Bethel Union founded in London on 12
November. See History.
The 'Sydney Bethel Union Society' (as it
was known initially) was formed on 23 December on the initiative of
Rev. William Cowper, an Anglican Chaplain of the Colony of New South
Wales (later Archdeacon of Sydney) to provide 'religious and secular
instruction and social recreation to seamen of all nations visiting
the port of Sydney.' Initially religious services were held on ships
in port and some proposals emerged to acquire a vessel to serve as a
floating permanent church. A few weeks earlier - on 17 November a
church service had been held on board the brig Lynx and 100
seamen heard Rev. Erskine, a Wesleyan minister, preach on the topic
Prepare to Meet Thy God. The Bethel Flag, having a blue background
with the word BETHEL superimposed in white with a Star of Hope in one
corner and a dove with olive branch in the other, flew from the ship's
masthead. NSW's population was estimated at 29,680.
Sophia Jane, the first steamship
to operate in Australian waters, commences operating a
Formal government of the Presbyterian
Church commences with the establishment of the Presbytery of NSW.
The Committee of the Sydney Bethel Union
came to the view that investment in 'floating chapels' was not an
appropriate strategy. Representations were therefore made to the NSW
Governor, Major-General Sir Richard Bourke asking him to approve a
grant of land so that a Chapel could be constructed. The land sought
was close to Sydney Cove 'at the Northern extremity of George and Pitt
Streets' (at that time Pitt Street terminated at a point South of what
was known until about the 1860s as 'Semi-Circular Quay') However, the
Governor responded by offering a site at the corner of Erskine and
Lime Streets in Darling Harbour. In spite of requests that the
Governor agree to a site that would be closer to where ships berthed,
the Committee was obliged in November 1836 to accept the Erskine
Street site. But the Sydney Bethel Union then entered a period of
relative inactivity and its work languished and the building of a
Church on the Erskine Street site was not destined to commence until
In England, John Ashley, an Anglican
clergyman, was motivated to visit ships he had seen lying at anchor
off the Welsh coast. This inspired him to commence a full time
ministry to seamen in the Bristol Channel region, buying a small
vessel in which he installed a chapel below decks. His initiative soon
led to similar Anglican ministries in other ports and provided the
initial impetus which eventually led to the founding in 1858 of the
single international body known as the Missions to Seamen to serve
seafarers. (See also note under 1858). Chaplains of the Mission also
from time to time called for improvements in shipboard conditions for
William Grant Broughton was enthroned as
Bishop of Australia. Census taken
in NSW indicates population of 77,096 including 27,831 convicts.
Contemporary newspapers reported that few
services had been held by the Sydney Bethel Union since 1836.
A Sailors' Home was opened in Sydney in
September by interests unconnected with the Sydney Bethel Union. In
its first year of operations it accommodated 400 seamen. However, the
venture failed in 1841.
Rev. Matthew T. Adam appointed as
Chaplain to Seamen in Sydney on the initiative of Rev. John Dunmore
Lang, who had consulted the American Seamen's Friend Society (ASFS)
about selecting a suitable candidate. Adam was a Presbyterian
minister, formerly employed by the London Missionary Society in India
but at the time of appointment to Sydney was stationed in New York.
ASFS encouraged Adam to 'co-operate at once with the Sydney Bethel
Union'. He conducted his first shipboard service on board the barque
Huntress in February 1841 but at the same time he strongly
advocated the building of a shore-based place of worship.
Sydney incorporated as a city. Melbourne
incorporated as a town. Crown granted land in Erskine Street, Sydney
as the site for the building of a Mariners' Church.
Against a background of economic
depression and drought, the (first) Mariners' Church was erected on
the Erskine Street site. It was opened on 24 August 1844 and the first
service held the following day. The church cost £390 (A$780) to build
and fit out. However, attendance at services was disappointingly low,
possibly because the church was located away from the main wharf
areas. A Sunday School was opened, an indication that the congregation
also included nearby residents.
Rev. Matthew T. Adam, resigned and was
succeeded in March by Rev. Lancelot E. Threlkeld, a
Congregational Minister who had previously established Aboriginal
missions in regional New South Wales, the first being at Lake
Macquarie, North of Sydney in 1825. His annual stipend was £150
(A$300) which was increased in 1847 to £200 (A$400).
An active Chaplain Threlkeld visited 263
ships this year.
The diocese of Australia was divided
into four: Sydney which gave continuity to William Broughton's
episcopate, with Melbourne, Newcastle and Adelaide being the other
Given the location disadvantages of the Erskine
Street Church, moves commenced to petition NSW Governor Sir Charles
Fitzroy to provide a site on the South-Eastern side of Semi Circular
Quay and to the West of Macquarie Street sufficiently large enough to
build a Mariners' Church, a Sailors' Home and accommodation for the
Chaplain. Meantime, in terms of the Sydney Bethel Union
Trustees' Act, 1851 (NSW) the site of the original Mariners'
Church in Erskine Street was sold, realising £3,450 (A$6,900). The
legislation also empowered the Trustees to apply the proceeds of the
sale to purchase land for a new Mariners' Church and associated
buildings, such land being vested in the Trustees of the Bethel Union.
In the event the East Circular Quay site that
was (and officially granted on 16 January 1852) could only accommodate
a Mariners' Church and for that and other reasons was unsatisfactory.
These factors, also the impact of rapidly escalating building and
labour costs following the discovery of gold, led to a decision not to
proceed with construction estimated to cost £12,000 (A$24,000) and as
a consequence a temporary church was operated on the site for six
Steam railway services, owned by the NSW
Government, commenced between Sydney and Parramatta.
Under the Mariners Church Act,
1856 (NSW) the Circular Quay site was surrendered and the
Trustees authorised to accept the grant of a more appropriate site
between George Street (North) and Circular Quay for a new Mariners'
Church. The foundation stone was laid by NSW Governor Sir William
Denison on 19 March. Construction to the design of architect John Bibb
commenced, using sandstone ashlar with a slate roof.
Construction temporarily suspended owing
to financial difficulties. An interesting industrial relations
sidelight at this time was that the Stonemasons' Union, whose members
worked on the site, secured the agreement of the Bethel Union Trustees
to reduce daily working hours from 12 to eight. This was reportedly
the first construction site in Sydney where stonemasons enjoyed this
benefit. The design of the building provided meeting space for up to
600 people and also allowed for future expansion. Sailing vessel
Dunbar wrecked near Sydney Heads with loss of 121 lives.
First telephone line in NSW opened between Sydney
GPO and South Head at the harbour entrance.
Mission to Seamen (now known as Mission to
Seafarers) founded in England, its flag being a 'flying angel'
inspired by a verse from the Bible: Then I saw an angel flying in
mid-heaven, with and eternal gospel to proclaim to those on earth, to
every nation and tribe, language and people. (Revelations 14:6).
Early work of the ministry concentrated on ship visits and the holding
of services on board, but later developed into the provision of
shore-based 'club' type facilities such as reading rooms used by
seamen when on shore leave.
Mariners' Church with Threlkeld as its
Chaplain was opened on 27
February at 100 George Street (North) close to the Western shoreline
of Circular Quay (Sydney Cove). This is where European settlement of
Australia commenced in 1788 following the arrival of the First Fleet.
The building is seen by NSW heritage authorities as being of high
architectural and historical importance. The final cost was estimated
to be £6,000 ($12,000). Attendances at services were disappointingly
low and some attributed this to the Chaplain Threlkeld's advancing age
and his inappropriate style of ministry. In addition to the support of
the Anglican Church, clergy from the Presbyterian, Methodist,
Congregational and Baptist Churches preached in the Mariners' Church
and it was thus ecumenical in character being representative of the
Christian church as a whole.
