Philanthropists and Philanthropy

Home » Philanthropy » John Shedden Adam (1824-1906) Presbyterian and governance philanthropist

John Shedden Adam (1824-1906) Presbyterian and governance philanthropist

John Shedden Adam from Graham W Hardy, Living Stones, the Story of St Stephen’s Sydney

John Shedden Adam was born in 1824 in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, to James Adam (1771-1849) and Janet Shedden (1788-1863).[1] James and Janet married on August 10, 1807, and they had eight children of whom John was the youngest son. John’s father was a man of many parts being an estate manager or factor, a land improver, a Writer to the Signet and the inventor of a screw propeller for naval ships.[2] James was originally from Lochwinnoch where he had a small property and in 1807 was appointed the factor on the great Drummond estate. On his own account, he was later involved in land improvement schemes at Barr Loch from 1813 until 1815; these proved a financial disaster.[3] Fortunately, by marrying into the Shedden family and through the wealth and generosity of Janet’s uncle, the Adam family did not face ruin and were later to inherit significant wealth.[4] These Barr Loch holdings were sold by 1820[5] and on quitting agricultural pursuits and leaving Garpel near Lochwinnoch, James practised as a Writer to the Signet (solicitor) in Edinburgh, a profession to which he had been apprenticed.[6]

Around 1821, James returned again to the role of factor (property manager) moving his family to Lewis where he worked for Mackenzie of Seaforth at least until 1826.[7] Around this date, he moved back to Edinburgh and recommenced his business as a Writer to the Signet.[8] John Shedden Adam, despite the strong family connections to Lochwinnoch where all his siblings were born and his relatives had significant landholdings, spent his childhood initially on Lewis and then from 5 years of age in Edinburgh.[9] He went to school at the Royal Naval and Military Academy, Lothian Road, Edinburgh.[10] This institution was commenced for the purpose of ‘affording education to pupils destined to serve in the army or navy, or East India Company’s service’. The Academy taught a range of practical subjects such as mathematics, science and engineering and languages but, importantly for Adam’s future work as a draftsman, it also taught landscape and perspective drawing.[11] In 1841, John was awarded the Master’s prize in senior mathematics and first prize in civil engineering.[12]

The Adam Family and New Zealand

By 1841, the extended Adam family had decided to seek their fortune in New Zealand. John’s brother James and his wife Margaret took passage to New Zealand on the Brilliant and arrived in October of that year. The Adam family had been convinced by the New Zealand Manukau and Waitemata Company to invest £1,200 in shares for land[13] and were led to believe that the wonderful city of Cornwallis was ready and waiting for energetic young immigrants, such as themselves, from Scotland.[14] The settlement was a disaster. Where settlers expected there to be a town there was nothing but wilderness, and they had been duped by exaggerated promises.[15] Sadly, the settlement leader, together with James Adam and several others, going on an errand of mercy to get medicine for a sick woman (Mrs. Hamblin, wife of the Missionary at Manukau) were drowned in November of 1841[16] and the plans of the Adam family were thrown into disarray.

John Adam, then aged 18, and his sister Elizabeth, left Greenock, Scotland, on the Barque Jane Gifford on June 18, 1842 and arrived in Auckland on October 9, 1842.[17] John had come to New Zealand at the bidding of his father who suggested he go to ‘safeguard the welfare of your sister-in-law and the security of our investments’.[18] John sought to make a home for his widowed sister-in-law, sister and himself and farmed land in the Parish of Titirangi in the Whau District. This land had been given by the government in return for the Adam family land shares in the failed Cornwallis settlement – one acre of crown ‘waste lands’ for four from Cornwallis.[19] Adam, who was ‘determined to make a life for himself and to help his sister and James’ widow’, set himself the goal of a small farm and a house on the hill to match.’[20]

On December 1, 1845 John’s father wrote to him from Edinburgh:

I am glad to see that you are at work with potatoes and pumpkins. I wish I had the opportunity of giving you lessons on farming. I do not think the place you have chosen is as pleasant as one would be with plenty of water. I think if you decide on remaining in New Zealand at all, you should look out for a pleasant situation of about 50-100 acres near the seaside, and having a stream of water, and purchase it and sell your ownership.[21]

Determinatio­­n appeared to not be enough, for John decided to quit New Zealand and sailed to Hobart in March 1845 and arrived the next month in the company of his sister-in-law and sister.[22] Margaret and Elizabeth proceeded to Sydney,[23] but John seems to have remained in Tasmania[24] arriving in Sydney on April 29, 1847 from Hobart Town on the same ship as Rev Joseph Beazley, Mrs Beazley and her sister Mrs Russell who was to be the future wife of James Comrie,[25] ­­with whom he would later serve on various philanthropic committees.

Employment in Sydney

When in Sydney, John probably was partner initially in Ronald and Co and then certainly in Ronald, Lumsdaine and Co who were, among other things, wine merchants.[26] Rowand Ronald was John’s brother-in-law for Ronald had married Elizabeth Adam in 1845.[27] John left the business in December 1848[28]  and his father and mother were pleased that he had quit the partnership as ‘we never thought that it was a thing suitable to your taste’.[29] He had dissolved his partnership in the business as he had been appointed as a ‘temporary draftsman’ in the Surveyor General’s Office on October 23, 1848.[30] He continued as a draftsman with the Surveyor General’s Office for his entire working life becoming acting chief draftsman in August 1859,[31] chief draftsman in May 1862[32] and eventually retiring in June 1876 at the early age of 52, partly due to illness (asthma) and partly because of an inheritance.[33]

