1896: St Matthew’s Anglican Church, New Norfolk, Tasmania

Artist/Studio: Mayer & Co, Munich, Germany, c.1896.
Location: New Norfolk, Tasmania.
Building: St Matthew’s, New Norfolk.
Memorial: Rev William Wallace Fullarton Murray.
Donor: Parishioners.
Photos dated: 7th October 2010

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The Rev. William Wallace Fullarton Murray was Chaplain of St. Matthew’s, New Norfolk for a period of 39 years from 1854 to 1893. He was born in Scotland c.1820[1], the son of an officer in the legendary 91st Argyllshire Highlanders who fought at Waterloo in 1815. He was educated at Newport Grammar, Isle of Wight and later at Cambridge where he graduated in 1843, completing his masters in 1847. In 1850, three years after entering the Church, he was invited to the Colony by the Governor of Tasmania, Sir William Denison, who appointed him chaplain of Clarence Plains.

He married Louisa Augusta Schaw on the 28th October 1851 at St. Luke’s Church in Richmond, Tasmania[2] and in 1854 accepted the incumbency of St Matthew’s Anglican Church in New Norfolk where he remained for the rest of his life.

He retired on a chaplain’s pension in late 1893, his successor, the Rev. J. Oberlin Harris, taking over as the new Incumbent of St. Matthew’s with effect 1st January 1894[3]. In February of 1894 he was presented with a purse of sovereigns by the Odd Fellows of New Norfolk as a token of appreciation for his long and faithful service in the ministry[4].

He died 26th September 1894 at the “Tower” in New Town, Tasmania in his 74th year[5] and was buried in St John’s cemetery in New Town[6].

His memorial stained glass window was subscribed for by the parishioners of St Matthew’s and was created by Mayer & Co of Munich, Germany. The window was reported as being unveiled in St Matthew’s on the 20th June 1896[7], but another account indicates that it was unveiled by the Bishop circa late December 1896[8].

The window depicts Christ as the Good Shepherd and has the memorial text at the foot of the window:

“IN MEMORY OF THE REV. W. W. F. MURRAY, M.A. CHAPLAIN OF NEW NORFOLK 1854 TO 1893.”

The window has the studio name of “Mayer & Co, Munich” in the lower border.

Significant Transcriptions:

Launceston Examiner, Tas, Saturday 1st November 1851, page 2.

“On Tuesday, October 28th, at St. Luke’s Church, Richmond, by the Venerable Archdeacon Marriott, the Rev. Wm. Wallace Fullarton Murray, chaplain of Clarence Plains, and son of the late Captain Murray, 91st Regiment, to Louise Augusta, sixth daughter of Major Schaw, police magistrate, late of 21st Fusileers.”

The Mercury, Hobart, Tas, Friday 1st January 1897, page 3.

“…The Bishop has unveiled a stained glass window in New Norfolk Church in memory of the late chaplain, Rev. W. F. Murray, who worked in the parish for 39 years…”

The Mercury, Hobart, Tas, Saturday 4th March 1882, page 3.

“The present chaplain of New Norfolk, William Wallace Fullarton Murray, was born at Glasgow. His father was an officer in the 91st Foot, the famous Highland regiment, and as a lieutenant fought at Waterloo. The son was educated at the Newport Grammar School, Isle of Wight; thence he proceeded to Cambridge, became a scholar of Corpus Christi, graduated in 1843, and took his Master’s degree in 1847. Entering the Church, he was appointed curate of Scaldwell, in Northamptonshire, and subsequently held the curacy of a church in Brompton, in the same county. Invited by the then Governor of Tasmania, Sir William Denison, to come out to this colony, he resigned his curacy, and came hither in the year 1850. Sir William Denison appointed him chaplain of Clarence Plains, in which district he remained for four years. At the end of that period he was transferred to New Norfolk, the chaplaincy of which he has ever since held, being now one of the few colonial chaplains remaining under the provision of the Commutation Act, by which the rights of living chaplains were reserved. His ministry has been marked by quiet unostentatious, but earnest labours in the behalf of those placed under his spiritual charge; and the current of his life has been gentle and kindly. Not once during the 27 years of his residence here has he come in conflict with members of other religious bodies. The Roman Catholics and the Wesleyans are represented in the township, the former in strong force, though in a minority as compared with the number of adherents of the Anglican Church. It is in no small measure owing to the course Mr. Murray has so consistently pursued, that there has been an avoidance of those religious bickerings and active sectional antagonisms that not unfrequently distract communities, and import bitterness and bigoted variance into their social relations, public and private. Though the district is not a large one, the incumbency is no sinecure. The chaplaincy of the asylum entails Sabbath afternoon service, and two other services during the week at that institution. Then, besides the Sabbath services at St. Matthew’s, monthly services are held at three outlying places in the district, namely, Molesworth (Sorell Creek), Black River, and Lachlan Village. In the fulfilment of these duties, Mr. Murray receives valuable assistance from Mr. J. A. Moore, a lay-reader licensed by the Bishop, whose services are given un-grudgingly, both to this and to Sunday school work. Mr. Murray himself has ever been fully alive to the importance of the Sunday school, rightly regarding the religious education of the young by its means as one of the foremost and most fruitful branches of Christian effort. About ten years ago he built the present handsome Sunday school building, to which a wing has been added within the last twelve months. The cost of the building has been about 350, the whole of which has been paid off by voluntary subscriptions. Mr. Murray’s labours have not passed without appreciation, either by the adherents of his own church, or by the members of other denominations. The former, in June, 1875, presented him with a substantial token of recognition and esteem, in the form of a purse of one hundred sovereigns. Mr. Murray had then been pastor of the congregation for 23 years, and this pleasing recognition of his services was well-deserved…”

The Mercury, Hobart, Tas, Thursday 27th September 1894, page 2.

“THE LATE REV. W.W.F. MURRAY, M.A. – It is with sincere regret that we announce the decease, at his residence, New Town, yesterday afternoon, of the Rev. W. W. F. Murray, who was the incumbent of New Norfolk for over 39 years, and retired upon his well-earned pension only a few months ago. The deceased was a very highly esteemed and respected by all classes of his late parishioners, and by all members of the community by whom he was known. Throughout his career as a minister of Christ he was distinguished by Christian integrity and consistency. His life was irreproachable, and he proved himself ever ready to minister to the bodily and spiritual wants of the people committed to his charge. On his retirement a few months ago from the incumbency of New Norfolk, he was presented with an address by the people of the parish, including many who do not belong to the Anglican Church, and in that address very high testimony was borne to the Christian character of the deceased, and to the zeal and efficiency with which he had discharged his duties. Very sincere and heartfelt regret, too, was expressed on account of his retirement. In his decease the Anglican Church has lost one who faithfully laboured for a very long period on her behalf, and for the spiritual welfare of the people of his parish. The deceased has left a family of six daughters, two of whom are married, and two sons unmarried. He will long be remembered with respect and gratitude by those to whom he proved himself to be a true friend and a faithful pastor.”

The Mercury, Hobart, Tas, Saturday 29th  September 1894, page 1.

“MURRAY.- On September 26th, at the “Tower,” New Town, the Rev. William Wallace F. Murray, M.A., formerly incumbent of St. Matthew’s, New Norfolk, in the 74th year of his age. Funeral will his late residence, at 12 o’clock noon, THIS DAY for St. John’s Cemetery, New Town.”

Footnotes:

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