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Robert Collie (1839–1892)

The interment of the late Rev. Robert Collie, F. L. S., minister of the Presbyterian Church, Newtown, took place in the Rookwood Cemetery yesterday afternoon. Previous to proceeding to the necropolis a service was held in the church, Newtown, from half-past 1 to 2 o'clock. The coffin containing the remains of the late Mr. Collie was placed before the pulpit, which was draped in black, and on it were many wreaths given by friends of the deceased gentleman. The Rev. P. F. Mackenzie, moderator of the Sydney Presbytery, presided over a large congregation, and with him on the platform were the Rev. J. Milne, M.A., the Rev. Dr. Steel, and the Rev. J. Burgess, M.A. Among those present were the Revs. R. S. Paterson, H. McCreadie, J. Lamont, Dr. Cosh, G. Grimm, M.A., W. Dill Macky, R. Dill Macky, J. Auld, M.A. , J. W. Inglis, R. Inglis, M.A. , J. Walker, J. Paton, and A. A. Aspinall, B.A. Appropriate portions of Scripture were read by the Rev. James Milne, and prayer was offered by the Rev. J. Burgess.

The Rev. Dr. Steel delivered an address. He said death was always solemn, no matter how humble the person might be who went to that bourne whence no traveller returned. It was still more so when the parent was taken from his family, the teacher from his pupils, the leader from his followers, and the pastor from his flock. The Rev. Robert Collie had entered into so many of his peoples' struggles and troubles, as well as their hopes and their consolations, that it was sad to think that they would see his face no more. The congregation was now for the first time in the presence of the death of its minister. It had occurred not without a long warning. Several times during the past 10 months his life had been despaired of. Latterly he seemed to grow stronger, so that when death came it came unexpectedly, and the sense of bereavement was intense. From his life and faith lessons could be gathered up. The new church finished six years ago would be his monument. The Rev. Robert Collie was born on Deeside in Scotland, and had the usual opportunities of a superior education afforded by the exceptionally well-taught schools of his native land. On the death of his father he went to England, and took up Christian work there. He entered the ministry, not as many of them had done through the gate of learning, but by the sphere of Christian usefulness. After 10 years' work in the ministry in England he received a commission from the colonial committee of the Free Church of Scotland, and came to New South Wales. Although not trained in a university he was a cultured man, having taught himself chiefy after having become a minister. Not only did he know the science of theology and the interpretation of the Scripture, but he was skilled in departments of knowledge known to very few. Soon after arrival in the colony he received and accepted a call to Newtown. He was settled in the church as soon as the forms of the Church would allow, and how well he had discharged his duties the congregation knew. He had a warm heart and a kindly manner, and was always welcomed in the homes of his people. He was a man of peace, and never encouraged strife. He was a man of great sagacity, and ruled well in the House of God, and was much esteemed by his co-presbyters. He was a loyal minister of the Church, and was always ready to assist in every Christian work. Though during his occupancy of the manse he never married, he was throughout his whole career a constant subscriber to the clergy widows' and orphans' fund, at one period of his life being a director for a number of years, and for some years he was chairman. After 14 years' honourable service in the Church, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly in 1891. He excelled as a popular lecturer, and was always ready to give his services for the benefit of other congregations. It was while engaged in a lecture at Leichhardt, in June last, that he was smitten with paralysis, from which he never recovered. Mr Collie also cultivated the essence of Natural History, and so observant did he become that he made new discoveries, and had his name attached to plants by that eminent botanist Baron von Mueller. On the recommendation of the same eminent naturalist and other gentlemen a fellowship of the Linnean Society of London was bestowed on Mr. Collie. He was thus enabled to represent the union of science and religion. His removal in the midst of his work enforced upon them the lesson taught with such emphasis by the Master, "I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is yet day, the night cometh when no man can work." He died in humble faith upon the Redeemer, in the love of his adorable Master, and in hearty sympathy with his redemptive work for man. He had the good report of all men.

A hymn was then sung, after which the Rev. P. T. Mackenzie offered prayer and pronounced the Benediction.

On leaving the church a procession was formed to the Newtown railway station. The members of the Presbytery of Sydney led the way, then came the hearse containing the coffin followed by the Kirk Session, the committee of management, the Newtown S. M. Fellowship Association, the congregation and other friends on foot, and carriages. At the cemetery the Rev P. F Mackenzie presided. The Rev. G. McInnes, M.A. , B.D., read a portion of Scripture. Prayer was offered by the Rev. James Lamont, and an address was delivered by the Rev. A. Gilchrist, L.L.D. The benediction was pronounced by the Rev. H. Macreadie.

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Citation details

'Collie, Robert (1839–1892)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


19 April, 1892 (aged ~ 53)
Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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