South Seas which issued in his mart3'rdom, and conceived
an ardent desire to engage in such work. ]\Iy parents being
dead, and having no friends who could aid me, I decided
on engaging in tuition that I might have more opportunity


for study ; I had been for some time reading Latin and
Greek, under a private tutor, with a view to the ministry.
Further, deeming it desirable to become acquainted with
some definite school system, I entered the Training School
of the British and Foreign School Society in the Borough
Road, continuing there several months. One day, during
a lecture by Mr. Saunders, one of the tutors, Mr. Dunn,
secretary to the Society, entered the room with another
gentleman who seemed to take much interest in what was
going on. On their withdrawal, I was sent for, and
introduced to the late Earl Fitzwilliam. His Lordship
inquired whether I was willing to go to Yorkshire, to fit
up and organise a school he was having built at Park
Gate, near Rotherham. Of course I gladly consented, and
shortly after found myself an inmate of Wentworth
House, pending completion of the school and residence.
While there I became acquainted with the Rev. J. Upton,
chaplain to the Earl, and incumbent of Wentworth, who,
on learning my ultimate design, proved most kind and

In a few weeks I took possession of my school and house,
which had been comfortably furnished for me, and soon
had a good attendance of children, in the discipline and
teaching of whom the Earl and members of his family took
the keenest interest, paying frequent visits. Park Gate
being about midway between the churches of Rawmash
and Greasbro', I attached myself to the latter ; the
incumbent, the Rev. F. Hall, soon placing me in charge of
the Sunday-school, as superintendent, and getting me to
read lessons in the church, and act as district visitor.

Shortly after my arrival there, 1 had the especial good
fortune to become acquainted vvith the Rev. J. Aldred,
curate of Wath, who most kindly volunteered to give me

Preliminary Incidents.

what assistance he could, allowing nie to visit him every
Saturday and helping me ver}^ much in my studies. The
Rev. F. Hall also offered me a title for holy orders, wishing
me to become his curate. I continued this teaching and
studying about four years, my idea being, to obtain
ordination, serve a short time at home, and then engage
in missionary work.

While thus occupied, news arrived in England that there
was but one clergyman in the newly-established colony of
South Australia, and an appeal was made by the Society
for the Propagation of the Gospel for clergymen willing to
go there. This led the Rev. W. J. Woodcock and the Rev.
Jas. Pollitt, formerly missionaries of the Church Missionary
Society, but invalided home, and then holding small livings
in Westmoreland, to offer their services, which, being ac-
cepted, they reached the colony early in 184G to join the Rev.
Jas. Farrell, colonial chaplain, whose predecessor and for a
time coadjutor, the Rev. C. B. Howard, had died in 1843.
Afterwards, Colonel Gawler, who had returned to England
from the Governorship of South Australia, was anxious that
a clergyman should be sent to the town of Gawler, just
before established. For this service my early friend and
companion, Mr. W. H. Coombs, volunteered, he having
commenced reading for holy ordei'S with the Rev. W. J.
Woodcock, and being then at St. Bees' College ; this offer
being accepted, he was ordained deacon by the Bishop of
London, arriving in Gawler at the end of 184G, of which
place he is still incumbent. Shortly after reaching his
cure, he wrote me to the effect that more clergy were
urgently needed. The Rev. J. Pollitt, whom I had mot just
befoj'e his sailing, at a missionary meeting at Rother-
ham, had also urged me to at once enter the mission-
field ; therefore, when Mr. Coombs' letter arrived, I decided

Reniinisceiices .

