Thomas Smellie (minister)

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Rev. Thomas Smellie (pronounced "smiley") [1] ( – ) was a Presbyterian minister and educator in South Australia.

South Australia State of Australia

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of 28,684.



Smellie was sent out to South Australia by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland to replace Rev. Peter Mercer, minister of the Port Adelaide church on the north-west corner of Marryatt and Leadenhall streets, who had transferred to Victoria to become first acting principal of Ormond College of the University of Melbourne. [2]

Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland was formed in 1893 and claims to be the spiritual descendant of the Scottish Reformation: its web-site states that it is 'the constitutional heir of the historic Church of Scotland'. It is occasionally referred to by the pejorative term the Wee Wee Frees. Although small the church has congregations on five continents.

Ormond College residential college of the University of Melbourne

Ormond College is the largest of the residential colleges of the University of Melbourne located in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is home to around 350 undergraduates, 90 graduates and 35 professorial and academic residents.

University of Melbourne Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria

The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. Melbourne's main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria.

Smellie arrived aboard Irene on 21 October 1861 and was formally welcomed by the congregations of the Port Adelaide church on 4 November [3] and Chalmers Church a week later [4] and ordained and inducted into the Port Adelaide church on 16 December 1861. He resigned before the 1865 union which formed the Presbyterian Church of South Australia, but stayed on until replaced by Rev. James Henderson on 18 April 1867. [2]

Smellie taught Latin at Adelaide Educational Institution from 1863 to 1866, and St Peter's College in 1866. He advertised for private tuition in mathematics and the Classics at his home, Wakefield Street, in the year 1867–1868.

Adelaide Educational Institution was a privately run non-sectarian academy for boys in Adelaide founded in 1852 by John Lorenzo Young

He avoided rote learning, punishment and religious instruction, but taught moral philosophy, physiology, political economy and mechanical drawing ... (and) surveying on field trips.

St Peters College, Adelaide boys school in Adelaide, South Australia

Saint Peter's College is an independent boys' school in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. Founded in 1847 by members of the Anglican Church of Australia, the school is noted for its history and famous alumni, including three Nobel laureates, forty-two Rhodes scholars and ten Australian State Premiers.

Wakefield Street, Adelaide road in Adelaide, South Australia

Wakefield Street is a main thoroughfare in the centre of the South Australian capital, Adelaide.

He founded Gawler Academy on Church Hill, Gawler, around June 1868 with 28 pupils, [5] assisted by Mrs. Smellie and L. S. Burton (died 1895). [6] The school closed in December 1871 prior to his return to Great Britain. [7] James Gordon S.M. was a notable student. [8]

Gawler is the oldest country town on the Australian mainland in the state of South Australia, and is named after the second Governor of the colony of South Australia, George Gawler. It is about 40–44 km (25–27 mi) north of the centre of the state capital, Adelaide, and is close to the major wine producing district of the Barossa Valley. Topographically, Gawler lies at the confluence of two tributaries of the Gawler River, the North and South Para rivers, where they emerge from a range of low hills.

His licence to marry was rescinded in 1870. [9]

Smellie and his wife returned to Britain aboard South Australian in 1872. [10]

Other interests


Smellie married Louise Suzanne Wilhelmine Verdure ( – ) at Chalmers Church on 18 December 1866.

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The Bunyip is a weekly newspaper, first printed on 5 September 1863, and originally published and printed in Gawler, South Australia, covering the Barossa, Light, Playford, and Adelaide Plains regions. Along with The Murray Pioneer, The River News, and The Loxton News,The Bunyip is now owned by the Taylor Group of Newspapers and printed in Renmark.

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Job Harris

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  1. "Mr. J. L. Young's School". The Advertiser (Adelaide) . LV, (16, 846). South Australia. 12 October 1912. p. 20. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  2. 1 2 Yvonne L. Potter. "Progress, Pubs and Piety: Port Adelaide 1836–1915" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  3. "Free Presbyterian Church, Port Adelaide". The South Australian Advertiser . IV, (1031). South Australia. 6 November 1861. p. 2. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "Ecclesiastical". The South Australian Advertiser . IV, (1048). South Australia. 26 November 1861. p. 4. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "School Examinations: Gawler Academy". The Bunyip (197). South Australia. 19 December 1868. p. 3. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Gawler Academy". Gawler Times . II, (42). South Australia. 17 December 1869. p. 3. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Closing of the Rev. Thos. Smellie's Academy". Gawler Times . III, (146). South Australia. 15 December 1871. p. 2. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "The Police Magistrate". Evening Journal (Adelaide) . XXVI, (7447). South Australia. 1 September 1894. p. 5. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "MARRIAGE ACT". Evening Journal . II, (407). South Australia. 6 May 1870. p. 3. Retrieved 19 March 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "Passengers for London". South Australian Register . XXXVII, (7841). South Australia. 3 January 1872. p. 6. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "Aborigines' Friends' Association". The South Australian Advertiser . VIII, (2169). South Australia. 12 July 1865. p. 3. Retrieved 18 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.