An early policy dispute developed
between the Trustees and Threlkeld, who had been strongly opposed
the incorporation of accommodation for seamen within the Mariners'
Church complex. A provisional committee was appointed, the majority of
whose members were also members of the Sydney Bethel Union, 'to
establish a Sailors' Home in Sydney …. in which seamen, while on
shore, could have comfortable accommodation, be brought under moral
and religious influence and be encouraged in sober and thrifty
habits.) In April the Committee approved a draft Constitution.
Further attempts were made at subsequent meetings of the Sydney Bethel
Union to persuade Threlkeld to accept a Sailors' Home within the
Mariners' Church complex. It is recorded that at one of these meetings
- held on 7 October - the debate was so keen that it was thought to
have contributed to the death of Threlkeld three days later. The
earlier resolution of the Committee to seek a separate site was
A site on Western side of Circular Quay
previously used by the Water Police was designated by the NSW
Government for the Sydney Sailors' Home.
Gold was discovered in NSW at Lambing Flat,
near where the town of Young now stands.
First horse-drawn trams operate in
Presbyterian Rev John Reid appointed as
Chaplain. At that time (1862-1863), 970 vessels entered the
port of Sydney carrying a total of 19,550 seamen. The number of lay
ministers was increased to meet the need for an increasing number of
ship visits. Attendance at services improved and the first Annual
Sailors' Service, forerunner of Sydney's Annual Seafarers' Service was
arranged by a Ladies' Committee. Social activities for crews of
visiting ships were introduced. The Bethel Union's debt on Mariners'
Church was discharged.
The Sydney Sailors' Home at 106 George
Street (North) was dedicated on 16 July. Architects were Weaver & Kemp
who produced a four-storey design said to be similar to that of the
Royal Brunswick Maritime Establishment in London built some years
earlier. Its location in the context of proximity to the wharf areas
of the port and to the Mariners' Church, a short distance to the North
on the same street, was seen as a benefit to the Home and the
Mariners' Church alike. The adjacent Cadman's Cottage, formerly
occupied by the Water Police, served from 1865 until 1926 as
accommodation for the Superintendent of the Sydney Sailors' Home.
The Chaplain, Rev John Reid died in office.
HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh -
the second son of Queen Victoria - made the first visit to Australia
by a member of the British Royal Family. While in Sydney, the Prince
attended a picnic on March 12 arranged by the Sydney Sailors' Home at
Clontarf Beach during which he survived an assassination attempt by an
Irish Australian, Henry James O'Farrell. The Prince received a gunshot
wound in the back. O'Farrell was tried, convicted and later hanged.
Rev Thomas Gainford, a Congregational minister,
was appointed Chaplain at an annual stipend of £150 (A$300) was the same as that accepted by
Chaplain Threlkeld when appointed to the position in 1845. Initially
attendances at services were low, presumably to some degree because of
the inter-regnum between Chaplains. However, Chaplain Gainford quickly
built up the congregation and refurbished the Church with new seating
and a more inviting ambience.
The Corporation of the City of Sydney
connected reticulated water to the Mariners' Church building.
Excavations beneath the Mariners' Church building
created space for a hall and other facilities.
This enabled regular meetings of the Lodge of
Good Templars to be held on the premises. Its 500 members were
committed to total abstinence from intoxicating liquor and Chaplain
Gainford believed this would provide a beneficial moral influence at
A residence in George Street North,
opposite Mariners' Church was purchased as a home for the Chaplain,
Rev Thomas Gainford, at a cost of £1,200 (A$2,400) and named Bethel
The Chaplain also developed plans for
enlarging the capacity of Mariners' Church, but plans were shelved in
the wake of widespread industrial turmoil that resulted in many
leaving Sydney resulting in declining congregations. Seamen visits
also declined following a reduction in the number of ship visiting
Sydney, also the decreasing use by ships of Circular Quay in favour of
wharf facilities established in Darling Harbour to the West of
John Shearston, a Church of England
layman was appointed as the first full-time Church of England
missionary to work with both Naval and merchant ship personnel in the
port of Sydney. He had been doing the work informally since 1872,
visiting ships, counselling seamen and inviting them to his home and
this led to the foundation of the Church of England Seamen's Mission
at Miller's Point, located quite close to the Mariners' Church.
This year 2,437 ships visited Sydney
with crews totalling approximately 50,000 men.
To ease financial problems, Bethel
House was sold and a house in nearby Lower Fort Street rented as a
residence for the Chaplain.
Population of NSW passes one million
The Bethel Social Club was established
and opened in February by Lord Brassey (1836-1918) who had served as a
Member of the House of Commons from 1868, also as Secretary to the
Admiralty from 1884, being created Lord Brassey in 1886. Later he
served as Governor of Victoria, from 1895-1900.
Ministry to naval personnel visiting
Sydney was further developed with the building of Royal Naval House at
32 Grosvenor Street which runs to the West off George Street, near
Bridge Street. John Shearston was invited to take charge of Royal
Naval House, a position he accepted. He then resigned from the Church
of England Seamen's Mission at Miller's Point although he retained an
active interest in its work.
National Maritime Strike begins on 16
August when officers and crews walk off ships in Sydney. Wharf
labourers join strike three days later.
A Baptist minister, Rev John Bennett
Anderson appointed Chaplain of Mariners' Church.
Mr James R Fairfax (a grandson of the founder of
the Sydney Morning Herald) appointed Chairman of Trustees,
Sydney Bethel Union.
Chaplain reports that Sunday service
attendances are 'improving'.
Meeting of the Sydney Bethel Union Committee
on 5 September receives report from Mr John Gainford, Treasurer, that
for some time income had fallen below expenditure. A sub-committee was
formed to investigate and report.
Reflecting the developing trend for collaboration
with others working in the same field, the Annual Report of Sydney
Bethel Union for year ended 31 December proclaimed its aims to
'afford an opportunity for Christians of all denominations to unite
and co-operate with each other in the endeavour to afford religious
instruction to Seamen of all nations visiting the Port of Sydney. '
Except for an item in the Accounts recording income from 'Sailors'
Concerts', a comment on the availability of reading rooms, a library,
games and postal services and a passing comment in the Chaplain's
report, little or no reference appears to be made in the report to
social activities arranged for visiting seamen although these had been
commenced in 1862. Chaplain Anderson reported that he had visited over
1,000 ships in Sydney during the year. He also foreshadowed his
impending resignation, citing pressure of work.
Letter tabled at Sydney Bethel Union Committee
meeting on 9 January from Life Boat Lodge No. 9 responding to written
request from the Committee the previous month for information on
'dancing at entertainments in the Lodge Room'. Chaplain advised the
meeting that 'he would attend to the matter as the whole trouble
complained of was the result of a mistake'.
Reported that in calendar year 1893, for the
ports of Sydney and Newcastle there had been a total of 5,830 ship
movements (arrivals and departures) (4,658 steam and 1,172
sail). On an assumption that each vessel arrived and departed
representing two 'movements' this indicates that about 2,915 ships (or
an average of 56 ships per week) visited the two ports that year, with
a large proportion of them coming to Sydney rather than to Newcastle.
Also recorded that 76,975 seamen had come to the port of Sydney and
this figure excluded naval personnel and crews of coastal
Special committee meeting of the Sydney Bethel
Union held on 12 March to consider finances.
