Transcript

Transcript for Andrew Jenson, "Australian Mission," Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Co., 1941), 35-37

AUSTRALIAN MISSION, generally called the Australasian Mission from 1854 to 1897, consisted in 1930 of the island continent of Australia, the smaller island of Tasmania and other islands. The mission is divided into six districts, or conferences; namely, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and West Australia (all in Australia) and Tasmania. The area of Australia equals that of the United States, exclusive of Alaska. Although so extensive, Australia (including Tasmania) has a population of only about 6,300,000, located largely in the southeastern part of the island continent. Of the aborigines, known as Bushmen, there are only about 75,000 survivors, most of whom are residents of the northern part of Australia.

In 1840, William Barrett, a young convert to the restored gospel in England, being about to make a voyage to Australia, was ordained an Elder by Apostle Geo. A. Smith and appointed to labor as a missionary in that country, as opportunity might present itself. He delivered his message in Australia, but is not known to have made any converts.

About 1842, Andrew Anderson, one of the first converts baptized by Apostle Orson Pratt in England, went to Sydney, New South Wales, with his family and reported in 1845 that he had raised up a branch of the Church of 11 members there.

The real opening of the Australian Mission marks the arrival at Sydney, Oct. 30, 1851, of Elders John Murdock and Chas. W. Wandell, who had been appointed by the Church authorities to open up a mission in Australia. They secured the "Old Assembly Room" in Sydney in which to preach, and soon made a few converts. These new members being liberal with their means, the two Elders were enabled to publish 2000 copies each of Parley P. Pratt's pamphlet called "Proclamation," Orson Pratt's "Remarkable Visions," the "History of the Persecution of the Saints" and 500 hymn books. On June 2, 1852 Elder Murdock returned to Utah, leaving Elder Wandell in charge of the mission, which then consisted of 47 members, some of the local brethren acting as missionaries. Soon afterwards a branch of the Church was organized at Melbourne, in the province of Victoria. On April 6, 1853, Elder Wandell left Sydney for America, with a company of emigrating saints. A few days later Elder Augustus Farnham, who had been appointed to succeed Elder Wandell as president of the mission, arrived in Australia with ten other Elders, and immediately commenced missionary labors. On Aug. 13, 1853, the first number of "Zion's Watchman," a periodical devoted to the interests of the Church, was issued in Sydney, to counteract the many misleading statements made by the press in southeastern Australia. This missionary periodical was only continued about two years. In 1854 the missionary work was extended into New Zealand after which the mission became known as the Australasian Mission until 1897, when New Zealand became a separate mission. (See History of New Zealand Mission,) On April 27, 1855, another company of emigrating saints, numbering 72 souls, left Australia for Utah. In 1856 more Elders came into the mission, some of whom were appointed to labor in New Zealand.

In February, 1863, Thomas Ford, president of the mission, died suddenly in New South Wales and his first counselor, William Broadbent, took charge of affairs until all the Elders from Zion had left Australia. In 1866 Robert Beauchamp, a local Elder, commenced to give lectures in Melbourne before large audiences. He was quite active in visiting the branches, which had become somewhat disorganized after the departure of the Elders from Zion. In 1868 Elder Beauchamp and his family migrated to Utah, but in December of the same year, after he had located his family in Tooele County, Utah, he was called to preside over the Australasian Mission and returned to Australia. In 1870 he reported that there were four branches of the Church in the mission, namely, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, and Karori and Kaipoi in New Zealand. Elder Beauchamp labored diligently for three or four years, but when, in 1874, William Geddes, an Elder from Utah, arrived at Sydney to succeed him as president of the mission (bringing with him ten other Elders) he found that, through transgression, Elder Beauchamp had lost the faith.

In 1878 missionary work in New Zealand was stressed and, after 1880, when work among the Maoris in New Zealand was commenced, Auckland became the headquarters of the Australasian Mission and very few Elders were sent to Australia for several years. On October 28, 1897, the Australasian Mission was divided into the Australian and the New Zealand missions. Andrew Smith, then laboring as a missionary in Australia, was called to preside over the Australian Mission, which was to consist of Australia and Tasmania. At that time there were only about two hundred members of the Church in Australia. Work in the mission continued and prospered and many families emigrated to the Rocky Mountains in the United States of America, where they and their descendants are numbered among the active members of the Church.

On Dec. 31, 1930, the Australian Mission had a membership of 1313, including 53 Elders, 51 Priests, 38 Teachers, 65 Deacons, 906 lay members and 200 children. Clarence H. Tingey presided, assisted by thirty-two other missionaries from Zion. The headquarters of the mission were located at Sydney, New South Wales, where a modern chapel and mission home had been erected. There were also chapels owned by the saints located at Adelaide in South Australia, at Melbourne in Victoria, at Bankstown in New South Wales, at Brisbane in Queensland, at Perth in West Australia and at Hobert Town and Glen Huon in Tasmania.

Following are the names of the presidents of the Australian or Australasian Mission, including New Zealand, from 1854 to 1897; John Murdock, 1851-1852; Charles W. Wandell, 1852-1853; Augustus Farnham, 1853-1856; Absolom P. Dowdle 1856-1857; Andrew J. Stewart, 1857-1858; Thomas Ford, 1858-1863; William Broadbent, 1863-1865; Robert Beauchamp, 1868-1874; William Geddes, 1874-1875; Job Welling, 1875-1876; Isaac Groo, 1876-1877; Fred J. May and Thomas A. Shreeve, Aug. 1878-Dec., 1878; Elijah M. Pearce, 1878-1880; George Batt, 1880-1881; Willian M. Bromley, 1881-1883; William T, Stewart, 1883-1886; William Paxman, 1886-1889; Angus T. Wright, 1889-1890; John S. Bingham, 1890-1891; William T. Stewart (serving a second term), 1891-1893; William Gardner, 1893-1896, and Ezra F. Richards, 1896-1897. Australian Mission: Andrew Smith, jun., 1897-1898; Fred E. Barker, 1898-1900; George H. Islaub, March, 1900-June, 1900; John B. Matthias (pro tem), June, 1900-Nov., 1900; Andrew Field, 1900-1901; James Duckworth, 1901-1906; William Armstrong, 1906-1908; C. Alvin Orme, 1908-1911; Charles H. Hyde, 1911-1913; William W. Taylor (pro tem), 1913-1914; Don C. Rushton, 1914-1917; Arnold D. Miller, 1917-1920; Don C. Rushton (second tem), 1920-1924; Charles H. Hyde (second term), 1924-1927, and Clarence H. Tingey, 1927-1930.

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