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William Edward White (1834–1913)

from Armidale Express

"Let the bell-toll,
A noble soul
Floats on the Stygian River."

The latest intelligence in last issue conceding the Ven. Archdeacon White's grave condition foreshadowed the end of the grand old minister, for ere another day had dawned the most relentless of all natural laws which govern this universe had exacted its dread fulfilment. But if ever death were swallowed up in eternal victory such was the case in this instance. Full of years and honour, his whole life redolent of uprightness and truth and the conscientious discharge of his divine Master's sacred duties, who could repine at his passing. He but goes to that fuller, ampler life beyond; the skies, where "in that great Cloister's stillness and seclusion they live, whom we call dead." The human pang at parting from a loved one is inseparable, but faith in the teachings of the great Creator would surely have it otherwise especially in relationship to such a demise as this. Truly the sublime thought is thus crystallised—

"Young flowers and an evergreen tree,
May spring from the spot of thy Test,
But nor eypress nor yew let us see,
For why should we mourn for the blest."

So it is with the late Archdeacon. Emblems of sorrow should find no place with his memory. His life was full and rich and true, his end fittingly peaceful and happy, white the grand influence of his exemplary career shall long wreathe his name in hallowed and loving thought. His venerable head is indeed laid low, but he, if any, now rests in that Elysian life whose span is eternal and where the promise of his approving God is amply fulfilled. The devotedness, energy, and sincerity of the veteran minister's religious activities was only equalled — particularly in his later years after retirement—by his keen sense of civic responsibility, and no call to public duty failed to find in him a ready response. The Armidale Hospital will, in particular, very deeply miss his beneficent ministrations in all things that fended to the common weal he clearly manifested to the very end "the larger heart, the kindlier hand," and leaves the noblest of ensamples to those who shall come afterward.

The late Archdeaoon White, was born at Ravensforth, in the Hunter district, in 1834, his father at that period controlling the station for Capt Russell. He was thus in his 79th year. His early education was received at Maitland, and it was in his twenties that he first felt the divine afflatus and decided to enter the Anglican ministry. Accordingly he journeyed to England, where at Oriel College, Oxford, he pursued a markedly successful scholastic career, and after securing his M. A. degree was ordained at Kidderminster Church, and then returned to the land of his birth. For the succeeding 41 years he was attached to the diocese of Newcastle —a truly unique record —and finally in 1901, feeling that he should make way to a younger man, though still vigorous and with his mental faculties unimpaired, he resigned the Archdeaconry of Musselbrook, and resided the remainder of his life at Kiola, Armidale. Even then St. Peter's Cathedral often saw his familiar figure as assistant priest. In mission work the Archdeacon was ever keenly interested, and here again he often manifested his activities locally. Virtually he died in active service, as his last public appearance was so recent as the Newcastle Synod of a week ago. The late Archdeacon at about 30 years of age wedded Miss Cox (of the old Mulgoa Cox family), and the marriage resulted in six sons and two daughters. The family comprises Mr. Cecil A. White, barrister, who is at present in the Bourke district in the capacity of Crown Prosecutor: Messrs. Norman and Percival (Queensland), Winbourne (Muswellbrook), and Dr. Wilfred White (Carlton, Sydney), Mrs. J. H. Bettington (Merriwa), and Miss White (Kiola). The eldest son died some years ago. Archdeacon White was a brother of the late Hon. James White and Messrs. F. H. and Edward White, and uncle of Messrs. F. J. White, of Saumarez, and C. E. White, of Rockwood, and the Hon. J. C. While, of Edinglassie.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for William Edward White

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Armidale Chronicle (NSW), 14 June 1913, p 4

Citation details

'White, William Edward (1834–1913)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


19 April, 1834
Ravensworth, New South Wales, Australia


9 June, 1913 (aged 79)
Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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