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Hulme-Moir, Francis Oag (1910–1979)

by K. J. Cable

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

Francis Oag Hulme-Moir (1910-1979), by Roy Studio

Francis Oag Hulme-Moir (1910-1979), by Roy Studio

Australian War Memorial, P02269.001

Francis Oag Hulme-Moir (1910-1979), Anglican bishop, was born on 30 January 1910 at Balmain, Sydney, third of four children of native-born parents Alexander Hugh Moir, shipping accountant, and his wife Violet Beryl, née Hulme. His mother, who had to raise her children in straitened circumstances, prefixed her maiden name to her married surname. Although baptized a Methodist, Frank grew up as a practising Anglican. Living at Randwick, he attended Sydney Technical High School and was employed as a survey draftsman. He lost his job in the Depression and had a difficult time financially. His conversion to a vibrant religious faith by Rev. Herbert Begbie at Willoughby in May 1932 gave him his true vocation.

Rejecting an offer to use his fine bass voice professionally and laying aside an ambition to enter the police force, Hulme-Moir studied part time at Moore Theological College. He was a lay reader at several North Shore parishes and, after a financial struggle, a full-time ministerial candidate. In 1936 he was made deacon and on 28 February 1937 he was ordained priest. At St Stephen's Church, Chatswood, on 10 April that year he married a typiste Ena Dorothy, daughter of Rev. Reginald Smee.

From the outset, Hulme-Moir was marked as a man who would contribute strongly as a churchman. Impressive in appearance and personality, he was a persuasive speaker and an obvious leader of men. Yet there was gentleness and a deep concern for the individual beneath the imposing presence and booming voice. Following a curacy at the strongly Evangelical centre of St Andrew's, Summer Hill, in 1937 he became State secretary of the Church Missionary Society, his vitality and administrative skill helping to reverse the institution's decline. In 1930 he had been commissioned in the Militia. A clear choice for chaplaincy work with the Australian Imperial Force, he served in the Middle East (1940-42) and in New Guinea (1944-45) and Bougainville (1945). He was promoted deputy assistant chaplain-general (1943) and was mentioned in dispatches.

Back in civilian life, Hulme-Moir rose rapidly in the Church. From 1945 he was rector of St Clement's, Mosman, returning to Summer Hill in 1952. He was archdeacon of Ryde (1947-49) and of Cumberland (1949-54), and maintained his military connexion as senior chaplain, Eastern Command. Having turned down two offers of elevation to the episcopate, he succumbed to a plea from the New Zealand diocese of Nelson and was consecrated bishop in Christ Church Cathedral on 11 June 1954.

Hulme-Moir enjoyed New Zealand, of which Nelson was the Evangelical hub; he liked his rural diocese and upheld its churchmanship vigorously but with tolerance. In 1959 he became senior Anglican chaplain to the New Zealand armed forces. It was with reluctance that he returned to Sydney in 1965 as assistant-bishop and dean. Intended to bring a strong Australian-born presence to an apparently English-ruled diocese, his appointment continued after the election of another Australian (Sir) Marcus Loane as archbishop in 1966. Hulme-Moir had declared that he did not seek his own nomination for that post.

To his regret, he found the deanship too much and resigned in 1967. He remained assistant-bishop and accepted appointments as bishop to the armed forces (1965), chaplain to the police force (1966), national chairman of the Church of England Men's Society (1969) and chaplain-general to the army (1974). In a life crowded with visitations, tours, preaching, public engagements and endless committees, Hulme-Moir remained patient, always in control and invariably concerned with the needs of the individual. Retiring in 1975, he joined the Parole Board of New South Wales and remained pastor to countless people. In 1976 he was appointed A.O.

Hulme-Moir died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease on 10 March 1979 at his Collaroy Plateau home and was cremated. His wife, who had supported him in all aspects of his immense ministry, survived him, as did his two sons and only daughter.

Select Bibliography

  • M. L. Loane, Mark These Men (Canb, 1985)
  • Church of England (Sydney), Sydney Diocesan Synod Report, 1966-79
  • Southern Cross (Sydney), Apr 1979
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Mar 1979
  • private information.

Citation details

K. J. Cable, 'Hulme-Moir, Francis Oag (1910–1979)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hulme-moir-francis-oag-10570/text18773, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 24 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

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