Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Peter Bedford


This thesis seeks to tell the story of the evolution of ordained ministry in the Christian Church, with an emphasis on the work of the ministry in the Anglican Church of Western Australia since the arrival of the first settlers in 1829. After a brief look at the early days, the focus is on the efforts to recruit ordination candidates in Western Australia during the terms of each of the six Archbishops of Perth from 1914 up to the present time. An integral part of the narrative is the histories of the Perth Clergy Training College, later renamed St John's College, from 1899 to 1929 and John Wollaston Theological College, which has served varying roles from 1957 to the present time. Particular attention is given to the period 1972 to 1981, when Wollaston was home to the Interim Course for candidates who, in those years, were sent interstate for their primary theological education. They returned to Perth for a year's training and reflection in pastoral ministry before being ordained and appointed to parishes. The narrative relates how, with the exception of Archbishop Le Fanu, the Archbishops believed that there should be an ordination training programme in Western Australia. The first and third Archbishops believed that the priority was for ordinands to have a liberal education at University, so they could hold their own, as it were, with the leaders of other professions in the community. Archbishop Carnley, in particular, believed that the teaching of theology snould be university based, because it was a fundamental discipline. And so we follow the story to the present time when theological education is based at Murdoch University and is taught in an ecumenical setting with each participating church conducting its own programmes in the areas of pastoral care and ministry formation. The total process for the training of clergy presently in vogue is one in which the Church in Western Australia should have justifiable pride, yet the study does suggest that there are some areas that Church leaders might well consider ripe for further development.

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