- James Forbes (minister)
name = James Forbes
birth_date = 4 April 1813
birth_place = Leochel-Cushnie, Scotland
death_date = August 1851
death_place = Melbourne, Victoria
education = Aberdeen Grammar School
King's College Aberdeen
occupation = Minister and educator
spouse = Helen Clow
parents = Peter and Margaret Forbes
children = Margaret Chirnside
James Forbes (4 April 1813 – August 1851) was a Scottish-
Australian Presbyterianminister and educator. He was the first Christian minister to settle in Melbourne, holding the first Presbyterian service there in 1838. He founded the Melbourne Academy, later Scotch College.
James Forbes was the oldest of the ten children (only five surviving infancy) born to Peter and Margaret Forbes who farmed "New Braes" on the estate of Sir Arthur Forbes in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie about 40 km west of
Aberdeen, Scotland. He was baptised on 4 April 1813, and was educated locally and at Aberdeen Grammar School.
King's College, Aberdeenin 1826 and completed the Arts course but, like the majority of students who regarded it as an expensive formality, he did not bother to graduate. The Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Gariochrecords show that he was enrolled in divinity for part of 1829/30, 1830/31 and as a regular student 1831/32. He must have had doubts about his fitness for the ministry for he accepted a teaching appointment at the Colchester Royal Grammar Schoolin Englandbetween 1832 and 1835. Here he experienced an evangelical conversion as he heard the sermons given in the school assembly by the Church of Englandpreachers. This brought him back to the divinity course at Aberdeen which he completed in 1837.
He was licensed as a preacher by the Presbytery of Garioch on 10 May 1837. Recruited for
Australiathrough the influence of Rev John Dunmore Lang he was ordained with his friend William McIntyre by the Presbytery of Glasgow on 29 June 1837 for work in Australia.
Departure for Australia
Greenockon the 541 ton barque "Portland" on 24 July 1837, Forbes arrived in Sydneyon 4 December 1837. The passengers included Dr Lang and a number of other ministers and teachers. Forbes rejected Lang's proposal that the new ministers join him in forming the Synod of New South Walesto rival the existing Presbytery of New South Wales, and duly became a member of the Presbytery. His appointment being for the District of Port Phillip, he arrived there by boat on 20 January 1838.
He found his future father-in-law, Rev James Clow, had arrived in
Melbourneto settle the previous Christmas Day. Clow was a Church of Scotland chaplain from Bombayretired due to health issues and of independent means. Forbes offered to go to Geelong, but Clow deferred to the younger man with an official appointment. Forbes thus became the first Christian minister settled as such in Melbourne, which was then a settlement of a few huts and two weatherboard houses that served as hotels. Within 18 months the population increased from a few hundred to 3000.
Presbyterian beginnings in Melbourne
Forbes held his first Presbyterian service on Sunday 3 February 1838 in the
Pioneers Churchon the south side of Bourke Street near William Street. The Church of England soon made exclusive claims to this communal building and so Forbes held services in Craig and Broadfoot's store in Collins Street until a temporary timber building called Scots Church was opened on the south side of Collins Street near William Street (about where the Olderfleet Buildings now stand) in July 1838. It was essentially a large room with a fireplace.
The temporary building also served as the Scots' Church School, which was begun on 26 November 1838 with Robert Campbell as teacher. He had come to Australia with Forbes and was a Scots' elder from 1839 until 1842. The school prospered and soon had 80 pupils. The school relocated to new brick premises in September 1839 on the part of the convert|2|acre|m2|sing=on site granted by the Government on the corner of Collins and Russell Streets which was later the George's department store. The number of students was soon 150, a third of them girls, and two aboriginal children were among those who received prizes at the first examination in June 1840.
The temporary church served as the place of worship for a little over a year until the building of Scots School was opened in portion of the present site.
The first purpose built Scots Church on the present site, corner of Collins and Russell Streets, was opened on 3 October 1841. It was designed for 500 sittings and the contract sum was £2,485 without plastering, gallery, vestry or fittings. The building was opened with temporary seating on 3 October 1841, plastering was carried out the following year, proper pews, gallery and vestry were added in 1849 and a spire some years later. (The present building was opened 29 November 1874 seated for 1000.)
