02 The Role of the Woman Missionary, 1880-1914 • Lucas: An Evangelical History Review

02 The Role of the Woman Missionary, 1880-1914

Janet West, ,

Lucas 21 & 22 (June & December 1996) 31-60

The Role of the Woman Missionary

From 1880 to 1914

Janet West*

The nineteenth century witnessed an astonishing expansion in numbers and activity on the part of the Western churches, reaching a climax between 1880 and 1920. The influence of Evangelicalism on church and society as one of the chief causes of this expansion has often been remarked and nowhere was this influence so manifest as in the expansion of overseas missions.1 Dr Eugene Stock, the great mission historian, in examining the ideology of missions, contrasted the attitude of Puritanism with that of Evangelicalism: “If Puritanism was more fruitful in theological literature, Evangelicalism was infinitely more fruitful in works of piety and benevolence; there was hardly a single missionary and philanthropic scheme of the day which was not either originated or warmly taken up by the Evangelical party.”2 The warmth and flexibility of the Evangelical movement, which transcended denominational and national boundaries, was also the key to the rapid acceptance of the ministry of women in overseas mission work as the century progressed. As the effectiveness of women in philanthropic and evangelistic roles at home was increasingly demonstrated, so it became apparent that they should take up similar roles overseas, provided they felt called to do so and opportunities existed. This realization was favoured by the relative peace in the second half of the century caused by the dominance of the European powers world-wide which made travel for women a safer prospect.3 The enlargement of horizons for women was further consolidated by increased opportunities for educational training. As a result, by the final decade of the century, the trickle of women candidates leaving for the mission field had become a torrent. Almost overnight, women missionaries came to outnumber their male counterparts. The warmth with which many women of the Church in this period embraced the opportunity of missionary service, it will be argued, arose out of the woman’s movement of the 1880s and 1890s as well as out of the religious revivals of the period with their evangelical emphasis. The entry of women into the exotic and hazardous field of missions revealed a growing, if unexpressed, feminism in the ranks of the contemporary church.

The term ‘feminism’, meaning a belief in gender equality, was originally coined by the French philosopher and socialist, Charles Fourier (1772-1837). In common parlance by the 1890s, its use was either jocular or derisory to describe the activities of members of the woman’s movement. For example, the Daily Chronicle in 1898 referred to “the lady Parliamentary reporter [who] is the latest development in the feminist movement in New Zealand” and later to “suffragists, suffragettes and all other phases in the crescendo of feminism”.4 As used by many modern historians, it is an umbrella term covering the women’s movements of the late 19th century and the late 20th century, different as these two movements were.5 First-wave feminism which swept middle and upper class women in Western countries in the second half of the 19th century involved social, economic and political change for women.6 It was an activist philosophy aimed at improving the lot of women and society in general. Such luminaries as Florence Nightingale and Clara Lucas Balfour chafed against the restrictions of the domestic role and longed for a fuller expression of the God-given talents of women. By the 1880s such women were beginning to join suffrage movements and seek entry into universities. International bodies such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) attracted the devout as well as the humanist with their goal of the purification of society and the rights of women. In Australia leading reformers Eliza Pottie and Mary Colton, both of them evangelicals and first-wave feminists, worked tirelessly to improve society under the White Ribbon banner of the WCTU. Thus the idealism and activism of the woman’s movement attracted many evangelical women, and these qualities carried over to their view of overseas missions. In particular, the virtual imprisonment of upper caste women in the zenanas of India motivated Christian women to found Zenana Missionary societies to liberate these women spiritually and mentally. As the mission historian, Sarah Potter, concludes:

Women first entered missions in any numbers under the cover of excellent ideology, both evangelical and feminist, which mobilized organizations and funds and made women’s work acceptably orthodox.7

The early English missionary societies, the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) — founded in 1697 and 1701 respectively — made no attempt to appeal to women or enlist their aid in the evangelization of the world. Missionaries were not prevented from taking wives with them, provided they were not a burden on the sponsoring society. Most missionary societies were short of funds and so two workers for the price of one appealed! However, their role as anything beyond helpmeet was steadfastly ignored throughout the 18th century.8 This situation began to improve early in the 19th century but such societies as the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, while demanding that their missionaries ask permission to marry, deliberately edited out reference to the sterling work done by Mary Lawry in the 1820s in Tonga.9 The strongly evangelical London Missionary Society (LMS) and Church Missionary Society (CMS) — founded successively in 1795 and 1799 — were the first societies explicitly to enlist the aid of women. At the Annual General Meeting of the CMS in 1811, the general secretary openly encouraged women to adopt at least a vicarious role in the great cause of missionary outreach:

Christian Matrons! what more laudable ambition can inspire you than a desire to be the Mother of the Missionaries, Confessors and Martyrs of Jesus? Generations unborn shall call you blessed. Ye wives also learn to rejoice at the sound of battle. Rouse the slumbering courage of your soldiers to the field and think no place so safe, so honoured, as the Camp of Jesus. Tell the missionary story to your little ones, until their young hearts burn and they cry, “Shall not we also be the Missionaries of Jesus Christ?”10

In the following year, CMS founded its first auxiliary which enabled more laity and, inevitably, more women to become interested in the work. LMS had already founded an auxiliary five years earlier and the British and Foreign Bible Society had done likewise. Ann Marsden (1794-1885), eldest daughter of Samuel Marsden, remarked that an auxiliary to the Bible Society had been founded in New South Wales in 1820 in which “the women did better than the men”.11 The auxiliaries not only raised funds to support missionaries: they also created a propaganda machine which promoted interest in and information about missions which eventually led to recruitment.12

Missionary Wives

The first women missionaries to prove their worth in the nineteenth century were, of necessity, the missionary wives. Although their role as independently effective workers was scarcely recognised by missionary societies (who could not afford to pay them separately), most societies encouraged their candidates to take a wife for companionship, assistance and sexual fulfilment (and hence the avoidance of temptation) in an alien and isolated environment. They did not go as far as the early American Wesleyan societies which literally arranged marriages between candidates of the opposite sex but such unions as that of Botany Bay’s first chaplain to Mary Burton just before he set sail were all but arranged marriages.13

The early role models for English and Australian missionary wives included such women as Mary Williams, wife of John Williams the pioneer LMS missionary in Oceania. She travelled from island to island with him, encountering all manner of receptions and enduring all manner of privation. She acted as helpmeet in evangelism, mother of his three children and educator of native women in domestic matters.14 Like her, most missionary wives were extremely conscientious. They set out to learn the language and culture of the people among whom their husbands were working. They identified with the women and children especially, kept virtually open house, and employed local women — and sometimes men — to help them domestically and in the mission station. They also took services when their husbands were away and most of them wrote long journals and letters when their children were asleep. The journal of Esther Thomas, wife of the veteran Wesleyan missionary John Thomas who laboured in the South Pacific for 33 years, reveals a woman of deep mystical piety. She coped well with homesickness and the insecurity of a nomadic existence but shrank from such earthy tasks as midwifery and surgery which were often required of missionary wives.15 More down to earth in her writing was Janet Cosh, wife of the Presbyterian missionary in the New Hebrides, James Cosh. Her letters reveal a kindly woman who battled with malaria, worried over her children’s health and tried to overlook the deficiencies of her mud hut residence. She was a firm believer in hospitality as a sounder weapon of evangelism than preaching:

Preaching is all very well in its way, but they have stomachs to be satisfied as well as souls to be saved and when you do manage to make them feel you have an interest in them and a strong desire for their good, you have thus taken a great step in gaining their confidence.16

She often invited the old men and women of the village into her home for tea and biscuits and was pleased when they smacked their lips and asked for more.