so to do, and wrote the Rev. E. Hawkins, secretary to the
S.P.G., accordingly. A month or two after this coi'-
respondence commenced he wrote to say that through
the liberality of Miss Burdet Coutts, funds for the
establishment of a Bishopi-ic in South Australia had been
provided, and that the Rev. A. Short having been
designated to the See, he had forwarded our correspondence
to him. This was quickly followed by an invitation from
Mr. Short to his vicarage at Ravensthorpe, in I^orthamp-
tonshire, where I spent a few very pleasant days. It was
arranged that \ should be ordained at once by his cousin,
the Bishop of St. Asaph, and sail with himself and four
■others then being selected. Subsequently — probably
through a desire to commence episcopal functions soon
after reaching his diocese — the Bishop wished me to defer
ordination till after arrival at Adelaide, to which I
reluctantly consented. The special work the Bishop
wished me to undertake was, the organising and super-
vising church schools, combined with such clerical duty as
might prove practicable. The Rev. T. P. Wilson was
likewise engaged to open a collegiate or grammar school in
conjunction with ministerial work, none of us then
knowing anything as to the educational requirements or
arrangements of South Australia. The Bishop also
selected the Rev. M. B. Hale as his archdeacon, who
afterwards became the first Bishop of Perth, the Rev. J.
Bagshawe, the Rev. A. B. Burnett, and Mr. J. Fulford, a
candidate like myself for holy orders. Opportunity
offering for Mr. Bagshawe to go out as religious instructor
in an emigrant ship, he was the first to leave, in the
Northumberland, the Bishop and four others sailing in the
Derivent in October, and arriving on December 28th, 1847.
1, not being able to leave quite so soon, the Bishop

Freliminary Incidents.

arranged with his brother, Colonel Short, to select a ship
and see me off, which he kindly undertook to do, and fi-om
that gentleman and his family I received every kindness
and attention during the weeks I was in London prior to
sailing. The S.P.C.K. also kindly made me a grant of
sundry valuable woi'ks.




IN reaching London I found Colonel Short had
PP selected the Enmore, a barque of about 350 tons,
"%^ for me as the earliest vessel for Port Adelaide.
On visiting her, however, I found she had been built with
a flush deck, and had had a poop added afterwards, so
high and narrow that I felt sure it would be almost
unusable, while there was only a lower stern cabin I
could have. Not liking the ship or the accommodation
offered, I succeeded in finding another, the Hindoo, a strong
teak-built barque, about the same tonnage, which was to
sail a week or two later. A comfortable stern cabin in the
poop being offered, I engaged it, and commenced fitting
up for a probable three months' voyage. Having com-
pleted all arrangements, including the trifling matter of
taking to myself a wife, after many delays as to date of
sailing, we joined the shij:) on November 23rd, 1847, and next
morning hauled out of the London docks, being towed to
Gravesend, where we anchored for the night, and to take
in live stock. My wife being exceedingly timid as to
gunpowder forming part of the cargo, we had inquired
about it before taking passage, and were assured there
■was none on board except a little for ship's use if required,
and this was strictly true then. When passing Deptford,
however, a lugger hooked on alongside, from which a
number of small casks, that I felt sure contained gun-



powder, were handed up and quickly stowed below ; but
it was too late then to ask questions, so I asked none, and
my wife was not alarmed. At Gravesend another cabin
passenger came on board in a somewhat peculiar fashion ;
being too much under the influence of liquor to get up the
gangway ladder, he was hoisted in by a rope round
his waist like a bale of goods, a poor augury for our
comfort. Our party in the cabin then consisted of an
elderly gentleman going out as merchant, who occupied
the adjoining stern cabin ; his nephew ; the inebriate who
had held, he said, a comiiiission in the army; a medical
student, who had failed to get his diploma, and was
engaged as ship's doctor ; the captain, chief mate and
ourselves. Our captain was quite a young man, about 22,
and this was his first command. He had, as chief mate
on the previous voyage, brought the ship home from
Batavia, where her former captain had died — and, being
related to the owner, was appointed to succeed him. In
the intermediate and steei'age there were about sixty
other passengers, including children. Among these, to my
surprise, was a clergyman with a wife and eleven children,
of whom the Bishop knew nothing.

Weighing anchor on the 25th, we soon got into what
the sailors called " lumpy water," sea-sickness becom-
ing the fashion, though I did not suffer. Passing
the North Foreland, we met a vessel in tow of a
steamer without a mast or spar left standing. Our
captain, desirous of ascertaining the name of the un-
fortunate, steered close enough to read Enmore on her
stern ; and thankful were we at having escaped being
among her passengers ; she had evidently been dismasted
somewhere down Channel, and was returning to London to
refit. On reaching the Downs and discharging the pilot,