Signature of John Shedden Adam, November 1873

Presbyterian Church

Under the ministry of the Rev Alexander Salmon, John became a member at the Free Church Pitt Street in June 1850,[34] a deacon in July 1852 and an Elder in January 1854 with pastoral responsibility for Cook Ward local council area.[35] Salmon became ill and demitted the charge in 1860[36] and the church was vacant for two years until the arrival of Robert Steel. During this time ‘John Adam, Henry Black and Edward Rennie’ bore the heaviest responsibilities of maintaining the life and witness of the church now known as the Macquarie Street church.[37] Through a visit to England in 1861,[38] Adam and Professor John Smith were able to recommend the Rev Robert Steel to the congregation and he was inducted on July 17, 1862.[39] It is clear from both Smith and Steel’s comments that rather than Professor Smith, it was Adam who found Steel[40] and visited him at his home[41] and put to him a persuasive case that he was needed in Sydney.  Speaking at the Presbytery of Birmingham on January 23, 1862, Steel said:

Robert Steel

The invitation came to me unsolicited by me or by anyone acting for me. It never once came into my mind that I should go to Australia. When, therefore, Mr. Adam, the commissioner from Sydney, introduced the matter to me, he was as the man of Macedonia, making the appeal, ‘Come over and help us.’ The vision at Troas did not more surprise the Apostle of the Gentiles than did this appeal and appearance of the Australian deputy surprise me. I was not at all contemplating a change, and had not expressed a desire for one. I had plans arranged, and many preparations made for years of labour, should it have pleased God to spare me, in Cheltenham … Without at all committing myself, I felt it my duty to make further inquiry. These inquiries were addressed to the Commissioners, to the Rev. Dr. Bonar who presides over the colonial committee of the Free Church of Scotland, and several other fathers and brethren in Scotland and England. From all of them I received great courtesy and help, especially from Mr. Adam, who volunteered to visit me and confer with me on the matter.[42]

Adam served as Session Clerk of St Stephen’s Free Church from 1855 until 1866, resigning in June 1866 due to ‘his state of health’. The Session resolved to accept the resignation and expressed ‘their sense of the value of Mr Adam’s service in this department, and of his long and useful labours as an Elder, and they sincerely trust that he may be long spared to afford his counsel and aid as an Elder in the congregation.’[43] For the fund to build the new St Stephen’s he was a significant and one of the larger donors in 1873, giving £250 (in excess of $30,000 current value).[44] after Adam moved to Hunter’s Hill he offered, in 1877, his resignation as an Elder but the Session declined to accept it stating ‘He has a place in the esteem and affection of many, who the Session believe would like to see him retain his place and work as an Elder in his present sphere of usefulness.’[45]Adam remained an active Elder and member of the congregation until he moved to Croydon in 1879.[46] St Stephen’s noted that

Mr Adam has held office as an Elder in this Church for nearly twenty-six years, and has been faithful in the discharge of his duties, in Church courts, in ministering to the sick and dying, in promoting missionary and philanthropic objects, and in the liberal support of the Church in all its work.[47]

Adam joined the Ashfield congregation in December 1879[48]  and soon was inducted as an Elder.[49] Upon the resignation of David Walker as Session Clerk, Adam was appointed and served from 1880[50] to 1885.[51] Deciding to leave Sydney ‘owing to his ill health which … rendered necessary his removal to a more congenial climate in the country’,[52] he moved to Bathurst in 1885[53] which meant he was close to his married daughter who lived at Kelso. He served as an Elder[54] at Bathurst from 1888 until 1893[55] and while in Bathurst he conducted a Sunday school at his home ‘The Terraces’[56] as he had also done in Croydon at ‘The Lea’; in all he was a Sunday school teacher for 55 years.[57] On his return to Sydney in 1893, Adam joined the Session of Woollahra in January 1894[58] and remained an Elder there until he and his wife, ‘chiefly on a/c [account] of heath’,[59] moved to Turramurra in early 1900 to live in a home near their son and his family.[60]

In his role as an Elder he served the congregations and denominations of which he was member in various roles. Commencing in 1855, he was frequently appointed as the Elder to represent the congregation, firstly at the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia (PCEA) Synod[61] and then at the union of the Presbyterian Churches in 1865[62] and then at Assemblies of the PCNSW[63] intermittently until 1895.[64]

Adam, originally a Free Churchman, was in favour of the union of 1865 and in 1861 he had attended the Conference on Church Union as one representative of PCEA.[65] So it is no surprise that in 1863 he moved a supportive motion at the meeting of the Free Church Macquarie Street:

That this congregation pray the Lord the King and Head of the Church, and would invoke the prayers of Presbyterians generally throughout the colony, that it may please God to grant the special guidance of His Holy Spirit to the Synods about to meet, and to all parties concerned in the negotiations for union, that the consummation so much desired may be harmoniously effected.[66]

From time to time, as a member of PCEA Synod, Adam served on various committees such as the Sabbath Observance Committee and the Church Extension Committee in 1858.[67] In the cause of Missions, he was requested to contact the missionary Dr Duff in Calcutta[68] on behalf of PCEA Synod in connection with money raised by the Sabbath Schools for the support of a native teacher in India,[69] and in the PCNSW, he also served on Assembly Committees. In 1884, for example, he was elected to three committees: those on Church Extension; Religion and Morals; and Publications.[70] He was appointed to the 1882 Intercolonial Conference of Presbyterian churches[71] and also attended Presbytery where he served on their committee on Sabbath desecration[72] or received tasks assigned by the Presbytery such as being appointed to the Interim Session of St James Burwood in 1884.[73]

When Adam moved to Bathurst there was no Sunday school in the western part of Bathurst where they lived. So Adam, with significant help from his family, commenced one in their home ‘The Terraces’. It was greatly appreciated as the illuminated address signed by 61 one of their students on their departure said:

During the years you have laboured for our benefit, you and your family have displayed truly Christian kindness and friendliness towards us. We trust that your efforts will not have been in vain, and hope, by the guidance of our heavenly Father, whom you have taught us to love and obey, that we shall be able to lead honourable and Christian lives. To Miss and Mr. S. Adam also, we desire to express our thanks for their instruction and kindness as teachers in the Sunday school. They have followed nobly the example of their esteemed parents, and have assisted to make the Terrace a spot always to be remembered in our future lives. In conclusion, may we be allowed to express the hope that you will be long spared to fulfil, the mission you have so nobly undertaken, and that in the Grand Hereafter you will be rewarded by again meeting us in the presence of our loving Master.[74]

The Terraces, Bathurst, from Charis Young album courtesy of the Adam Family

As a sign of the respect and high regard in which he was held, Adam often chaired or spoke at important or annual congregational meetings of the various churches he attended.[75] At Woollahra, for instance, on the secondment of Rev John Walker to undertake the promotion of the Centennial Fund, it was recorded that

Mr J S Adam, senior elder of the church, moved a resolution to the effect that notwithstanding their unwillingness to lose the services of their pastor, but considering it was the unanimous wish of the General Assembly that he should undertake the work, the congregation would place no obstacle in the way.[76]

On the secondment of Walker, Adam’s support was not begrudging for he was later to write:

In these closing months, then, of the passing Century, is it not a righteous and proper thing that our Assembly should look out for, and call, a fit man (as they have now done) to the great work of arousing our people to a deeper sense of their responsibilities in this most vital regard? Let us pray that when he goes forth, success may attend him![77]

In 1871, Adam was a founding member of the Lay Association of the Presbyterian Church of NSW (LAPCNSW) whose endeavour was to ‘promote among the laity a deeper and more extended interest in the cause and work of the Church’.[78] He was the joint secretary, but the Association lasted little more than two years. In 1903, an attempt was made to form another Lay Association[79] and Adam became a member but resigned soon after along with 31 other members. They resigned over the newly formed LAPCNSW’s opposition to decisions of the General Assembly to support the Presbyterian Property Consolidation and Amendment Bill which removed local trustees and placed property under one set of trustees.[80] In the view of those resigning this opposition rendered the LAPCNSW unable to fulfil its charter to support the work of the Church.[81]

Marriage and Family

In April 1862, the Rev William McIntyre at the Presbyterian Church, Macquarie Street Sydney, married John Adam to Louisa Ann Dalgarno (1838-1922), the daughter of Captain James Dalgarno and Louisa Dunn;[82] John was 40 and Louisa 24. They were to have four children: Louisa Janet Elizabeth (1863-1951);[83] Janet Blanche (1864-1945);[84] Margaret Elsé (1866-1951);[85] and John Shedden Adam (1868-1941) known as ‘Shedden’ to distinguish him from his father of the same name.[86]

John Shedden Adam from Graeme Shedden Adam, The Pen and the Plough

Louisa Adam from Graeme Shedden Adam, The Pen and the Plough

After their marriage, the couple initially lived at Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst,[87] later settling in Darlinghurst Road at the Alberto Terrace from 1867 until 1875.[88] Following John’s retirement, they lived at ‘Paraza’ Hunter’s Hill from 1877 until 1880[89] and then at ‘The Lea’ Croydon from 1880 until 1885.[90] In November 1881 Louisa, the Adam’s eldest daughter, married the Rev Thomas Robert Curwen Campbell who was the Anglican minister of Blayney.[91] This, along with the fact that Adam suffered from asthma,[92] was probably the reason for him moving his family to Bathurst in 1885 where they lived at ‘The Terraces’, Bathurst,[93] until 1893. Up until this time, Louisa Adam’s mother, Louisa Dalgarno, had been living independently in Sydney; she was 82 years old. It appears that the need to have her live with them may have been a factor in the Adam family’s return to Sydney and Louisa’s mother lived with them at ‘Banksia’ Edgecliff Road, Woollahra, until her death in 1896. The family remained in Woollahra until 1902[94] when they moved, with their daughter Janet, into a house designed for them by their architect son, Shedden, and called Ellerslie at Turramurra.[95] This remained the family home for Louisa and her daughter Janet well beyond the death of JS Adam in 1906.[96]

Governance Philanthropy

Over his lifetime Adam showed an interest in, and gave his support through governance to, many and varied philanthropic causes. Some of these efforts were longstanding and others of a relatively short duration.

1853: YMCA Adam was present at a preliminary meeting on July 4, 1853, held in the home of John Joseph Davies in Gloucester street to discuss the formation of the YMCA. Also present were Jonathan S Perry, David Jones, Thomas J Thompson, Edward Hunt, James Waugh, James Comrie and Rev Joseph Beazley and John D Langley.[97] Adam spoke at the Jubilee meeting and at his death was described by the YMCA as one of its founders[98] but on the evidence available, while he appears to have been present at its foundation and did attend various public meetings, he does not appear to have had any ongoing role in its governance except on the local committee when he moved to Bathurst where he was appointed treasurer.[99]

1855 to 1890: Bethel Union (Mariners Church) Adam was a member of the management committee of the Bethel Union (Mariners Church).[100] The Bethel Union was formed to extend the ‘ordinances of the Christian Religion to seamen of every country visiting Port Jackson … the chaplain visits the seamen of all vessels that arrive in port, and his residence, “The Bethel House” is a place of welcome to all, where they may obtain advice, instruction, and friendly admonition’.[101]