Written report indicated that as an average of
the three previous years, expenses had amounted to £723 (A$1,446)
while receipts had amounted to £410 (A$820). The economies decided
immediately were to reduce the Chaplain's salary and rent from £430
(A$860) per year to £300 (A$600) and the wages of the caretaker from
£78 (A$156) per year to £52 (A$104). Other economies were also left
for examination by a 'Way and Means' sub-committee. The Finance
Committee then reported on 30 April and recommended that 'collection
plates be passed from pew to pew in the Church on Sundays and that a
weekly offering fund be formed'. A further meeting held on 12
September reduced the wages of the caretaker to five shillings
(A$0.50¢) per week, but with right of residence in Bethel Cottage.
That same meeting noted that a 'year to date' financial report showed
a debit balance of £ 815/18/- (A$1,631.50) and a summary of assets and
liabilities showing a deficit of £935/13/4 (A$1,871.35) which included
a bank overdraft of £834 (A$1,668). It was then resolved to write to
the 'Merchants of the City' seeking their active interest in the
affairs of the Sydney Bethel Union' but the Committee at its meeting
on 8 October decided that 'in the present state of the finances and
work generally of the Institution it would be unwise to make special
efforts in the way indicated until a change has been made in the
office of Chaplain'. Notice was given of a special meeting on 12
October to rescind an earlier decision on 5 September to extend the
appointment of Chaplain Anderson for a further six months but at that
special meeting resolved that 'matters be allowed to remain status
The annual meeting of the Sydney Bethel Union was
held on 26 February. The Committee in its report noted that the Sydney
Bethel Union ranked second in the sailors' institutes of the world,
behind the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, London.
Committee meeting on 1 April resolved to renew
the appointment of the Chaplain for a further three months at the rate
of £250 (A$500) per annum, being £62/10/- (A$125) per month and that
if at the end of that time the institution was not self-supporting the
position was to be again reviewed
On 9 May Chaplain Anderson submitted his
resignation. to take effect on 30 September 1895 which was accepted by
the Committee on 20 May, resolving that he be given the option of an
earlier departure date but with all entitlements to the end of
September still being paid to him. There was some acrimony between
Anderson and the Trustees as to his entitlements. There was a further
development on 12 July when it was noted by the Committee that the
Chaplain had publicly announced his intention to stand as a candidate
in the Division of Lang in the NSW Parliament. Accordingly it was
resolved that his retirement as Chaplain would take effect from the
Sunday preceding the election.
George Stanley Littlejohn, Alfred William
Meeks and John Gainford appointed Trustees in succession to Sir George
Allen, Thomas Barker and Francis Mitchell.
Committee meeting on 21 October, not having
appointed a new Chaplain resolved to enter into discussions with the
Committee and Chaplain of the Church of England Mission to Seamen.
The Church of England Mission to Seamen in
Miller's Point became a Branch of the Missions to Seamen, England who
in turn appointed Rev Thomas Henry Distin-Morgan, an experienced
chaplain as 'Chaplain-Superintendent' who took charge of work formerly
undertaken by lay-missioners. Operations were conducted under the flag
of the Flying Angel.
On 16 December, Mr James R Fairfax advised the
Committee that after these discussions it was apparent that
unification of the work of the Church of England Mission to Seamen and
the Sydney Bethel Union was 'not only possible but desirable' in the
interests of the sailors visiting Sydney.
The outcome was an agreement under which the
Missions to Seamen took a three-year renewable lease of the Mariners'
Church from the Sydney Bethel Union for a nominal rental of £1 (A$2)
per annum. The property was renamed as the Missions to Seamen, Sydney.
The longstanding practice of the Sydney Bethel
Union in appointing clergymen from various denominations to preach in
the Mariners' Chapel was preserved in the lease, which also confirmed
the entitlement of the Union to be represented on the Committee of the
Missions to Seamen, Sydney. It was also stipulated that the Chaplain
was to be a Church of England clergyman. During the currency of the
lease, Committee of the new organisation resolved to erect a cottage
for the caretaker and the Sydney Bethel Union agreed to contribute
£100 (A$200) to the cost involved which was £275 (A$550). However the
Committee of the Missions to Seamen Sydney suggested that if the
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union renewed the three-year lease on
Mariners' Church when it expired in 1898, the cottage would become the
property of the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union, provided that
should the land and church buildings be resumed by the Government the
money that the Committee had expended on the cottage should be
refunded to them by the Trustees, the refund not to exceed £170
Rev Thomas Henry Distin-Morgan was appointed
Chaplain of the Missions to Seamen, Sydney - the newly merged entity.
Drought conditions develop in NSW, Queensland
and South Australia lasting in some areas until 1903.
Lease of the Mariners' Church building to the
Missions to Seamen, Sydney was renewed for five years. Chaplain
Distin-Morgan recorded that in the current year attendances at
services was 3,260, reading room 24,828, concerts 24,025 and picnic
253 - total 56,366. Ship visits totalled 3,418, hospital visits 950
and 164 temperance pledges taken.
Mr James R Fairfax, Trustee, knighted.
This year 3,468 visits were paid to
ships in port, about 60,000 seamen visited the Missions to Seamen,
Sydney with 7,260 attending services. Twice weekly concerts were
staged with a total of 17,185 attending 106 performances. This
reflected the wisdom of the amalgamation of the activities of the
Sydney Bethel Union's Mariners' Church with the Church of England
Mission to Seamen five years previously.
The Public Works Department of the NSW Government effective 29
December 1900 resumed the Mariners' Church and buildings, under the
Darling Harbour Wharves Resumption Act, 1900.
Commonwealth of Australia proclaimed on
1 January. Population of Australia was 3.824 million.
On 29 August the
Public Works Department indicated in a letter to the Trustees that the
Department did not intend to charge the Trustees any rent for the
resumed premises covering the period from date of resumption to the
date of payment of the compensation for resumption, the rent thus
foregone being regarded as equal to the interest to which the Sydney
Bethel Union that otherwise would have been payable to the Sydney
Bethel Union for the period from the date of the resumption to the
date the compensation was eventually paid. The Trustees assented to
these arrangements on 30 January 1902.
By Proclamation in the Government Gazette on 16
June the Mariners' Church was withdrawn from the Sydney Harbour Trust
Commissioners and re-vested in the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union. The latter confirmed in writing on 26 June that they agreed to
hand over the property in exchange for the resumption money.
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union
resolved on 7 December to renew for three years from 1 January 2006
the lease on Mariners' Church held by the Missions to Seamen Sydney on
condition that 'the Missions to Seamen 'will put the buildings in
repair and undertake to keep them so.
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union agree
to a proposal from the Public Works Department that they relinquish
938 sq.ft of the property on the George Street North frontage in
exchange for 1,127 sq.ft on the Circular Quay frontage. The land
relinquished on the George Street frontage facilitated the
construction by the Government of a Coroner's Court and a Morgue.
The additional land acquired by the Trustees
of the Sydney Bethel Union under the 1905 agreement with the Public
Works Department enabled consideration to be given by the Trustees to
expanding the facilities offered by the Mariners' Church. Chaplain
Distin-Morgan had agitated for expansion of facilities and amenities
at the Missions to Seamen, Sydney which needed to be 'attractive
socially and provide educational methods as well as Spiritual
instruction'. A Captains' and Officers' Room was envisaged
along with a gymnasium, offices and expanded toilet facilities.
On 30 September, the Trustees of the Sydney
Bethel Union formally offered a 14 years' extension of the lease of
the property to the Missions to Seamen Sydney subject to the latter
undertaking to spend not less than £2,000 (A$4,000) on mutually agreed
permanent improvements to the building with a contribution of £100
(A$200) to be made by the Trustees from Trust funds.
