William Judkins (1869 – 1912) Methodist reformer
William Judkins campaigns came to a climax in 1905 and 1906 when he sought permission from the Methodist Committee on the Amendment of the Betting Laws to stage a campaign against John Wren and gambling. Wren and Judkins were of a similar age and build, small with sharp features, and to their mutual embarrassment were frequently mistaken for each other.
William Judkins was born on 26 February 1869 at Franklinford, Victoria, where his father was a schoolteacher. William taught briefly at Creswick Grammar School, but his ambition was to join the Methodist ministry. The conference transferred him to New Zealand where he studied as a probationer, fought for temperance causes and threw himself into local option battles with such devotion that he became ill and abandoned the idea of being ordained. However, he remained a lay preacher.
Judkins was mild and friendly to meet but had a florid style in the pulpit and was vigorous with the pen. He became editor of the journal, Review of Reviews, and set about attacking the ‘social evils’ of the day — prizefighting, gambling, racing, drinking, dancing, and even barmaids. As secretary of the Criminology Society he convened a conference on 20 October 1905 as part of the successful campaign for legislation to establish a children’s court.
His campaigns came to a climax in 1905 and 1906 when he sought permission from the Methodist Committee on the Amendment of the Betting Laws to stage a campaign against John Wren and gambling. Wren and Judkins were of a similar age and build, small with sharp features, and to their mutual embarrassment were frequently mistaken for each other.
Judkins saw Wren, drink, gambling and Catholicism all combined into one terrible evil. He accused Wren of using known criminals to staff his Collingwood tote, he openly charged the police with corruption, and attacked Chief Secretary Sir Samuel Gillott for weak and ineffective administration.
‘Juddy’, although often ill, was indefatigable. He preached all over Melbourne, and particularly for Pleasant Sunday Afternoon audiences at Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street. Some meetings turned into near riots and once he was pelted with eggs. He told reporters: ‘A very small thing to suffer in the cause of righteousness. Ten thousand blows like that will not stop me’.
Although he helped to push through the Licensing Act of 1906 which began the reduction in the number of hotels, his main object was stricter gambling laws which might wipe out Wren’s pony tracks. On 13 June 1906 John Wren and six others were fined £100 for having used the City Tattersall’s Club for betting on horse-racing.
When Judge Neighbour upheld Wren’s appeal and wiped out the conviction, Judkins was aghast. At the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon of 16 September he told the large audience: ‘If I were to tell you all I could you would hold your breaths … matters are so serious in some departments of our public life you would shiver’.
Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090525b.htm
His brother, George Judkins : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/george-judkins/
John Wren : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120651b.htm
and Power without glory : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Without_Glory
Image – Wesley Church Lonsdale St Melbourne : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Church,_Melbourne
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