George Tulloch (1878 – 1946) missionary, administrator, chaplain
There is no name which shines out more conspicuously . . . than that of the Rev. George Tulloch . . . there were few who did not admire his consistency and undeniable sincerity . . . No one worked harder . . . and today he is remembered as a pioneer, a worker and as one who never feared to keep the flag flying.
George Tulloch was born on Fetlar, one of the Shetland Islands to the north of Scotland, on December 7th, 1878. In 1900, George enrolled at the Glasgow Bible Training Institute recently established by Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908) American evangelists who attracted vast audiences to their revivalist meetings in the USA and on their visits to Britain.
George had heard the call to volunteer for Home Mission work in Queensland. That call was made by Andrew Stewart, who travelled to Australia from India in 1900. Initially, he offered his services to the Presbyterian Church in Victoria, but while in the church office in Collins Street, he read of the work being co-ordinated by the Evangelistic Committee in Queensland. Seeing a great need, he resolved to pray for six men and the means to send them out. Back in Scotland in April 1900, he secured the services of George Tulloch, who arrived in Queensland, in 1901.
Andrew Stewart introduced George to the people at Laidley, his first appointment. Those were the days of horse and sulky and there was very hard travelling over black soil plains, especially after a storm. On December 21st, 1910, George was ordained and inducted into the charge of Dalby. When he left after eight and a half years, churches had been built at Warra, Bell, Kaimkillenbun and Bowenville.
An extract from the Centenary History (1865 – 1965) of St Thomas’ Presbyterian Church Dalby Queensland notes, There is no name which shines out more conspicuously … than that of the Rev. George Tulloch, who came to the charge in 1903 as a home missionary and left it at the end of 1911 as an ordained minister. During his occupancy of the charge, (he) rendered signal service in the cause of Presbyterianism right throughout the district, … A practical and consistent Christian, steadfast in the maintenance of what he believed to be right, and possessed of unlimited energy and unusual organising ability, he came to Dalby when the charge badly needed the services of such a man. He was pronounced and uncompromising in his adherence to his Protestant and Temperance principles, but although there may have been some who did not relish his candour, there were few who did not admire his consistency and undeniable sincerity….No one worked harder,… and today he is remembered as a pioneer, a worker and as one who never feared to keep the flag flying.
George Tulloch also showed an interest in the establishment of a boarding college for Presbyterian children. Local and Assembly enthusiasm was subdued because of the country’s involvement in World War I. However, at war’s end, Mr Tulloch pursued the idea with greater vigour to such an extent that a submission presented in 1919 to the NSW Presbyterian Church’s Council of Education was received favourably.
By 1920, the property known as ‘Euthella’ was purchased for £4000 in Goulburn NSW. This property comprised a stately house and forty two acres of land in one of the finest positions in Goulburn overlooking the city and surrounding countryside. All haste was made to have the school in operation by February 1921. The old building had to be redecorated and repaired and new buildings had to be erected. It was also necessary to install electric light, provide a hot water system and connect the property with town gas and water supply and sewerage system. By the opening date the new kitchen was completed and the original house had been renovated and made ready for occupation by the principal and his family, members of staff (academic and domestic) and seventeen boarders.
In addition to his ordinary pastoral work, George was chaplain of Goulburn Jail and Kenmore Mental Hospital.
The prisoners of Goulburn Jail wrote to George Tulloch, on February 15th, 1923, not long before his departure to Perth, where he had been appointed Minister of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. They said, We the undersigned Prisoners in Goulburn Gaol, desire to take this opportunity, on the eve of your departure for Perth, W.A., to express our high appreciation of you as our Chaplain and Friend, and our sincere regret at your departure. We assure you that during the eight years you have been our Chaplain, you have been held in the highest esteem; your loss will be severely felt by all. We trust that you will be eminently successful in your new sphere. That you may be long spared to continue your work in the Lord’s vineyard and reap the reward you so richly deserve is our earnest prayer.
On four occasions – in 1927, 1936, 1939 and 1944 – George was elected to the office of Moderator of the General Assembly of Western Australia.
At various times during his tenure at St Andrew’s, he was on the Council of Scotch College, Presbyterian Ladies’ College and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Chairman of the Presbyterian Children’s Home, President of the Perth Bible Institute and Vice President of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
Largely through his influence, a Home for Children was established at Byford. This home, known as ‘Burnbrae,’ continues as a witness to Mr Tulloch’s love for the less fortunate children of his adopted state. Shortly before his death he had been active in the purchase and preparation of ‘Benmore,’ a home for adolescent boys at Caversham.
As an Army Chaplain, George held the rank of Colonel. In 1937 he was awarded the ‘Efficiency Decoration’ for 20 years service as a Chaplain.
In ‘A Splendid Optimist’ by I.R. Stewart, the following quote is significant: George Tulloch was one of God’s gifts to Australia, a sincere, earnest man, a great worker, and a tremendous fighter! He had Norse blood in his veins, and he fought the Roman Catholics, he fought the drink, and he preached the Gospel.
Rev. George Tulloch died in Perth on 29th August, 1946.
Source : Personal correspondence
Image : Tulloch Place in the Canberra Suburb of Flynn. The streets in Flynn were named after associates of the Rev John Flynn. Refer Associates of the Rev John Flynn. https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/john-flynns-associates/
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