In her study of Protestant missionary wives in the 19th century, Hilary Carey stresses the partnership role of the missionary wife, although in the case of Lydia Gunther, who worked at the CMS mission station at Wellington NSW from 1831 to 1843, instructing the native women often reduced the time needed for uxorial duties. She was so enthusiastic in her missionary role with her sewing, teaching, hairdressing, and encouragement of hygiene that her husband complained she was too busy to attend properly to her household tasks. It probably did not occur to him that partnership on the mission station too should be mutual! Thus Carey points out that there was strong motivation for missionary wives to teach native women to become good housewives, otherwise all domestic tasks would fall on them.17

Missionary wives won increasing acceptance from mission boards and colonial bishops as the century passed. However, they stood very much in their husbands’ shadows as far as authorities at home were concerned and their work was recognised only by their families, fellow-missionaries and the people to whom they ministered. As the century progressed, missionary wives played a less spectacular role than their single sisters who were able to embrace the challenge of overseas work with greater freedom and audacity. Family commitments might confer more prestige than the single state but they also brought more restriction of opportunities to serve.

Single Women

Missionary authorities proved to be even more tardy in their recognition of the possible role of the single woman on the mission field. Social pressures and expectations in Georgian and early Victorian Britain and Empire were such that single women were regarded as unsafe or a nuisance without a husband and had to be chaperoned at all times. When writing to the Secretary of the LMS about their decision to send a party of single women missionaries to Tahiti via Sydney as early as 1810, Rowland Hassall was almost neurotic in his concern for their safety and chastity. He issued a series of instructions for these women as they prepared to embark. Admittedly, the ship contained a complement of convicts, but his strictures left nothing to chance. He began:

You will be required during your voyage to adopt the most rigid attention to rule.

(1) Rise and retire very exactly - this will prevent much confusion.

(2) Have your own family prayers very exactly ... be very short and speak very low in the women’s cabin ...

(5) Do not be hasty to reprove swearing or papism - only look pained -watch for a time ...

I commend you to God. Study his will, consult not the flesh. Crucify it. This will prove that you belong to Christ and are fit vessels to contain his treasures ...18

Admittedly, the chief, if unexpressed, purpose of despatching this cargo of spinsters was to provide wives for unmarried male missionaries in the South Seas. However, the injunctions demonstrate the culture of the day when it came to unchaperoned virginity. Single women missionaries were still regarded as hazardous, if not unscriptural, as late as the 1840s when Bishop Daniel Wilson, the bishop of Calcutta, declared:

I object in principle to single ladies coming out unprotected to so distant a place with a climate so unfriendly, and with the almost certainty of their marrying within a month of their arrival ... The whole thing is against apostolic maxim, “I suffer not a woman to speak in the church”19

For the next 30 years, the policy of missionary societies towards women conformed to this view, especially in countries such as India whose climate and sanitation had made it a graveyard for Europeans. Paradoxically, it was the Indian situation which brought about a change in mission policy on female candidates. Increasingly, male missionaries found themselves frustrated in their work of proselytizing because they were not allowed in the zenanas. These were separate apartments where upper caste Hindu and Muslim women were confined within each household. Missionaries were able to speak to lower class women who were not confined but such women were powerless within the family structure. Upper class women, on the other hand, had the power to veto or approve conversion of the whole family to Christianity. Zenanas ranged from the squalid to the luxurious; women were either expected to work like drudges in them or to lounge about gossiping. When the first Christian women came to visit them they welcomed them as a relief from boredom. The zenana women enjoyed Bible stories and songs and appreciated being taught to read and treated like human beings.20

In the late 1860s, just as the women’s movement was gaining strength in Britain and Australia, the plight of Indian women in zenanas gained much sympathy from their sisters in Western countries. At the same time, Baptists who always regarded India as their special sphere of interest after the pioneer work done by their great preacher and scholar, William Carey, decided to intervene. In 1869, they founded the Zenana Missionary Society which was administered entirely by women and sent out its first woman missionary in 1874.21 The principal aim of the Zenana missionaries was to educate women thoroughly and also to provide literacy for children.

Anglicans joined the Baptists in this work when they founded the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society in 1880 and this was a further occasion for women to apply to missionary boardrooms. In this case, a ladies’ missionary committee was set up with male advisers. Wesleyan Methodists, the LMS and the Church of Scotland Zenana Mission likewise involved themselves in work amongst Indian women.22 The new mission ideology was strengthened by the feminist view that the plight of the zenana women living useless, parasitical lives echoed the plight of the Victorian woman spinster without a career, condemned to a life of uselessness.23 There was also much evidence to support the efficacy of the zenana work. As a friendly Hindu once told a LMS missionary:

We do not greatly fear your schools; we need not send our children. We do not fear your books, for we need not read them. We do not much fear your preaching; we need not listen. But we dread your women and dread your doctors, for your doctors are winning our hearts and your women are winning our homes, and when our hearts and homes are won, what is there left of us?24

Australian women were not slow to take up the zenana challenge. The Presbyterian laywoman, Mary MacLean, volunteered for service in India following the visit to Australia of Mrs Longhurst of the Church of Scotland Zenana Mission in 1891. An experienced teacher with the NSW Department of Public Instruction, she was the first missionary to go out under the aegis of the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Association (PWMA). Like the Methodist Overseas Missions Board, the Presbyterian Board appeared reluctant to handle applications from women missionaries and so delegated this task to the women themselves. The PWMA was allowed to work alongside the male Heathen Missions Committee and it soon proved the more vital body of the two under its dynamic organising secretary, Jean Forbes. Before long it was supporting a Chinese mission church in Sydney, work among Aborigines in Queensland and the New Hebrides mission. When Mary MacLean returned from India after five years with the Scottish Zenana Mission, the PWMA decided to found its own mission at Sholinghur, sixty miles north of Madras. She returned to lead this work for twenty years, building a large school there in memory of her mother.25