we had to anchor, the wind being ahead. On Sunday I
suggested to the captain that as a clergyman was on board,
he should be asked to conduct divine service, rather than
myself ; this was done, he and his wife dining afterwards
in the cabin. A fair wind springing up after three days,
we weighed anchor with about a hundred other vessels
that had collected, and a more interesting sight could
scarcely be conceived than so many craft of all sorts and
sizes making sail in the bi'ight siin shine of a cold
December morning. During the day they became con-
siderably scattered ; but at night the wind again drew
ahead, and all were tacking — with so many in company
this was rather It happened fortunately to be
moonlight; but this did not prevent our ship running
into the main chains of another, which was plainly visible a
mile oif ; I could only attribute this to gross carelessness.
Being borne down considerably, the stranger's captain
called out for our boats to be lowered, which was not done.
Presently the vessels separated, our headsails and jibboom
gone, the stranger's side much damaged and mainsail
carried away. The wind freshening, and continuing
contrary, we ran back to the Downs, where next morning
we saw what we believed to be the vessel collided with at
anchor, pumping vigorously. That the collision was the
result of carelessness on our part was evidenced by a false
name and destination being called out. On the stranger's
captain asking — ''What ship?" the reply was — "The
Sparroivhawk, for Rio." A day or two after, we again
weighed — but tacking every two hours between the
French and English coasts soon became necessary ; and
nearly a week elapsed before we weathered Beachy Head.
While this continual tacking lasted, we were frequently
in danger of colliding with other vessels and especially

The Channel.

"with ships runoing up Channel with a fair wind. So often
were we aroused during those long December nights by
the fog-horn, bell-ringing, and speaking-trumpet, that I
did not wholly undress. One night in particular, when
off Beachy Head, a more than usual commotion, with the
hoarse hailing of the trumpet — " Ship ahoy ! Port your
helm " — hurried me out. Passing through the cuddy, I met
our inebriate friend in a state of terror, who exclaimed —
" We are all lost ! A big American liner is running us
down." I stepped back to tell my wife to get ready to come
on deck at once, and hurrying there myself found nearly
all assembled watching a ship three times the size of ours
bearing down close upon us under a cloud of sail.
Providentially, however, she passed within a few yards
without touching — our sails having been thrown aback,
barely in time ; had she struck, she must have gone over
us, and probably none would have been saved unless by
jvimping on or clinging to the stranger, which some were
preparing to do. Our captain declared that the other vessel
neither heeded his hailing nor altered her course, probably
a bad look-out being kept, for carelessness in these matters
was something surprising. In those days the danger of
collision was greatly enhanced by vessels not being allowed
to carry lights, for fear they should be mistaken for shore
lights by incoming ships ; the system of side lights as now
had not been thought of. Sometimes a case of turpentine,
or otlier quickly inflammable matter, was kept ready to
show a flash - light if needful, but our vessel had not

The danger was hardly past, when a scene of the
utmost confusion, yet partaking of the ludicrous, ensued.
The sails having been thrown aback, the ship rolled and
pitched in the heavy sea in a most extraordinaiy manner,

10 Beminiscences.

with the result that everything movable got capsized ;
tables, seats, the cabin stove, &c. broke from their
fastenings, while crockery and small sundi-ies performed
all sorts of antics. What with the scarcely subdued terror
of some, the crying of children, the shouting of orders, the
hurrying about of the crew, and the clatter of blocks and
ropes, a sort of Babel resulted, and it was some little time
before anything like order and quietude were restored.

On December -ith we sighted the Isle of Wight, and
toward evening, as a storm seemed coming on, bore up
for St. Helen's Roads, intending to anchor till morning.
When within about four miles, a severe squall assailed ns,
and we were quickly scudding before it under close-reefed
topsails. After being driven back about one hundred miles,
and there being no sign of the weather moderating, Ave put
in to Dungeness Roads for shelter, and lay there with both
anchors down from the 8th to the 12th, when we again

The hands being nearly all aloft, and the captain at the
wheel, near which I happened to be standing, he said —
" Just hold the wheel a minute." I held it, while he
went forward. Not knowing the difference between the
steering of a square-rigged ship and a sailing-boat, I kept
the wheel steady, as if it had been a tiller, with the result
that the sails just being loosed were blown aback, to the
astonishment and danger of the men on the yards. The
captain hurried up, saying he had forgotten leaving me at
the wheel, and that I should have "met her," an ex-
pression I did not understand, but which I soon learned
the meaning of — taking the wheel becoming a favorite
recreation. The issue was, we had to wear, and passed so
close to a stranded vessel that it seemed doubtful whether
we might not get sti-anded too, so I got the credit of neai-ly

