Obituary: The Most Rev Frank Woods

Frank Woods, priest, born Davos Switzerland 6 April 1907, ordained deacon 1931, priest 1932, Curate St Mary's Portsea 1932-33, Chaplain Trinity College Cambridge 1933-36, Vice-Principal Wells Theological College 1936-39, Chaplain to the Forces 1939-45, Vicar of Huddersfield 1945-52, Chaplain to the King 1951-52, Suffragan Bishop of Middleton 1952-57, Archbishop of Melbourne 1957-77, Primate of Australia 1971-77, KBE 1972, married 1936 Jean Sprules (two sons, two daughters), died Melbourne 29 November 1992.

WE can only guess what it cost Frank Woods to leave England and those strong family ties which meant so much to him, writes the Very Rev Ingram Cleasby. But whatever reluctance he may have felt, he gave himself entirely and whole-heartedly to his adoptive country and the Church over which he was to preside for the next 20 years. So much so that he became 'an Australian by conversion', as he liked to put it.

His earlier ministry as a parish priest in Huddersfield, where he was vicar and rural dean in the immediate post-war years, was marked by a warmth and generosity which made him irresistible and touched all alike - the local industrialist or staunch Methodist no less than members of the Youth Club or the sick and dying. Woods was a charmer: perhaps the old fashioned word 'winsome' best describes him.

Although he was a compelling and often brilliant preacher like his father Edward Woods, Bishop of Lichfield, he was above all a man of prayer - again like his father: one in whom this daily communion with God was the ground both of his humility and his concern for individuals. If he was late for a meeting or forgot an appointment it was more likely than not that he had stayed too long listening to someone's problems, or had seized an opportunity to hear about some new development or local issue. Both in Huddersfield and later in Manchester he was notorious for this, but it was simply that he was too generous with himself and his time. Like his lists of those to be remembered in his prayers, there was never enough space for them all.

The range of his concerns at Huddersfield - his recognition of the challenge of the workplace, the importance of education and the family, and the claims of social justice - all set the pattern for his future ministry in Australia. If he tried too often to cram a quart into a pint-pot there must be very many both in Huddersfield and Manchester who thank God that they were among those - of all denominations and none - for whom Frank Woods had time to share his love of God, his concern for the Church and the world, and to encourage them on their way.

(Photograph omitted)

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 People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high