PORT PHILLIP CLERGY - THE REV. PETER GUNN


The wonders of the internet, as an aid to family history research, never ceases to amaze me! Recently I entered my Port Phillip Pioneer ancestor's name into the search engine, Google, and the name appeared as one of a list of Port Phillip District residents, on an excellent website, Genseek Genealogy, hosted by Jenny Fawcett. Jenny's website is a genealogy directory, specialising in convict genealogy and early colonial history with links to many other useful websites. It was at www.standard.net.au/~jwilliams/index.htm but now appears to have been taken offline.

The Port Phillip residents whose names appeared on the list were signatories to a petition in support of the Rev. Peter Gunn. The list of names, together with a covering letter and a letter of reply from Rev. Gunn, was published in The Melbourne Weekly Courier on Saturday 10th August 1844. I did some further research into this episode, curious to know what circumstances had led to the need for such public support of Rev. Gunn.

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"The Melbourne Weekly Courier"
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Melbourne.
August 1st, 1844

To the Rev. Peter Gunn, Presbyterian Minister, at Heidelberg.

REV. AND DEAR SIR, - We the undersigned, Presbyterian and other inhabitants of Melbourne and its vicinity, having occasionally sat under your ministry, and being personally acquainted with you since your arrival in this province, feel that it is a duty imperatively demanded of us, that we should testify against the imputations cast out against you by the Rev. James Fullerton, L.L.D., Moderator of the Synod of Australia, in a letter dated June 12th, which is published in the Port Phillip Patriot newspaper, of the 22nd ultimo representing you as "particularly inactive and querulous," and as "given to murmuring".

We are enabled from our personal knowledge of you, to declare that these charges against your character and usefulness in the ministry are wholly unfounded, and we cheerfully bear testimony to your zeal and activity in the discharge of your sacred duties. Hoping that you will believe we cordially sympathise with your feelings under the unmerited treatment you have received.

We are, Reverend and Dear Sir,
Your very obedient servants,

		George Annand, merchant, Collins Street
		Isaac Buchanan, merchant
		Robert Smith, merchant
		Robert Campbell, draper, Collins Street
		James Morrison, draper
		James Stewart Johnston, publican, Melbourne
		Robert Donaldson, draper, Melbourne
		Henry Budge
		George Swanson
		James Murray
		Thomas Grant
		Charles Williamson, merchant, Melbourne
		Thomas McCombie
		William Kerr, Alderman, Bourke Ward
		William Harper
		Neil McDonald, Campbellfield
		William McIntosh, Campbellfield
		John Grant, Campbellfield
		John McPherson, Campbellfield
		Alexander Watson, Campbellfield
		Hector Macdonald, Campbellfield
		Kenneth Mackenzie, Campbellfield
		Alexander Guthrie, Campbellfield
		James Guthrie, Campbellfield
		Angus Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds
		George Gordon Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds
		Duncan Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds
		James Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds
		Hugh Cameron, Moonee Moonee Ponds
		Neill Macdonald, Moonee Moonee Ponds
		Neill Macgillvey
		Donald Cameron Annet, Glenroy
		John Macdonald
		Donald Macdonald
		John Kilpatrick
		Donald Macdonald
		Charles Laing
		William Dawson
		John Harlin
		Henry Leslie Prentice
		James Bowie Kirk
		Thomas Miller
		Robert Campbell
		John McGregor
		David Duncan
		John Allee
		David Young
		Philip Anderson
		John Brown
		J. Williamson
		Alexander Mackinlay
		Thomas Napier
		John Jones Peers
		George Beaver
		Kenneth Bethune
		Neil Campbell
		Ewen Tolmie
		John McKenzie
		Robert Mathewson
		R. Wilson
		David McMurtrie
		Robert Fitchet
		John Welsh
		John McColl
		James Goldie
		William Dods
		John Rankin
		James Landles
		D. McLachlan
		Andrew Richey
		Alexander Barrie
		Robert Reid
		Robert Fleming
		Edward Parker
		David Stevenson
		John Myres
		James Hair
		John Cook
		John Williamson
		James Roberts
		W. Cumming
		John Thomas
		William Fleming, surgeon
		Robert Kerr
		Thomas Mickle
		George Dick
		John Barr
		Graham Finlayson
		M. Gibson
		Thomas John Everist
		John Dingwall
		James Martin
		John McMillan
		Donald McKenzie, senior
		Angus McKenzie
		D. McKenzie, junior
		J. McKenzie
		F. L. B. Lang
		Robert Laidlaw
		Duncan McGregor
		Peter Stewart
		Andrew Welsh
		Thomas Smith
		James Douglass
		John Cameron
		David Goodsir

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Melbourne.
9th August, 1844

MY DEAR FRIENDS, - It is with the most grateful feelings that I beg to acknowledge the pleasure of receiving your address, testifying against the imputations thrown out against me by the Rev. James Fullerton, Moderator of the Synod of Australia.

I was concious in my own mind that they were unfounded and uncalled for; and the disinterested testimony which so large and respectable a number of those amongst whom I have been labouring bear to my zeal and activity, will, I trust, be the means through divine grace of stimulating me to prosecute the discharge of my sacred duties with renewed ardour both through good and through bad report.

I most cordially and joyfully accept of your sympathy, in the disagreeable circumstances in which I have been placed. I beg to offer you all my most sincere thanks, and wishing you all manner of happiness.

I have the honour to be,
My dear friends,
Your, truly,

PETER GUNN

To Messrs. George Annand,
Isaac Buchanan
Robert Smith, etc.

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Contributed by Susan Grant ( PPPG Member No. 1089 ) assited by Alexander Romanov-Hughes.


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