If Mary MacLean became the great Australian Presbyterian missionary in India, then Ellen Arnold became the great Baptist leader. An Australian branch of the BMS was founded in Adelaide in 1864, following the visit of one of the Carey missionaries from India, the Reverend James Smith. Branches of the BMS spread to other states and by 1882, more women than men were volunteering for service overseas. Ellen Arnold left her native Adelaide in that year and was to labour in Bengal until 1931. From the beginning, she was a realist. On the eve of her departure she wrote:

I do not see the slightest bit of romance or sentiment about it, but plenty of hard work, discouragement, fever, ague, cholera, disagreeableness, privations and such-like ... But, I have not the slightest bit of fear.26

She and her fellow volunteer Marie Gilbert arrived in Bengal without language, accommodation or any form of acclimatization. Within eighteen months she returned with her health broken. In 1885 she set out again, this time with four other women — Ruth Wilkin and Maria Fuller from Victoria, Alice Pappin from South Australia and Martha Plested from Queensland. She christened them “the five barley loaves” and the two accompanying male volunteers “the two fishes”. This trend for women missionaries markedly to outnumber men was to continue up to World War I and to remain with some modification thereafter. A total of 55 Australian women went to the mission field with BMS up to 1914, as compared with 16 men. A large number of women above this also applied and were not accepted — many not passing the stringent medical examination of the mission doctor in New South Wales.27

Ellen Arnold was the bright star in the missionary firmament in Bengal. Her energy, drive and magnetic leadership knew no bounds. She built a large brick mission house for her rapidly increasing staff, by leasing a claypit and making her own bricks, after organizing the transport of coal to help fire the bricks by means of boats plying from West Bengal. On a whirlwind crusade across Australian states in 1885, she founded the Ladies Zenana Missionary Society to work amongst upper caste women in Bengal. Five zenana workers were recruited to the field to visit schools and zenanas and to take Scripture classes. In 1888, she founded a girls school for orphans (of which there were many in a land of plague and child marriage) and staffed it with some of the scores of women she had recruited while on her hyperactive furlough. After 1900 her missionaries opened a Widows’ Home and a Child Welfare Centre.28

Though trained as a teacher, she saw her work as three-fold: evangelistic, medical and social. On the social side, she helped pioneer good sanitation and hygiene in the region. Her leadership also appeared to reduce crime and brigandage in the area. Medically, she encouraged vaccination, the boiling of drinking water and the use of mosquito nets. On the basis of medical experience gained at Adelaide Hospital she knew how to dispense quinine and other drugs to the fevered villagers. Hers was a holistic approach to evangelism:

If I were a heathen, she wrote, I should give no ear to a person who came and preached religion at me, leaving me to cough my strength away at night, or to burn my vitals away in fever, or to drink poison in my water.29

Ellen Arnold received criticism for her unconventional behaviour. Some called her a Baptist nun because of the ascetic strain in her remarkable personality. Her character and achievements are certainly reminiscent of Mary MacKillop, although perhaps she lacked a little of the charisma of that other famous South Australian. Like St Paul, she “buffeted” herself and her health was so reduced that she had to be carried off the ship on her last furlough. She insisted on returning to the field in old age, spurning a pension and without the sponsorship of the missionary society.

Arnold was passionate about preaching, paving the way during her Crusade of 1885 for women preaching at home as well as abroad. The words most on her lips during her last days were “Preach, Preach, Preach”. To one and all, the message was “Preach”.30 After fifty years of service, she died in her beloved Bengal in 1931 and is buried, appropriately, by the side of a road where crowds pass each day.

Not only was there a rapid expansion of women recruits to Baptist Missions in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, but CMS also experienced an unprecedented growth of involvement on the part of Anglican women. Two revivals — the Anglo Scottish Revival of the 1850s and the Keswick-George Grubb led revival which burst upon Australia in the early 1890s — attracted a large number of women (many of them well-educated) to the ideal of missionary service. Current theological emphases also played a part in motivating both male and female candidates to offer themselves for the mission field. Millennialism was a powerful motive for Christian evangelism, when linked with the holiness movement of Keswick and Katoomba. The influence of the Brethren movement, with its doctrines of gathering the flock and hastening the dawning of the New Day, permeated the teaching of such leading Anglican evangelicals as Nathaniel Jones and Mervyn Archdall in Sydney and HB Macartney in Melbourne. Bill Lawton argues that for many of these religious leaders, eschatology was “the invention of 19th century colonialism”. Historical events like the triumph of the British Empire could be interpreted as the prelude to Christ’s return. The writings of women missionaries, as we shall see, reveal an almost total reliance on moral and pious motivation rather than such adventist theology but it would have remained in the back of their minds and contributed to instances of matriarchalism and cultural insensitivity.31

Although CMS was not officially opposed to the despatch of women missionaries to the field prior to 1880, it had in fact, sent very few. The first CMS woman missionary was Mary Bouffler who was sent to Sierra Leone in 1820 and survived only five months.32 So for reasons of health and the ninety per cent marriage rate of women missionaries when overseas, it was unofficial policy to hold single women back. The zenana issue, together with improved education for women in such fields as nursing and teaching, changed this attitude and CMS threw its weight behind the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society when it was founded in 1880. Even though the need for women missionaries was by this time being recognised, male attitudes could still be extremely condescending, as when Bishop Hannington of East Africa asked London in 1884 for some “strapping old maids” to work in his diocese.33

The Keswick Convention, which had begun in a Lancashire rectory in 1875 for the purpose of deepening the spiritual life, had an important part to play in promoting the missionary role of women. Evangelicals from the USA and the Empire attended this annual convention which actively encouraged young people, many of whom were graduates, to support missions.34 In 1887, a CMS missionary in Palestine sent an appeal to Keswick asking specifically for young women to come as missionaries to the Holy Land where Muslim women were mainly in purdah:

Are there not Christian ladies of private means who are attending the Convention who would come out here and work among the Muslim women? Cannot ten come this year?35

In qualifying the type of “ladies” required for the field, it is likely that their financial resources were more important than their degree of gentility but the two usually went hand in hand in that era. There was an immediate response which reverberated in Australia as women offered to serve in the Middle East - gratis if need be.36 The following year, a Missionary Movement began at Keswick and four of the chief speakers were women. In 1889, a Keswick fund for “missioners” was set up which despatched George Grubb, the talented Irish preacher, on his world tour. The Grubb Mission had a marked effect on Australia. Large crowds attended his missions, churches reported overflowing congregations and many volunteered for ordination and missionary training.37 Ordination was closed to women, liberated as they were by the introduction of compulsory elementary education in the various colonies from 1866 onwards, so they volunteered for missionary service in large numbers — larger before long than the numbers of men. By 1931, 70% of the 247 Australian missionaries who had gone out with CMS from 1892 onwards were women.38

