THOMAS RIX AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WESLEY COLLEGE
(June, 2013, personal research.
Thomas Rix is the writer's great great grandfather.
Read sequel to this story on pp 32-3 of
Quotations from the second part of ’A Memoir’ on page 609 of the Wesleyan Methodist
Church’s ‘The Spectator’, 26 June, 1891, following Thomas Rix’s death on 20
April, 1890. They testify to Thomas Rix's place in the nineteenth century
Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australia.
Rev John C Symons, Secretary of Wesley College at its inauguration,
leading Wesleyan Methodist Minister and author:-
“At the first Conference which was held in Sydney, Mr
Rix’s name appears as a member of the Connexional Committee and it so appears
each following year until 1862. He was, during these same eight years, a
member of the Educational Committee, at that period a very important body.
I well remember that he took a very influential position in those Committees.”
Rev Dr James S Waugh, President of Wesley College at its
inauguration, leading Wesleyan Methodist Minister:-
“… I was associated
with him for a series of years in our most important Connexional Committees. He
belonged to them from 1855 to 1862, and took a prominent part in our Education
Committee. He was then in the full vigour of manhood, and could not fail to
make his mark in all discussions involving the interests of our Church. His
utterances on those occasions displayed such a grasp of the matter in debate,
and such geniality of temper and expression, that he was always heard with
respect and pleasure. It was evident that he cherished an intense interest in
our Connexional objects, and thoroughly understood them. In the most exciting
debates, whether in committee or District Meeting, he maintained the courtesy of
a true Christian gentleman.”
from Rev. John C Symons, The Life of the Rev. Daniel James Draper, Hodder
& Stoughton, London, 1870,
regarding first inklings of the establishment of a Wesleyan Methodist grammar
school in Melbourne.
“At the district meeting of
1853, the Rev William Butters in the chair, the education committee adopted the
following resolution:- ‘Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee
that measures should be at once initiated for the establishment of a
grammar-school in this city, to be conducted on strictly Wesleyan principles;
and that the following gentlemen are hereby appointed a committee to carry out
this measure, viz:- Messrs. Parker, Cocker, Pascoe, Powell, Cooke, Gallagher,
Wilkinson, Thacker, Forster and J. Lowe, with power to add to their number.’”
The Wesleyan Methodist
district meeting of 1853 mentioned here by Symons occurred in Geelong on 9 August,
just fifty-two days after Thomas Rix and his family disembarked in that place on
18 June, 1853. They had emigrated from England
aboard the ‘Minerva’
[Scroll down at link to search by keywords: Rix AND Minerva].
The first part of the Memoir
cited above records that Rix’s Wesleyan
Methodist “credentials” meant
that “… within a week of his landing, he was made a class-leader” and
subsequently “circuit steward … and was also chosen as superintendent of the
Sabbath-school …” (p 585,
‘The Spectator’, 19 June, 1891).
January, 1855, Thomas Rix became a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church’s
Education Committee that had appointed the committee to initiate measures for
the establishment of a Wesleyan grammar-school, which
ultimately was named
Then, in late 1858, Rix was appointed to the first formal committee of the
proposed grammar-school .....
Quotations from Mr. T.C. Camm (Secretary of Wesley College
Council), ‘A Brief History of Wesley College’ (compiled from the Minute Books of
the Committee), Wesley College Chronicle, No. 114, Melbourne, July, 1907,
“A meeting of
ministers and laymen interested in the erection of the Victoria Wesleyan
Methodist Grammar School, convened by the Rev. D.J. Draper, Chairman of the
District, was held in the vestry of Wesley Church, Lonsdale-street, Melbourne,
on 1st November 1858; Rev. D.J. Draper in the chair.”
[Attendance and finances are outlined here, then …]
“The following names were recommended to the district meeting to form a
committee, with three additional ministers and six additional laymen from the
country, viz. : - Revs. Draper, Williams, Binks, Waugh, Wells, King, Messrs.
Webb, Davis, Vasey, Cooper, Cutts, Crouch, Powell, Sumner, Fraser, Guthridge,
Anderson, and Finlay. The district meeting appointed the above and the following,
who thus became members of the first committee: - The superintendent ministers
of the Geelong, Ballarat, and Castlemaine circuits, Messrs. Parker, Rix, Oddie,
Row, Thacker, and Harker. The first meeting of the committee was held on 8th
During the period that Thomas Rix served on the Education Committee and the
Victoria Wesleyan Methodist Grammar School committee
money and land for the
school were granted to the Church by the Government,
a six-day fundraising
‘Bazaar’ was held,
an architect was appointed,
plans and cost estimates were
tenders were invited,
postponement due to insufficient funds
an alternative site was considered ..... see footnote.
Thomas Rix was a highly-regarded
Wesleyan Methodist layman who was officially and actively involved in his
Church’s extensive educational work, including the establishment of Wesley
College, in the mid-nineteenth century, especially between 1855 and 1862.
Additional references used:
W. L. Blamires & Rev. John B. Smith,
The Early Story of the Wesleyan
Methodist Church in Victoria, Wesleyan Book Depot, Melbourne, 1886.
Rev. C. Irving Benson (ed), A Century of Victorian Methodism, Spectator
Publishing Co., Melbourne, 1935.
The Thorough Businessman: Memoirs of Walter Powell,
Strahan & Co., London, 1872.