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union are
informed that the legal advisers to the Missions to Seamen Sydney were
of opinion that there were some perceived procedural irregularities in
the resumption of the land by the Public Works Department in 1905,
also that the exchange of land in 1905 had never been confirmed by
then Government in occupying the land on the George Street frontage
the Government had encroached by three feet on to the Mariners' Church
property. Resolved that a joint approach by the Sydney Bethel Union
and the Missions to Seamen Sydney would be made to the NSW
Attorney-General seeking action by legislation to regularise these
matters. This legislation was known as the
Sydney Bethel Union Extension Act, 1908.
On 26 November it was reported to the Trustees
that drafting of the legislation was proceeding and the intention was
that it should be introduced by the Hon A W Meeks MLC who was a
Trustee of the Sydney Bethel Union.
At the same meeting it was noted that the
Missions to Seamen Sydney had asked the Trustees to effect repairs to
the roof of Mariners' Church but that a reply had been sent indicating
this matter was the responsibility of the Missions to Seamen Sydney.
It was further recorded that the Trustees had
been asked to attend a meeting of the Sydney Missions to Seamen
apparently called to discuss the resignation of Chaplain
Meeting of Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union on
21 February was advised that a letter had been written to the British
& Foreign Sailors' Society, London on 26 November 1907 asking whether,
if requested, the Society 'would take up the work amongst Sailors
in Sydney.' A reply had been received from the Society agreeing in
principle to the proposal. Resolved to call a meeting of
representatives of shipping companies in Sydney to gauge support for
such a move.
The weekly program of the Missions to Seamen
Sydney included two or three services each Sunday, an evening
activities program now included music and games on Mondays and
Wednesdays with occasional first aid instruction, concerts on Tuesdays
and Thursdays with billiards and bagatelle tournaments on Fridays. The
premises were open daily from 10.00am to 11.00pm daily and a coffee
bar was available.
The Governor of NSW from 1902-1909 was Admiral
Sir Harry Rawson. In a speech to the Sydney Chamber of Commerce he
called attention to the limited facilities then available for merchant
seamen at both the Missions to Seamen, Sydney and the Sydney Sailors'
Home. This was the impetus for a fund-raising campaign to expand the
facilities of the Mission.
Sir Harry Rawson completed his term as Governor
of NSW on 27 May.
The Trustees of the
Sydney Bethel Union, responding to a request from the Chairman of the
Rawson Memorial Fund, resolves to enter into a building contract for
the extensions to the Missions to Seamen Sydney utilising funds raised
totalling nearly £6,000 (A$12,000) that included a grant of £1,000
(A$2,000) from the NSW Government. It was further agreed that the name
'Rawson Institute for Seamen' would be inscribed prominently on the
Visits to the Mission by seamen totalled 49,000.
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union, who
included Sir James Fairfax (see note under 1895), signed a contract on
14 February with Maston & Yates, builders for completion of extensions
within 24 weeks. Value of the contract, including architect's fees was
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union at a
meeting on 9 May noted that construction work was proceeding. The work
involved significant alterations to the property including the
addition of an extra storey . A commemorative stone was laid by
Governor Rawson. The original chapel was converted into a recreation
hall, a new chapel (accommodating about 200) and a vestry were
provided in the new upper storey, along with administrative offices, a
library and an Officers' Room with some accommodation cubicles. On the
ground floor, a gymnasium, smoking room and other facilities were
On 6 September, the Trustees discussed a draft
of a lease to be signed by the Missions to Seamen Sydney, resolving
that the lessee should be required to effect and pay for fire
insurance cover on the property, also that enquiries should be made of
the architects as to whether they had located the original foundation
stone of the old building, also that the architects should be asked to
allow for the insertion on the outside walls of an inscribed marble
tablet, the wording for which the Trustees would supply. It was later
decided also that a brass tablet inscribed with the names of all those
who had served as Chaplain would be installed in a prominent place in
First reference in minutes of Trustees
meetings to Rev Allan Franklin Pain as Chaplain of the Missions to
The extensions to the building were officially
opened by Lord Chelmsford, Governor of NSW on 21 December.
On 5 April, a meeting of the Trustees of the
Sydney Bethel Union asked the Secretary to obtain a report from the
architects and from the now-called Rawson Institute for Seamen of the
state of the building with reference to 'alleged minor defects.'
It was also resolved that the Chaplain be
reminded that the various Protestant Religious bodies other than
Anglican be encouraged to conduct entire services in the church as
opposed to merely preaching at those services. On 2 August however the
Trustees themselves assumed the responsibility for arranging for
non-Anglican ministers to take services.
On 7 December the Trustees allocated £200
(A$400) for remodelling of the existing cottage at the North-East
corner of the land for occupation by the Chaplain.
Visits to the Mission by seamen totalled
61,000 reflecting the benefits of the 1910 developments in its
facilities. These figures were to decline during World War I.
Francis William Hixson appointed as a
Trustees in succession to John Gainford, deceased.
Sir Walter Davidson appointed Governor of NSW on
First direct wireless
message sent between UK and Australia transmitted from Wales by
Guglielmo Marconi received at Wahroonga in Sydney on 18 September.
Sir James Fairfax, Chairman of Trustees
of the Sydney Bethel Union died on 28 March.
Charles McAlister Campbell Shannon appointed as a
Trustees in succession to Sir James Fairfax, deceased.
First reference in minutes of Trustees meetings
to Rev H C Leplastrier as Chaplain of the Rawson Institute.
Meeting of Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union on
2 June notes that the Rawson Institute has arranged insurance cover on
the building for £10,000 (A$20,000). Trustees also take steps to
assure themselves that the Missions are maintaining the property
in accordance with the lease.
By Crown Grant, title to the land on which it
stood was granted to the Sydney Sailors' Home, by then registered as a
company under the Companies Act, the land having some
three years earlier been gazetted as the dedicated site for the Home.
Mr Shannon, Trustee, visited the Rawson
Institute and found the buildings, etc. in 'sound order.'
Under the auspices of the Governor, Sir Walter
Davidson and Lady Davidson a public appeal for funds for the
development of the Rawson Institute raised £4,360 (A$8,720). This Fund
was known as 'The Dame Margaret Davidson Fund for the Rawson Institute
Captain F H C Brownlow appointed as a Trustees
in succession to George Stanley Littlejohn, deceased. Captain Brownlow
was at the time Hon Secretary of the Rawson Institute for Seamen. This
was possibly the first occasion on which an officer of the Institute
had become a Trustee of the Sydney Bethel Union.
Australia's population passes six
The Rawson Institute sought approval of the
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union to approve proposed extensions to
the Institute to relocate the Chapel from the first floor to the
ground floor on the Eastern side of the building overlooking Circular
Quay. The existing first floor space would then be converted for the
use of the increasing number of apprentice and junior officers then
visiting the Institute. The facilities of the Concert Hall were
enhanced by the addition of a motion picture projection room. The
Trustees approved the changes and indicated that an approach was being
made to the Dame Margaret Davidson Fund for financial support for the
About the same time extensions to the Sydney
Sailors' Home to the design of architects Spain & Cosh were completed,
comprising an L-shaped structure along the George Street and Northern
sides of the existing building. The expanded accommodation included a
residence for the Superintendent who was then able to vacate Cadman's
Cottage, which from then until the late 1950s was used to accommodate
an overflow of demand for sailors' accommodation. Other structural
change involved the removal of the gabled roof of the original
building, the whole roof of the extended building was then made flat,
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union
at a meeting on 9 August are advised that the Dame Margaret Davidson
Fund's trustees had approved a grant of funds to cover the cost of the
extensions proposed in 1926 and which had virtually been completed.
Subsequently the Chapel was consecrated at a special service conducted
by Archbishop J.C. Wright. The additions were named
the 'Dame Margaret Davidson Wing.'