Up to this point, the Australian branches of CMS in Victoria and NSW had re-iterated their oneness with London but by 1891 there was a greater desire for independence. In the heady days following the Grubb Mission, the Australian church had raised considerable funds for overseas missions. They now sought autonomy from Britain in sending out their own missionaries. In response, a deputation from CMS London arrived in Australia the following year. These church leaders not only created a great deal of missionary interest but they also officially loosed the Church Missionary Associations — as they were known — from English control, with the following mandate:

Take your own share in the evangelization of the world; send out your own missionaries and support them; and if they are appointed to CMS fields, they will there have all the privileges and opportunities of CMS links.39

A further result of the deputation was the establishment of formal training for women missionaries. Miss Eliza Hassall (1834-1917), a grand-daughter of Samuel Marsden, who had herself attended the Bethany Deaconess Institution in Balmain in 1892, offered her house in Ashfield as a training home for women candidates for the mission field.40 She was appointed first superintendent of the Marsden Training Home, as it was known, and remained there for ten years. She lectured her students in ‘The Acts of the Apostles’, ‘Revelation’ and 'Missionary Geography'. Among them was her own niece Amy Oxley who went out to China as her first graduate. The Marsden Home kept going until 1903 when training for women missionaries was transferred to the Deaconess Institution which was by this time located in Newtown. Training of Victorian women missionary candidates began at the interdenominational Missionary Training Home in East Melbourne in 1892. By 1902, evangelical Anglicans had opened their own training home for women at Fitzroy, which was known as St Hilda’s Training Home.41

From 1892 to 1895, CMS in NSW, Victoria and New Zealand sent out two clergy and their wives, three unmarried laymen and eight single women to a wide spectrum of mission fields. The first female volunteer to be accepted was Helen Plummer Phillips, a graduate of Bedford College, London, who had been headmistress of St Catherine’s School, Waverley for seven years. She had established a reputation at St Catherine’s for having raised morale, numbers and the academic life of the school. She had followed the South Australian and Victorian precedent of entering her girls in the public examinations for Matriculation and the Civil Service.42 In 1890 she resigned to take up a position as tutor to women students at the University of Sydney but within two years she was on her way to Ceylon as a CMS missionary. Here she was able to bring her considerable professional experience to bear over 12 years in setting up an educational system in Ceylon. She opened an industrial school for girls at Dodandura in 1893, a Girls’ English High School at Chandicully in 1896, the CMS Ladies College in Colombo in 1900 and a Girls’ English School at Cotta in 1903. She appointed staff, supervised curricula and travelled constantly to her schools which were spread across three quarters of the island. When she retired in 1905, she devoted herself to writing a book about work amongst Cingalese women.43

Despite the fact that the vast majority of CMS candidates departing for the field in the 1890s were women, no women were to be represented on Mission Councils — whether at State or Federal level — until after World War I. However, following Methodist and Presbyterian precedents, it was decided to form separate women’s missionary organizations to raise funds for women missionaries, publicise their work and help examine and equip those applying to go the field. Thus in 1897 in Victoria the Women’s Missionary Council was founded and is still part of the Victorian branch. It proceeded to found and sustain Gleaners’ Unions and Sowers’ Bands. The former group were information and fund-raising bodies set up to promote missionary interest in parishes. The latter also operated at parish level but concentrated on interesting children and youth in missions.44 In NSW a Ladies’ Committee had already been set up in 1893 with similar functions. It was a wise step to grant interviewing powers, given the rising flood of female applicants: the CMA board in each state relied heavily on the recommendations of its Ladies’ Committee before accepting candidates. The first members of the Ladies’ Committee were leading clergy wives and laywomen, presided over initially by Eliza Hassall. They set up a depot in the Strand Arcade in Sydney which contained a library, a tea-room (to earn income) and missionary displays. So well did they administer their affairs that by the 1920s women were finally admitted to the General Committee of the CMS and the Ladies’ Committee was no longer needed in its original form.45

Interdenominational Missions

Perhaps the foremost Mission to welcome women workers and to treat them with total parity of esteem was the China Inland Mission (CIM). This remarkable organization had begun as early as 1853 when the founder, Hudson Taylor, was convinced of the spiritual need of China’s millions who numbered nearly a quarter of the human race.46 He decided that his mission should rely entirely on God for workers, finance and guidance. The principle of the faith mission was born. No salary was ever offered to missionary workers and only the Almighty was ever asked for money.47 This principle was taken up by many other missions thereafter and it was a practice which seemed to appeal particularly to single women, as it was they who responded most enthusiastically to the challenge of the CIM. The visit of Hudson Taylor and two colleagues to Australia in 1890 sparked off a flood of applicants to join CIM — the majority of whom were women. Of the 337 Australian missionaries who sailed to China up to 1938, 193 were single women and 144 were men (some of whom were married). The proportion of women was even higher in the period up to 1918, with 121 women going out with CIM and 77 men, a number of whom were married.48 Nor was the female preponderance confined to the turn of the century, as the parent council reported in London in 1889 that of 268 missionaries on the field, 181 were women and 61 were men. Single women numbered 120, so every man at this point must have been married. Hudson Taylor was totally egalitarian in his attitude to the sexes. Although careful about whom he accepted for service — 3 out of 4 applicants were turned away — he never rejected a candidate on grounds of sex alone, a policy which earned him criticism amongst some clergymen.49

The earliest Australian missionary to serve with CIM was Mary Reed, a young Tasmanian, who applied in England and went out to China in 1888 before the Mission was established in Australia. She arrived in Yangchow where she stayed a few weeks with other young women missionaries, learning to wear Chinese dress, aspects of Chinese culture and some vocabulary. Then she set out with three other ladies and a Chinese guide on a houseboat north up the Grand Canal towards Peking.50 Boat travel was often the safest for missionaries — as pioneers in Oceania and the Northern Territory discovered. It not only minimized opportunities for acts of violence and theft but it also meant less infection and contaminated food. Nevertheless, Chinese boats were still dirty, uncomfortable and easily overturned. It was also impossible to stand up inside them because of their low roof.

A sense of adventure, as well as underlying nervousness, is unmistakable in Mary Reed’s account of her first journey:

27 April 1888. Just before dark we embarked. Miss Murray and several others prayed to our Heavenly Father. Undid our pukais (Chinese bedding). Quiet time of prayer, each one alone and then all together each morning. When the boats stopped, went ashore with tracts and gospels to sell and distribute. Chinese women very receptive ... Often a large crowd of noisy men surrounded us.

