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Henry Andrew Palmer (1827–1874)

from Sydney Mail

In the death of the Rev. H. A. [Henry Andrew] Palmer, incumbent of Petersham, whose portrait appears in this issue of the Sydney Mail, the Anglican Church in this colony has sustained a severe loss. He is mourned by those who had the privilege of knowing him, either as friend or parish clergyman, with a sincerity which is the most eloquent testimony to his worth. Men such as he was — enthusiastic promoters of purity, truth, honour, charity, and kindred qualities— have a more than denominational value. They may be constitutionally modest and quiet — as Mr. Palmer was — but their life influence is a distinct gain to the whole community. The leading external facts of his life may be briefly stated. He was the son of Shorley Palmer, Esq., M.D., of Tamworth, England, and was born there in 1827. He was for some time a scholar in King Edward VI Grammar School, at Birmingham. On his first arrival in the colony he entered into a business life, and during that period gave considerable assistance at Christ Church, Sydney. After some time, he was ordained deacon on the 21st September, 1851, in St. Andrew's Cathedral, by Bishop Broughton. He was licensed as minister in the gold district of the Turon on the 1st November in the same year. On the 19th December, 1852, he was ordained priest at St. James's Church, Morpeth, by the late Bishop of Newcastle. He continued to work in the Turon district till 1861. In that year he was glad to be relieved from the onerous duties which had devolved upon him for 10 years amidst the gold-digging populations of the Turon, and to take charge of Pitt Town, Wilberforce, and Sackville Reach, on the Hawkesbury River. In 1869 he accepted the charge of the Canterbury and Petersham parishes. In 1870 the two were erected into separate cures, and Mr. Palmer retained Petersham. His death, it will be remembered, was sudden and unexpected. He had officiated on the Sunday, and was found dead in his bed on the Monday morning. He died on May 4th, aged 51 . It will be seen that in the course of his ministerial life Mr. Palmer had to deal with three classes of population, each widely divergent from the others. At the Turon he had to deal with thousands of men drawn from all parts of the world, sorely smitten with gold fever, a most difficult community for a Christian teacher to affect. But the qualities of Mr. Palmer's character were eminently fitted to impress such a people. The Australian digger can always appreciate manliness— and in this instance the man shone brightly through the clergyman. On the Turon there are many traditions of his courage and generosity. At the Hawkesbury he found himself amidst an agricultural population, of course much less excited than a multitude of miners. At Petersham he had a congregation of well-to-do metropolitan folks. By all these classes of people he was equally beloved, and amongst them he has left a fragrant memory such as might well be the ambition of any clergyman of any sect. In the Anglican Church he was generally accounted one of its most estimable and valuable ministers. Judged by the standard of ability, Mr. Palmer was the possessor of average gifts, diligently cultured. Judged by the higher test of character, Mr. Palmer wore the white flower of a blameless life.

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Citation details

'Palmer, Henry Andrew (1827–1874)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Yorkshire, England


5 May, 1874 (aged ~ 47)
Petersham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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