A meeting of the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union approved plans for further extensions proposed for the Circular
Quay (East) side of Rawson Institute for Seamen. The work was
estimated to cost about £2,500 (A$5,000) to be financed by the Dame
Margaret Davidson Fund for £1,700 (A$3,400) and the balance to be
raised by the Missions to Seamen, thus imposing no financial burden on
the Sydney Bethel Union. The changes involved removal of the existing
cottage and the construction of a residence for the Chaplain, also a
garage. It was further resolved that the four years remaining on the
existing lease to the Missions to Seamen (being the Rawson Institute)
would be cancelled and a new lease would be granted for 25 years to
run to 1 January 1961 instead of the 50 years sought by the lessee.
The lesser period was the maximum provided under the 1908 legislation.
Captain F H C Brownlow, a Trustee of the
Sydney Bethel Union, died on 1 June.
On 12 November the Trustees resolved to seek
an Act of Parliament to recognise the ceding by the Missions to Seamen
of a portion of the site on the Eastern boundary in return for
recognition of the nine inches encroachment on the Southern boundary.
This legislation was enacted three years later as the
Sydney Bethel Union Enabling Act.
Mr William Aberdein Mackay appointed as a
Trustee in succession to Captain F H C Brownlow deceased.
Mr Mackay was a senior partner in Macdonald, Hamilton & Co., then
agents for the P&O Steam Navigation Company of London (P&O). Mr
Archibald Lewis Blythe appointed Trustee.
Sydney Harbour Bridge opened on 19
Mr John Hubert Fraser Fairfax appointed
as a Trustee in succession to Sir Alfred Meeks (deceased.) Mr Mackay
was a senior partner in Macdonald, Hamilton & Co., then agents for the
P&O Steam Navigation Company of London (P&O).
As at 31 May, the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union were Mr W A Mackay, Mr F W Hixson, Mr C M C Shannon and Mr J H F
The printed annual report of the 'Missions to
Seamen at the Rawson Institute, Sydney' for the year ended 31 May
reported that 1,622
visits had been paid to ships, approximately
51,000 seamen had visited the Institute and 498 seamen had been
visited in hospital. There had been 383 services conducted.
Expenditure exceeded receipts by £500 (A$1,000). No reference to the
Sydney Bethel Union could be found in the document.
On 9 August the Sydney Bethel Union
granted a lease of the 100 George Street (North) property to the
Rawson Institute (later known as the Sydney Missions to Seamen) on a
rent-free basis with the proviso that all related expenses including
insurance must be met by the lessees. Value of the property was
estimated to be £30,000 (A$60,000)
No meetings of the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union appear to have been held in 1938 or 1939 although informal
consultations between Trustees may have occurred.
A meeting held on 27 May 1940 noted the
condition of the Missions to Seamen building was found to be in good
Lt-General Sir Leslie Morshead (Orient
Line), Major-General A C Fewtrell and Mr G R Rickards (P&O) in
succession to Mr J H Fairfax, Mr W A Mackay and Mr A L Blythe, all
Mr H J R Clayton and Mr W D Donaldson
(Shaw Savill) appointed as Trustees in succession to Mr C M C Shannon
and Major-General A C Fewtrell, deceased.
No meetings of the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union appear to have been held in the years 1941-1956 inclusive
although informal consultations between Trustees may have occurred
inasmuch as the Minutes of a meeting of the Trustees held on 18
November 1957 confirmed the Minutes of the meeting that had been held
more than 17 years previously - on 27 May 1940. However on 6 March
1943, the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union wrote to Mr E A Eva, Chairman of the Sydney
Mission to Seamen, referring to an earlier discussion between the two
specifically in regard to costs of insuring the 100 George Street
(North) property. The discussion included a proposal that on the
grounds that because the Mission was meeting the insurance policy
premiums, the Mission - rather than the Sydney Bethel Union - should
be the beneficiary of any claims paid out on the policy. The Bethel
Union letter reaffirmed that under its Trust it would not be able to
agree to the request because to do so could be construed as
compromising its ownership of the property. At the same time, the
letter indicated that a special donation of £75 (A$150) would be made,
noting that this amount in fact would cover the cost of the insurance
premium. Letter also noted that the 'whole of the assets of the
Trust have been employed to the benefit of the Sydney Mission to
Seamen' and also noted the Trustees' conviction that the Mission
was 'carrying out admirably the main objective of the Trust.'
Sydney Missions to Seamen recommended to
Sydney Bethel Union that, as a revenue generating measure, space on
the property be leased out for a neon-illuminated commercial
advertising sign, potentially yielding about £1,000 (A$2,000) per
year. Legal opinion was then sought by the Mission and this was to the
effect that erection of a sign of the kind proposed was prohibited by
the terms of the lease but that the Lessors (Bethel Union) could vary
the conditions to an extent that would permit the sign to be erected.
In the event the Trustees decided not to proceed and the matter
Chaplain of the Sydney Missions to Seamen
reports to the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union that in the
calendar years 1954-1956 clergymen from Methodist. Congregational
Presbyterian and Baptist churches had on a monthly rotation preached
in the at the Mission.
At a meeting on 22 November, the Trustees of
the Sydney Bethel Union resolved to participate in a meeting between
the Missions to Seamen Sydney and the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund
to learn of proposals to utilise the resources of both organisations
for the benefit of merchant seamen visiting the port of Sydney.
Insurance policy in the name of the Sydney Bethel
Union taken out on the 100 George Street (North) property values it at
£75,000 (A$150,000). Premium of £107/10/- (A$215). The policy for the
preceding year providing coverage
for 'fire, aircraft, riots and
strikes', valued the property at £40,000 (A$80,000). The escalation of
the value reflects the views of the Trustees that the cover should be
on the basis of 'replacement, reinstatement and extra costs' as
opposed to previous cover that had been by 'indemnity policies'. The
Sydney Mission to Seamen was also reminded that the policies should
show the Sydney Bethel Union as the owner of the building and that the
Mission was not entitled to have the policies drawn in its name
jointly with the Bethel Union.
Mr J D Bates (Orient Line) appointed
Trustee in succession to Sir Leslie Morshead, resigned.
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union on 1 October
noted progress in the discussions between the Missions to Seamen
Sydney and the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund authorised at their
meeting on 22 November 1957 and formally resolved to support the
implementation of plans drawn up by Norman McPherson, architect, for
the further development of the Sydney Missions to Seamen premises in
George Street North.
population passes 10 million. mark.
The Trustees met on 29 March and noted
advice from the NSW Minister for Local Government to the effect that a
major redevelopment of The Rocks area of Sydney was in contemplation.
'The Rocks' area includes the land on the Western side of Circular
Quay and embraces the buildings located on either side of George
Street North. Inasmuch therefore as the Government's plans could
impact on the Missions to Seamen Sydney premises it was resolved to
accept the Government's advice to defer consideration of development
plans for the property.
Mr Rupert G Sherlock appointed Secretary of the
Sydney Bethel Union on 28 May.
Meeting of Trustees on the same day noted no
apparent progress in the Government's plans for redevelopment of The
Rocks area and it was decided to consider lobbying the Government to
ensure that the plans for enhancement of the Missions to Seamen Sydney
building would be protected.
Trustees further noted that the lease of the
property given by the Sydney Bethel Union to the Missions to Seamen
Sydney had actually expired on 31 December 1960 and it was resolved
the Secretary and Mr Hector Clayton, a Trustee, would pursue the
Meeting of Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union held on 7 September appoints Mr Rodney F Sinden as Secretary in
succession to the late Mr
Rupert G Sherlock whose
death had occurred in the intervening five years since the last
meeting of Trustees had been held on 28 May 1962.
