# 33116

SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL IN FOREIGN PARTS; [STACK, William, 1810-1871]

[NEW SOUTH WALES; MISSIONS] Diocese of Australia. … Town of [West Maitland] and District. Name of Incumbent, [Revd. William Stack] … …

Sydney : Printed by Kemp and Fairfax, Lower George Street, [1845]. Foolscap folio (320 mm), 3 pp, on wove paper watermarked ‘Stowford Mill 1841’; a pro-forma questionnaire produced under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, London, dated 30 September 1845, but printed in Sydney and sent to Australian missionaries ‘to obtain full and exact particulars of every Town, Parish, or District, within which it contributes to the support of a clergyman; and it is therefore requested, that the following queries, as far as they are applicable, may be carefully answered. Any collateral information will be of service’ (this explanatory text is signed by SPG Secretary, Ernest Hawkins); manuscript entries on the first page record that this particular copy was sent to the Rev. William Stack at West Maitland, New South Wales, and also note that the SPG has received the sum of £50 from Stack in the current year; the survey comprises 23 questions, covering such topics as local demographics (including size and increase of population, and chief occupations of the inhabitants), the itemisation of all subscriptions and voluntary contributions (including payments in kind), how the appointment of clergy is managed, church infrastructure (eg. types of church buildings and the purposes for which they are used), various types of expenditure, and the administration of Sunday Schools and other educational establishments in the district; the eighth question might seem to go beyond the purview of the SPG in its transparent attempt to gauge the local population’s potential as a source of financial support: ‘Give such information as you may possess, whether from public documents or other sources, as to the progress of the town and neighbourhood in improvement as to trade and commerce, agriculture, or other sources of wealth’; the fourth side is blank; three original horizontal folds, in fine condition; Webster Collection stamp with 1683 in ms.

William Stack was born in Ireland, eldest son of Rev. Edward Stack, a clergyman in the United Church of England and Ireland, and his wife Tempe Bagot. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. Already ordained as a minister, and under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, he emigrated to Australia with his wife on the Andromache, which arrived at Sydney on 31 October 1837. On 1 January 1838 he took up his appointment as minister to the West Maitland parish, where he was in pastoral charge of all Anglican clergy in the Upper Hunter. He served at Maitland for almost nine years before being transferred to St Peter’s Campbelltown in 1847. In 1855 he was appointed minister of St. Mary’s Balmain. His obituary in The Illustrated Sydney News, 10 July 1871, reported that ‘He was the first clergyman advanced to the dignity of a Canon by the free suffrages of his clerical brethren – exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Cathedral Ordinance of the Anglican Synod. Canon Stack was the author of several pamphlets on various questions more or less affecting the Church of England in this colony.’

Not in Ferguson.

We have not been able to locate any copies of this significant SPG missionary survey in Australian libraries. The present example is of course unique and all the more desirable because of its direct association with William Stack and the Maitland district.

Held: Rutgers University Library (only copy traced)

Provenance: Private collection, Australia; ex Maggs Bros., London, circa 1970; ex Webster Collection.

Kenneth Athol Webster (1906-1967) was a New Zealand-born dealer and collector in manuscripts, books, paintings and ethnographic artefacts relating to the Pacific. In the two decades after World War Two he built one of the largest and most important collections of this type of material ever assembled.