The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Rev R Allwood BA

© Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Rev. Robert Allwood  BA (1803 – 1891). On 5 July, 1875, Rev Allwood interred Mrs. Caroline Lawson, widow of William Lawson Jnr., in the family vault at St. Bartholomew’s cemetery. Mrs. Lawson had resided at Darlinghurst at the time of her death.

Rev.Allwood  was born on 24 September 1803 at Kingston, Jamaica, the son of Robert Allwood, chief justice. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, matriculating in 1821. He was ordained deacon by the bishop of Bath and Wells on 5 November 1826, and appointed to a minor canonry of Bristol. The bishop of Bristol priested him on 12 January 1828, and next year he became curate of Dowry Square chapel, Clifton. In 1834-35 he served as chaplain to the mayor of Bristol. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel began recruiting graduate clergy for the new diocese of Australia and in June 1839 Allwood was accepted. In May 1835 he had married Anna Rebecca (b. 2 August 1813), daughter of Joseph Bush of Martinique. In December1839 they reached Sydney on the Kinnear.

In January 1840 Allwood was appointed to the incumbency of St James's Church, King Street, where he remained until he retired in 1884. His devotion to the parish, combined with his indifferent health and personal humility, prompted him to decline at various times to be considered for the new sees of Melbourne and Newcastle or as William Broughton's successor at Sydney. St James's was already the principal church in Sydney and served as the pro-cathedral until 1843. It was the 'carriage parade' church, and counted many important officials and citizens among its members. Allwood, with his good education and social standing, and his long experience in a fashionable Bristol parish, was well equipped to minister to such a congregation. His tact and diplomatic skill were necessary when his influential laymen sometimes took an independent line in church affairs. Allwood himself was never a meek conformist, but his individualism was tempered by loyalty to his diocese and a reluctance to carry matters to extremes. He was an incisive and thoughtful preacher, and his pulpit became a powerful influence on churchmen of his time.

Allwood maintained a vigorous ministry to the convict and immigrants' barracks, the hospitals and other institutions in his district. He trained a succession of able curates, and his own precise and

orderly methods enabled him to achieve a great amount of pastoral work. He played a major part in the affairs of the diocese.

Allwood's main interest was education. He defended his church's policy before the select committee of 1844. His parish school, one of the largest in the colony, became the model school for the training of Anglican denominational teachers, and Allwood acted as an examiner. He was in close touch with St James's Grammar School (1838-57), a diocesan foundation but conducted within the parish. In 1845 St James's College was set up, primarily to train candidates for the ministry. Allwood was appointed principal and conducted much of the teaching, first at his church and, from 1847, at Lyndhurst, Glebe. He was an able and devoted principal, but charges of Tractarian influence made the college unpopular with some of the clergy and laity and it closed in 1849, the year before the University of Sydney was founded. Allwood's attitude to the university was less hostile than that of the bishops. He made a moderate defence of it in 1852 and supported the compromise proposal for affiliated colleges. In 1855 he was elected a fellow of St Paul's College, whose classes were held initially at his church. In the same year he became the first Anglican cleric to be a member of the university senate and served as vice-chancellor in 1869-82.

In the early 1880s the parish, in difficulties through the loss of its resident population, had to adjust to a new role as a city church. The school had been closed and the church needed repair, but was threatened with resumption. Allwood was too old to lead a revival and resigned his cure in 1884 after a ministry of forty-four years. His wife died on 3 April 1890 and he died at Edgecliff, Sydney, on 27 October 1891.

8 March 1864 he is listed in the Western Post and Mudgee Newspaper as being in the Diocese of Sydney, and receiving an allowance of 200 pounds per annum.