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Kearsley, William (Bill) (1863–1921)

from Methodist

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

William Kearsley, n.d.

William Kearsley, n.d.

Cessnock City Library Local Studies Collection

The funeral of the late Mr. Kearsley took place at Cessnock on the 22nd ult., and, as an indication of the esteem in which he was held, there were upwards of 20,000 attended, representing every town on the Maitland coalfield, while at the memorial service held in the Empire Theatre, Cessnock, on the 3rd inst., 1,000 were present. At the former function a service was held in the Methodist Church conducted by the Rev. W. Coleman, assisted by the Rev. A. H. Venn (Anglican). The Rev. R. J. Thomas, of West Maitland, gave the address. As the cortege left the church the whole line of route was thronged with people. At the approach to the cemetery the colliery employees opened out and formed a guard of honour, through which the hearse and mourners passed the gates. Inside the cemetery the Masonic order formed another guard of honour to the grave. The service was conducted by the Rev. W. Coleman, assisted by the Revs. D. Finlayson (Pres.), H. Lawson (Cong.), D. Weatherall and Adjutant Robinson. The Rev. W. Coleman paid a tender tribute to the memory of the departed, and the Masonic burial service was read. The chief mourners were Mrs. Kearsley, wife; Nurse Edna Kearsley, daughter; Masters Harry and Bernard Kearsley, sons; Mrs. J. K Pendlebury, sister; Mr. J. E. Pendlebury, Masters Thomas and Edward Pendlebury and G. Leetham, nephews. Numerous wreaths were sent, and hundreds of letters and telegrams were received by the relatives.

At the service held in the Empire Theatre, Cessnock, on the 3rd inst., the Rev. W. Coleman was again in charge, having the assistance of the Revs. A. H. Venn, D. Finlayson, and H. E. Lawson. Ex-Senator Watson delivered a most impressive address, and the whole service was a fitting tribute to the memory of a good man. The collection, which amounted to £22, was devoted to the founding of the William Kearsley Cot in the local hospital.

The following obituary notice, prepared by Mr. Coleman, was read at the service: —

William Kearsley was born in Stafford, but his earlier years were spent in Manchester, where he saw and felt much of the hard and cruel conditions which half a century ago prevailed amongst the workers in all the industrial centres. Like so many men who have made their mark in the world, William Kearsley was fortunate in his mother, whose wise counsel and practical piety were ever an invaluable asset to the home, and an inspiration to her children. The education at the public schools of the time was supplemented by the Sunday school training given by the Methodist Church, to which he belonged, and it was in connection with that Church that he first found opportunity for the exercise and expression of his unique gifts and his high ideals. As teacher and preacher, he became when quite a young man a force for righteousness in the community where he lived until the Church called him to larger service in connection with the Manchester City Mission, where he laboured most successfully for about three years. From Manchester he went to Humecliff College for two years. In 1891 he, at the urgent call for men to preach the Gospel, embarked for Australia, and for the past 30 years he has been one of Australia's best citizens. The first few years were devoted entirely to the work of the ministry, and as a minister who served God and his age, he remained true to all the greater spiritual verities of the Christian faith right to the end. With a wish to demonstrate the value of Christianity as a personal and a public cure for many of the ills of the social system, no less than a determination to prove that will and character, and not circumstances or environment, make the man, he voluntarily choose to become a miner, and not a few stories are told of his unselfish spirit even amongst his mates. He there proved that the golden rule was possible, and as a famous statesman said the other day, the golden rule is not only sound Christianity, but it is also good business. And one is glad to know that the men amongst whom he worked were not long blind to his excellent spirit and qualities. As their chosen representative in 1909 he secured the Northumberland seat, and was returned at subsequent elections. As a statesman he has made some valued contributions to humanitarian legislation, especially mining laws. His public duties were most conscientiously carried out, and his sympathy and boundless generosity overflowed in a sacrificial ministry of comfort and charitable benefaction. His home life was as beautiful as his own nature, and he had in his splendid wife one who most loyally supported him in his public work, and shared with him his trials and sacrifices.

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Citation details

'Kearsley, William (Bill) (1863–1921)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/kearsley-william-bill-32474/text40278, accessed 8 August 2022.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

William Kearsley, n.d.

William Kearsley, n.d.

Cessnock City Library Local Studies Collection