I found this article “Women at Dances” while searching for pioneer obituaries in the Portland Guardian, so I tagged it for a future Trove Tuesday post. That day has arrived. Today I introduce the preachings of Reverend George Gladstone of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Nathalia, Victoria.
Surely he didn’t get away with that. Did he? Well, yes and no. While the Bishop of Melbourne stood by his man, the people of Nathalia wanted to run him out of town.
That finding came from a search – George Gladstone Nathalia – at Trove. There were pages of search results specific to the Reverend and the implications of the June 1899 sermon reported in the Portland Guardian and beyond.
I was not surprised to read headlines like this:
or even this:
A public meeting was held in the Nathalia hall and the following is an example of the tone of the meeting:
A cry of “Horsewhip him” rang out as Mr W. McCormick had his say, indicating the Reverend’s sermons were receiving publicity around the world.
The Reverend did not stop. He delivered a sermon at Barmah, not far from Nathalia in September 1899, and once again spoke of the evils of dances. He also denounced the Irish, proclaiming they the were known for “drinking, dancing and dynamiting”. George Gladstone then had to escape through a side door and run through the bush to an awaiting buggy, hence the headline:
A year on he was not leaving anyone alone.
I was surprised to read that in 1907 George Gladstone was still in Nathalia and was still delivering sermons that led to riotous scenes.
In 1908, it all ended up in the courts after the Bishop of Wangaratta revoked Gladstone’s license to preach. After failing in the courts, Gladstone attempted to set up his own religion, the Natalia Reformed Church of England. The Victorian Government refused to proclaim the religion. He passed away in 1916.
George Gladstone, while totally unrepentant, was probably lucky he was not preaching one hundred years later. Imagine the social media uproar #horsewhiphim