Edward Eager

Edward Eager (1787 – 1866) lawyer and merchant
Unlike other lands, the Church in Australia was not established by missionaries who came bearing the Gospel, or by “Pilgrim Fathers” escaping persecution. Some of our earliest settlers, including Edward Eager were transported to Australia unwillingly, but they brought the faith with them.

Edward Eager, lawyer and merchant, was born near Killarney, Ireland. In 1804 Eagar was apprenticed to a solicitor and subsequently admitted as a solicitor and attorney in Dublin.

In 1809 he was sentenced to death at the Cork Summer Assizes for uttering a forged bill.

Possibly as a result of family influence or his spectacular death-cell conversion his sentence was commuted to transportation for life.

He arrived in Sydney in the Providence in July 1811 and was assigned to Rev. Robert Cartwright to teach his children. He was soon organizing bible classes around Windsor. In 1812 he met two newcomers, Thomas Bowden and John Hoskin and they began a church. Edward wrote to the Methodist Conference in England “Send us a minister lest we die in our sin”. 1813 he was granted a conditional pardon and set up in 103 Pitt Street as a lawyer. He was unconditionally pardoned in 1818.

He provided one-tenth of the money to commence the Bank of New South Wales. He assisted founding the Sydney Benevolent Institution. He provided accommodation for homeless men and children. He helped introduce the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Australian Religious Tract Society, established the Society for the Protection and Civilisation of Distressed Islanders of the South Seas, and planned a mission to Aborigines. He was a most committed Christian.

One son, Geoffrey Eagar, became Treasurer of New South Wales, a Cabinet Minister in three Governments, a member of the Legislative Council, a leading civil servant, and a classical scholar who helped Sydney University both as auditor and historian. Edward Eagar was converted while a convict on a prison hulk. Many others were also converted here.

Unlike other lands, the Church in Australia was not established by missionaries who came bearing the Gospel, or “Pilgrim Fathers” who came to escape persecution and found a nation dedicated to God. Some of our earliest settlers came unwillingly, but they brought the faith with them, and many caught the faith because of the faithful witness largely through believing lay men and women.

Sources :

Further on Rev. Robert Cartwright – https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/robert-cartwright/

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