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Byng, Charles James (1833–1904)

The Rev. Charles James Byng has passed to the great beyond — and the district is the poorer. A Christian man, of varied experience, talented in oratorical powers, an earnest preacher, a kind and sympathetic rnend, in its fullest splendour displaying that greatest of Christian virtues — charity — entered upon his long rest about midday on Tuesday. His death was consequent upon an operation for the removal of an internal growth from which he had suffered for about eighteen months.

Born on September 14, 1833, in Madras Presidency, India, (his father having been a General in the British Army, in charge of the division stationed at Madras) Mr. Byng's earlier years were with the family, in touch with military discipline. At the age of 19, yielding to a roving desire, he left the parental roof, and journeyed to Australia, arriving in New South Wales in 1853. Various pursuits were followed — gold mining, bank management, telegraph operating, etc. Mr. Byng's entry into clerical orders commenced in his twenty-eight year, at which period he entered Moore Theological College, Liverpool. He was ordained as a Deacon by the Bishop of Melbourne in 1862, and later to the Priesthood by the Bishop of Goulburn in 1864. He held the Incumbency of the Tumut charge from 1862 to 1868, Corowa, 1869-70, Braidwood 1871-7. From 1877 to 1883 Mr. Byng officiated in Dunedin, N.Z., and from 1884 to 1886 at St. Luke's, Fitzroy, Vic., St. James', Melbourne, and St. Michael's, Carlton, Vic. In 1886 he removed to St. Stephen's, Newtown, and in 1889 was placed in charge of the Bexley-Arncliffe district in which he laboured till his death.

During his life, with all varieties of fortune, we find him a noble inward unity. That love of his church, and that resolution to abide by it at all hazards did not forsake him. He had opportunites of looking at life under many phases; he mingled in the joys of social life; became a husband, father, and experienced all the common destinies of man. Worldly perferment, fame itself, he did not covet; rather would he enjoy the satisfaction of a walk and chat with a school child on either hand — probably one or two hanging to his coat tails. His genial, honest character everywhere gained him friends: that upright, simple life was honorable in the eyes of all; and they who knew him the best loved him the most.

Prior to the funeral on Wednesday afternoon the beautiful burial service was conducted in Christchurch by the Rev. Geo. Middleton of Seven-Hills, brother-in-law to the deceased gentleman assisted by the Rev. A. O. Corlette. The interment was made at Woronora Cemetery later in the afternoon, and although by the expressed wish of the deceased no public announcement was made of his death or funeral, a large and representative gathering assembled at the graveside. The last sad rites were performed by Revs. F. J. Harris and Geo. Middleton. Rev. Thos. Hill, M. A., of Bexley Presbyterian Church made touching reference to the loss sustained by the death of Mr. Byng; how he personally felt at losing the companionship of one who for the past 16 years he had had intimate friendship with, and who was in every sense a brother in the work of the Great Master.

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'Byng, Charles James (1833–1904)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 February 2020.

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