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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Rev. Frederick William GUNNING

Born 1885 in Bermondsey, London, England [20] [21]
Son of carman Henry GUNNING and Jane CARTER [20] [21]
He was baptised by Curate J. W. LEWIS at the Saint Mary Magdalen Church in Bermondsey, London on 1 November 1885 [268]
Resided with his parents and siblings at 32 Mellicks Place in Bermondsey, London, England 1885-1901 [20] [268]
He was one of eight children with elder siblings Henry, David, Jane and Mercy, and younger siblings Alice, Charlotte and George [20]
Departed Plymouth, England on the steamship Orontes on 18 May 1907 bound for Fremantle, Western Australia [203]
After spending two years at Kalamunda in the Perth hills he shifted to Moora in 1909 [120: 19-Dec-1929]
Anglican Rector in Moora 1909-1919 and again 1927-1935 [5: 19-Jul-1935] [120: 19-Dec-1929]
Donated five shillings to the Moora District Hospital's sports held in Moora on Boxing Day in 1911 [9: 16-Feb-1912]
Married Lucy May COOK in 1912 [66]
Purchased Lots 132, 133, 193 and 194 of Melbourne Location 908 in the Moora townsite from the Midland Railway Company [27]
     Purchased the half-acre Lot 133 for £17/10/- on 20 February 1914, and the quarter-acre Lot 132 for £15 on 28 October 1915 [27]
     Paid for the lots by six monthly instalments, and purchased the half-acre Lots 193 and 194 for £27/10/- cash on 20 August 1914 [27]
Departed Fremantle, Western Australia on the steamship Ormonde with his wife and children bound for England [204]
     Also aboard the Ormonde and travelling to England was Eustuce Y. MORCOMBE, later of Waddy Forest and Yandanooka [204]
     They arrived on the Ormonde in London, England on 23 February 1920 with the intention of permanently living in England [204]
     Along with his wife and children departed London, England on the Beltana on 2 December 1920 bound for Western Australia [203]
Anglican Rector of Saint John's Church in the Perth suburb of Fremantle 1920-1924 [120: 19-Dec-1929]
Sheep Farmer for a few years before returning as Anglican Rector in Moora at the request of his former parishioners [120: 19-Dec-1929]
Anglican Rector of Saint James' Church in Moora 1927-1935 [5: 19-Jul-1935] [120: 19-Dec-1929]
Member of the Moora Masonic Lodge No. 97 W.A.C. - was Worshipful Master in 1927 [9: 17-Jun-1927]
Officiated at the wedding of Marjorie ROBERTS and Henry J. W. SWEETMAN in Moora on 24 January 1928 [9: 27-Jan-1928]
Vice President and Council Member of the Moora Agricultural Society in 1930 [12: 2-Oct-1930]
Committee Member of the Moora Progress Association in 1930 [12: 2-Oct-1930]
Member of the Saint James' Young Men's Club in Moora - was President in 1930 [12: 2-Oct-1930]
In 1930 his wife was the Presiding Associate of the Girls Friendly Society in Moora [12: 2-Oct-1930]
On Thursday 2 February 1932 gave an enjoyable lecture at the Coorow Hall on Dickins' characters [5: 10-Feb-1933]
After 26 years in Moora he left in mid 1935 to take control of the Mount Hawthorn Parish in Perth [5: 19-Jul-1935]
Approximately 400 people attended his farewell from Moora, which was held at the Moora Hall on Friday 27 June 1935 [5: 19-Jul-1935]
Officiated at the wedding of Alice M. PETHICK and Harold T. SEYMOUR in Carnamah on 8 July 1937 [5: 9-Jul-1937]
Officiated at the funeral of Mrs Grace E. GLOSTER of Moora at the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth on 13 July 1937 [39: 14-Jul-1937]
Officiated at the funeral of Coorow stationmaster William C. COX at the Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth on 4 November 1937 [5: 12-Nov-1937]
Officiated at the funeral of Robert PALFREYMAN of Carnamah at the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth on 11 August 1938 [5: 20-Aug-1938]
Officiated at the funeral of Percy C. MACPHERSON formerly of Carnamah at the Swan Cemetery in Perth in October 1940 [246]
In 1942 he was reported to have been an old friend of the BOTHE family of Coorow [5: 23-Oct-1942]
     Officiated at the funeral of Mrs Eliza Wilhelmina BOTHE of Coorow at the Winchester Cemetery on 20 August 1942 [1]
     Officiated at the funeral of Heinrich W. BOTHE of Coorow at the Winchester Cemetery on 19 October 1942 [5: 23-Oct-1942]
     Officiated at the funeral of Coorow farmer Baxter D. BOTHE at the Winchester Cemetery in Carnamah on 23 February 1950 [1]
Resided of late in the Perth suburb of Subiaco [2]
Father of Ruth Agnes, John Stansfield and Donald Hankey [203]
Died 31 May 1964; buried Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA (Anglican, ZC, 217A) [2]

