Henry Montgomery (1847 – 1932) Tasmanian bishop, father of Field Marshal Montgomery
‘A man must be a leader in the Colonies’, Montgomery later wrote of the role of bishop. ‘The quiet, harmless man will fail. It is all push … all pioneer work, even in the cities’. Immediately on arrival in Tasmania he proceeded with the completion of the cathedral as a diocesan focus, notwithstanding objections from country parishes. But he also journeyed to remote west-coast mining settlements and showed deep concern for Bass Strait Aborigines.
On 28 July 1881 at Westminster Abbey, Montgomery had married Maud, the 16-year-old daughter of Frederic William Farrar, canon of Westminster and formerly Montgomery’s housemaster at Harrow. Farrar was a noted ‘Broad Churchman’ and Montgomery’s own theological position was described as ‘much the same … only less so’. From Vaughan he had imbibed a deep regard for Scripture and Church, and from A. P. Stanley, dean of Westminster, to whom he had been private secretary, he derived a belief in the importance of a national Church. The practicalities of domestic life he left to his determined young wife who organized their nine children (according to the most famous of them, Bernard Law, later Viscount Montgomery of Alamein [refer below]) along military lines.
‘A man must be a leader in the Colonies’, Montgomery later wrote of the role of bishop. ‘The quiet, harmless man will fail. It is all push … all pioneer work, even in the cities’. Immediately on arrival in Tasmania he proceeded with the completion of the cathedral as a diocesan focus, notwithstanding objections from country parishes. But he also journeyed to remote west-coast mining settlements and showed deep concern for Bass Strait Aborigines. In Hobart and Launceston he encouraged pastoral work among the disadvantaged: he attempted to develop the ministry to the Chinese—somewhat hampered by the missioner Yung Choy’s lack of English—and created a home and hospital for prostitutes and unmarried mothers.
Montgomery believed that the Church had to witness to a high moral standard in a particularly corrupt society. He thus opposed George Adams, gambling and drinking, although not himself a total abstainer. He argued for Church instruction in schools, the revival of the Sunday School movement and the strengthening of church schools.
Above all he saw himself as a missionary bishop. He wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1901: ‘It is because the work is all Missionary here that I love it so. Great questions such as Education, Temperance, Social problems between classes, come to me as duties. Missionary questions come to me as joys’. His vision outdistanced Tasmania. He dreamt of an Anglican Church in Australia with an effective general synod, a national primate and an indigenous clergy. Such a Church, he believed, could lead to the conversion of the Pacific. In 1892 he lobbied for the creation of the diocese of New Guinea and after visiting the diocese of Melanesia wrote a significant report on missionary strategy, The Light of Melanesia (1896). He was also locally bedevilled by narrow-minded Evangelical criticism concerning ritualism, confession and prayers for the dead.
During Montgomery’s Tasmanian episcopate Church membership grew from nearly 81,000 to nearly 88,000 and the number of buildings from 75 to 125. Montgomery organized the first Tasmanian Church Congress (1894) and celebrations for the jubilee of the Australian Board of Missions (1900). But clearly he found the challenge of Tasmania too small. In June 1901 he accepted the episcopal secretaryship of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and took up the post next January.
Refer also :
While it could be said Henry Montgomery was not an ‘Australian’, he was Tasmanian Bishop from 1889 to 1901, after which time he returned to London. His son Bernard, born in 1887, spent his initial years in Tasmania.
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
Motion by Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile in the NSW Legislative Council 20th November 2012 and agreed to:
1. That this House notes that:
(a) had the German-led forces won at El Alamein in 1942, there is a strong likelihood that the Nazi regime would have brought the Holocaust into the Middle East and attempted to murder some 600,000 Jewish people living in Egypt and the land of Israel, or British Mandated Palestine at the time,
(b) there was an official German plan to attach a specialised murder squad to Rommel’s Panzer Army Africa,
(c) following the victory by the allies, led by Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery, the Jewish Government in Israel, before May 1948, presented Field Marshal Montgomery with an official gift of gratitude for his role in saving the Jewish community in Palestine from the impending conquest by the German-led forces commanded by General Rommel, and that gift was a Bible, and
(d) the words on the inscription, attached to the Bible which is the Tenach, or Old Testament, and encased on the cover in silver and mother of pearl are: “Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery, GCB, DSO, the gallant leader of the victorious forces by whose hand God has placed salvation in Zion in the days of El Alamein presented in token of the everlasting gratitude of Palestine Jewry by the Vaad Leumi, General Council of the Jewish Community in Palestine”.
2. That this House:
(a) congratulates Kelvin Crombie for discovering the location of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery’s Bible in England, bringing it to Jerusalem, and for being custodian of this Bible on a long-term loan during this period of the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein,
(b) extends its thanks and congratulations to Kelvin Crombie, an Australian historian and author, who has spent much time researching and documenting the above information in his soon to be launched book, El Alamein – Halting a Possible Holocaust in the Middle East,
(c) acknowledges the work and dedication of Mr Crombie in documenting the vital facts concerning the relationship between various battles in the Eastern Mediterranean between 1940 and 1942 and the welfare of the Jewish people, and
(d) extends its congratulations to Kelvin Crombie on his book’s initial launch in the House of Lords in London on 7 November 2012, and on the Australian launch in Sydney in the New South Wales Parliament House Theatrette on 26 November 2012.
Photograph of Bernard Montgomery leading prayers near the front-lines in 1943
Photograph inscription: MAY 16 1943 Montgomery Leads Prayers near front lines. Born in Ulster Montgomery is the son of a bishop and deeply religious. Bernard Montgomery’s mother, asked to name the three greatest living men , said, “Churchill, Roosevelt and my son.”
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