University of Tasmania
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Church of England in Tasmania under Bishop Montgomery, 1889-1901

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posted on 2023-05-26, 00:47 authored by Hart, Philip R
The Episcopate of Henry Hutchinson Montgomery, fourth Bishop of Tasmania, was a period of unparalleled expansion for the Church of England, This was directly due to Montgomery's infectious enthusiasm, and flair for organization. Though helped by a few valuable assistants, notable Archdeacon F.T. Whitington, the high percentage of inadequate clergy and the mass of lethargic laity prevented the Bishop achieving all he desired. In every field, only some of the plans were fulfilled. Montgomery inherited many incompetent priests, and these were a great handicap to parochial development. However, by dismissing those he could, and being very careful in the choice of new clergy, he managed to raise the standard of his clerical staff considerably. Another hindrance to advancement was the lack of lay support; a few stalwarts helped, but all Montgomery's efforts to encourage the laity in general to participate actively in the work of the Church failed. However, special efforts from his best clergy, with his encouragement, led to the Church spreading effectively, and for the first time, to the East, North-West, and West Coasts of Tasmania. A unique attempt was made by Montgomery personally on Cape Barren Island with the half-castes; representing both Church and State, he was principally responsible for the considerable endeavours made to improve all aspects of their existence. These efforts largely failed, due to the nature of the half-castes. For a similar reason, as well as the apathy of the average churchman, an attempt to Christianize the Chinese miners in Tasmania failed abysmally. More general missions, to create enthusiasm in the ordinary church-goer, had some temporary effect, but one, that of the Rev. George Grubb, brought the Church into disrepute through his naive emotionalism.


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