28 April. Arrived at small hamlets ... found the women more eager to examine our clothes and feel us than to listen to the gospel. Returned covered in mud and as we had not a change of garments with us, Miss MacFarlane and I had to spend the rest of the day in bed while our things were being dried.51

A good sense of humour as well as profound sangfroid helped the pioneer missionary, especially when the Chinese rocked the gondola-style houseboats “to see if the missionary ladies would scream”. Despite the amiability of the Chinese women, who were not enclosed in zenanas like their Indian and Muslim sisters, danger was not far away:

29 April. We moved for the night on the outskirts of the city. CROWDS of men came down to the boat and stared in, in mute amazement, as if we were some marvellous species of wild beasts. Miss McKee and Miss MacFarlane went out but got so pelted with mud and knocked about in the large crowds that would follow them, that after selling a number of books they returned.52

After eighteen months Mary Reed was invalided home but she returned to China in 1890 with the first Australian party of twelve. She was the forerunner of a number of exceptional women who worked with the CIM up to 1914 and beyond. Some, like Mary Heaysman from South Australia, met martyrdom during the Boxer Uprisings of 1900-01. Some, like Mary Sorensen of Tasmania, died of disease. Some, such as Alice MacFarlane (nee Henry) from Victoria and Emma McIntyre (nee Spiller) of Queensland, worked for over thirty years, totally identifying with the Chinese people in language, dress and custom.53 In some cases, like the five Trudinger sisters from South Australia who volunteered along with their brother Augustus Trudinger, members of the same family served with CIM. Two sisters, Annie and Susie Garland from Victoria, spent nearly forty years teaching the blind in China and produced a form of Braille for Chinese script.54

One of the earliest Australian women to sail with CIM was Florence Young of Queensland. She was to be the first Australian woman to found her own mission. Indeed she founded two! She was born into a well-to-do Brethren family in 1856. After being educated in England, she returned in 1882 to live on her family’s sugar cane plantation at Bundaberg. Here she took pity on the Kanakas who had been brought from the Solomon Islands and New Hebrides to work as cheap labour on the Queensland cane plantations. Many white people in the area regarded them as little more than animals who could not be educated.55 She began schools for them, making the Bible the basis of the curriculum. In 1886, she established the Queensland Kanaka Mission, targeting the ten thousand islanders who were already in Queensland. She asked often reluctant planters if they would release the Kanakas for a daily lesson run by her workers in each district. At its peak, the Kanaka Mission had 19 missionaries working from 11 centres. Before long, a positive response from the Islanders became noticeable to employers as well as evangelists.56

Florence Young attended Hudson Taylor’s missionary rally in Brisbane in 1890. His first words to his hearers were, “Isn’t it ALL IN CHRIST?” She was immediately moved to serve in China and at the age of 35 found herself working mainly with Swedish CIM missionaries in 1891 in Kiangsi. The seven single ladies were supported by Chinese pastors and evangelists in opening schools, a home for old women and thriving native churches. By 1894 her health was beginning to deteriorate. Boils, infections and malaria had appeared and a new posting to a difficult village where she was living in an old house wedged between an opium den and a pigsty made matters worse. News then came through that the Kanaka Mission was having problems in her absence. Hudson Taylor counselled her to return.57

After two years of hard work in 1895 and 1896, she was able to restore the Kanaka Mission to a proper footing. She returned fresh to China the following year and worked there till the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion in 1899. This uprising led to attacks on CIM outstations and 13 missionaries were murdered. Florence Young and many of her co-workers were evacuated to the coast, escaping the fate of the total number of 188 Protestant missionaries who were killed by the insurgents.58

When she returned to Queensland to consolidate the Kanaka work further, she found that the new Government of the Commonwealth of Australia had adopted a White Australia Policy, legislating that all Kanakas must return to their islands by 1906. News began filtering in of the martyrdom of some of the converts from the Kanaka Mission as they returned to the envy, mistrust and rejection of their own islands. In 1904, she attended the Katoomba Convention — which was an Australian counterpart of Keswick meeting annually in the Young’s family mansion in the Blue Mountains. As fervent Brethren, the Youngs were in thorough agreement with premillennialism — the Gospel must be preached to all nations and then would the end come. Florence asked for prayer for “her” Kanakas. As a result the Solomon Islands Mission, later to be known as the South Sea Evangelical Mission (SSEM), was begun. Like the CIM it was a faith mission, interdenominational and evangelical.59

Florence herself sailed first to the island of Malaita and was the first white woman to land there. According to the heroic account presented by Young herself, the islanders there were diseased and degraded, cannibalism was practised. This was in contrast to the neighbouring Maluans who had been evangelized by the members of the Kanaka Mission who had returned from Bundaberg and were experiencing a time of “joyful revival”. However, within two years, the SSEM had established 6 missionaries, 3 stations and 13 outstations on Malaita. The wild island was changed as a result of one woman’s vision and it was not the last island to be transformed in this way.60

Although few women worked as missionaries to Aborigines before World War I, there were several significant exceptions. Matilda Ward and May Ann Hay, the wives of two Moravian missionaries to the Cape York area, were sisters. These women worked in dangerous conditions, despised by white people and distrusted by the Aborigines. As they tried to help the Aboriginal women and children, gaining the name of “Mother”, they gradually won over their menfolk, so that they were asked to mediate in family disputes. When her husband died in 1894, Matilda Ward was adopted by the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union who supported her work and the building of a church as a memorial to her husband. In 1897, the Queensland Parliament appointed Mrs Ward and the Heys as Protectors of the Aboriginal people in the region.61 This was a significant tribute from the State for the efficiency of their Mission with its productive farming and its protection of the indigenous people from the depredations of the pearling industry and other frontier interests. However, the success of Mapoon and the associated missions in the area must be qualified by the contemptuous attitude demonstrated by the Moravians towards Aboriginal culture.62

One of the most effective women missionaries to the Aborigines was Retta Long who was born in Sydney in 1878 to Baptist parents. Through the evangelical youth organization, ‘Christian Endeavour’, Retta Dixon, as she then was, first befriended Aborigines living in La Perouse. In 1899 she became a resident worker there attached to what was known as the NSW Aborigines’ Mission. This body was eventually to separate into two large missions, the United Aboriginal Mission (UAM) and the Aborigines Inland Mission (AIM), both of which were “faith missions” with individuals being responsible for their own support. Dixon also travelled to the Hawkesbury River and up and down the NSW coast seeking camps of Aborigines. After six years she resigned and went to live in Singleton where she founded with a group of supporters the AIM. The following year (1906), she married Leonard Long who became a co-director of the AIM. The work began to expand after 1910. Aboriginal churches were formed and their own pastors were appointed. Each church was independent. Members were allowed to control their own affairs, an unusual step in times when Aborigines had limited rights and when it was thought they would die out. The AIM gradually spread to the other states except Western Australia. When her husband died in 1928, Retta Long again resumed sole control of the Mission, founding a large Children’s Home in Darwin (which cared for children of mixed race separated by Government policy from their families) as well as a Bible Training Institute for Aboriginal young men and women.63

