I rarely (this is probably the first time) that I have posted two entries in a challenge. I don’t know why I thought of it. Possibly a combination of a post about prime minister Curtin which made me think of my Grandfather and the Weekly Photo challenge of ornate brought to mind the family heirloom a convert made for my Great Grandfather .
My great -grandfather migrated from Glasgow to Sydney in 1897 arriving on the steamship “Austral.” He started his mission work in the Rocks area of Sydney almost immediately with the Sydney City Mission which had been founded some 35 years earlier based on the model of the London City Mission.
Millers Point and The Rocks in those days had a population of around 112,000 people (almost a 1/4 of the popn of Sydney at the time). The area had more men that women (a result of the sailors that lived in the area) and was a poor, rough and violent area rife with disease, alcoholism and opium dens. After his first day of work he wrote
I cannot express my feelings as I thought of the strange place and a strange people, but looking up to God, the thought flashed into my mind; human nature is the same in Sydney as it is in Glasgow, and so is God. So I made a start determined to take every door.”
He involved himself in the lives of the people, with no care to what religion they may follow. He set up free breakfasts for the people and intervened in domestic disputes. His diaries are a fascinating read (although at times heavy going). He became beloved by one and all, gaining many converts along the way.
The ornate clock tower carved by one of his converts, a seaman who had a bit of time on his hands while he served time in gaol. I can see evidence of this man’s travel in the design of his fretwork carving.