A new proposal for alternative premises
for the Missions to Seamen Sydney emerged when it was reported by Mr W
D Donaldson, a Trustee, that the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund was
considering redeveloping its property at 182-186 George Street, Sydney
so as to make it suitable for occupation by the Missions to Seamen
Sydney. It was noted that some initial reservations about the site
raised by the Missions had been resolved. It was believed the time had
arrived to approach the Government with a proposal to relinquish the
site in return for compensation and that the funds thus generated may
be able to be applied to development of the 182-186 George Street
site. A sub-committee was formed to negotiate with the authorities on
Mr Hector Clayton, Trustee, knighted.
The NSW Government passed the Sydney
Cove Redevelopment Authority Act. The Authority's role was to
oversee the rehabilitation and development of the Western side of
Circular Quay, known locally as The Rocks Area.
The land on which the Sydney Sailors' Home
(not the Missions to Seamen Sydney) was resumed by the Sydney Cove
Redevelopment Authority and duly notified in the Government Gazette on
18 December. The Council of the Sydney Sailors' Home then commenced
negotiations with the Authority seeking compensation for the
resumption, but agreement could not be reached on the amount and the
Council then resorted to legal action.
Mr G R Rickards, Chairman of Trustees of the
Sydney Bethel Union, died. He was succeeded as Chairman by Mr W D
Ven. Archdeacon Clive
Andrew Goodwin appointed as a Trustee in
succession to Mr George Reginald Rickards (deceased).
Trustees noted at a meeting held on 5 May that
their claim in respect of the resumption of their building at 100
George Street North, occupied by the Missions to Seamen Sydney
amounting to A$2.5 million and a further $50,000 claim for
compensation had been submitted to the Sydney Cove Redevelopment
Authority an acknowledged.
meeting on 11 August recorded that the Trustees in a letter dated 6
July sent on their behalf by Clayton Utz to the Sydney Cove
Redevelopment Authority, had confirmed their wish to remain in
occupation of the property at 100 George Street North. This apparently
indicated that the 1967 proposal to develop facilities for visiting
seamen at 182-186 George Street, Sydney in conjunction with the
Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund, owners of the property had lapsed.
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union at a
meeting on 18 December reported that the Sydney Cove Redevelopment
Authority had made a formal offer of A$1.9 million in response to the
Trustees original claim of A$2.55 million. Trustees resolved to accept
the lower figure.
Mr W D Donaldson retired as a Trustee.
In anticipation of the Missions to
Seamen Sydney vacating the building at 100 George Street North
property, a building at 11-15 Macquarie Place, Sydney (immediately to
the South of the Circular Quay ferry wharves) was actually purchased
on behalf of the Sydney Bethel Union by the Merchant Navy War Memorial
Fund at a cost of $1.3 million because at the time the former had not received the compensation
payment from the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority for the
resumption of the property at 100 George Street North.
Transfer of the Macquarie Place property (see
1974) from the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund to the Sydney Bethel
Union at a cost of $1.3 million was formalised on 17 March.
Mr John Harington Burrough Cowper appointed a
Trustee of Sydney Bethel Union in succession to Sir Hector Clayton
Mr Neville Pixley, Trustee of the Sydney Bethel
with the Sydney Missions to Seamen - in anticipation of its move to
the newly acquired Macquarie Place premises purchased for its use by
the Sydney Bethel Union, as to which costs could be expected to be met
by the Sydney Bethel Union in the project. Noted that some financial
support could be anticipated from the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund.
It had been agreed that the Sydney Bethel Union as the owner of the
property would be responsible for ongoing costs of maintenance and
upkeep of the building in such areas as repairs, lifts,
airconditioning, fire prevention equipment, insurance (covering
building and plant, public liability and burglary) and rental of the
telephone system. For it part the Missions to Seamen would meet such
running costs as electricity, cleaning and council rates. Questions
relating to the financial responsibility for payment of the wages of
staff proposed to be employed was left for further discussion.
Ultimately it wads decided that the Sydney Bethel Union would
contribute A$200 per week towards these staff costs.
Lengthy negotiations on the terms of a lease
of the Macquarie Place premises by the Missions to Seamen commenced
with the lease for a period of 25 years not being finalised until
In June the Trustees foreshadowed an official
opening of the building by the Governor of NSW, Sir Roden Cutler, V.C.
at a ceremony which took place on 19 April 1977. The building was
dedicated by The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev'd Sir Marcus
Sydney Bethel Union at a meeting on 14 November
accepted responsibility for payment to the Merchant Navy War Memorial
Fund of the rent on two dwellings they owned at Greenwich an Glebe
then being occupied by chaplains of the Missions to Seamen.
The heavy financial commitments placed on the
Sydney Bethel Union arising from the Macquarie Place property
acquisition necessitated the liquidation of some of its investments.
An invitation from the Missions to Seamen to
the Sydney Bethel Union to nominate a representative to sit on the
former's Port Committee was declined with thanks.
Rodney F Sinden, Secretary to the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union
died on 1 September and was succeeded by Mr John A Pringle.
Ven. Archdeacon C A Goodwin, Chairman of Trustees
of the Sydney Bethel Union , died
on 1 July . Trustee Sir John Bates was appointed
Goodwin and Rt Rev Arthur John
Dain appointed Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union to replace the late
Ven Archdeacon C A Goodwin and Sir
John Bates, retired.
Trustees agree to make an ex-gratia payment to
the Sydney Missions to Seamen to offset an operating loss of A$34,000
in calendar year 1981.
What appear to be the first references to the
Macquarie Street property as 'Flying Angel House' are made.
At a meeting of Trustees of the Sydney
Bethel Union held on 17 August, a letter was tabled from L J Hooker
Limited, real estate agents and developers, asking whether the
Trustees would consider selling the Macquarie Place property. Trustees
asked for a meeting with Hookers seeking further information. This
meeting was held on 12 October when a representative of Hookers
advised that they were acting on behalf of Schroder Darling, a
merchant bank. A subsequent offer of A$3.15 million on basis of
possession was rejected by the Trustees. A further offer of $4.1
million was made by Hookers and also declined, with the explanation
that it was constrained in terms of the lease held by the Missions to
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union on 23
February resolve to commission a report on the likely future needs of
the Missions to Seamen Sydney from Malcolm Longstaff & Associates.
This report, tendered in early May, essentially recommended that the
Mission should be relocated to an area closer to where visiting
vessels berthed and also that shipping facilities at Botany Bay which
were likely to expand in the future, should be kept in mind when the
Missions' future operational plans were under consideration. The
Trustees resolved to defer any action until they were in a position to
judge for how long they could continue to fund Flying Angel House in
its then current state.
On 7 March, the Trustees consider a letter
received from Canon James Whild, Chairman of the Mission to Seamen
Sydney expressing concern as to the future viability of operations at
Flying Angel House.
In July, the Trustees wrote to Canon James
Whild, Chairman of the Mission to Seamen Sydney asking whether in the
deterioration of the financial situation of the Sydney Bethel Union
Trust, adequate services to visiting seamen could be
provided if the operations of the Mission was confined to two floors
of Flying Angel House and also foreshadowing the discontinuance of all
subsidies paid to the Mission effective 31 December 1984. Canon Whild
responded in writing on 27 August indicating the view that the present
site is the best location for it to carry out its work. Services could
be reduced to two floors provided the garage and entrance facilities
remained in the hands of the Mission. However it would entail
cessation of all commercial activities in the building which produced
a total of A$100,000 annually and that reduction in activities could
be contemplated only if the Sydney Bethel Union was prepared to
provide additional funding to cover the shortfall on an 'indexed'
basis to cover rising costs. A meeting with Canon Whild was fixed for
26 September but meanwhile the Secretary was asked to ascertain from L
J Hooker Limited whether, if the building was sold, the Sydney Bethel
Union could retain the naming rights. No record of this meeting was
located but at a meeting on 29 November, noting three further
expressions of interest in the property, reference is made to a
decision by the Trustees to 'retain ownership of the building' and to
conduct a feasibility study on the contraction of the Mission's
operations to two floors and the relinquishing of all its commercial
activities on the site.
