Obituary: The Right Rev Hugh Gough

Hugh Rowlands Gough, priest: born 19 September 1905; ordained deacon 1928, priest 1929; OBE 1945; Vicar of Islington 1946-48; Prebendary, St Paul's Cathedral 1948; Archdeacon of West Ham 1948-58; Suffragan Bishop of Barking 1948-59; Archbishop of Sydney (Metropolitan of New South Wales) 1958-66; Primate of Australia 1959-66; Chaplain and Sub-Prelate, Order of St John of Jerusalem 1959-72; CMG 1965; Rector of Freshford 1967-72; Vicar of Limpley Stoke 1970-72; married 1929 The Hon Madeline Kinnaird (one daughter); died Over Wallop, Hampshire 13 November 1997.

Hugh Gough was the last bishop to come direct from England to a Metropolitan See in Australia. He was appointed Archbishop of Sydney in 1958 and left an enduring mark on the church he had come to serve.

Gough never ceased to be "pukka" English, but he fell in love with Australia as a country still rich in adventure and excitement. He and his wife arrived in Sydney in May 1959 and soon began to make their mark. His style of leadership was quite new where clergy were concerned; it took them by storm. They never came to know him, or he them, as intimately as his predecessor, Archbishop Mowll, but they liked his direct manner and clipped style of conversation.

Gough had no previous experience of church government through an annual synod and its standing committees and he never really adjusted to this democratic system. He moved his office from Church House to Bishopscourt, where he carried out routine administration and correspondence with the help of a domestic chaplain and personal assistant. But this made him more remote and less accessible for the ordinary clergyman.

He held a regular meeting of his bishops and archdeacons; this kept him informed about diocesan needs and problems. He delegated responsibility and willingly trusted colleagues to carry on at their own discretion - his most constructive decision was to appoint a commission to examine the structures and finances of the diocese.

Gough was too outspoken to escape media criticism. He was always prone to act first, and then reflect later. The Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph treated him with dignity and respect, but he was subjected to a long and hostile campaign in the pages of the Anglican and in some secular publications such as Nation.

Hugh Gough came from a strong Evangelical background. He was born in 1905 in the then undivided continent of India, where his father was a Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary on the North-West Frontier. School at Weymouth in Dorset led on to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became President of the Cambridge Inter-collegiate Christian Union and took his degree in 1927. After 12 months at the London College of Divinity, he was made deacon in 1928 and ordained to the priesthood in 1929. A curacy in Islington was followed by parish appointments at Bath, Bayswater and Carlisle. He served with distinction as an Army Chaplain and then, in 1946, became vicar of St Mary's, Islington, until 1948, when he was consecrated as Bishop of Barking in the diocese of Chelmsford.

He had been the first Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Inter- Varsity Fellowship, was closely associated with the Evangelical Alliance, often spoke at the Keswick Convention and was one of those who issued the invitation to Billy Graham for the Harringay Crusade of 1954. No other bishop would identify himself with Billy Graham or support the Crusade until Archbishop Fisher took his seat on the platform for the final meeting. But Gough had taken his stand without regard of the cost in official favour; he was the rising hope of all evangelicals in the Fifties but his election as Archbishop of Sydney took him away from England.

He was elected to the Primacy of Australia by the Diocesan Bishops in October 1959 and he filled this role in a way that won well-deserved respect. The new Constitution for the Church in Australia came into effect on 1 January 1962 and it fell to Gough to preside over the first General Synod in May that year. As Primate he travelled widely in Australia, attended the World Council of Churches General Assembly at New Delhi in 1961, and took part in the Anglican Congress at Toronto in 1963. He carried out visits to CMS in Pakistan in 1964 and to the Australian Armed Forces in Malaya and Vietnam in 1965.

But the nervous strain of seven strenuous years took their toll in a serious breakdown in health early in 1966 and he resigned from the See, just seven years after his enthronement. For a short time, he was vicar of the little parish of Freshford in the diocese of Bath and Wells; then he retired altogether and made his home first in Bath and then in the Hampshire village of Over Wallop.

Those who knew him well will never forget the warmth of his friendship or his courage in adversity. He had a high and adventurous spirit, coupled with a very humble loyalty and devotion. He kept in touch with Sydney affairs, welcomed many Sydney visitors in his home and followed church life in Sydney with unfailing interest.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?