William Cowper (1778 – 1858) archdeacon
In St Philip’s Church Sydney there is a tablet to the memory of William Cowper, who in his 49 years at the church is remembered as one, “who gave himself wholly to the work of the ministry”. Among his distinguished children were Charles Cowper (later Sir Charles), five times Premier of New South Wales.
St Philip’s Church School Sydney opened in 1812. As well, the church commenced ‘ragged schools’ for orphans and in 1845 an evening school for young men. St Philip’s Grammar School opened in 1850. And in passing, the original church had become the first church building to be lit by gaslight in Australia in 1841.
In NSW, in 1880, education became a State responsibility. However St Philip’s church continued the work commenced by Richard and Mary Johnson in the wattle and daub chapel.
The choice as the Assistant Chaplain, was the 28 year-old The Rev William Cowper.
Cowper arrived in Sydney on 18th August 1809, with his second wife (his first having died shortly before his appointment) and four young children. He preached his first sermon in St Philip’s on 20th August, within 48 hours of his arrival.
Rev William Cowper, was Rector of St Philip’s for 49 years. His son – William Macquarie Cowper – the first clergyman to be born in the colony followed him as Rector for 11 years.
In the chancel of the current church there is a tablet to the memory of the Venerable William Cowper, who in his 49 years as the Rector of both the first and second St Philip’s is remembered as one, “who gave himself wholly to the work of the ministry”.
Among his distinguished children were Charles Cowper (later Sir Charles), five times Premier of New South Wales and the Very Reverend William Macquarie Cowper for 44 years the Dean of Sydney and the second Rector of St Philip’s.
Sources and further information on William Cowper:
St Philip’s Parish Church of the City of Sydney, The historic perspective : http://www.stphilips-sydney.org.au/
William Cowper : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A010243b.htm
See also :
Influential Australian Christians
– Richard Johnson : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/richard-johnson
– Samuel Marsden : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/samuel-marsden/
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