1856 to 1863, 1880 to 1887: Lord’s Day Observance Society Adam was present at the meeting that inaugurated the Lord’s Day Observance Society (LDOS) in 1856 and moved the motion to form the committee[102] which he joined the following year. It appears that the society fell into abeyance in the early 1860s. It was revived in the 1870s[103]  and Adam was elected treasurer in 1880 and continued in membership until at least 1884 and probably until he departed for Bathurst in 1885.[104]

In 1880, he wrote a letter to the newspaper to respond to the assertion by another correspondent that there was no proof in the Bible that ‘the Sabbath was instituted before the Jews were a nation, and while man was still in Paradise’.[105] Adam seeks to refute this view and in doing so shows a mastery of the biblical sources. In the course of the letter the twofold concern of Adam’s defence of the Lord’s Day becomes clear. His concern is not just for God’s command but also for the welfare of workers and others to enjoy the Sabbath. Indicating how these two are to be reconciled he quotes Hugh Miller: ‘The fourth commandment was given in might as well as in mercy, and it is the might of the command which fences round the mercy and prevents it from being encroached on’. [106]

In Bathurst in 1886, he was appointed joint secretary of Bathurst LDOS and later that year presented a paper to the Society on its commencement and aims.[107] In the paper he is critical of some of the church leaders who differed from the LDOS in their understanding of the Scriptures on the Lord’s Day.

The Society, said Adam,

believed that the institution of the day of rest was one of the great bulwarks of the kingdom of grace on earth, desired to defend it against every assault. The ‘great adversary’ sought in every way to overthrow this bulwark – not only by forms of open infidelity, but by the perversion of the Scriptures, and succeeded in weakening the forces of defence by winning over to another citadel, not founded on the rock of Divine law, some of the followers, nay, even some of the leaders, of the armies of the faith.[108]

He also outlined a positive plan to change people’s thinking on the issue:

In order to counteract loose and erroneous views regarding the day, the Society desired to largely disseminate sound literature, issued by kindred Societies in London … the Society also proposed the delivery of sermons or lectures in order to diffuse information upon and awaken interest in the subject … and by all these means seeking to inform and influence the public sentiment regarding the ‘day of days’.[109]

In 1887, as part of that plan, he sent books from the Lord’s Day Observance Society to the Bathurst School of Arts for inclusion in their library. They included ‘The Sabbath of Jehovah’, ‘Continental Sunday – a warning to the English Nation’, and ‘Sunday, Its Influence on Health and National Prosperity’.[110] Despite the efforts of Adam and the Society, the observance of the Sabbath in colonial NSW continued to move in a direction of liberalisation throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century.

1856 to 1874: Religious Tract and Book Society Adam was a member of the governance committee of the Religious Tract and Book Society (RTBS)[111] whose purpose was the procurement and distribution of religious tracts ‘such as to inculcate evangelic sentiments.’ More expansively, its primary object was

to afford the means of cheap, useful, and pious Reading; that the poorer Classes of the Community, and the young People more especially, who may be able to read, may obtain some of the most instructive and important Lessons of Life at a very small Expense.[112]

1860 to 1893: Bible Society NSW Auxiliary Committee Adam was a long-time supporter and member from 1860 until 1875 taking a short break from governance on his retirement from 1876 until 1878 and then serving again from 1879 up until 1885. Upon moving to Bathurst, he became joint secretary of the Bathurst branch for eight years from 1886 until 1893.[113] Speaking of the effect of the Bible and its distribution on people he indicated his own convictions on its value when he said:

people would travel long distances to obtain a copy, and many eagerly drank in the Word of Life. What was the cause of this success? Evidently faith in the word of God coupled with a belief in the power to save … The Bible was the regenerator of mankind … the Bible was the source of all true wisdom and might.[114]

1860 to 1864: NSW Auxiliary of the London Missionary Society Adam was a member of this committee for a relatively short period. It was an interdenominational protestant committee for the support of missions and missionaries of the London Missionary Society.[115]

1864 to 1884: Sydney City Mission[116] Adam joined the governance committee of this organisation at the end of the first year of the Mission. He was a member for 21 years and was particularly active in gaining subscriptions for the Mission in 1884 that amounted to £179, an amount sufficient to cover the first year’s salary for Superintendent Bowmaker.[117]

1870 to 1877: Home Visiting and Relief Society Adam was a member of the committee of the Home Visiting and Relief Society, an organisation formed in 1862 for ‘visiting at their own homes persons of the educated classes who, having seen better days, have been reduced to poverty, affording such present relief as their circumstances need, and aiding them in their effort to gain their own subsistence.’[118]

1875: Association for the promotion of morality Adam was a member of this short-lived committee for one year. The aim of the association, formed in 1873, was ‘by all appropriate means to promote the observance of morality in Sydney and throughout the colony’[119] which it later clarified by saying it was restricted to only ‘spreading a moral influence, and by degrees assisting to form a right public opinion’ they trusted that this work would ‘tend to His glory, and the removal of some of the obstacles to the spread of His Gospel’.[120]

1882 to 1887, 1898 to 1899: Sydney Female Refuge Society Adam’s membership in the 1880s corresponds to his time as an elder at Ashfield Presbyterian Church. This was a society dedicated to providing shelter, retraining and assistance to prostitutes and ‘fallen’ women and it is almost certain that he had been approached by John Hay Goodlet and/or his wife Ann, who attended the same church, to become a member of the committee. The Goodlets were the key and leading members of the Sydney Female Refuge Society.