Turning finally to Methodist women missionaries, it is disappointing to observe that this church was the most patronising in its attitude to women workers and single women workers in particular. Like the Presbyterians, the Methodists separated mission administration, so that women’s work was partially run by the Ladies Foreign Mission Association in each state. No woman was allowed to sit on the Methodist Overseas Mission Board until 1922, and it was not till 1915 that a Register of Missionary ‘Sisters’, as single women missionaries were called, was drawn up.64 The term ‘sister’ had its origins in the first Wesleyan expansion into Europe and North America and although it was outdated by the late nineteenth century (except in Anglican High Church usage) the Methodist Overseas Mission Board refused a request by the South Australian Ladies Auxiliary to review the name in 1903.65 On 8 April 1918, the District Synod moved that the name ‘Woman Missionary’ be substituted for that of ‘Missionary Sister’. Nearly two years later the Synod board rejected that request.66 Subsequent attempts to change the name to a more egalitarian title were consistently rejected. It would appear that the Mission Board was a reactionary body when it came to dealing with women missionaries. Certainly it was bureaucratic with its Advisory Committee and its Executive Committee, both without female representation. When commenting on the standing of the missionary sisters, an experienced LMS missionary reported to the Methodist Overseas Mission Board in 1918 that Methodist women missionaries were accorded too lowly a status:

I think you should give your women missionaries the same status as the men. It may not be possible — the principles of Methodism may be against it; but after all, Christ’s Kingdom comes first; Methodism second.67

It is difficult to reconcile the progressive attitude of the Methodist hierarchy towards secondary education for girls as summed up in their foundation of the excellent Methodist Ladies Colleges throughout Australia with their mission policy.68 There seems to be an ambivalence in their attitude towards women in this period. Articles on this subject which convey an outdated culture appear in Methodist magazines at the turn of the century. For example, Tennyson is revived:

Woman has a distinct sphere all of her own. It is not in the public thoroughfare, fighting for supremacy with men.

An even more sickly apotheosis of women is the following:


Not learned, save in gracious household ways,

Not perfect, nay, but full of tender wants;

No angel, but dearer being, all dip’t

In angel instincts, breathing Paradise.69

Small wonder so many Wesleyan women volunteered to go out with CIM! However, there were some missionary sisters of extremely independent spirit who did not allow the Mission Board to dominate them. Such a one was Hannah Dudley, a fully qualified teacher from the outback of NSW who went out with the British Methodist Missionary Society to northern India in 1891. She became proficient in Urdu, working mainly among orphans and lower caste children. Her village school was set up in an old mud hut which the people re-plastered and roofed for her. There were no desks and so the children wrote in the sand. After 5 years she returned home broken in health. It was not long before she volunteered to live among the poor Indians who had been shipped to Fiji to work on the plantations there. She opened a school, teaching in Urdu as well as English. Without consulting the Mission Board, she adopted six orphans and at one stage took them to India for three years. When she was finally invalided home in 1913, the Indian mourned the loss of their Hamari Mataji — or Honoured Mother.70

Most missionary sisters were expected to be low key in their approach and work under the married women, even presumably if they were doctors, although this scenario did not occur until after World War I. Harriet Bromilow, wife of the Reverend WC Bromilow, who pioneered the Methodist field on the island of Dobu off the coast of New Guinea, was described in the following way in the Adelaide based Christian Weekly Methodist Journal of 16 October 1898:

Mrs Bromilow oversees the work of the sisters and nurse and in the absence of her husband, she takes divine service, preaching to the natives with charming ease.71

The ten women missionaries who worked under Mrs Bromilow, visiting the villages two by two, teaching and caring for the sick, did not seem to mind the term ‘sister’ in the 1890s. But as the new century progressed, women missionaries became increasingly restive about it.

The patriarchal climate of Methodist missions is further re-inforced by the attitude of mission historians from James Colwell, who published in 1914, to AH Wood, who published as late as 1975. The former manages to devote half a page to the missionary sisters, while the latter generously gives up one chapter in his four volume history to Hannah Dudley and the missionary sisterhood. This is despite the fact that single women missionaries in Methodist missions outnumbered male missionaries in 1915 by 198 to 148.72

The nineteenth century witnessed a slow and sporadic involvement by women in overseas missions, at least until 1880 (if we discount Catholic missionary service in Oceania by Irish, English, French and Australian female orders). The small band of women sent out to New South Wales by LMS in 1810 was virtually intended for marriage with the single male missionaries in the colony, a purpose which was rapidly realized. Intrepid missionary wives became an essential part of the campaign to win souls, often sustaining a ministry of their own to the natives, as well as supporting their husband’s work. However, there was no concerted effort by missionary societies to send out single women until the zenana dilemma confronted missionaries who were endeavouring to evangelise Indian families. The success of the zenana missionaries, allied to the appeal in the Keswick letter of 1887 for women to go to Palestine, brought about a change in missionary thinking. In the years 1888 and 1889, CMS sent out 31 single women missionaries all told. Yet in the next decade 409 went out.73 From 1890 to 1914, the departure of CIM and CMS women missionaries from Australian shores outnumbered that of men by two to one.74 If married women are taken into consideration, the female preponderance on overseas mission stations was even higher.

In searching for reasons for the predominance of women missionaries after 1890, social and economic factors must be taken into account. There had been an educational explosion for women. Universities were open to women in Australia after 1880, as were state elementary schools.75 Church schools and a few high schools were offering matriculation to girls. The women’s movement, spearheaded by such bodies as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, was agitating strongly for the vote for women, initially as a means of reforming society. Women were actively looking for professional occupation and there was generally a lack of opportunity for this kind of fulfilment at the time. The prospect of spreading the Good News throughout the earth as well as ameliorating the lot of the needy and unenlightened was irresistible to the idealistic single Christian woman of this period.


Many women identified with the oppressed women of more primitive societies and the challenge of transforming the lot of fellow women appealed to those who were service-oriented. Ruth Rouse argues that the woman’s movement was an offspring of Christianity and that it found three aspects of missions were congenial to its outlook.76 The first was the internationalism of missions. Overseas missions were a means of working with like-minded women of many nationalities to bring Christianity to less fortunate women and children. The fellowship enjoyed by Australian CIM missionaries with colleagues from England, Sweden and other countries, not to mention the internationalism of such Catholic missionary orders as the various Marist Missionary Sisters, are cases in point. Second was the missionary’s concern for morality. The reclamation of alien cultures from such practices as child marriage, self-immolation of widows and inter-tribal strife chimed in with home movements like the WCTU working for temperance and the purification of society. Third was the mission ideal of service. Raised with Victorian concepts of helping the under-privileged and imbued with the attitude of One who said “I am among you as one who serves”, women missionaries achieved not only satisfaction in their work but also a sense of freedom and independence. Finally it is clear that the affinity of the woman’s movement with missionary work was strengthened by the opening up of such professions as medicine and education to women just when such skills were needed on the mission field. For instance, Laura Fowler was the first female medical graduate of the University of Adelaide (1891). Two years after her graduation, she married Dr Charles Hope and the two of them set off for India, spending the next 40 years, despite indifferent health, serving the people there with their medical skills.77

Australian women missionaries also relished the sense of adventure and the opportunity to work alongside men in a situation of equal danger and challenge. Suddenly an opportunity of ministry and leadership was opening up which was denied them in the home church, at least as far as an ordained ministry was concerned. Apart from the chance of serving human beings from another culture, there was also the mystical aspect. Total fulfilment in a limitless relationship with the Master was somehow closer in a mission situation. “We are here for Him, and with Him and He cares for us,” exulted Florence Young in the isolation and squalor of a Chinese village.

