Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Frederick Taylor Whitington (1853–1938)

by Louis V. Daniels

This article was published:

Frederick Taylor Whitington (1853-1938), by unknown photographer, c1895

Frederick Taylor Whitington (1853-1938), by unknown photographer, c1895

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B16267

Frederick Taylor Whitington (1853-1938), Anglican priest, was born on 13 July 1853 in Adelaide, son of William Smallpiece Whitington, merchant, and his wife Mary Emily, née Martin. With his parents opposing his wish to be a clergyman, he worked in his father's firm and later became an articled clerk. At 21 he was employed as a court reporter by the Adelaide Register and eventually rose to be sub-editor. At St Paul's Church on 1 October 1878 he married Katie Lisette (d.1929), daughter of (Sir) Richard Butler.

Made deacon in 1877 and ordained priest in Adelaide in 1879, Whitington was mission chaplain at Port Pirie in 1877-80. When his wife's health deteriorated they moved to Adelaide in March 1880 to the parish of St Mary on Sturt. Bishops' supply chaplain and bursar of St Barnabas's Theological College in 1882-83, he served as organizing chaplain of the Bishops' Home Mission Society in 1883-89. Having enrolled at the University of Adelaide, he graduated LL.B. in 1886. He was an honorary canon of St Peter's Cathedral from 1887 and was incumbent of the rural parish of Kapunda in 1887-91.

Attracted to Brisbane by the challenge of missionary work, Whitington was appointed missionary chaplain attached to St John's Pro-Cathedral and first general secretary of the Australian Board of Missions (1892). While visiting New Guinea, he contracted recurring malaria and doctors advised him to move to a colder climate. In 1893 he was made assistant incumbent and canon of St David's Cathedral, Hobart. In 1895 he became rector of St John's Church, Newtown, and archdeacon of Hobart, a position he retained until his retirement in 1923. He was also vicar general from 1895 and administered the diocese during the absences of Bishops Henry Montgomery and John Mercer. Whitington became senior chaplain to the Armed Forces in Tasmania in World War I and held the rank of colonel. He served for eighteen years on the council of the University of Tasmania. His scholarly work included biographies of Bishop Augustus Short, Bishop William Grant Broughton and A. R. Russell, dean of Adelaide.

The archdeacon was a popular cleric. An advanced churchman with a deep love of Anglo-Catholic liturgy, he was scholarly, genial and eloquent; his delightful wit and humour endeared him to people of all classes, within the Church and beyond it. Editor of the Tasmanian diocesan monthly newspaper, Church News, Whitington was also a long-standing member of general synod, and widely known and respected throughout the Australian Anglican Church.

Predeceased by his son and survived by his daughter Mary Agnes who had always lived with her father, Whitington died in Hobart on 29 November 1938 and was buried in St John's cemetery, Newtown, after a service in All Saints Church, South Hobart.

Select Bibliography

  • W. R. Barrett, History of the Church of England in Tasmania (Hob, 1942)
  • D. Hilliard, Godliness and Good Order (Adel, 1986)
  • Church News (Hobart), July 1893, May 1895, May 1923, Dec 1938, Sept 1939
  • All Saints Parish Paper, Aug 1929
  • Year Book of the Church of England in Tasmania, 1930
  • Examiner (Launceston), 30 Nov, 2 Dec 1938
  • Mercury (Hobart), 30 Nov, 2 Dec 1938.

Citation details

Louis V. Daniels, 'Whitington, Frederick Taylor (1853–1938)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 21 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne University Press), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Frederick Taylor Whitington (1853-1938), by unknown photographer, c1895

Frederick Taylor Whitington (1853-1938), by unknown photographer, c1895

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B16267

Life Summary [details]


13 July, 1853
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


29 November, 1938 (aged 85)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.