Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Frederick Henry Campion (1872–1957)

by Ruth Teale

This article was published:

Frederick Henry Campion (1872-1957), Anglican priest, was born on 8 September 1872 at Danny Park, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, England, second son of William Henry Campion, gentleman, and his wife Gertrude, née Brand. He was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford (B.A., 1895; M.A., 1908). He arrived in Sydney in 1895 as tutor in the household of his uncle, the governor Viscount Hampden. While shooting near Warren with (Sir) Norman Kater, he was appalled by the spiritual destitution of bush-dwellers and discussed ways to overcome it with Bishop Camidge and Rev. E. H. Lea. He soon returned to England, in 1896 entered Wells Theological College where he met C. H. S. Matthews, and was made deacon on 25 September 1898 and priested on 21 December 1899. While curate of St Mary Handsworth, Birmingham, he was invited to bring out another clergyman to test his plans for a bush brotherhood in Lea's parish of Dubbo. Campion and Matthews reached Sydney on 2 January 1902 in the Runic and on 9 January Campion was licensed as curate to the rector of Dubbo. Next year he began regular campaigns and formed an active committee in Sydney.

At Dubbo in May 1904 Campion formally established and became principal of the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd. Through his able management it became the most stable and successful of Anglican brotherhoods in Australia. In September he founded the society's journal, the Bush Brother, in which he published sermons and accounts of pastoral work.

In May 1906 Campion began a mission to Aboriginals and canvassed the idea of a theological college to train Australian-born Brothers. Above all, he established by example the pattern of a Bush Brother's life: trips into his district, interspersed with frequent short visits to the central house and by quarterly reunions there with all members of the Brotherhood. Despite disappointments, especially in recruitment, by 1907 the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd was financially viable; it owned its central house at Dubbo, opened in September 1905, and was welcomed by the clergy and laity.

On 19 November 1907 at Dubbo Campion married Noël Blaxland, great-granddaughter of Gregory Blaxland, and returned to his Sussex home. He became vicar of West Grimstead, Sussex, in 1909, an army chaplain in 1914, vicar of Leigh, Lancashire, in 1916 and rector of Tillington, Sussex, in 1930. He was rural dean of Petworth in 1932-45 and a prebendary of Chichester in 1938-57. In 1908 he had established the home association of the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd in London becoming its treasurer in 1909. He was long a commissary in England for the bishop of Bathurst and in 1924 visited Australia. In 1952 he and Matthews appealed to the Brothers to extend their mission to the diocese of Carpentaria, a challenge taken up in 1957.

Campion died at Petworth on 27 January 1957, survived by a son. In 1907 he had donated the window of the Good Shepherd in Holy Trinity Church, Dubbo, but his Australian memorial remains the Brotherhood itself.

Select Bibliography

  • C. H. Matthews, A Parson in the Australian Bush (Lond, 1908)
  • J. W. S. Tomlin, The Story of the Bush Brotherhoods (Lond, 1949)
  • Bush Brother, Sept 1904, Oct 1905, Nov 1906, Jan 1908, Mar 1957
  • 'Obituary', Times (London), 6 Feb 1957, p 11
  • Anglican (Sydney), 15, 22 Feb 1957
  • R. M. Teale, The Anglican Diocese of Bathurst, 1870-1911 (M.A. thesis, University of Sydney, 1968).

Citation details

Ruth Teale, 'Campion, Frederick Henry (1872–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 25 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (Melbourne University Press), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


8 September, 1872
Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, England


27 January, 1957 (aged 84)
Petworth, Sussex, England

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