1882 to 1886: Mission for Teaching the Blind to Read Adam was a member of the governance committee of the Mission for Teaching the Blind to Read.[121] The mission supported Harry S Prescott,[122] a totally blind man, as the missionary who travelled extensively with his faithful dog and taught the blind to read.[123] One of the important objects of the mission was to supply books printed in embossed type, using both Braille and Dr Moon’s system, for those who could read them.  Besides teaching the blind to read, a home was provided for the indigent blind where instruction was imparted in reading, writing and music. There was also religious teaching which was evangelical and unsectarian.[124]

1884 to 1900: Evangelical Alliance Adam was, in 1884, joint secretary of the Evangelical Alliance whose main activity was to call together an annual prayer meeting of denominations to pray for society.[125] In 1889, the Alliance was reorganised to still be an interdenominational organisation but one that met regularly ‘in order to render their influence more effective in public and social life’[126] and Adam was a member of the committee up until 1900. In 1900, in an action that amalgamated two of Adam’s interests, prayer and sabbath observance, the Lord’s Day Observance Society, having become practically defunct, handed over to the Alliance its assets to be ‘devoted to promoting the sanctity of the Sabbath and in opposing any attempts legislative or otherwise to secularise the day of rest’. [127]

1886 to 1893: Bathurst City Mission and Western District Chinese Mission Adam was, from 1886, deeply involved with the Bathurst City Mission and in 1889 he was appointed its Treasurer.[128] This mission not only engaged in the traditional role of a city mission, helping the poor and destitute, but also undertook evangelism of the Chinese in Bathurst and in the nearby goldfields at Sofala. The Mission reported that

the rescue work, which was the original object of the mission, has been attended with such success as to require increased accommodation. Consequently, in July last larger premises at the upper end of George-street were taken as the mission home, and here the work is now conducted. A long cherished project in connection with the Chinese residents has now been realised. The city mission has taken the forward step and engaged ‘a Christian Chinaman, Ah Ching, to labour among his countrymen in and around about Bathurst. The committee have agreed to give him, as a start, £125 a year. He has now been at work three months, visiting Chinamen, and conducting religious services on the Sunday afternoons. The attendance at these services has varied, ranging from 50 to 70 and there has been manifest interest awakened.[129]

In the work among the Chinese, Adam was not just on the committee but was actively involved in speaking publicly about the ministry.[130] By April 1891, it was decided that a dedicated Chinese mission was required and the Western District Chinese Mission was formed with Adam, while still involved with the Bathurst City Mission, appointed as the Convener and Treasurer.[131] Adam was active in this work and innovatively requested a group of ladies to teach English to a group of Chinese. The ladies reported that upon arriving at a house to give their first lesson they were met by ‘no less than nineteen celestials arrayed in their best garments awaiting what to them is invaluable – to be taught the language of those around them.’[132]

It appears that through this association with evangelism of the Chinese in Bathurst and district that Adam was briefly involved with the China Inland Mission through being a member of the NSW Board of Advice for the Mission in 1893.[133] The task of the board was to assist in the processing of suitable candidates for the mission and forwarding any unsolicited donations to the mission. There was a strong Presbyterian interest in the mission with the Rev John Walker[134] and David Walker as well as Adam being on the board. Two of the three female candidates in 1893 were Presbyterian[135] and Isabella Coleman, a member of the Woollahra Presbyterian Church, had gone to China as a missionary in 1891.[136]

John Shedden Adam NSW Board of Advice to China Inland Mission (far right seated)

1887 to 1893: Bathurst Hospital Adam was first elected to the management committee of the Bathurst Hospital in January 1887[137] and served on the committee until he resigned in September 1893 just prior to his return to Sydney. [138] The committee had 20 members and to be appointed one had to be elected by the subscribers from among their number at the annual meeting; the subscription was one guinea.[139] Particularly in the latter years of his appointment, Adam was a diligent attendee and in 1890 attended 80% of the meetings. He was also one a group of 8 out of 20 elected members who regularly attended to the governance of the hospital.[140]

1887 to 1888: The Discharged Prisoner’s Aid Society Adam was part of a committee for The Discharged Prisoner’s Aid Society under the Presidency of his son-in-law, Curwen Campbell. The society seems to have only existed for a few months[141] and, apart from making a donation to the Home of Hope for discharged prisoners, Adam seems not to have continued his interest in prisoners.[142]

Governance Philanthropy Analysis

Numerous observations can be made on examining Adam’s involvement in governance philanthropy in various societies and organisations. In terms of the number of organisations with which Adam concerned himself, these ranged from 5 to 7 in each year from 1856 to 1893. It is only on his return from Bathurst that his involvement became restricted to 2 or 3 organisations, and then with a fairly low level of commitment. In 1894, the first full year of his return to Sydney, Adam was only concerned with one organisation, and it appears that having reached 70 years of age he may have decided to slow down.

In terms of the length of membership of committees, his work and involvement with the Presbyterian Church as a member, an Elder and Session Clerk, is by far the most significant organisation and commitment that Adam exercised during his lifetime. It is not unreasonable to state, and this is confirmed by many of his statements, that his views, attitudes and philanthropic commitments were deeply impacted by this involvement. Adam was not just a philanthropist but a Christian philanthropist. It is evident that he was not narrowly sectarian in his Christian allegiance as he was deeply committed to non-sectarian philanthropic organisations as well as being a loyal member of the Presbyterian Church.

Such organisations, as listed in the Table above, fall on a philanthropic spectrum.[143] There is philanthropy as relief which seeks to alleviate human suffering and the principle of compassion is said to be its driving force. Philanthropy as improvement seeks to maximise individual human potential and is apparently energised by a principle that seeks to progress individuals and their society. Philanthropy as reform seeks to solve social problems and its stated principle is that of addressing issues of justice often through legislation. Philanthropy as civic engagement seeks to build better community structures and services and is directed by a notion of civic responsibility. Some philanthropy, however, particularly involving the church, had as its primary object to bring a person to Christian faith. It only provided philanthropy as understood on the spectrum of relief, improvement, reform or civic engagement as a secondary objective and such activities are philanthropy as spiritual engagement.

