2R the convict population and a steady migration to Victoria.

In document Hobart town society, 1855-1895 (Page 189-199)

8o instituted a House of Mercy soon after his arrival in I 889

2R the convict population and a steady migration to Victoria.

The marked increase in non-Christians after 1861 was due to an immigration of Chinese men from the diggings. The peak was four per cent of the city population at the 1870 census.

23

It is possible that this change can be explained by the different status of the denominations. If significantly more Catholics were convicts than their numbers in the community warranted, they would have been subject to the lower fertility which seems typical of the transported groups.

^ T h e issue is complicated by a ’no religion' category at the I

89

I census which accounts for almost three per cent of the city population. The distribution of these people at previous censuses is not known. If, as is to be expected, most had allied themselves to the residual Church of England and proportionately fewer to the more active dissenting

denominations then the swing from Anglicanism to dissent is weakened considerably.

Appendix No. 14»

C h u r c h a t t e n d a n c e s w e r e n o t o f f i c i a l l y r e c o r d e d i n T a s m a n i a , a s t h e y w e r e f o r some o f t h e m a i n l a n d c o l o n i e s . Rough s e r i e s a r e , h o w e v e r , p o s s i b l e f o r t h e numb er o f C h u r c h o f E n g l a n d c o m m u n i c a n t s f r o m c h u r c h s t a t i s t i c s p u b l i s h e d i n t h e A n g l i c a n

26

j o u r n a l s . ' ” The r i s e a p p e a r s t o be a p p r o x i m a t e l y c o m m e n s u r a t e w i t h t h e g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n i n c r e a s e a nd i t i s p r o b a b l e t h a t t h e r e was l i t t l e c h a n g e i n t h e f r e q u e n c y o f c h u r c h a t t e n d a n c e d u r i n g t h e p e r i o d . As a b o u t o ne A n g l i c a n i n s e v e n a t t e n d e d S u n da y m o r n i n g 27 s e r v i c e a n d t h e r e we re

15

o t h e r p l a c e s o f w o r s h i p i n t h e c i t y , C h u r c h o f E n g l a n d c o m m u n i c a n t s i n f o u r c i t y c h u r c h e s

1853

1854 1862 I

865

1867 1890 316 471 430

500

435 718 S o u r c e s : S t o n e y , A Y e a r i n T a s m a n i a , p p . 3 1 2 - 3 . T . C . C . , F e b r u a r y 1854» C. N. , D e c e m h e r I

8 6 3

. I b i d . , May 1 8 66 . I b i d . , J u n e 1 8 68 . O f f i c i a l R e c o r d o f t h e P r o c e e d i n g s o f t h e D i o c e s a n S ynod o f T a s m a n i a I

8 9

I* " ^ C, N. , D e c e m b e r 1863» S t a t i s t i c s o f t h e D i o c e s e o f T a s m a n i a f o r 1 8 6 2 . H. o f A . J . l 8 6 l , P a p e r 103» ' C e n s u s o f T a s m a n i a , 1 8 6 1 ' .

averaging 200 worshippers weekly, the regular church attending population of the city was somewhere around 5 »000 people - rather less than a quarter of the community. Of every four people, adult and child, one would attend church, one was delinquent, and two were nominal Christians, or occasional visitors to church.

The inadequacy of the sources prevents any clear judgment about change in this pattern of Christian habit during the half century. From the point of view of the churchmen the situation was not static. There was a good deal of evangelizing activity in the city. Yet, whilst these activities are recorded quite profusely, their success was just about equalled by the

backsliding tendency which churchmen constantly complained about. A contemporary comment confirms the general problem confronting Christian proselytizers in late nineteenth century Hobart Town:

...the most cursory cannot fail to see that extensive as the machinery is which is being employed, and great as the good which is being done, a large

proportion of the city population remains unovertaken. I question indeed if there is not quite a half of the adult population living entirely outside any church influence, or any Christian influence

whatever; while a large proportion of the juvenile population are in the same unhappy predicament...

28

Forms of Evangelizing

After a year's work amongst the city poor the missionaries 2Q

claimed to have persuaded 29 adults to attend church. The success rate of 1.5 per cent can hardly have been very

satisfying. Their work was a mixture of social and spiritual salvation and improvement, from distributing tracts and bibles to sitting with the sick and dying; with the social alleviations gradually assuming precedence over the spiritual ones, till Christianity was being distributed more by way of good example and charitable compassion than by direct suggestion. As the character of the city society altered, and the slum communities of Mapping, Veterans' Row and Watchorn Street lost much of their distinction, the City Mission found more of the unsettled characters close to the activities going on around the port. Ship calls and seamen's lodging house visiting became more important than knocking at the doors of residential houses. The work depended for many years upon a single missionary, Mr Robert G. Gray, and lapsed with his death in 1878. A

reconstructed mission of I885 was avowedly a Seamen's Mission‘d and other evangelizing agencies served the city proper.

29lst Report H.T.C.M. 1853.

*^'Mr Gray is dead and we fear that the Hobart Town City Mission may be considered defunct'. C .W ., January I878.

The progress of the City Mission epitomizes the story of evangelism in Hohart Town. At first the penal colony was a field for straightforward missionary work from both local institutions and from British foreign missionary societies. This stage was passed as the city gained a more mature

community and the churches turned instead to offering alternative attractions to the secular enjoyments of the colonial people. The centre of evangelizing activity moved from the hack streets and the mission halls into the lecture rooms of church social clubs. The emphasis changed from a hopeful form of evangelizing crusade towards a more widely spread attempt to accommodate to the literate community.

