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Draper, Daniel James
1810-1866; e.m. 1834

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WM missionary in Australia, he was born at Wickham, Hants on 28 August 1810 to Anglican parents and apprenticed to his father, who was a carpenter. He became a Methodist in the society at Fareham and became a local preacher after moving to Brecon. He was ordained in 1835 and sent to Australia, arriving with his wife at Hobart, Tasmania, in February 1836. He exercised an impressive 30-year ministry in the colonies of New South Wales(1836-46), South Australia (1846-54) and in Victoria (1854-66) as Chairman of the District. He was a great church-builder at a time of rapid population growth, and had no scruples in accepting government support. In Adelaide he built the Pirie Street church, known as 'the Cathedral of South Australia Methodism' His election to Conference offices, including the Australasian Presidency, was a recognition of his genial leadership, enthusiasm for church building and financial ability. He was a founder of Wesley College, Melbourne and a pioneer of inter-church co-operation. His first wife died in childbirth and his second wife was drowned with him when the ship on which they were returning from an official visit to the British and Irish Conferences sank in the Bay of Biscay on 11 January 1866. Survivors testified to his courageous exhortations and prayers as the ship was sinking. A painting by John Brett (1830-1902), 'Christmas Morning' (1886) depicting the sinking of the 'Londorp' in which Draper lost his life is in the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth.

Sources

  • J.C. Symons, The Life of the Rev. Daniel James Draper (1870)
  • Dictionary of Australian Biography
  • Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography

Entry written by: DGH and TMO
Category: Person

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