Clearly, Adam’s primary commitment to the Presbyterian Church is philanthropy as spiritual engagement. Apart from the Presbyterian Church the other highly significant grouping of Adam’s commitment was to the Bethel Union, the Bible Society, the City Mission (grouped with Bathurst District Mission) and the Religious Tract and Book Society. His commitment to the Bible Society and the RTBS, which were essentially organisations for the distribution of religious literature aimed at either conversion or nurturing in the Christian faith, were also clearly philanthropy as spiritual engagement. The City Mission and the Bethel Union were an amalgam of philanthropy as relief, providing shelter and support, as well as spiritual engagement

Philanthropy as reform was another area of interest to Adam through the issue of temperance which he supported by his encouragement of temperance meetings, youth temperance, the publication of his views, agitating for the limitation of alcohol availability through legislation and through his advocating personal abstinence from all alcoholic drinks.

Gospel Temperance Speakers

Adam was a strong supporter of gospel temperance speakers who came to the colony in the 1880s and 1890s. In May 1884, he was on the platform for the RT Booth’s Gospel Temperance Mission held in Sydney, an indication of his prominence in the movement.[144] In Bathurst in August 1885, Adam chaired a meeting of the Women’s Christian Temperance Mission of America mission where Mrs Leavitt of Boston spoke.[145] In his role as chairman he encouraged the attendees concerning ‘the importance of the cause, and the obligation that rested upon every Christian to assist.’[146]

1887 Adam chaired Matthew Burnett’s gospel temperance mission in Bathurst in October 1887, praising Burnett’s energetic efforts in various parts of the world but, perhaps with some nostalgia as a former colonist in New Zealand, especially his work there. Here he said ‘no less than 60 chiefs and 2000 of their subjects took the pledge and forsook drink at his instance.’[147]

1892 He chaired the Mrs Harrison Lee  Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) temperance meeting in Bathurst. In what was a common theme in Adam’s thinking he ‘thought that the people did not fully reallise the importance of the great work in which they were engaged. It was God’s work, and they had a right to put all their energies into the work.’[148]

1902 He was on the platform for the visit of Florence Balgarnie, a British temperance advocate.[149]

Temperance Publications

In April 1895, Adam published an eight-page pamphlet at a purchase price of one penny, entitled ‘The Temperance Question’. The content of this publication explains how it is that Adam who once sold alcohol (Ronald and Co) could from the 1880’s be a strong supporter of the Temperance movement. The question to which Adam addressed himself was ‘Are the evils which result from the drinking customs of society caused by a bad thing, or by the abuse of a good thing?’[150] He had once held the common view that ‘the evil is not in the thing, but only in the person – not in the use of it, but in the abuse, and that both science and the Bible teach this.’ This understanding, which once he never doubted, he now saw differently. Adam now believed that ‘science has pronounced its final verdict about the poisonous and deleterious nature of alcohol, and that the Bible, interpreted in the light of that verdict, nowhere contradicts, but is in entire harmony with it.’[151] In the pamphlet Adam displays a familiarity with the scientific and biblical scholars on the subject and puts his case with clarity and erudition. The framework in which he understands the issue is instructive for an insight into Adam’s view of the world. In short, his critique unsurprisingly arises from a distinctly spiritual and Christian concern for society and the Church. His biblical and theological understanding see the dominance of alcohol as part of a wider spiritual battle. His closing penultimate paragraph reads:

Dear comrades in the good warfare: the adversary has many ‘powers’ under him by which he is ever accomplishing his purpose of ‘deceiving the nations’. This thing is one of his chief powers in Christendom. By it he succeeds in deceiving not only the great multitude, but some of the wisest and best of men. But our Captain, in whom is the ‘wisdom of God,’ and who is the ‘Prince of Life,’ cannot be deceived. He has left us to ‘occupy till He come;’ and He expressly warns us by His Spirit against being deceived by this very thing, calling it by its true name, ‘a mocker.’ He says that if we are deceived by it, we are ‘not wise’. Let us then be deceived by it no longer, and never cease, until, for our Lord, our feet bruise the head of this fascinating and deadly agent of that ‘old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.’ (Rev xii, 9). Then at last, not only our own, but also all the fair lands of Christendom shall be delivered from its evil eye; and a few of the millions sterling, now spent in sustaining it, be set free to spread the Gospel and to bless the world.[152]

In the temperance movement there were two main views on alcohol. Some believed that temperance involved personal discipline in the partaking of alcohol so that consumption was moderated and then there were those who believed in total abstinence from alcohol. At some stage in his life Adam had moved from one point of view to the other, embracing total abstinence in the later portion of his life. In 1898, he was still writing on the subject in letters to the newspaper, challenging the ‘health’ benefits of wine and pointing out that such benefits ascribed in the Bible to wine (where the Apostle Paul gave advice to Timothy) was in all likelihood a reference to unfermented wine.[153]

Temperance and Young People

In 1886, Adam was appointed President of the Young Abstainers Union, Bathurst, and in support of the organisation made available ‘The Terraces’ for a drawing room meeting.[154] This commitment was a family affair as a garden party meeting was also later held at the Vicarage, Kelso, the home of Adam’s daughter and son-in-law. On that occasion, Adam pointed out to young people

the deceptive character of strong drink, and gave some striking illustrations of its terrible effect. He urged those who were members of the Union to remain firm in the adhesion to the promises they had made and expressed a hope that others would be induced to join.[155]