A similar note of ecstasy is evident in the parting words of Edna Bavin, daughter of the Methodist minister at Ashfield, New South Wales, as she outlined her motivation in going to China:

Love to Jesus simplifies everything. Questions about whether we should go or stay - all are answered by our love to Jesus. When we love Jesus fully, it is easy to do His service. We go anywhere - suffer anything - when we are full of love to Him!78

Added to a profound sense of spiritual devotion, which had its roots in the Keswick and Katoomba Conventions and in the writings and example of Hudson Taylor, was a strong sense of fin de siecle in the theology of the day. Not only was the old century coming to an end in a secular sense but for the majority of missionaries, both male and female, events were moving quickly towards the Second Coming of Christ which was to take place once the Gospel had been preached to all people.79 It was an Advent that these women missionaries were determined to hasten, while at the same time helping to transform the lot of the less fortunate of the earth.

The role of the Australian woman missionary in this period, whether married or single, was principally to preach the Gospel. In practice married women concentrated on the role of helpmeet and example to indigenous families. At first their status was higher than that of their single sisters because of the prevailing Victorian domestic ideology.80 However by the end of the period, single women were coming into their own as an often unexpressed feminist ideology merged with evangelical fervour to give them undreamt of opportunity and fulfilment in their work at home and abroad.


* The following article was originally delivered as an address to the Annual General Meeting of the Evangelical History Association at Robert Menzies College on 24 March 1995.

1. WR Ward, The Protestant Evangelical Awakening, Cambridge University Press, 1992. B Dickey, “The Evangelical Tradition in South Australia,” ANZ Religious History (1988) 157-175.

2. E Stock, A History of the Church Missionary Society, London, 1899, vol 1, 38.

3. Although, it should also be noted, imperialism had its problems for missionaries, in that it engendered notions of foreign condescension and even aggression in indigenous minds.

4. Daily Chronicle, 15 October 1898 and 29 May 1909. Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford, 2nd ed, 1989, vol V, 826.

5. For a discussion of terminology and gender ideology, see C Bacchi, Same Difference: Feminism and Sexual Difference, Sydney, 1990, 6-8. For a treatment of Christian women and first-wave feminism, see B Heeney, The Women’s Movement in the Church of England, 1850-1930, Oxford, 1983, 1-2, 9.

6. An earlier secular movement working for the rights of women had emerged among Owenite socialists in the mid-19th century but this had little or no impact on feminism among Christian adherents. B Taylor, Eve and the New Jerusalem. Socialism and Feminism in the Nineteenth Century, London, 1983.

7. Sarah Potter, “The Social Origins and Recruitment of English Protestant Missionaries in the Nineteenth Century,” unpublished PhD thesis, University of London, 1974, 220.

8. I Breward, A History of the Australian Churches, St Leonards, Sydney, 1993, 6.

9. M Reeson, Currency Lass, Sutherland, 1985, 109, 122-131.

10. Stock, Church Missionary Society, 107-108. See also A.K Davidson, Missionary Propaganda - Its Early Development and Influence with Respect to the British Missionary Movement and India, Annual Lecture to the Presbyterian Historical Society, New Zealand, 1974, 14.

11. Ann Marsden to Mary Stokes, 20 August 1820, in G Mackaness (ed), Some Private Correspondence of the Reverend Samuel Marsden and Family, 1794-1824, Sydney, 1942, 75-6.

12. For a thorough treatment of the supporting role of CMS missionary auxiliaries, see K Cole, Sharing in Mission. A Centenary History of the Victorian Branch of the Church Missionary Society,1882-1982, Bendigo, 1992, passim.

13. "So at last you have given the good Bishop [sic] of Botany Bay a wife to take with him - a very good thing, if she be a good wife. I pity, and rejoice, pray for and congratulate them both." William Bull to the Reverend John Newton, December 1786. Quoted in J Bonwick, Australia’s First Preacher, London, 1898, 61. See also NK Macintosh, Richard Johnson, Sydney, 1978, 39-40.

14. JW Burton, Modern Missions in the South Pacific, London, 1949, 82-84. See also J Gutch, Beyond the Reefs, London, 1974.

15. Journals of John and Esther Thomas, 1826-1859. Methodist Overseas Mission Papers (MOM), Mitchell Library, Sydney (ML). See also Diary of Mrs John Polglase, August 1850-January 1859, MOM, Item 138, ML.

16. Janet Cosh to Maggie Frame, Pango Efate, 3 August 1868. Letter in possession of David Denne, Killara, NSW.

17. H Carey, “Woman’s Particular Mission to the Heathen - Protestant Missionary Wives in Australia, 1788-1900,” in M Hutchinson & E Campion (eds), Long Patient Struggle. Studies in the Role of Women in Australian Christianity, Studies in Australian Christianity 2, Sydney, 1994, 25-44.

18. Hassall Papers, A280, ML, 328.

19. CF Pascoe, Two Hundred Years with the SPG, 1701-1901, London, 1901, 617.

20. CF Hayward, Women Missionaries. London, Collins,.n.d. pp.226-230.

21. E Daniel Potts, British Baptist Missionaries in India, 1793-1887. Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1967. pp.122-123.

22. Potter, “Social Origins and Recruitment of English Protestant Missionaries,” 222.

23. An attitude expressed by Menie Parkes who longed to be allowed to leave home and seek a career: “If I go on as I am now doing I shall be that most useless of all beings, a middle-aged woman, dangling about her parents’ home ...” Menie Parkes to Sir Henry Parkes, 18 January 1865, in AW Martin (ed), Letters From Menie, Melbourne, 1983, 56-8.

24. Testimony of Dr Clarke, in R Lovett, A History of the London Missionary Society, London, 1899, vol 2, 235-236.

25. F Timms, Mary MacLean, a Memorial, Sydney, 1943, and The New South Wales Presbyterian, 3 February 1943.

26. DF Mitchell, Ellen Arnold, Pioneer and Pathfinder, Adelaide, Baptist Publications, 1932, 11. Also The Missionary Heritage of Australian Baptists, Glebe, Australian Baptist Foreign Missions, nd, 1-28.

