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Dr Charles Perry

1807 – 1891

Charles Perry (1807-1891) was consecrated the first Bishop of Melbourne at Westminster Abbey in 1847, only eleven years after he was ordained into the Anglican church. When he arrived in Melbourne in 1848 the diocese had a population of 43 000, but pastoral work was handled by just three chaplains based in Melbourne, Geelong and Portland. Perry alleviated the shortage of clergy by appointing colonists as readers. In 1850, along with five other Australasian bishops, Perry advocated self-governance of the Australian Anglican Church, leading to the establishment of the first synod of the Anglican Church in Australia in 1856. During the population explosion of the mid-1860s Perry put a case that led to the creation of the Ballarat diocese in 1873. During his time in the colony he also made strong contributions to the establishment of the Melbourne Grammar School and the Geelong Grammar School. While he was considered a traditionalist, he lectured frequently in the 1860s on the need for the Church to engage with new scientific theories. His term as bishop ended in 1874 and he returned to England, where he continued to serve the Church.

Updated 2012