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Way, James
1804-1884; e.m. 1826

BC minister and missionary to Australia, born at Morchard Bishop, Devon on 17 June 1804. He was converted under the preaching of Ann Guest, a female BC preacher. Because of his poverty he had to walk the 75 miles to his first circuit, carrying his library of three books, a Bible, a hymn-book and a dictionary. His impressive circuit ministry was recognized when he was elected President of the Conference in 1847. In 1850 he went out to Australia to form the first BC community in the Burra minefields north of Adelaide. Within months he had gathered a congregation and built a church at Bowden. In 1859 he conducted a revival among the Cornish miners at Burra. His wife was also a preacher. He died at Sea View, near Adelaide on 14 August 1884. In 1892 a boys' school, named Way College in his honour, was opened.

His son, Sir Samuel J. Way (1836-1910), born in Portsmouth, was educated at Shebbear College before joining his family in Australia.. He was called to the Bar in 1861 and became a Q.C. in 1871. He was elected to Parliament in 1875 and became Attorney General. In 1876 he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in South Australia, a position he held, along with that of Lieutenant Governor from 1890, until his death. The University of Adelaide (of which he was Chancellor from 1883), the Public Library, Museum, Art Gallery and Children's Hospital were among the institutions in his debt. He received doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge. He presented Lake Farm to his old school. He remained loyal to his BC roots and strongly supported the move to unite Australian Methodists in 1902.


  • G.J. Stevenson, Methodist Worthies (1884-86), 6 pp.888-95
  • W.J. Michell, Brief Biographical Sketches of Bible Christian Ministers and Laymen (Jersey, 1905-6) vol 1 pp.92- 100
  • Richard Pyke, The Golden Chain, the story of the Bible Christian Methodists (n.d.)
  • A.J. Hannan, The Life of Chief Justice Way (Sydney, 1960)
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography

Entry written by: DGH and EWD
Category: Person

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