John Symons (1820 – 1894) clergyman
John Symons was an apprentice at the drapery firm of G. Hitchcock & Co. in London in 1844 when fourteen employees formed the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA); he was elected secretary. He was one of the first resident clergymen on the Victorian goldfields and 1856 he moved to Beechworth where he established a YMCA. He was later a vice-president of the Melbourne YMCA.
John Symons was a Wesleyan local preacher and an apprentice at the drapery firm of G. Hitchcock & Co. in London in 1844 when fourteen employees formed the first Young Men’s Christian Association; he was elected secretary.
One of the first resident clergymen on the goldfields, he arrived at Forest Creek in March; next year he went to the Melbourne East circuit. In 1856 he moved to Beechworth and while there a chapel was built and a Young Men’s Association formed; his presidential lecture that year was published in Melbourne as The History and Advantages of Young Men’s Associations. He was later a vice-president of the Melbourne Young Men’s Christian Association. After a year at Geelong he was circuit superintendent at Carisbrook and encouraged the building of two local chapels. In 1863-77 he was editor of the Wesleyan Chronicle and manager of the Wesleyan Book Depot.
Further details : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A060253b.htm
World-wide affiliation of the YMCA was achieved in 1855 after formative meetings in London during the 1840s. The first secretary of the London YMCA was John Symons who came to Australia in 1847 on probation as a Methodist minister and he was ordained into the ministry for the Geelong circuit in 1853. Perhaps coincidentally, the Geelong group was among the leaders of the YMCA movement in Australia.
Image : Victorian Goldfields
Refer also – The YMCA
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