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Scotney, Hubert Roy (1903–1981)

by George Hazell

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

Hubert Roy Scotney (1903-1981), Salvation Army officer, was born on 16 October 1903 at Echuca, Victoria, elder child of English-born Thomas Scotney and his Victorian-born wife Harriet Augusta, née Stitfold.  Hubert’s parents, both officers in the Salvation Army, served throughout Australia.  He attended Leederville State and Perth Modern schools in Western Australia, and completed his education in 1918 at Ballarat Agricultural High School, Victoria.

After living at Albion, Brisbane, in 1923 Scotney was accepted for training at the Salvation Army college at Petersham, Sydney.  The following year he was appointed as a pro-lieutenant at Merewether, Newcastle.  He married Florence Marion Baxter, also a Salvation Army officer, on 19 December 1927 at the Salvation Army Temple, Brisbane.  After twelve years in corps, including Nambour and Gympie in Queensland and Armidale, Orange and Auburn in New South Wales, in 1936-40 he served as a divisional youth secretary in two Sydney divisions.  He was chief training officer for men at the college (1940-42) and territorial youth secretary (1942-45).  Recognised as a capable and meticulous administrator, he was appointed commander of the Sydney metropolitan division in 1945.  Six years (1950-56) as field secretary followed.  In 1955 with Major George Carpenter he travelled to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to explore the possibility of extending Salvation Army service there.  Work began in Port Moresby the next year.

People working under Scotney found his standards difficult to achieve but his superiors recognised his efficient leadership.  His first international job, chief secretary (second in command) for the Scotland and Ireland territory, came in 1956, with the rank of colonel.  In 1958 he held the same position in the British territory—the largest, with over one thousand corps—based in London.  In 1960, as lieutenant commissioner, he took charge of the South America East territory, which comprised Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.  He returned to Australia in 1963 in command of Australia Southern, which had its head office in Melbourne.  After five years there he became territorial commander of his home territory, Australia Eastern, based in Sydney.  He was appointed OBE in 1968.  Salvation Army leaders from around the world met as the High Council to choose their next general in 1969 and Scotney was elected as president of the council.  In 1972 he retired from active service and was co-opted as a member of the advisory council to the general.

Scotney had a strong interest in Salvation Army doctrine and history, frequently lecturing to groups such as cadets in training.  For example, in his article, 'The Year of Multiple Births', in the Officer (March 1979), he drew attention to Salvation Army activity in Australia in 1880, especially the work of John Gore and Edward Saunders.

Upright and inclined to puritanism, Scotney did not shirk in his duty:  he gave an address to the State Congress in 1972, which was reported by one Sydney newspaper under the heading 'Salvation Army Officer Says We’re Sex Mad', although it was formally titled 'Salvationist Ethics in a Secular Society' and dealt with a variety of topics; another article in the War Cry (June 1974) was entitled 'A Plug for The Puritans'.  Scotney and his wife were both good musicians.  Predeceased by a daughter (d.1932) and a son (d.1942) and survived by his wife and two sons, he died on 29 April 1981 at Campsie, Sydney, and was buried in Rookwood cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • War Cry: The Official Gazette of the Salvation Army in Australia and Tasmania, 7 July 1956, p 4
  • War Cry: The Official Gazette of the Salvation Army in Australia and Tasmania, 30 March 1968, p 6
  • War Cry: The Official Gazette of the Salvation Army in Australia and Tasmania, 28 October 1972, p 3
  • War Cry: The Official Gazette of the Salvation Army in Australia and Tasmania, 16 May 1981, p 7
  • Salvation Army records (Heritage Centre, Bexley North, Sydney).

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Citation details

George Hazell, 'Scotney, Hubert Roy (1903–1981)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 22 March 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

View the front pages for Volume 18

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