REVEREND GEORGE KING & BISHOP WILLIAM GRANT BROUGHTON
The mourning cover (with no insert) has a manuscript ‘On Service” and a rectangular boxed ‘FREE’ and is addressed to the Revd Geo: King, Liverpool Street West, Sydney. The sender signed his name as ‘W: G: Sydney’. There is no date (but the vendor listed the cover as circa 1840's) and there are no markings on the reverse (Figures 1 & 2).
George King (1813-1899) was a Church of England clergyman, born on 20 march 1813 in County Tyrone, Ireland, second son of a linen merchant William King and his wife, Anne née West. He grduated from Trinity College Dublin (B.A., M.A. LL.D), was made a deacon and ordained a priest in 1837. He occupied two curacies and became the incumbent at Holywood (all in Ireland) in 1840, the year he married a widow, Jane Stewart Mathewson. Her asthma prompted him to migrate to Western Australia. He and his wife Jane and daughter Emma were cabin passengers on the emigrant ship ‘Ganges’ which set sail from London and Liverpool and arrived in the Swan River Colony (later Western Australia), arriving on October 15, 1841, as a missionary. In 1842, he opened a school in Fremantle with 15 pupils, mostly girls. The school was plagued by sickness and death.
He built a church in 1843, conducted day and Sunday schools and held services in the gaol and outlying districts of Fremantle. He ran an institution for aboriginal children, and severely criticized the indifference of the settlers and the misguided policy of the government towards them. In 1846 his health deteriorated and he left the colony with the intent of working in New Zealand. On arrival in Sydney he was persuaded by Bishop Broughton to take temporary charge of St Andrew’s parish, and the position was made permanent in July 1848. He became enthusiastically involved in the development and completion of St Andrew’s Cathedral and in the Anglican affiliated University college of St Paul. He was elected a fellow and served on the Council of the college from 1855-93.
He was involved with aboriginal affairs of the colony as well as the politics of the Church of England, which brought him in conflict with Bishop Broughton, who revoked his licence in 1861, but which was later restored in 1863 when he was appointed to St Peter’s, Cook’s River. He did not figure in further controversies and he travelled widely. he was a founder and sometime president of the NSW Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind and a director of the Society for the Relief of Destitute Children. In 1872 he moved to St Thomas’s Enfield, resigning in 1879, but retaining the chaplaincy of the Anglican cemetery at Rookwood until 1886. He died at Homebush 20 March 899, survived by his wife, two of his 5 daughters and one of his 2 sons. His estate was valued at £3,200.
The sender ‘W. G.’ was identified as W. G. Broughton, Bishop of Sydney. William Grant Broughton (1788-1853) was the first Anglican bishop in Australia. The son of Grant Broughton and his wife Phoebe Ann, he was born in England on 22 May 1788. He was a King’s scholar and he gained an exhibition at Cambridge University, and wished to qualify for the church. His father died, and it was necessary for him to earn his own living, and he obtained a clerkship in the East India house in 1807 (Figures 3 & 4).
In 1814, aided by a bequest from a relative, he entered Cambridge, graduating B.A. and M.A. He was ordained a deacon and priest in 1818, holding several clerical positions, including the chaplaincy of the Tower of London. Through the benevolence of the Duke of Wellington he was offered and quickly accepted the archdeaconry of New South Wales, arriving in Sydney in September 1829. Immediately he was appointed a member of the legislative and executive councils, at a time the population of N.S.W. was 36,000, nearly half of which were convicts. There were 8 churches and 12 clergymen, and Broughton extended his pastoral duties to country centres and to Tasmania, and he was largely responsible for the founding of the King’s school in Parramatta.
In 1834 he took leave for England largely with the aim of obtaining governmental funding for his educational plans, and while in England the question for appointing a bishop for Australia was raised, and Broughton was nominated to the new See. He arrived in Sydney in June 1836 and was installed at St. James church with the title Bishop of Australia. In 1838 he visited Port Phillip (Melbourne), Tasmania as well as New Zealand to visit the missions there. In 1839 he went to Norfolk Island, prior to returning to Sydney.
During the years 1840 to 1850 Broughton's efforts were largely directed to encouraging the building of churches and parsonages throughout New South Wales. A small divinity school for the training of clergy was also built at Sydney, the building of St Andrew's cathedral, Sydney, was begun, and by 1850 the nave and aisles were nearly completed. The discovery of gold in 1851 so disorganized the colony that much of the work on the cathedral had to be postponed, and the building was not ready for use for many years.
Broughton had long felt the need for the subdivision of his enormous diocese and Tasmania was made a separate diocese in 1842, and Broughton offered to give tip half his income towards the provision of bishops for Melbourne and Newcastle. He was allowed to contribute £500 a year and in 1847 bishops were appointed for Melbourne, Adelaide and Newcastle. Broughton became bishop of Sydney, and in1852 Broughton left for England in connection with constitutional issues that had been raised. He went by steamer to Panama, and crossing the isthmus joined the West Indian mailboat which had a most unfortunate voyage, the captain and several members of the crew dying of yellow fever. Broughton became very ill and never completely recovered. In February 1853 he became seriously ill and he died at London on 20 February 1853.
He had married in 1818 Sarah Francis, who died in 1848. He was survived by two daughters who both married in Australia. Broughton was short and slender and as a result of an accident in his undergraduate days walked with a limp. He was extremely conscientious and hardworking, a good business man, somewhat autocratic in the management of his diocese, yet humble about his own ability. As a preacher he was logical rather than eloquent.
I wish to acknowledge the help of Wendy Holz, Librarian, Information Request Service, State Library of NSW for providing me with the valuable information on Reverend King found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography (Volume 1851-1890, pages 25-26).