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Gerard Addington D'Arcy-Irvine (1862–1932)

by K. J. Cable

This article was published:

Gerard Addington D'Arcy-Irvine (1862-1932), by May Moore

Gerard Addington D'Arcy-Irvine (1862-1932), by May Moore

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an3085076

Gerard Addington D'Arcy-Irvine (1862-1932), Anglican bishop, was born on 17 June 1862 at Wandsworth, London, fifth son of Canon Thomas Gorges Henry Mervyn D'Arcy Irvine and his wife Harriet, daughter of General Strover, of the East India Company's army. The family was Anglo-Irish from County Fermanagh and had bred many clergymen. In 1870 his father became headmaster of Napier Grammar School, New Zealand, where Gerard was educated, and moved to Goulburn, New South Wales, in 1879. Completing his schooling there, Gerard became a bank clerk until he entered Moore Theological College, Liverpool, in 1884 (Barker scholar 1885) to study for the ministry.

D'Arcy-Irvine was made deacon on 27 September 1885 and ordained priest on 19 September 1886 by Bishop Barry. At Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, he married Bessie, daughter of Charles Langley, a civil engineer, on 2 December 1885. His initial curacy was in the railway district of Macdonaldtown, attached to St Stephen's, Newtown (1885-86). After a brief stay at Pitt Town, he served three years at St John's, Parramatta. In both cases, he trained under skilful clergymen, Robert Taylor and W. J. Gunther. His first parishes were in country towns: at Windsor (1890-93) and Bowral (1893-98). In 1898 he moved to the growing industrial centre of Wollongong, also becoming rural dean and gaol chaplain. He spent nine years on the south coast, developed an affection for its scenery and people and established himself as a notable pastor.

In 1907 D'Arcy-Irvine returned to Sydney, initially to the small inner-city parish of Holy Trinity, Miller's Point, but soon to be archdeacon of Cumberland. His archdeaconry comprised the northern and outer western suburbs, even though in 1912 he moved his own parochial base to the conventional district (later parish) of Rose Bay and Vaucluse. The demands of this rapidly growing middle-class area in the Eastern Suburbs led him to resign some of the administrative posts he had acquired on his elevation, such as honorary secretary of the Church Society for the Diocese of Sydney (Home Mission Society), general secretary of the Centennial Church Extension Fund, and examining chaplain to the archbishop. The addition, in 1915-19, of Watson's Bay to his parochial charge increased his work as a minister while his accession as senior archdeacon in 1917 made him Archbishop Wright's vicar-general and commissary.

In the 1920s Wright suffered ill health while his primatial duties increased, but not until 1926 did he nominate a coadjutor: D'Arcy-Irvine was consecrated on 10 October, and later transferred from Vaucluse to the city parish of St Philip. He was an evident and popular choice: the senior clergyman, an evangelical who conformed to the predominant theological opinion of the diocese, a conservative in matters of constitutional and Prayer Book reform, he was a man of moderate temperament with a reputation as a conciliator. He could be severe on liturgical excesses but he was not a 'party' man. His principal duty was to take over much of the routine work in an expanding diocese. However, he found himself acting for the archbishop, including presiding at several sessions of synod. The Depression added to the problems of the Church, already troubled by controversies over ecclesiastical government and discipline.

D'Arcy-Irvine was not a scholar but he took delight in literature: he was the preacher at Henry Lawson's funeral. In 1899 he published privately a small volume, titled simply Poems: the themes showed his patriotism, his strong moral sense and his love of south coast scenery. In 1905 James Nisbet & Co. of London took over the publication; the sixth edition of 1921 was almost three times the size of the first. D'Arcy-Irvine's poetic talent did not greatly improve but his range of topics increased as his public horizon grew wider.

On 8 June 1927 D'Arcy-Irvine's wife died; on 20 October 1928 at St Philip's Church he married Florence Gertrude Angus. He died of kidney disease at his home at Double Bay on 18 April 1932 and was buried in South Head cemetery. He was survived by his wife and by two sons and two daughters of his first marriage. Both his sons served overseas in World War I. Memorials to him are at Rose Bay, Wollongong, St Philip's, Sydney, and St Andrew's Cathedral.

His brother Malcolm Mervyn (1870-1937) was educated at St Paul's College, University of Sydney (B.A., 1889; LL.B., 1912), and was admitted as a solicitor in 1892 and to the Bar in 1921. He was a governor of The King's School, Parramatta, a member of the diocesan, provincial and general synods and a member of the convention to frame a constitution for the Church of England in Australia. He had married Effie Jane Mansfield on 15 April 1914. He died in Sydney on 14 September 1937 and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • Church of England Diocese of Sydney, Votes and Proceedings of Synod, 1907-1933
  • Church of England Historical Society, Sydney Journal, Mar 1970
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Apr 1932
  • Australian Church Record, 5 May 1932
  • Sydney ordination papers, episcopal registers (Sydney Diocesan Registry).

Citation details

K. J. Cable, 'D'Arcy-Irvine, Gerard Addington (1862–1932)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 18 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (Melbourne University Press), 1981

View the front pages for Volume 8

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Gerard Addington D'Arcy-Irvine (1862-1932), by May Moore

Gerard Addington D'Arcy-Irvine (1862-1932), by May Moore

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an3085076

Life Summary [details]


17 June, 1862
Wandsworth, Surrey, England


18 April, 1932 (aged 69)
Double Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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