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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Greenway, Charles Capel (1818–1905)

by Keith H. Aubrey

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

Charles Capel Greenway (1818-1905), archdeacon, was born on 13 March 1818 in Sydney, son of Francis Howard Greenway and his wife Mary, née Moore. He was educated at Cape's School in Sydney and in 1848 leased Collymangool, 33,000 acres (13,355 ha) on the Barwon River in the Gwydir district, where he developed an abiding interest in the Aboriginals and gained a knowledge of the Kamilaroi tongue.

At 32 Greenway decided to enter the church and began his clerical training in the diocese of Newcastle under Bishop William Tyrrell, and in 1854 was stationed at Newcastle. He was not made deacon until 1866 when he moved to Bundarra where for twelve years his flock responded warmly to his pastoral care. In 1867 he was ordained priest. A thorough bushman, he travelled regularly throughout his huge parish which included Warialda, Inverell, Bingara and Barraba from which new parishes were set up in 1871-77. He was active in the affairs of the diocese of Grafton and Armidale and in 1874-79 a member of the Diocesan Council. In 1878 his appointment to Grafton reflected Bishop James Turner's high opinion of his work. Much of the credit for building Christ Church Cathedral at Grafton was due to Greenway's persistent efforts. In May 1882 he was appointed the first archdeacon of Grafton. He recognized the need for decentralized administration in the dual-titled diocese and was instrumental in gaining the approval of the diocesan synod in 1884 for two archidiaconal councils, a step towards the establishment of a separate coastal diocese thirty years later. He was appointed commissary when Bishop Turner retired to England in 1892; after Turner died in April 1893 he became administrator of the diocese and presided over the special synod which in 1894 elected Bishop Green. Early in his colonial career Bishop Tyrrell had spoken of Greenway's energy and perseverance and later Bishop Turner had written: 'Mr. Greenway commands my affection. With all his oddity there is a genuineness worth a great deal. I do not care about his brusque manner. I never tire of him. A bad preacher (on dit) but a good priest all agree'.

Greenway retired at the end of 1894 and lived on the family property at Tarro on the Lower Hunter. He died on 18 October 1905 in the Hillside private hospital for the insane, Gladesville, and was buried in the Anglican section of the Field of Mars cemetery. He was survived by his wife Emma, née Brown, a son and two daughters. A memorial window is in Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton.

Select Bibliography

  • K. H. Aubrey, The Church of England in Northern New South Wales … (M.A. thesis, University of New England, 1964)
  • Greenway papers, 1817-1903 (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Keith H. Aubrey, 'Greenway, Charles Capel (1818–1905)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 29 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

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