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George Edwin Lamble (1877–1939)

by Keith Cole

This article was published:

George Edwin Lamble (1877-1939), Anglican clergyman, was born on 19 February 1877 at Durham Lead near Ballarat, Victoria, second child and eldest son of George Robert Lamble, state school headmaster, and his wife Catherine Mary, née Mullins. As a boy he enjoyed the outdoor life and recalled that after the family moved to Kew, Melbourne, he and his brother explored 'every inch of the Yarra, from Dight's Falls to Warrandyte'. He matriculated from Scotch College in 1892. He was ordained deacon on 10 June 1900 and priest on 2 June 1901 by Bishop Goe, serving curacies at Cunninghame (Lakes Entrance) in 1900 and at St Columb's, Hawthorn, in 1900-02. On 22 October 1904 at St Columb's he married Louisa Clark.

Lamble's work was important in the formative years of the diocese of Wangaratta. He was locum tenens of Glenrowan in 1902, then minister of Mooroopna and Tallygaroopna. In 1903 he undertook diocesan responsibilities at Wangaratta as registrar (until 1907), warden of St Columb's Hall and rector of its dependent centres, and chaplain to Bishop Armstrong. While at Wangaratta he graduated Th.L. from the Australian College of Theology (1908).

In 1910 he returned to the diocese of Melbourne, until 1912 as incumbent of St Barnabas', South Melbourne. That year he enrolled at the University of Melbourne but did not complete his degree. For the next thirteen years he was rector of St Stephen's, Richmond, where he showed keen awareness of the difficulties faced by people in industrial suburbs.

Lamble's Richmond ministry was interrupted by the war. As chaplain in the Australian Imperial Force from October 1916 he served in France from March 1917 to March 1918. His appointment was terminated at his own request after the deaths of his father and brother, and the recall of his wife's missionary sisters to China, left his wife, his five children and two spinster sisters in need. His wife died on 8 August 1919 after the birth of their sixth child and on 22 September 1921 at St Mark's, Camberwell, he married Winifred Jessie Bainbridge.

Lamble began his most significant work in 1925 when he was appointed missioner of the district of St James and St John, Melbourne. This was founded in 1919 to care for those in need in these two Melbourne city parishes; under Canon Lamble the emphasis widened to the establishment and maintenance of 'homes for the homeless' and the provision of 'means for the reclamation of the fallen'. The St Agnes' Home for Girls and the St Nicholas' Home for Boys were opened at Glenroy in 1926. A few months later the mission purchased The Horseshoe at Carlton and transformed it into a home for girls suffering from venereal disease and next year the Kadesh Maternity Home for unmarried mothers was opened at Carlton. Appointed archdeacon of Carlton in 1927 by Archbishop Harrington Lees and rector of St John's and St Martin's homes for boys in Canterbury, Lamble continued his work for the mission for another twelve years. In April 1928 the St Paul's and St Barnabas' Training School for Boys began operation at Newhaven, Phillip Island. The St Gabriel's Babies' Home was opened at Balwyn in February 1935.

Archdeacon Lamble took a leading part in Freemasonry and was grand chaplain in Victoria. He was on the councils of the Melbourne Church of England Girls' Grammar School and of the Phillip Island Shire. He died on 4 June 1939 at East Melbourne of pulmonary embolism following surgery for hernia and was buried in Burwood cemetery. He was survived by his second wife and by the three daughters and three sons of his first marriage. At his funeral service Archbishop Head emphasized his own dependence on Lamble and described him as 'a true man of God, a forceful leader with a wonderful capacity for organization'. An old boy of St Nicholas' Home later wrote of him as 'truly a father to the fatherless and father-forsaken; always approachable and sympathetic; a wise counsellor; and in correction or encouragement, one who made himself loved by all'.

Select Bibliography

  • K. Cole, Commissioned to Care (Melb, 1969)
  • Sun-News Pictorial (Melbourne), 1 Dec 1926
  • Argus (Melbourne), 5, 6, 7 June 1939
  • Herald (Melbourne), 6 June 1939
  • Dioceses of Melbourne and Wangaratta records (1900-39)
  • Mission of St James and St John records (1919-40)
  • St Stephens, Richmond records (1912-25).

Citation details

Keith Cole, 'Lamble, George Edwin (1877–1939)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 17 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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