The Channel, li

beaching the ship. On the 15th, during a heavy blow, the
maintopgallant-mast, with its yard and sail, came down by
the run, fortunately injui^ing no one, and wo lost a deal of
bulwark planking. It was sad to see morning after
morning our live stock, fowls, ducks, geese, and sometimes
a sheep or pig thrown overboard, having perished through
cold and wet.

During the night of the 1 7th, when some thirty miles south
of Scilly, a heavy south-wester still blowing, a tremendous
sea broke over the poop, carrying away the binnacle, and
sweeping the decks of everything movable. It Avas decided
to put back to repair demages ; so about midnight the
ship wore round and ran before the storm for Falmouth.
Between 8 and 9 next morning, by dead reckoning, we
were supposed to be off Falmouth harbour, and stood in,
the weather being very thick, and raining. In an hour or
two, a hummock of land was discerned on the starboai'd
beam ; it was the western side of the Lizard Point — we had
stood in too soon. Tacking to the westward we shortly
saw the Land's-End right ahead, but we were too far in to
cieai' it. Again going about we soon found ourselves
further inside the Lizard than before ; in short, we were
embaj-ed, with not the slightest chance of our vessel
beating out, while a heavy gale and sea were driving
us further in. Forthwith, the Channel pilot-book and
chart wore consulted, which showed Mount's Baj^ where
we unfortuately were, to be a dangerous locality with
sunken reefs at considerable distances from the shore.
The crew were called aft, and asked if any knew the place.
One said he had been there in a fishing-smack, but could
not say he knew much of it. The position became serious ;
weather so thick we could not see half a mile, with the
possibility each time we were obliged to tack of striking one

12 liemiidscences.

of the reefs — the heads of some of which we could see vThen
going about, or, running on to St. Michael's Mount, in the
centre of the Bay. After an hour or two thus anxiously
spent, under close-reefed fore and main-topsails, the fore-
topsail sheets (i.e. the ropes by which the yards are
worked) carried away, allowing the yai'd and sail to swing
about uncontrolled, increasing the danger by rendering
steering difficult. The distress signal was then run up,
and preparation made for firing a gun. My wife, who had
throughout exhibited the greatest calmness and courage,,
but whom I had not informed of the imminence of our
then danger, being unwell, had remained all the morning
on her couch, when the chief officer tapped at the door, and
requested permission to get something out of the large
locker which formed our sofa by day and bed-place at
night. On opening it, to our astonishment he lifted out a
keg of gunpowder ! It was impossible to resist a hearty
laugh at the discovery that, notwithstanding our expressed
dread of powder, we had actually been sleeping with a keg
of it under our pillow for three weeks. However, it
proved useless, for directly it reached the deck a sea
swamped it and the gun. The usual lunch hour having
passed, and no lunch appearing, I inquired of the steward
about it. He replied — " We shall soon have lunch enough,
Sir, if we don't get out of this bay !" I replied — " Y'ou
put on the lunch ; if we have to swim for our lives we
shall need it." He obeyed and 1 persuaded all I could
to take refreshment, but most were too terror-stricken
and anxious. The captain, thinking it highly probable we
should be wrecked, advised us to put whatever money we
had in our pockets to take us to London, should we get
ashore alive, saying he had done so.

Between 2 and 8 p.m. the rain ceased, and a gleam of

The Channel. 18

sansliine broke through the clouds, showing St. Michael's
Mount a mile or two away, an open beach beyond, and the
town of Penzance. The captain decided no longer to beat
among the reefs, but to beach the ship to save life ; she
was, therefore, put before the wind. We had not gone
far, however, when a jutting point of land was passed,
nnder shelter of which a revenue cutter was snugly
anchored. She directly signalled us to come close to her,
let go both anchors and all chain ; this was done ; and
happily the anchors held. A boat's crew from the cutter

Online LibraryE. K MillerReminiscences of forty-seven years' clerical life in South Australia → online text (page 1 of 24)