An offer dated 7 November of A$5.5million was
received from L J Hooker Limited on behalf of Amstal Developments and
Trustees had initiated discussions with the Senior Chaplain of the
Mission to discuss possible alternative sites if a move from Macquarie
Place was to occur.
No satisfactory response having been forthcoming
from the Board of the Missions to Seamen Sydney regarding possible
sites to which the Mission could be relocated, the Trustees of the
Sydney Bethel Union on 13 June resolved that they may be obliged to
convert Flying Angel House to Strata Title. Trustees further decided
to discuss with L J Hooker Limited if their client would be prepared
to make a fresh offer for the property on the basis that the Sydney
Bethel Union be granted Strata title to any two floors.
On 12 July the Trustees resolved to purchase the
property known as 243-245 Sussex Street, Sydney for A$1.25 million
subject to exchange of contracts for the sale of Flying Angel House
and an architects' report on the scope of upgrading work required on
the Sussex Street property and any regulatory restraints on the change
of use of the premises. The secretary was also authorised to negotiate
with L J Hooker Limited on the sale of Flying Angel House with vacant
possession. On 19 July, the Trustees formally resolved to sign and
exchange contracts for purchase by the Sydney Bethel Union of 243-245
Sussex Street, Sydney from Chagon Developments Pty Ltd. Purchase price
was A$1.25 million, with settlement on 30 September and vacant
possession being granted by the vendor no later than 31 January 1986.
Rt Rev A J Dain appointed Deputy Chairman on
On 2 August, Trustees considered three offers
received from L J Hooker Limited on behalf of their clients and
resolved to accept an offer of A$5.3 million for Flying Angel House.
Notwithstanding, it was resolved at a meeting on 28 August that the
property would be disposed of at auction to be held on 26 September.
On 30 October, Mr William Macquarie Cowper was
appointed Trustee in succession to Mr J H B Cowper, retired.
Meanwhile on 5 December, Trustees are notified
that its 243-245 Sussex Street was to be resumed by the Darling
In January the Trustees of the
Sydney Bethel Union at the
request of the Missions to Seamen, had inspected a block of land
located at the junction of Union, Edward and Pyrmont Bridge Road,
Pyrmont with a view to purchase by the Union as a site for a new
Mariners' Church. This was subject to checks being made by Clayton
Utz, solicitors that the land in question was outside the jurisdiction
of the Darling Harbour Authority. Later resolved to abandon the
proposal on grounds that the charter of the Sydney Bethel Union did
not permit it to engage in property development.
At a meeting on 26 February, the Trustees
resolved to enter into negotiations with the Copeland Group to
purchase three units in a development at 61 Union Street, Pyrmont: two
units were intended for the use of the Missions to Seamen Sydney and
the third as an investment by the Union.
Meanwhile the Trustees gave approval for the
temporary occupation by the Missions to Seamen Sydney of space in the
Carla Zampatti Building at 439-441 Kent Street, Sydney. On 18 March,
the Sydney City Council approved a Development Application for
alterations to the Building to render it suitable for the operations
of the Missions to Seamen Sydney.
At the same meeting the Trustees approved a
donation of A$10,000 to the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund Limited to
assist with restoration of the Merchant Navy and Allied War Services
Association Cemetery in the Sydney suburb of Rookwood. Shortly
afterwards the Trustees agreed to transfer a further A$50,000 to the
Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund Limited for investment by them, the
income thereby produced to be used for continued maintenance of the
On 23 May, the Trustees noted disappointment
in the offer of A$50,000 from the Darling Harbour Authority
representing costs incurred specifically on the relocation of the
Mission from Macquarie Place.
On this date, Mr John Grant Denton
Peter Corsar Anderson were appointed
as Trustees following the retirements
respectively of Sir Neville Pixley (Chairman) and Rt Rev A J Dain. Mr
Denton was elected as Chairman and Mr Clive Goodwin was
elected Deputy Chairman.
On 18 June, the Trustees met with representatives of the Missions to Seamen Sydney.
of the Sydney Bethel Union advised they wish to proceed with negotiations with the Copeland Group to
acquire the three units at 61 Union Street, Pyrmont, but on a 'strata
title' basis. They further reiterated the decision that the proposed
purchase by the Union of the Design Centre at 51 Murray Street,
Pyrmont would be a suitable home for the Missions to Seamen Sydney.
The representatives of the Mission having retired from the meeting the
Trustees resolved to participate at an auction of the design Centre on
19 June. A bid of A$1.8
million was successful and
work was commenced by consultants on plans to convert the property for
use by the Missions to Seamen Sydney and the preparation of a
Development Application. Work also commenced on finding lessees for
the portion of the building not required by the Missions to Seamen.
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union met
on 9 April and considered a letter from the Board of the Missions to
Seamen Sydney apparently querying the suitability of the Murray Street
site for the Missions' purposes. The Trustees replied reiterating
their conviction as being 'an ideal location.'
On 9 May , the Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union considered a letter dated 29 April received from the Missions to Seamen Sydney suggesting
that consideration be given to purchasing the British Ex-Servicemen's
Club at 541 Kent Street for the use of the Missions. The Trustees
response was that the Missions had two options - either to move to the
Murray Street Pyrmont property after March 1989 or the Missions if it
desired a central city location, to identify suitable rental property
in that area.
In November, the Missions to Seamen then
proposed to the Trustees that they consider leasing a building at 396
Kent Street for use by the Mission for its operations - the proposal
was declined by the Trustees as freehold as opposed to rented premises
was the preferred option.
On 2 November the Trustees purchased for investment purposes an
industrial property located at 79 Gow Street in the Sydney suburb of
On 15 March the Trustees were advised by the Missions to Seamen Sydney that the auction of a building at 486 Kent
Street, Sydney was imminent and recommending the Sydney Bethel Union
acquire the property for the use of the Mission. However on 30
November 1990 the Trustees resolved to submit a tender to the NSW
Government to acquire a property at 320-324 Sussex Street, Sydney
A$2.35 million with settlement to take place on 28 February 1991 and
to lease the premises to the Missions to Seamen Sydney. It was
expected that space in the building not required by the Mission would
be leased out. It was also decided to seek tenants for the
space now available in the Murray Street, Pyrmont building arising
from the decision to locate the Missions to Seamen Sydney elsewhere.
The Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union
expressed concern at the rising costs of operating the Missions to
Seamen Sydney and indicated the then current level of funding of the
Mission by the Trust could not be sustained.
After completion of the necessary alterations to
render it suitable for the operations, The Missions to Seamen Sydney's
new premises named Flying Angel House at 320-332 Sussex Street, Sydney
officially opened by the Governor of NSW, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair AC RAN (Rtd) on 20 June.
An approach to the Trustees of The
Sydney Bethel Union by the Chaplain of the Missions to Seamen at Port
Kembla, NSW South of Sydney was declined as being outside the Trust's
Mr Graham Lightfoot appointed a Trustee
replacing Mr W M Cowper, retired.
Moriarty succeeded Mr John Pringle as Secretary to the Trustees of the
Sydney Bethel Union on 5 February.
