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Steel, Robert Alexander (1854–1916)

Rev. Robert [Alexander] Steel, one of the most prominent ministers of the Presbyterian Church in this State, died at his residence, Burwood, on Tuesday night. He was a son of the late Rev. Dr. Steel, who was for 32 years minister of St. Stephen's Church, Phillip Street, and was born 60 years ago in Manchester, England. Deceased was educated at the Sydney Grammar School and the Sydney University, after which he completed his theological course and was settled in the charge of Moss Vale. From there he was transferred to Queanbeyan. Fourteen years ago he made another change, and accepted the charge of Campbelltown, where he laboured up to the time of his death. His acceptance of Campbelltown brought him into closer touch with the ecclesiastical life of the Church. He was a prominent figure in the Assembly, where he proved himself at all times a clear and convincing speaker. His great gift, however, was in relation to the business affairs of the Church. He was the first secretary of the Home Mission Committee of the Australian Assembly and of the Australian Inland Mission. For many years he was also secretary, and subsequently chairman, of the Theological Hall committee of the Church, chairman of the Land and Documents Committee, and one of the corporate trustees of the Church. He was a churchman who gloried in the traditions of Presbyterianism, and was never so happy as when applying his talents to the development of its interests. One of his sons — Rev. J. B. Steel — is the minister at Young, and, another is in France on active service. He leaves, besides, a widow and four daughters. His surviving brother is Mr. H. Peden Steel, a well-known Sydney solicitor. Another brother, Dr. John Steel predeceased him in China, whither he went some years ago with an expeditionary force.

During his long residence in Queanbeyan, the late Rev. Robert Steel took a keen interest in the welfare and the advancement of the town, and was an active worker for the District Hospital, P. and A. Society, and the old Volunteer Fire Brigade of which he was Superintendent for a number of years.

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'Steel, Robert Alexander (1854–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/steel-robert-alexander-15460/text26676, accessed 23 April 2018.

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