27. Lecture of Rosalind Gooden to the Baptist Historical Society of NSW at Morling College, 10 April 1992.

28. Mitchell, Ellen Arnold,12-23.

29. Ibid, 17-18.

30. Ibid, 29-30. See also GB Ball, “The Australian Baptist Mission and its Impact on Bengal,” unpublished MA thesis, Flinders University, 1978.

31. WJ Lawton, The Better Time To Be. Utopian Attitudes to Society Among Sydney Anglicans 1885-1914, Kensington, NSW,1990, 30-34 and 73-75.

32. CMS Register of Missionaries (Clerical, Lay and Female) and Native Clergy, 1804-1904, 260, Friendship House, London.

33. K Cole, A History of the Church Missionary Society in Australia, Melbourne, 1971, 55.

34. ML Loane, The Keswick Convention and the Missionary Movement, Southern Cross booklet no 3, nd, and Lawton, Better Time To Be, 92-111.

35. Stock, Church Missionary Society, vol 3, 188-289.

36. The first Australian CMS missionary to go to the Middle East was Beatrice Hassall in 1899. Earlier departures were to India and China and their financial arrangements varied from a small living allowance to reliance on Providence alone.

37. S Judd and K Cable, Sydney Anglicans. A History of the Diocese, Sydney, 1987, 150-152.

38. Cole, Church Missionary Society in Australia, Appendix, 322-327.

39. Dr Eugene Stock, Editorial Secretary of CMS and the Reverend James Murray, a Council member, headed the delegation to Australia and on their return, CMS London issued this statement. Stock, Church Missionary Society, 674-675.

40. SM Johnstone, A History of the Church Missionary Society in Australia and Tasmania, Sydney, 1925, 251. The house was known as “Cluden” and was situated in Frederick St, Ashfield. A fine photograph exists in CMS Archives of Eliza Hassall and her trainees outside the house in the early 1890s. See also M Yarwood Lamb, “Hassall, Eliza Marsden,” in B Dickey (ed), Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, Sydney, 1994,158-9.

41. Ibid, and ML Loane, The Story of the China Inland Mission in Australia and New Zealand from 1890 to 1964, CIM/OMF, Sydney, 1965, 14.

42. R Watson & A Farrelly, St Catherine’s: A Pictorial Record, Waverley, NSW, 1976. Also various records in the Archives of St Catherine’s Waverley.

43. Johnstone, Church Missionary Society in Australia, 344 and St Catherine’s Archives.

44. Cole, Sharing in Mission, 24-25.

45. Minutes of the Ladies Committee of CMA of NSW 1893-1894, CMS Archives, Sydney. Among NSW records for CMS, only the Ladies Committee minutes remain intact as the others were destroyed by a fire in 1921. The secretary of the Ladies Committee always kept her minutes in a suitcase which she carried with her.

46. Loane, China Inland Mission, 3-5.

47. S Neill, A History of Christian Missions, Harmondsworth, 1964, 332-338.

48. Loane, China Inland Mission, 21, 151-62. See also East Asia’s Millions, Centenary Edition, 1989-1990, OMF Publications.

49. China’s Millions, 1889, 103. Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) Archives, Epping.

50. Mary Reed, Death and Life, CIM booklet, nd (copy at OMF Archives).

51. Mary Reed, By Boat and Barrow in China, CIM booklet, nd, 7-13 (copy at ML).

52. Ibid,14-17.

53. V Mathews, A Life on Fire, the Life Story of Alice MacFarlane. Melbourne, 1945. EH McIntyre, High Privilege, Brisbane, 1922.

54. East Asia’s Millions, 1989-1990, 6,7.

55. Florence Young’s perception is supported by a photograph (ca 1890) of Kanakas chained together under armed guard on her father’s own plantation, Fairymead. A more wretched group it would be hard to imagine. J.Kerr, Southern Sugar Saga: a History of the Sugar Industry in the Bundaberg District, Bundaberg Sugar Company, Qld, nd, 17 (copy at the Oxley Library, Brisbane).

56. Loane, China Inland Mission, 12 and 33-4. Florence Young, Pearls from the Pacific, London, 1926, 42-9.

57. Ibid, 70-111.

58. Ibid, 112-120, and Loane, China Inland Mission, 28.

59. The Katoomba Convention began at Khandala, the home of C Ernest Young, Florence’s brother. Like Keswick, it strongly emphasised practical holiness and missionary outreach.

60. Young, Pearls From the Pacific, 160-172.

61. EC Dawson, Heroines of Missionary Adventure, London, 1909, 325-338.

62. John Harris, One Blood, Sutherland, 1990, 485-493.

63. Egerton C Long, Retta Jane Long, unpublished MS (copy at ML). Also Retta Long, Providential Channels, 1936, and In the Way of His Steps, 1937, unpublished MSS (copies at ML). See also Harris, One Blood, 552-556.

64. MOM, Items nos 218 and 302, ML.

65. MOM, Minutes of the Board, 17 April 1903, Item 203, ML.

66. MOM, ibid, 8 April 1918 and 7 February 1920, Item 206.

67. Ibid, 4 October 1918.

68. D Wright and E Clancy, The Methodists, Sydney, 1993, 86 and 164-5.

69. Australian Christian Commonwealth, 14 July 1905. MOM, Item 218, ML.

70. Anon, Hamari Mataji - With Hannah Dudley in India and Fiji, Sydney 1951.

71. MOM, Item 302, ML.

72. J Colwell, A Century in the Pacific, Sydney, 1914, 554. AH Wood, Overseas Missions of the Australian Methodist Church, Melbourne, 1975, 4 vols. See vol 3 for the solitary chapter. MOM, Items 216 and 218, ML.

73. CMS Register of Missionaries (Clerical, Lay and Female) and Native Clergy, 1804-1904, 260-474, Friendship House, London.

74. See appendices in Loane, China Inland Mission, 151-157 and Cole, Church Missionary Society in Australia, 322-327.

75. The University of Adelaide led the way in 1874 by allowing women to attend lectures but they were not to receive degrees until 1880. Sydney and Melbourne Universities granted equal status for women in 1888 after a long struggle.

76. R Rouse, “The Ideal of Womanhood as a Factor in Missionary Work,” International Review of Missions, no 5 (January 1913) 148-164.

77. M Tilman, “Hope, Laura,” in Dickey (ed), Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, 172.

78. China’s Millions, 1 May 1899.

79. Matthew 24:14.

80. A point made by Hilary Carey in her essay, “Protestant Missionary Wives in Australia, 1788-1900,” in Hutchinson and Campion (eds), Long Patient Struggle, Sydney, 1994, 26-27.


© Evangelical History Association of Australia and Southern Cross College, 2005.



  • There are currently no refbacks.