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REVEREND CHARLES M. YELLAND, VICARAGE, FITZROY from TASMANIA

I am having trouble with the postal markings on this Tasmanian Post Card with the printed red 1d Tasmanian stamp which is uprated with the same red 1d Tasmanian stamp to pay the rate to Melbourne. I agree with the vendor that the barred numeral is the second allocation ‘109', but disagree for it was not used at Little Swanport, but it was for Lisdillon, Tasmania. The circular cancel’s is illegible, and is definitely not Little Swanport. The date and State are well seen as JU 16 or 15/ 86/ TASMANIA. It was addressed to Revd C.M. Yelland, ‘Vicarage’, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria. I would appreciate learning other alternatives. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

 

There is another uncertainty for the Church with which Yelland was involved was located in Collingwood whereas the ‘Vicarage’ was in Fitzroy, but they are adjacent suburbs of Melbourne. This is possible, and it does not detract from my interest in Yelland, who was a committed leader of his Church, but also very controversial.

Biographical information is sparse on Charles May Yelland who was married by Rev. W. Hill on 12 May 1869 to Mary Susan Newman second daughter of Charles T. Newman of Fitzroy, Melbourne, at the residence of the bride’s father. Charles Yelland’s father was listed as William John Yelland (b. South Yarra, Victoria 29April 1925- died 13 October 1901) and his mother was Mary Ann May, (b. 20 Dec. 1820 - 19 Dec. 1900). Charles May Yelland was born 4 October, 1848 at Burra, South Australia.

His death was recorded in The Argus (Melbourne) on 12 May 1891, and at that time he had for the past 17 years been the incumbent at St. Saviour’s Church, Collingwood. "The news of his death will come as a shock to his parishioners, as he appeared to be in his usual health on Sunday, and preached thrice in his church on that day. Yesterday, however, he became seriously ill and died within a few hours. The deceased was educated partly at the Scotch College, Melbourne, and partly at Moore College. He was ordained in Tasmania, but had laboured for very nearly a quarter of a century in the diocese of Melbourne, spending the greater portion of the period in very beneficial work among the poorer classes of Collingwood."

The funeral of Rev. Yelland was reported 2 days later in The Argus and his church was further identified as being St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Cambridge-street, Collingwood. " The funeral procession left the residence of the deceased, Smith-street, Fitzroy, at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, was a remarkably long one." The procession detailed the Sunday school children and teachers, the societies and clubs connected with the church numbering in all about 500, followed by Dean Macartney’s carriage, preceded the hearse; the relatives of the deceased; 25 ministers of the Church of England; followed by vehicles with the congregants and friends. The Bishop of Melbourne sent a magnificent wreath, and the procession was fully a half a mile long. The deceased died at 43 years of age, the cause of death being an abscess of the liver. The widow and 9 children are left to mourn their loss. A meeting was held at the church and a sum of £20 was collected and promised for the widow.

During Yelland’s short life he was a member of The Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria and he also lectured at Collingwood about early colonial reminiscences in connexion with the history of Ballarat at the time of the Eureka Stockade’s troubles. He exhibited a large collection of views of early Ballarat mining cradles and other instruments and photos of the more conspicuous colonists and other mementos. Among them were specimens of the paper money issued at the time of the scarcity of gold and silver currency. These Mr. Yelland declared to be extremely rare, and he intimated his intention of having them publicly exhibited, and perhaps forwarded to the British Museum. I presume that Yelland was an extremely well read man outside of his Church related books, for The Argus (Melbourne) on 28 October 1891 advertised a sale of his 10,000 books, many of which were rare!

A new mission church was opened in 1875 in Melbourne with street preaching and temperance meetings. It cost 3000 pounds and it was made of local Collingwood bluestone and was consecrated on 19 December 1880. Its clergyman was Rev. Charles Yelland, a young man of 29 with a zealous mission to the poor. His congregation were mainly small landlords or local trader, not councillors or JPs as was the case at St. Phillip’s. Not surprising therefore, the rector of St. Phillip’s opposed the founding of St. Saviour’s Mission Church. There had been anonymous letters to The Argus Melbourne newspaper and as early as 4 May 1878, Rev. Yelland wrote a long reply on the mission church which was full of his zeal for his work with the poor, and challenged the more traditional Church of England churches. There were follow-up articles on the rivalry between the churches in The Argus on 13 May and 25 May 1878.

It was a mission church for only 11 years, and in 1891 Yelland died, and a year later the church lost most of its funds in the collapse of the Mercantile Bank. It recovered and in 1899 a school opened next to the church and in 1900 the church re-opened after renovations. In 1958 the church became the Russian Orthodox Cathedral Church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin and remains in Russian Orthodox hands to this day.

However there was a more intriguing controversy involving Rev. Yelland, and surprisingly it was reported in The Mercury (Hobart) on 1 June 1888 and was not seen in The Argus (Melbourne). "The Charge of illegal practice has been made against Rev. C.M. Yelland, of St. Saviour’s Church, Collingwood. The Reverend gentleman has for several months past been attending clinical lectures in the Melbourne Hospital with the medical students, his object being to obtain a general knowledge, which would assist him in ministering to the wants of the poorer portion of the people of his parish. A few weeks ago a servant girl, aged 19, called on the hospital for treatment; but owing, presumably, to motives of delicacy, she refused to explain what was wrong with her, as there were several medical students present. One of her friends subsequently recommended her to go to the Rev. Yelland, who subjected her to examination, and offered to treat her privately. To this the girl consented. The Rev. Yelland refused to take anything for his treatment, but prescribed for her, and got medicine made up, for which he charged her 33s. The girl’s mother has now made a formal complaint to the Hospital Committee and the Rev. Yelland has been called on for an explanation. It is only fair to add that the Rev. gentleman denies the allegation made against him and states that as he has studied medicine, he had a perfect right to do what he did. He denies he subjected the girl to any examination beyond a simple stethoscopic one, and he says the charge is brought against him owing to the jealousy of medical students, and he courts he fullest enquiry. The girl admits she would not have made any complaints had not the students reported the matter. The hospital authorities have decided to fully investigate the matter.

At a meeting of the Melbourne Hospital Committee (0n 13 June 1888) the case of the Rev. Mr. Yelland, accused of professionally treating a young girl, was mentioned. The President said the matter had been referred to the medical staff for consideration, and that body had passed certain resolutions, but since then Mr. Yelland had written to the medical staff to the effect that he did not know he had done anything contrary to the rules of the institution, and that he would not offend similarly again. This letter had been accepted as satisfactory by the medical staff and the matter was now at an end.

A fine picture of Reverend Charles May YELLAND is seen in Figure 2 .

 

 

 

Addendum (May 2011): I found another postcard addressed to Reverend Yelland and this one was from Victoria.  The pink printed 'ONE PENNY' stamp was postmarked with a duplex NORTHCOTE/ NO 11/ 8( -) with the barred numeral '65' and it was addressed to the Revd. J? Yelland,  St. Saviour's Parsonage, Smith Street, Fitzroy.  The reverse was not seen (Figure 3).

 

 

 
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