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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

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George Felton Pickering (1835–1911)

from Methodist

It does not seem to be and it is not a chivalrous thing, when a comrade in arms falls at our side, and we do not show those respectful attentions which the presence of death and the camaraderie instinct prompt.

The passing of our honoured laymen from the militant service of the Church to the reward of heaven should not be unnoticed. The unselfish and cheerful readiness with which they accept the duties which are laid upon them, without hope of fee or reward, entitle them at any rate to posthumous recognition and gratitude.

As such worthies are the property of the whole Church, and not merely of the Circuits in which they lived, the awkward silence which sometimes follows their death is often explained by someone waiting for someone else to speak first.

Without invading the prerogative pertaining to any other, I may be permitted to say a few words of tribute to the memory of the late Mr. George Felton Pickering.

I knew him for a period of something like forty-five years. He was one of the leading men of the Circuit where I was stationed in the old Fish River West Circuit, in 1867. We had a Mutual Improvement Society in those days. Mr. Pickering was one of the most prominent members of it, and in the essays read by him, and in the debates which followed, he was deservedly acknowledged as a local encyclopaedia of knowledge. His name at that time was on the Circuit Plan, and he rendered acceptable service as a local preacher in the town and country parts of the Circuit. He was an exceptionally well-informed man, and in his sermons he was accustomed to express himself in terse and well-selected language.

For nearly half a century he maintained a high standard of preaching ability, and to the last he was fresh and original in his presentment of Gospel truth.

Some few years ago, at my request, he gave me an outline of a strikingly original sermon, which he preached from the text, 'And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail,' etc.; Deut. 28:12, 13. It would have made a capital Empire Day or Coronation sermon if it had been preached in connection with either of these events. The subject was the supremacy of the British nation, and in its treatment it was very ingeniously shown that the identifications of the text were found in the British people. This supremacy appeared from the following points, which were duly elaborated:-

1. In the political and religious freedom.
2. In every time of national stress and difficulty.
3. In providing refuge for the oppressed.
4. In demanding just treatment for her subjects abroad.
5. In her endorsement of the moral code of the Bible.
6. In her sentiments of brotherhood and humanity.
7. In her reluctance to go to war except for self-protection.

The treatment was so well conceived and original that, with Mr. Pickering's permission, I ventured to use the outline, with amplifications and illustrations of my own.

I now pass the outline on, that someone else may use it, with, of course, the same saving clause against a possible charge of plagiarism.

In country Circuits ministers come and go, and we sometimes fail to realise how much the welfare of our Church depends upon the leading laymen who remain on, year in and year out, for a term perhaps of half a century, as in Mr. Pickering's case. No good man can live that long in a place without leading an impression upon the community, the full value of which can only be appraised when he has gone. Such a contribution to what is best in the life of a community will remain a negotiable asset for many years after the benefactor's death. Our influence and interests are so interlaced that it is impossible to disentangle them from the general make-up of life's woof and web.

Mr. Pickering took a leading part in the civil life of Oberon. He thought that good men should not preserve an aloofness from secular a affairs. If the leaven is to work it must be in the flour and not out of it. Mr. Pickering's face will be missed in the Annual Conference. For many years continuously he has been elected by his Circuit as a Lay Representative. He exercised the restraint of speech in Conference, and voted, which after all is the deciding factor. He was the worthy son of the late Rev George Pickering, one of the pioneer preachers of our Church in this State. He was also the son-in-law of the late Mr. Charles Whalan, a sketch of whom recently appeared in these columns, under the heading of 'Old-Time Local Preachers.' It should also be mentioned that he was the brother-in-law of our own genial Dr. Sellors.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for George Felton Pickering

Citation details

'Pickering, George Felton (1835–1911)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


16 March, 1835
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England


7 July, 1911 (aged 76)
Oberon, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (stomach)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.