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel Union in
February held an informal meeting with the Chairman and Senior
Chaplain of the Mission to Seamen NSW and board members of the Sydney
Sailors' Home to discuss possible funding by the Sydney Sailors' Home
of some of the Missions' activities.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, world
President of the Missions to Seamen, visited the Mission's premises in
Trustees of the Sydney Bethel
Union resolved on 12 September to seek legal assistance in drafting an
The name of the Mission to Seamen worldwide was
changed to 'Mission to Seafarers'.
The Sydney Bethel Union Extension Amendment Act 2002
was enacted by Parliament, thereby enabling the Trust to extend its
support for seafarers' charitable interests beyond the port of Sydney.
A one-off grant was approved for
the Mission to Seafarers at Newcastle NSW.
Mr J G Denton retired as Chairman of Trustees
on 17 September and was replaced by Mr Peter Lovell.
Mr L G Lightfoot was
elected as Chairman.
Mr P C Anderson, Trustee, died in office
on 29 December.
Appointment of professional financial
Mr David L P Field
appointed a Trustee in succession to the late Mr P C Anderson.
Sydney Bethel Union sells its property at 51-53 Murray Street, Pyrmont
NSW with proceeds added to the Union's investment portfolio.
The Trustees on 28 September resolved to make an initial annual grant
to the Mission to Seafarers at Port Kembla, such payment being
consistent with the Trustees' expanded discretion under the 2002
legislation to pursue its aims beyond the port of Sydney.
At the same meeting, the Trustees noted that the Australian Mariners
Welfare Society (formerly the Sydney Sailors' Home) was now in
position to provide financial assistance on a needs basis to assist
missions around the Australian coast.
In December, the Trustees approved an increase to the annual grant to
the Mission to Seafarers, Sydney to assist in contributing to the
costs faced by the Mission in establishing a presence at the new
Sydney Seafarers’ Centre at Port Botany.
Discussions were held with St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney and the
Mission to Seafarers, Sydney with a view to the Cathedral being
granted 'ad hoc' complimentary use until the end of the year of the
presently unused space on the upper floor of Flying Angel House.
Advice was received from the Australian Taxation Office confirming
that The Sydney Bethel Union is deemed a charitable institution and
was entitled to endorsement for the tax concessions of income tax
exemption and GST concessions and in a subsequent letter from the ATO
it was confirmed that these concessions applied from 1 July 2000 and 1
July 2005 respectively.
A grant was made to Mission to
Advice was received from the Office of State Revenue advising that The
Sydney Bethel Union was exempt from land tax in terms of Section
10(1)(d) of the Land Tax Management Act.
i. t. Pulse Web Design Services Pty Ltd was commissioned to develop a
website for the Sydney Bethel Union to be named
Bethel Union sells its investment property at 79 Gow Street Padstow
NSW with proceeds added to the Union's investment portfolio.
On 17 November, a special grant was made to the Mission to Seafarers,
Newcastle to relieve budgetary stress.
Some difficulties reported earlier by the Mission to Seafarers in
accessing vessels to minister to ships' crews because of heightened
port security restrictions have been largely overcome.
Noted the decline in financial support from shipping companies, partly
because of recent mergers of some international shipping interests.
Trustees decided that
henceforth, the quarterly grants made to missions would be indexed to
the Consumer Price Index (CPI.)
A Special Purpose Grant Scheme was established to cater for one-off
projects that were seen to be consistent with the objectives of The
Sydney Bethel Union.
Trustees committed to a substantial increase in the annual grant to
the Mission to Seafarers, Port Kembla, recognising the anticipated
increase in shipping activity in the port.
The Trustees were contacted by the
Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) who were seeking the
recovery of the stained glass windows formerly located in the Mariners
Church at 100 George Street which had been built in 1859 and which it
was proposed now be returned to that location. These windows were
currently in the Mariners’ Chapel at Flying Angel House and were a
signficant feature of the Chapel. Discussions with SHFA were
On 11 March the Trustees received a report on the current operations
of the Mission to Seafarers, Newcastle. The report was considered in
light of changes currently occurring in the shipping industry
generally. The Trustees were of the view that there was a need for a
bus service that could take seafarers to a compact, redeveloped
Newcastle Mission near the town centre equipped with a chapel, bank of
computers, telephone booths, shops, reading area and a few club-like
The Sydney Bethel Union received the
inaugural Seafarer Welfare Award presented at the 14th Annual Lloyd's
List DCN Australian Shipping and Transport Awards.
The Trustees' meeting on 16 March
identified its possible options in regard to the future of Flying
Angel House in Sussex Street, Sydney as it was apparent that it
contained more space than was required for current Mission to
Seafarers operations. Moreover, the building was becoming increasingly
expensive to maintain. These available options included selling the
property, renting out the unused upper floor or converting the
property to strata title status and then selling that floor. It was
resolved to seek professional advice in evaluating each of these
alternatives. At a meeting of Trustees on 30 September, APP
Corporation, the consultants retained to advise them in this regard,
were given a formal briefing as to the guidance Trustees were seeking.
The Trustees approved an increase in the grant to the Mission to
Seafarers at Port Kembla to assist with funding the eventual
appointment of a full-time chaplain at the station.
On 14 December the Trustees approved a grant to assist the Mission to
Seafarers in establishing a presence in the NSW South coast port of
At this meeting the Trustees received a comprehensive report from the
consultants engaged to advise them regarding the various options for
the future management of Flying Angel House in Sussex Street, Sydney.
At that stage it appeared the most advantageous course of action would
be to sell the property.
After a meeting held on 17 February, the
Trustees met with the Senior Chaplain and other representatives of the
Mission to Seafarers, Sydney to consider all available options in
regard to the future of the Mission's Sussex Street, Sydney premises.
Subsequently, it was formally resolved by the Trustees to dispose of
the property, initially calling for 'expressions of interest' from
The Mission to Seafarers, Sydney
received the Seafarer Welfare Award presented at the 16th Annual
Lloyd's List DCN Australian Shipping and Transport Awards.
On 18 October and after full
consultation with the Mission to Seafarers’ the Sussex Street Sydney
premises were sold. The building being leased back until June 2012
while a more compact property was found.
New premises for the Mission to
Seafarers Sydney at Bond Store 2, 24 Hickson Road Walsh Bay were
purchased on 30 April by the Sydney Bethel Union. A major refit of
these premises was completed in December.
Mr Graham Lightfoot, chairman of The Sydney Bethel Union, was
appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia
on 11 June.
On 21 July a hallowing service was held
for the Mission to Seafarers Newcastle refurbished premises at Hannell
Street, Wickham. The ground floor of the premises had previously been
leased to a school but it was decided not to renew the lease and move
the mission’s activities down stairs. With assistance of volunteers,
local trades people and a new ceiling funded by The Sydney Bethel
Union the downstairs area was transformed to a functional seafarers
centre with computer facilities, games area and shop.
The Mission to Seafarers Sydney’s new premises at 24 Hickson Road
Walsh Bay was officially opened on 25 September by Her Excellency the
Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir AC, CVO
Mr. David LP Field resigned as a
|Mr Llew C
Russell AM appointed a trustee
Mr L Graham Lightfoot resigned as Chairman.
Mr Clive B Goodwin appointed Chairman
Mr Peter HT Lovell appointed Deputy Chairman
14/11/2018 an amendment to the Sydney Bethel Union Extension Act 1908
received assent that replaced the existing Trustees with a corporate
Trustee being Sydney Bethel Union Pty Ltd (ACN 617 974 688). The
retiring Trustees are the Directors of the corporate Trustee.