The NSW Temperance Physiology Competitive Examination, commencing in 1889, had originated in Bathurst and was a scheme of annual examinations for boys and girls on the effects of alcohol. It was essentially an attempt to promote the view that the best scientific information available indicated that alcohol in any amount was deleterious to human health and therefore total abstinence was the best course of action. Adam was Treasurer of the organisation.[156]

Adam was also a strong supporter of the WCTU who were the main promoters of temperance physiology. In 1893, he chaired a meeting of the Bathurst WCTU where prizes were awarded to young people for the Temperance Physiology Examination. He believed that the Temperance cause was ‘one of the most important social movements … the cause was a righteous one, and the Master, who took an interest in it would not allow it to fail. A very important factor in its future success was the education of the young people’. [157]

The Temperance Local Option

The Gothenburg or Trust Public House system originated in the 1860s in Gothenburg, Sweden, as an attempt to control the consumption of spirits. The city of Gothenburg awarded its sole retail licence for spirits to a trust, with the aim of regulating and reducing consumption. The shareholders of the trust were to receive a maximum return of 5% annually and all other profits were to be used to benefit the local community.[158] The Local Option, on the other hand, was the ability of a local municipality or a particular district to choose whether licences for the sale of intoxicating liquor should be granted or renewed or not. Adam was opposed to the Swedish Gothenburg method, suggested by some for use in NSW, and was in favour of the Local Option. He was clearly aware of events in Sweden for in the 1870s a series of local ‘awakenings’ had begun with a gospel and temperance approach which had led to the implementation of the local option.[159] He spoke in the Presbyterian General Assembly of what Sweden had gained by the local option:

Affirming that there had been a private still in every cottage and that the country was demoralised. Now the picture was changed. Full local option had wrought a revolution. Now there was only one license to 10,000 inhabitants … The habits of the people were yearly improving. Six [sic sixty] years ago matters were six times worse than they are now.[160]

John Shedden Adam late in life
from Graeme Shedden Adam, The Pen and the Plough

In 1896, Adam was part of a deputation to the Hon J Garrard to urge the ministry to proceed with legislation in the direction of full local option, without compensation being given to those who had lost their licence to sell alcohol. He gave printed matter to Garrard on the full local option and on his less preferred Gothenburg system and the material contained the latest statistics on both systems.[161] His support for the Local Option was not just restricted to speeches in the NSW Presbyterian General Assembly. In 1888, he was elected treasurer of the Bathurst Local Option League, a position he probably held for the duration of his time in Bathurst.[162] While there he had donated thousands of temperance tracts which were given away by the Bathurst  WCTU,[163] and on his return to Sydney he became a member of the Central Committee of the NSW Local Option League for a short period.[164]

In 1894, at the 11th Annual Conference of Local Option League, Adam seconded a resolution of the President of WCTU regretting that Parliament had not passed bills to ‘abolish barmaids, for more effective Sunday closing, and to close public-houses on election days’.[165] Abolishing barmaids was aimed at keeping young men out of bars who were attracted, it was thought,  by the presence of the young females who served the alcohol.[166]

By 1896 and now aged 72, Adam had virtually ceased all his governance roles apart from his role as an Elder, but he continued his support for the temperance cause. He was present that year at a gathering of temperance workers to discuss future political policy of the ‘temperance party’ as well as a consideration of ways of improving the organisation of the Local Option League as an alliance as well as its methods of operating.[167]


Adam died at his home in Turramurra on December 5, 1906, in his 83rd year.[168] He did not make any significant bequests to philanthropic organisations in his will, but his philanthropic efforts had been done through his contribution to philanthropic governance during his lifetime. However, the work of the City Mission, the Presbyterian Church, the temperance movement and Chinese evangelism were important to Adam and he left bequests of £10 to the Sydney City Mission, £5 to the Woollahra Presbyterian Church Building Fund, £5 to the NSW Local Option League and £5 to the China Inland Mission.[169]

At his death, John Shedden Adam was described as ‘an active worker in the cause of total abstinence’[170] which indeed he was, but in his life he had been much, much more than this and his other endeavours and governance philanthropy were significant. The Rev John Walker wrote that

If ever there was a man whose whole life would bear the testimony of white light, it was this modest, loving, zealous, gentle, consecrated man of God … here verily was a man who “walked with God.” Jesus was his “all and in all.” Like the Apostle Paul, “for him to live was Christ, and to die was gain.” I never met anyone who knew him in any relationship of life who doubted his deep sincere piety. It seems to me, however, that to those who knew him but slightly, a very incorrect opinion might have been formed as to his essential type of manhood. He was so modest, so retiring, so gentle, that he might have been thought weak in will, too kindly and amiable to be strong. But that would have been an absolutely false idea. As a matter of fact, no Scottish man had a more adamantine will in all matters affecting principle and what he saw to be right. He was of the stuff martyrs in martyr-times were made. All his life a reader and thinker, he reached his conclusions in matters of religion and morals carefully, prayerfully, seriously, and then he held on with the grip of a strong soul. And his was not merely a private and academic faith. He both lived it and sought to let his light shine.[171]

Adam’s wife Louisa responded to John Walker’s obituary saying in a letter to him:

You have so tenderly touched upon both sides of his character, and given so exactly his consistent Christlike life. To those who knew him best, his calm peaceful life was very beautiful, and he was ever the same.[172]

Walker may have, with his eloquence, overdrawn Adam’s virtues, character and nature but even so J S Adam was in many respects a remarkable person whose meekness seems to have hidden him from historical recognition. His headstone and that of his wife Louisa correctly speaks of their united Christian faith and hope by quoting I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) and Because I live, ye shall live also (John 14:19). This was a faith not just in their death but one which guided directed and motivated their lives of service.