Forbes visited Geelong in November 1838 and obtained Rev Andrew Love from Scotland as minister for this place. He arrived in April 1840. In 1842 three more ministers were secured and the Synod in Sydney approved Forbes' request for a separate Presbytery of Melbourne to be formed. It held its first meeting on 7 June 1842.
Forbes was the founding honorary secretary of the
British and Foreign Bible Societyauxiliary founded in 1840, chairman of the Port Phillip Theological Education Society, assisted in the founding of what is now the Royal Melbourne Hospitaland the Melbourne Debating Society, all in 1841.
In 1845 he inaugurated the Presbyterian Female Visiting Society. As it was not sectarian in 1847 it was renamed the Melbourne Ladies Benevolent Society. He supported aboriginal missions established by Wesleyans and
Baptists, and was a true friend of all.
The Free Kirk
The effects of the Disruption of the Established Church of Scotland in May 1843 had repercussions in Australia. Forbes and one of his three elders adhered to the position also adopted by those who formed the
Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australiaon 10 October 1846.
Reasons of distance and the general desire of those in Port Phillip to run their affairs without control from Sydney, meant Forbes organised a distinct body but on similar lines to the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia, formed as a result of the Disruption. Forbes gave up his handsome stipend (£200 from the government plus £150 from the congregation), the church, school and manse he had erected, and commenced afresh. He issued his Protest on 29 October 1846 and submitted it to the Presbytery of Melbourne on 17 November, the date of the organising meeting of what the minutes call The
Free Presbyterian Church of Australia Felix. The first service was held in the Mechanics Hall (where the the Athenaeum now stands) on 22 November 1846 with about 200 people crowding the building.
The building of
John KnoxFree Presbyterian Church, Swanston Street was opened 8 May 1848 on the corner with Little Lonsdale Street and with frontage to that street. The John Knox School began in the building on 3 July 1848 with T.J. Everist as teacher. Within a year there were 120 students and an adjoining brick building came into use in August 1850. The congregation erected a two-storey manse next door to the church in Swanston Street late in 1850. The church was reconstructed in 1863 and re-opened by Rev William McIntyre 26 July of that year. It now houses the Church of Christ congregation.
Forbes sought to obtain additional ministers for the Free Church. He apparently offended the Irish Church by some critical remarks on some individual Irish ministers who had not stood with him in 1846, so assistance came chiefly from the Free Church of Scotland. Thomas Hastie came from
Tasmaniain January 1847 and was settled at Buninyong and The Leigh, while Rev J.Z. Huie became minister at Geelong in the same year. Schools were established in both parishes. There was little other help until the explosion of population following the discovery of gold in 1851, the year of Forbes' death.
The three ministers and Henrie Bell, elder at John Knox, formed the Synod of the Free Presbyterian Church on 9 June 1847. Forbes showed himself an efficient administrator. He not only wrote the Fundamental Act of the Synod (which was adopted also by the Free Presbyterian Church of South Australia upon its formation 9 May 1854) but he drew up rules for the guidance of the church. His own death plus the revolution caused by the Gold Rush meant his careful positions were modified to facilitate union into the
Presbyterian Church of Victoriain 1859. His strong stance against receiving state aid on an indiscriminate basis was modified in 1853. Ironically, the three parishes that ultimately continued the Free Presbyterian Church of Victoria and united with the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia in 1953 (East St Kilda, Geelong (Myers Street) and Hamilton/Branxholme) had all benefited from state-aid.
Forbes and Education
Forbes has been called rightly "Victoria's First Public Educationist" (Edward Sweetman, 1939). He wrote extensively on this subject.
The Chalmers Free Church School began in purpose-built premises at what is now 257 Spring Street under George McMaster, an experienced Scottish teacher. The school was named after
Thomas Chalmers, the first Moderator of the Free Church of ScotlandAssembly. It was overtaken by other events, not least Forbes' death in August 1851.
