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Stretch, John Francis (1855 - 1919)

B.A., LL.B., D.D.
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Born: 1855  Geelong, Victoria.  Died: 1919  Killara, Sydney, New South Wales.

John Francis Stretch was born in 1855 and served as the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle from 1906 until 1919. He was the first Australian born bishop of the Anglican Church.

Career Highlights
John Francis Stretch was born in 1855 in Geelong, Victoria to English parents. Stretch was educated at Geelong Church of England Grammar School and after graduating went and studied at Trinity College, a college of the University of Melbourne. He received a Bachelor of Arts in 1874 and a Doctorate of Law in 1887. Stretch, despite his legal qualifications decided instead to pursue a career in the clergy. He became a deacon in 1878 and a priest in 1879. After serving in several small incumbencies Stretch was appointed dean of the diocese of Ballarat, and the next year became assistant bishop of Brisbane. In 1897 Stretch was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Oxford while visiting Britain for the Pan-Anglican conference. In 1900 Stretch decided to move to Newcastle where he accepted a position as a suffragan bishop and dean. Bishop Stanton, who was near retirement lived in Morpeth and left Stretch to attend to the industrial region of the diocese. After Stanton's death in 1906, Stretch was elected Bishop and moved the center of the diocese from Morpeth to Newcastle. He also pushed on with the construction of the Christ Church Cathedral which had been hampered for some time due to architectural problems. These reforms resulted in a rejuvenation of the parish life in Newcastle with more and more clergy being attracted to the area. Stretch managed to steer clear of the contentious issues of conscription and industrial reform and managed to keep his diocese a relatively harmonious place during his tenure. Stretch retired in 1919 due to ill health and died soon after from a cerebral haemorrhage.
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Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: James Crowley
Created: 20 September 2002
Modified: 15 December 2003

Published by The Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 5 April 2004
Prepared by: Acknowledgements
Updated: 23 February 2010

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