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Farnham Edward Maynard (1882–1973)

by Albert B. McPherson

This article was published:

Farnham Edward Maynard (1882-1973), Anglican clergyman, was born on 15 November 1882 at Islington, London, fifth child of Charles Dudley Maynard, surgeon, and his wife Emily Darell Louisa, née McAdam. Farnham attended St Paul's School, London, and studied engineering at the University of London (B.Sc., 1904). After teaching at Ely Grammar School, he prepared for holy orders at Ely Theological College. He was made deacon in the Church of England on 23 December 1906 and ordained priest on 22 December 1907. His first appointment was to the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, Bell Green, Sydenham, London.

Recruited by Bishop Halford for work in the diocese of Rockhampton, Maynard arrived in Brisbane in March 1910 and was immediately sent to minister at Gladstone. After two years there, he was made rector of St Mary's, Mount Morgan. He withdrew from the regular exercise of his priesthood for three months and became a goldminer in order to experience at first hand the conditions of such workers; during this brief interval he joined the Queensland branch of the Australian Workers' Union and received permission from Halford to act as a mission priest of the diocese. In 1921-26 Maynard served in the diocese of Brisbane, for most of the period as rector of All Saints, Wickham Terrace, to which he was appointed by Archbishop Sharp.

From 1926 to 1964 Maynard was vicar at St Peter's, Eastern Hill, Melbourne. There he became well known as a leader of the Anglo-Catholic movement within the Church of England in Australia. His approach to liturgical matters was always controlled by his theology and scholarship. Inheriting a somewhat flamboyant pattern of worship from his predecessor E. S. Hughes, he at once sought to restrain it. He experienced considerable opposition from the parish's mission church, St Mary's, Fitzroy, whose congregation he thought did not properly fulfil its ministry to the poor. His attempt to settle this problem by installing Father Gerard Tucker proved unsuccessful and he eventually handed the mission over to the Community of the Holy Name.

Popularly known as 'F.E.M.', Maynard was deeply and widely read in theology, ecclesiology, history and philosophy. His concern with liturgy and worship was kindled by leaders of the Anglo-Catholic movement, while he traced his interest in history to Mandell Creighton, bishop of London. Bishop Charles Gore's determination to apply Catholic principles to social problems and contemporary issues influenced him throughout his life. Much in demand as a preacher and speaker within and without the Anglican Church, 'F.E.M.' reached a wide circle of people through his preaching and pastoral counselling. He exercised further scholarly influence as editor of the Australian Church Quarterly. His own publications included Economics and the Kingdom of God (1929) and The Continuity of the Church of England (1939), as well as numerous articles and essays. In 1941 he was made a fellow of the Australian College of Theology. He was rural dean of Melbourne in 1940-50 and a canon of St Paul's Cathedral in 1942-64.

Apart from his ecclesiastical reputation, Maynard was recognized for his interest in politics, although he remained strictly unaligned with any political party. An outspoken protagonist of socialism, he feared that Australia would be swamped by fascism during the 1930s. In World War II he supported the struggle against fascism, but was passionate in his desire for peace, and to this end was willing to work with communist organizations and to speak on platforms with fellow travellers. He arranged a series of talks in 1944 on socialism, held in the chapter house at St Paul's Cathedral, and was one of three main speakers. The addresses were published as A Fair Hearing for Socialism. It was a controversial initiative, as were his visits to the Soviet Union and China in 1952.

Maynard was a minor patron of artists. For many years his great friend Arthur Nickson was organist and director of music at St Peter's, Eastern Hill. Maynard also encouraged and employed Napier Waller and Andor Mészáros, as well as local goldsmiths, silversmiths and embroiderers. Trained as an engineer, he had a practical side to his nature: while in Queensland he had patented a machine for making blinds and developed an orchard at Yeppoon. His early diaries recorded his fondness for walking, bathing and gymnastics. In 1964, in failing health, Canon Maynard retired from St Peter's, Eastern Hill. He died on 24 January 1973 at Hawthorn and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • R. S. Gibson, My Years in the Communist Party (Melb, 1966)
  • J. Handfield, Friends and Brothers (Melb, 1980)
  • C. Holden, From Tories at Prayer to Socialists at Mass (Melb, 1996)
  • Australian Church Quarterly, Easter 1973
  • Age (Melbourne), 26 Jan 1973
  • Herald (Melbourne), 26 Jan 1973
  • Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne), 26 Jan 1973
  • F. E. Maynard papers (St Peter's, Eastern Hill, Archives)
  • personal knowledge.

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Albert B. McPherson, 'Maynard, Farnham Edward (1882–1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 17 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


15 November, 1882
London, Middlesex, England


24 January, 1973 (aged 90)
Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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