Hector Harrison (1902 – 1978) army chaplain, Presbyterian minister, Salvation Army officer
As minister of the Church of St Andrew, Canberra, Hector Harrison encouraged corporate worship, visited his parishioners regularly and comforted the sick in hospital; his drive and enthusiasm led to the establishment of new Presbyterian parishes in the Australian Capital Territory. A counsellor and friend to the highly placed and the humble, he spoke nobly when he conducted Prime Minister John Curtin’s funeral in 1945.
In 1922 Hector Harrison entered the Salvation Army Training College, Melbourne. After being commissioned, he worked for two and a half years in the inner suburbs of Richmond, Fitzroy and North Melbourne. Because of his beliefs in regard to the sacraments of holy communion and baptism, he decided to prepare for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. He studied part time for the Intermediate and Leaving certificates while acting as a home missionary for the Church. Entering Ormond College, University of Melbourne (B.A., 1930; M.A., 1932), he preached at North Essendon on weekends and obtained his B.D. (1933) from the Melbourne College of Divinity. At St John’s Presbyterian Church, Essendon, on 30 May 1931 he married Doris May Sarah Ann Tear.
Appointed to the parish of New Town in Hobart, Harrison was ordained in 1933. Next year he was commissioned as a chaplain in the Militia. In 1936 he transferred to Claremont, Western Australia, whence he accepted a call to be minister of the Church of St Andrew, Canberra; arriving in May 1940, he was to serve this parish until his death. He encouraged corporate worship, visited his parishioners regularly and comforted the sick in hospital; his drive and enthusiasm led to the establishment of new Presbyterian parishes in the Australian Capital Territory. A counsellor and friend to the highly placed and the humble, he spoke nobly when he conducted Prime Minister John Curtin’s funeral in 1945. Harrison was a part-time chaplain at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and at the naval depot, H.M.A.S. Harman. In 1953 he was appointed O.B.E.
Harrison was moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales in 1950-51 and moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1962-64. He was appointed a vice-president of the World Presbyterian Alliance in 1964. While he was on friendly terms with his fellow clergymen in Canberra and believed in spiritual unity among the Christian denominations, he thought that only ‘the religious romantic’ could envisage ‘one great world church’. He criticized the Federal government’s efforts in the 1960s to increase state aid to private schools, and he continued to be totally opposed to alcohol and gambling.
Complete article : http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A140457b.htm
The eulogy given by Rev Harrison at John Curtin’s funeral service in Perth. http://espace.library.curtin.edu.au/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=77798&local_base=ERA01JCPML
Hector Harrision’s war time diary : http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/3DRL/6471
And regarding John Curtin’s Christian heritage
The Salvos were always on the cutting edge – social work, women’s ordination – even technology! They began using cinema and photography in Australia as early as 1897. Their multi-media presentation, “Soldiers of the Cross”, is credited as the world’s first dramatised features when it was shown to stunned audiences in 1900.
It was this socially progressive and creative church which attracted a promising young man to the Brunswick Citadel in the 1900s. He was John Curtin and he would go on to be wartime Prime Minister of Australia. The young Curtin became an enthusiastic lantern bearer, assisting the Citadel’s brass band on its night marches through the streets of Brunswick. Curtin would have a part to play in the story of Brunswick’s later wartime band, whose tale I told in my first ever radio documentary. It’s one of the most tragic episodes of World War 2.
The missionary martyrs of the Montevideo Maru : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/the-missionary-martyrs-of-the-montevideo-maru/
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