Tasmania came within the field of British missionary activity. The Societies for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge and for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts had branches in Hobart Town which, alongside their own group activities as donor associations (such as collections, lectures and fund raisings) received aid from the parent societies. In 1855 a London group sent 300 volumes for the

32 establishment of a lending library in Hobart Town. The London-based Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews sent a missionary, the Reverend Mr Daniels, to work

32

a m o n g s t t h e J e w s o f H o b a r t Town, w h e r e he was a s s i s t e d by a

33

l o c a l a u x i l i a r y . ' P e r h a p s t h i s c o l o n i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p was mo st s t r o n g l y m a r k e d w i t h i n t h e S o c i e t y o f F r i e n d s ; t h e r e was a c o n s t a n t s t r e a m o f m i s s i o n a r i e s c o u n t i n g H o b a r t Town a s an i m p o r t a n t s t o p on t h e i r t o u r s o f w o r l d m e e t i n g s . A n o t h e r a s p e c t o f p r o s e l y t i z i n g a c t i v i t y was t h e u s e o f t h e H o b a r t Town c h u r c h e s a s b a s e s f o r m i s s i o n a r y a c t i v i t y w i t h i n T a s m a n i a . The Ch u rc h o f E n g l a n d ’ s R i p o n Fund was

35 e a r - m a r k e d f o r t h i s p u r p o s e . ' T h e r e was a C o n g r e g a t i o n a l U n i o n a n d M i s s i o n o f T a s m a n i a f o r w o r k i n t h e r e m o t e r d i s t r i c t s a n d i n 1870 t h e r e was d i s c u s s i o n on t h e way t h e c o u n t r y d i s t r i c t s c o u l d p r o v i d e a l i t t l e a c t i v i t y t h e m s e l v e s , ’ i n s t e a d o f s u p p l y i n g a l l t h e h e l p f r o m t o w n ’ . ^ W i t h i n t h e c i t y t h e r e s e em e d no e n d t o t h e n e c e s s i t y f o r t h e c h u r c h e s t o t r y t o wi n o v e r new s o u l s f o r t h e i r f a i t h . An o b j e c t o f t h e B r i s b a n e S t r e e t I n d e p e n d e n t C h a p e l S u n d a y S c h o o l s was t h e m a k i n g o f c o n v e r s i o n s t o b r i n g t h e y o u n g i n t o t h e f o l d 37 w h i l s t t h e y wer e i m p r e s s i o n a b l e . T h e r e was a n E v a n g e l i c a l U n i o n i n 1857» a n d a H o b a r t Town E v a n g e l i z i n g A s s o c i a t i o n f ro m -5 7 R e p o r t o f t h e T a s m a n i a n A u x i l i a r y o f t h e London S o c i e t y f o r P r o m o t i n g C h r i s t i a n i t y Amongst t h e J e w s , 1857» ^ C e n t e n a r y o f A u s t r a l i a n Q u a k e r i s m , p a s s i m . ^ O f f i c i a l R e c o r d o f t h e P r o c e e d i n g s o f t h e D i o c e s a n Synod o f T a s m a n i a , ( H o b a r t ,

1891

). 36T . I . , J u n e 1 8 70 . 37 R e p o r t o f t h e B r i s b a n e S t r e e t I n d e p e n d e n t C h a p e l S a b b a t h S c h o o l s , ( H . T .

I858).

36

1866,' which conducted outdoor services ‘in which brethren of 39

various denominations are engaged’.

But the sense of mission towards the convicts and inefficients gradually faded with the need. The attention switched from the old generation to the new. After the eighteen sixties there was more interest in persuading young church members to assist in missions to the heathen than in soliciting the old emancipists.

The Catholic St Mary’s Cathedral maintained a branch of the Paris-based Association for the Propagation of the Faith, the purpose of which was 'to preach the gospel to foreign nations'.4^ In a similar manner the Church of England in Tasmania operated an auxiliary branch of the London Church Missionary Society. From 1888 the branch operated

independently and wholly maintained a Hobart Town woman working in Foochow on missionary work.48 Auxiliaries of Wesleyan and Congregational foreign missions assisted in financing south sea island missionaries. Congregational

Sunday School children supported a native teacher in the Ellice Islands42 whilst St George's Church during the eighteen fifties

38¥.T.A.1885, p.211.

^Revival Hymn Book, (H.T. 1870). 4°T.C.S., July 1867.

41CJ.., September

1889

. 42T.I., June 1870.

had. a Juvenile Association in aid of Church Missions to the Heathen.4 '^

As the new generation matured churchmen seemed to find that somewhere in their education the children had missed being deeply influenced by religion. The saving of the few extreme sinners became replaced by a general concern for the quality of loyalty to the churches amongst the nominal members.

At the end of the period under review the editor of the leading church journal of town looked back upon the years since mid-century with a point of view very different from that of

the city missionaries of 1853:

Habitual neglect of religious worship is, I think far worse than it used to be. I do not remember in my boyhood such a wholesale desertion of the Church by educated men,... .No doubt a class of men always existed who were not very religiously inclined, or who tacitly at least rejected the dogmas of Christian faith, but with the deepening and broadening of

intellectual life there has not been an equal deepening and broadening of Christian conviction among the class I refer to. The wider knowledge and the more accurate thinking of the present day has not the religious direction so much to be desired...we do not teach our young men to apply the scientific methods of the age to the intellectual side of religion.

4 ^Report of the Sunday Schoo Is... at St George's 1855. 44C.N., April 1889.

The Catholic Church wielded over its members the sanction of divine favour to induce them to maintain their membership of

In document Hobart town society, 1855-1895 (Page 189-199)