From The Western Mail newspaper, Thursday 19 December 1929:
Country Towns and Districts - Moora and Gingin - Historic Midland Districts - Prominent Personalities
"How many people are there in the Midlands who do not know the Rev. F. W. Gunning, the peripatetic, charitable, journalistic, pugilistic parson of St. James's Anglican Church, Moora? Very few indeed, to be sure. For Gunning, as he is popularly known, has a fund of humour, a magnetic personality and an understanding heart. He loves the Midlands and has made a study of the pioneers and the difficulties they surmounted. Cockney born, he came to Moora in 1909, having spent two years at Kalamunda. There was neither church nor rectory, so Mr. Gunning pitched a tent, which he appropriately named the "wrecktory." During his first year of ministration he travelled 4,974 miles in a sulky. Heaven knows what he does now in a car! Today in Moora there is a beautiful stone church, built in memory of Walter Padbury, and a substantial rectory, while only a few days ago an anonymous parishioner promised the rector £1,000 as a nucleus of a fund to build a community hall. A believer in physical as well as practical Christianity he formed a boxing club soon after his arrival, and many still talk of the "impressions" he made. It was a great blow to Mr. Gunning when he was unable to accompany the Australians over-seas, his deafness being the difficulty. He was rector of St. John's, Fremantle, from 1920-24, but ill-health forced him to relinquish the incumbency and he went on the land to tend, as he says, "four-legged" sheep. In 1927 he returned to the Moora church at the request of the parishioners. Here are some of his views: "Parsons generally remember that they are parsons and in attempting to breakdown mistaken ideas about themselves they are liable to give false impressions. Doctors are taken at face value and so should parsons, but people are often afraid that they are going to pounce upon them about salvation." Mr. Gunning accomplishes a considerable amount of literary work and he is a frequent contributor to "The West Australian." His article on the late Archbishop Riley was a masterpiece. "The secret of journalism," he says, "is to keep your expression fresh and vigorous and the style will formulate itself. If you have something to say you will easily find a way in which to say it." Many are the good deeds he performs, but the world at large is not informed. Just what Moora would be like bereft of its rector is difficult to imagine."

From The Western Mail newspaper, Thursday 25 April 1935:
Moora - A Progress Centre - Moora Personalities
"The Rev. F. W. Gunning is one of the most well-known personalities along the Midland [Railway] Line. He has probably travelled through the districts adjacent to Moora, more than any other individual. Coming to Moora in 1909 his parish extended 10,000 square miles. With horse and sulky he averaged 5,000 miles a year. During the past six years his car has travelled 78,000 miles. He knows every old pioneer of the district and has the history of scores of individuals on the tip of his fingers and ready for transmission to the typewriter at any moment. In his study at the Rectory there are photographs of many old-timers, and records of the district's life. Throughout his long association with the district Mr. Gunning has endeared himself to all sections of the community and he has done much to further the interests of the Moora township by giving his services to any movement for the betterment of conditions. He is enthusiastic in his experiences of the Oxford Group Movement."

From The North Midland Times newspaper, Friday 19 July 1935:
Rev. F. W. Gunning Leaves Moora - 26 Years Residence
"The affection and respect of the Moora and Midland residents for the Rev. F. W. Gunning was emphasised on Friday, June 28, when 400 people met in the Moora Town Hall to bid farewell to Rev. and Mrs. Gunning. During the past few weeks the Rev. Gunning has been farewelled at every centre in the Midlands, but it is doubtful if there has been such a representative gathering as on the occasion of the evening at Moora. Extensive preparations were made for the evening and they were fully justified as the gathering indicates. A number of citizens spoke of the loss that would be sustained by Mr. Gunning's departure amongst whom were the Chairman of the Moora Road Board (Mr. E. H. B. Lefroy), Rev. Father Isidore (Roman Catholic Church), Rev. Limb (Methodist Church), Messrs. A. B. Gloster, H. D. Broad, A. McKinley and H. Carr, all of whom made sincere and eulogistic remarks concerning the sterling qualities of the guest as a resident and a Man of God. The Rev. Mr. Gunning leaves Moora to take over the work of the Mt. Hawthorn parish."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Frederick William Gunning' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 26 May 2022 from [reference list]

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