Forbes was keen to see a superior educational institution which would provide an education in the higher branches of science and literature as 'the first step towards the training of a Colonial ministry from among the Colonial youth.' He personally sought and obtained the assistance of Miss Mure of
Warriston, Edinburgh, to guarantee the salary of a rectorand so make the project viable. The Academy opened in the Chalmers premises 6 October 1851 with Robert Lawsonas rector. The Academy moved to the south-west corner of Spring and Little Collins Streets in 1852, and to East Melbourne in 1854 where it soon adopted the name Scotch College. Forbes died shortly before the opening. Scotch College, now located in Hawthorn, opened the first stage of the impressive buildings of the James Forbes Academy in 2002.
Marriage and children
In 1845, Forbes married Helen Clow (1822 – 1898). They had four children:
* Margaret (1846) who married Robert Chirnside.
* James (1847 – 1898) who died unmarried and was buried with his parents.
* Helen (1849) who married Alexander Creswick.
* Charles (1851 – 1901), also a bachelor, baptised by his father as his last ministerial act.
Death and afterward
Forbes' passing was much lamented. In 1855 his remains were removed to the new Melbourne Cemetery and a memorial erected. His name is held in honour still by both the
Presbyterian Church of Victoriaformed in 1859 as a union of most of the different strands of Presbyterianism, and by those few who continued the Free Presbyterian Church of Victoriaand who in 1953 united with the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia.
Philosophical and/or political views
He was an early temperance advocate and was strong opposed to churches receiving aid financial from the state.
* R.S.Ward (ed), Presbyterian Leaders in 19th Century Australia (Melbourne, 1993) 37-53
* M. Harman, James Forbes of Melbourne (Sydney: Crossing Press, 2001)
Free Presbyterian Church of Victoria
John Dunmore Lang
* William Miller
Presbytery of New South Wales
Scotch College, Melbourne
Scots' Church, Melbourne
Synod of Australia
NAME= James Forbes
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Minister and educator
DATE OF BIRTH= 4 April 1813
PLACE OF BIRTH= Leochel-Cushnie, Scotland
DATE OF DEATH= August 1851
PLACE OF DEATH= Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
James Forbes — may refer to: * Reverend James A. Forbes, Jr. (b. 1935), Senior Minister of New York s Riverside Church * James Forbes (artist) (1749 ndash;1819), British artist * James Forbes (screenwriter) (1871 ndash;1938), Canadian American movie… … Wikipedia
James Grant Forbes — (Shanghai, October 22, 1879 – Paris, April 24, 1955 [ New York Times 1955 Ap 26, 29:2] ) was an American businessman, a member of the Forbes family, son of Francis Blackwell Forbes and wife Isabel Clark and brother of William Hathaway… … Wikipedia
Minister for Defence (Australia) — Minister for Defence Incumbent Stephen Smith since 14 September 2010 … Wikipedia
Minister for Health and Ageing (Australia) — Minister for Health and Ageing Incumbent Nicola Roxon since 3 December 2007 … Wikipedia
Minister of Agriculture (New Zealand) — New Zealand This article is part of the series: Politics and government of New Zealand Constitution … Wikipedia
Minister of Māori Affairs — New Zealand This article is part of the series: Politics and government of New Zealand Constitution … Wikipedia
Minister of Māori Affairs — Der Minister of Māori Affairs ist der für Angelegenheiten der Ureinwohner Neuseelands, der Māori, zuständige Minister der Regierung Neuseelands. Derzeitiger Amtsinhaber ist Pita Sharples von der Maori Party. Der Minister of Māori Affairs spielt… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Minister of Finance (New Zealand) — New Zealand This article is part of the series: Politics and government of New Zealand Constitution … Wikipedia
James A. Forbes — The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr. (born 1935), a native of Burgaw and Raleigh, North Carolina, is the Distinguished Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church, an interdenominational (American Baptist and United Church of Christ)… … Wikipedia
FORBES, James (1813-1851) — educationist son of a farmer, Peter Forbes, and his wife Margaret, was born in the parish of Leochel Cushnie, 27 miles from Aberdeen, Scotland, early in 1813. He was educated at a local school and at Aberdeen, and entering King s College, Old… … Dictionary of Australian Biography