Anglican Diocese of Melbourne

Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
Diocese of Melbourne
Ecclesiastical province Victoria
Archdeaconries Box Hill, Dandenong, Frankston, Geelong, Kew, La Trobe, Maroondah, Melbourne, Port Philip & Bayside & Kingston North, Stonnington & Glen Eira, and The Yarra
Coordinates 37°49′1″S 144°58′3″E / 37.81694°S 144.9675°E / -37.81694; 144.9675Coordinates: 37°49′1″S 144°58′3″E / 37.81694°S 144.9675°E / -37.81694; 144.9675
Rite Anglican
Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne
Current leadership
Bishop The Most Revd Philip Freier
Suffragans Paul White, Assistant Bishop for the Southern Region
Philip Huggins, Assistant Bishop for the North West Region
Barbara Darling, Assistant Bishop for the Eastern Region
Archdeacons Peter Macpherson, Box Hill
Eden-Elizabeth Nicholls, Dandenong
Alan Hughes, Frankston
Neil Hicks, Geelong
Alison Taylor, Kew
Andrew Oddy, La Trobe
Stephen May, Maroondah
Richard Condie, Melbourne
Raymond McInnes, Port Philip, Bayside & Kingston North
Bradly Billings, Stonnington & Glen Eira
Diane Nicolios, The Yarra

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne is the metropolitan diocese of the Province of Victoria in the Anglican Church of Australia. The diocese includes the urban cities of Melbourne and Geelong and also some more rural areas. The cathedral church is St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. The Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Philip Freier, was previously the Bishop of the Northern Territory and was installed on 16 December 2006.



The Diocese of Melbourne is divided into three regions with their own bishop: the Southern Region, the Eastern Region and the North-West Region.[1] The Archbishops residence is Bishopscourt in East Melbourne.

Theological traditions

Churchmanship within the Melbourne diocese is diverse and the three principal Anglican traditions, Evangelical, Liberal and Anglo-Catholic, are all significantly represented.

The existence of such differing traditions within the diocese is sometimes a cause of tensions. The difficulty with which an archbishop was elected in 2006 provided a recent example.[2]

Theological colleges

The diocese contains two theological colleges which prepare men and women for ordination and other forms of ministry. Trinity College, founded in 1878, is located on the grounds of the University of Melbourne and is more Liberal and Anglo-Catholic in tradition. Ridley Melbourne, located in Parkville, was founded in 1910 in the Evangelical tradition. Trinity College is affiliated with the Melbourne College of Divinity and the University of Melbourne and Ridley with the Australian College of Theology.


The Diocese of Melbourne has been affected by issues that have been debated in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The theological diversity of the diocese means that there is sometimes disagreement over more contentious matters. In addition, it is frequently perceived that there is a significant tension between the theologically broad Melbourne diocese and the far more conservative Sydney diocese.[3]

Ordination of women

The diocese has ordained women to the diaconate since 1986 and to the priesthood since 1992.[4] The September 2007 decision of the Appellate Tribunal opening the way for the consecration of women to the episcopate was welcomed by the present archbishop, Philip Freier.[5] General Synod approved a motion in October 2007 which welcomed the "clarity" of the decision.[6] Melbourne's first female bishop, Canon Barbara Darling, was consecrated at St Paul's Cathedral on 31 May 2008.[7][8] Female bishops are opposed by some within the diocese, particularly conservative Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics, necessitating the provision of alternative episcopal oversight.[9][10]


The diocese is divided over the issue of homosexuality. Most conservatives and Evangelicals remain opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.[citation needed] Some more liberal people, such as laywoman Muriel Porter, have been very vocal in their support for changes in the church's attitudes towards homosexuality.[3][11]


In November 2007, the Diocese of Melbourne made a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission outlining its position in relation to abortion. The submission stated that "the Anglican Church is for life" and acknowledged "diversity of ... views" within the diocese. However it also declared that the diocese "supports the provision of safe and affordable abortions with appropriate safeguards for women who, for whatever reasons, request them". The underlying ethical view concerning embryonic life is that—

"while the embryo/fœtus is fully human from the time of conception, it accrues moral significance and value as it develops ... we believe the moral significance increases with the age and development of the fœtus. The significance increases gradually over time, in parallel with its physical development. As a pregnancy advances, more powerful moral reasons are required to allow the destruction of the embryo/fœtus."[12]

The submission was announced in The Melbourne Anglican, in an article entitled "Decriminalise abortion, say Anglican women".[13] The submission was strongly opposed and a petition containing 600 protest signatures was delivered in March. Shortly after this, an extensive critical response to the submission was prepared by the Melbourne Anglican Study Group.[14]

List of Bishops and Archbishops of Melbourne

Bishops of Melbourne
From Until Incumbent Notes
1847 1876 Charles Perry Declined to return after a visit to the United Kingdom.
1876 1886 James Moorhouse Translated to Manchester.
1887 1901 Field Flowers Goe
1902 1905 Lowther Clarke Became Archbishop of Melbourne in 1905.
Archbishops of Melbourne
1905 1920 Lowther Clarke Bishop of Melbourne until 1905.
1921 1929 Harrington Lees Died in office.
1929 1941 Frederick Head Died in office.
1942 1956 Joseph Booth Previously coadjutor bishop in Melbourne (Bishop of Geelong) since 1934.
1958 1977 Sir Frank Woods Translated from Middleton; also Primate of Australia from 1971; knighted in 1972.
1977 1983 Robert Dann Previously coadjutor bishop in Melbourne since 1969.
1984 1989 David Penman Previously coadjutor bishop in Melbourne since 1982; died in office.
1990 1999 Keith Rayner Previously Bishop of Wangaratta, then Archbishop of Adelaide; also Primate of Australia from 1990.
2000 2005 Peter Watson Previously Bishop in Parramatta and then of the Southern Region (both in Sydney diocese).
2006 present Philip Freier Translated from the Northern Territory.

List of assistant bishops

Bishops coadjutor
From Until Incumbent Notes
1934 1942 Joseph Booth, Bishop of Geelong Translated to the diocesan see of Melbourne.
1946 1960 John McKie, Bishop of Geelong [15]
1960 1963 Donald Redding Previously Bishop of Bunbury.
1962 1969 Geoffrey Sambell Translated to Perth
1969 1977 Robert Dann Translated to the diocesan see of Melbourne.
1970 1985 James Grant [16]
1971 1982 Ged Muston Translated to North West Australia.
1982 1984 David Penman Translated to the diocesan see of Melbourne.
Assistant bishops
1978 1985 David Shand, Bishop of the Southern Region Previously Bishop of St Arnaud; translated between regions.
1985 1988 David Shand, Bishop in Geelong
1985 1989 Peter Hollingworth, Bishop in the Inner City Translated to Brisbane
1985 1993 Robert Butterss
1985 2007 John Wilson, Bishop of the Southern Region [17]
1989 1995 John Bayton [18]
1994 2001 John Stewart, Bishop of the Eastern Region
1994 2002 Andrew Curnow, Bishop of the Northern Region Translated to Bendigo.
2001 2009 Stephen Hale, Bishop of the Eastern Region [19]
2002 2007 Paul White, Bishop of the Western Region Translated between regions.
2007 present Paul White, Bishop of the Southern Region
2003 2007 Philip Huggins, Bishop of the Northern Region Region expanded to include Western area.
2007 present Philip Huggins, Bishop of the North West Region
2008 2009 Barbara Darling, Bishop for Diocesan Ministries Translated between roles.
2009 present Barbara Darling, Bishop of the Eastern Region

See also


  1. ^ "Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, website". Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  2. ^ Zwartz, Barney (2006-02-18). "One of three, or none, to be archbishop". The Age.  Zwartz, Barney (2006-08-22). "City's Anglican bishop named". The Age. 
  3. ^ a b Barney Zwartz (2006-03-18). "The New Puritans: The Rise of Fundamentalism in the Anglican Church: Review of book by Muriel Porter". The Age. 
  4. ^ Jane Still (2006-11-14). "A watershed for women priests, 20 years on". 
  5. ^ "Archbishop of Melbourne welcomes decision re women bishops". News release, The Anglican Church in Melbourne. 2007-09-28. 
  6. ^ Roland Ashby (2007-10-25). "Women bishops’ ‘highway’ open". 
  7. ^ Jane Still (2008-04-25). "First woman bishop appointed in Victoria". 
  8. ^ Roland Ashby (2008-06-02). "Joyful end to a long journey for the Diocese". 
  9. ^ Readers' letters: 'Traditionalists' need care. The Melbourne Anglican. June 2008. 
  10. ^ "Australian Anglican Bishops' Protocol: Women In The Episcopate". 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ Barney Zwartz (2007-10-27). "On the brink of schism". The Age newspaper. 
  12. ^ Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission Inquiry on the Law of Abortion from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, 9 November 2007
  13. ^ Jane Still, "Decriminalise abortion, say Anglican women", TMA, December 2007
  14. ^ Submission Response
  15. ^ The Independent – Obituary: The Right Rev John McKie
  16. ^ Trinity College, Melbourne – Senior Fellows
  17. ^ Diocese of Melbourne – Bishop John Wilson retires
  18. ^ John Bayton – Biography
  19. ^ Stephen Hale to move

External links


  • Porter, Brian, ed. Melbourne Anglicans: The Diocese of Melbourne, 1847-1997. Melbourne: Mitre Books, 1997.

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