Dr Paul F Cooper, Research Fellow, Christ College, Sydney

 I wish to acknowledge the support and assistance provided by the Adam family, especially that of Graeme Adam, in the researching of this paper.

The appropriate way to cite this article is as follows:

Paul F Cooper. John Shedden Adam (1824-1906) Presbyterian and governance philanthropist Philanthropy and Philanthropists in Australian Colonial History, February 18, 2018. Available at  https:/

[1] 31 March 1824. Graeme Shedden Adam, The Pen and the Plough- stories about nine generations of Scots and Aussies from the 18th to the 21st century, (Waverton, NSW: Waverton Publishing, 2012), 12. James Dobie, Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock, (Edinburgh, 1896), 203-204.

[2] James Adam, Writer to the Signet. Correspondence between James Adam and the Board of Admiralty as to applying steam power to ships of war (Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1836). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), June 13, 1874, 18.

[3]  A History of the Semple Estate See for details of the improvement scheme.

[4] James Dobie, Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock, 211.

[5] Ian Brough, ‘Another Mill Mystery: The hole of Barr’ Renfrew Local History Form Journal, 13, (2005/6), 5; James Adam, ‘Account of the Drainage of Barr Loch and Adjoining Lands, Situated in the Parish of Lochwinnoch, and County of Renfrew’ Transactions of the Highland Society, 1829, 375-387; James Adam ‘On the Construction of Reservoirs of water for agricultural purposes’ Prize Winning Essays of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (Blackwood: Edinburgh, 1839), 308-314.

[6] Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 12. Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), June 13, 1874, 18.

[7] James Dobie, Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock, 93-5, 113, 203-204; Murdo Macaulay, Aspects Of The Religious History Of Lewis (1980), 61; Letters by Alexander Stewart, factor of Lewis, to J A Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth and Mrs Stewart Mackenzie. 1828-1835 indicate that James Adam was no longer the factor in 1828 but was there in March 1826.

[8] James Dobie, Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock, 127.

[9] Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 12.

[10] Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 13. The Historian, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, 40 (1), October 2011, 112.

[11] The New Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol 1, (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1845), 684-685.

[12] Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), July 26, 1841; Issue 18962.

[13] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[14] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[15] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[16] New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, December 8, 1841, 3; Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), May 12, 1842; Issue 19085.

[17] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[18] Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 16.

[19] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[20] Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 17.

[21] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[22] This is not certain but a Mr., Mrs., and Miss Adam seem strong possibilities to be John S Adam, his sister-in-law and sister. The ship was the New Zealand Government brig Victoria sailing from Port Nicholson. Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas), April 22, 1845, 2.

[23] They probably departed on August 21, 1845 on the Brig Louisa. Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.), August 22, 1845, 2, and arrived in Sydney on August 31, 1845. Some newspaper accounts show them as Mr and Miss Adams but an examination of the ship’s passenger list confirms that it is Mrs and Miss Adam. [accessed November 10, 2017]. This is also confirmed by Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser (Melbourne, Vic), September 9, 1845, 2.

[24] Elizabeth married in Sydney in October, 24, 1845, SMH, October 25, 1845, 3, and Margaret died there in December 1845. SMH, December 9, 1845, 2. John is not listed as one of the three male witnesses to Elizabeth’s marriage all of whom seem to be Ronald’s friends or relatives which would seem to indicate he was not in Sydney in October 1845. James Adam wrote to his son in a letter addressed him care of Dr Officer, Hobart Town dated 24 March 1847 which confirms Hobart is where his father though he was living. James Adam to John S Adam, 24 March 1847. Adam Family Papers. For Dr Officer see ‘Officer, Sir Robert (1800–1879)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 16 February 2018.

[25] The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (Sydney, NSW), May 1, 1847, 474. The ship was the Elphinstone.

[26] William Lumsdaine joined the company hence the name change. Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW) [hereafter SMH], December 17, 1846, 3; New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW), November 1, 1850 [Issue No.128], 1704; SMH, December 13, 1847, 3; James Adam to John S Adam 22 May 1849, Adam Family Papers.

[27] On October 24, 1845. SMH, October 25, 1845, 3. Elizabeth died on October 23, 1847 and their child Janet born on February 22, 1847 died shortly after her mother on November 27, 1847. SMH, February 23, 1847, 4; November 29, 1847, 3. Margaret the widow of James Adam of Manakou had died in Rowand Ronald’s home in December 1845. SMH, December 9, 1845, 2.

[28] SMH, January 3, 1849, 4.

[29] James Adam to John S Adam 22 May 1849, Adam Family Papers.

[30] NSW Returns of the Colony, 1849, Civil Establishment, 246.

[31] Empire (Sydney, NSW), October 22, 1859, 4.

[32] Empire (Sydney, NSW), May 10, 1862, 4.

[33] SMH, June 26, 1876, 2. Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 24.

[34] Free Church Pitt Street, Session Minutes, June 26, 1850. He paid a pew rent of 6/- for the period 1 January to 30 June 1850. Free Church Pitt Street, Pew Rent Book.

[35] 1851 for being appointed a deacon and 1853 for eldership as in Graham W Hardy, Living Stones, the Story of St Stephen’s Sydney (Sydney: Anzea, 1985), 155 is incorrect. The correct dates are July 1852 and January 1854 respectively. Free Church Pitt Street, Session Minutes, July 14, 1852; January 9, 1854; March 21, 1854.

[36]  Empire (Sydney, NSW), February 8, 1860, 2.

[37] Hardy, Living Stones, 29. The church building locations were Pitt Street from 1846, Macquarie Street from 1855, Phillip Street from 1875 and Macquarie Street from 1935.

[38] Adam departed Sydney on the La Hogue on January 15, 1861 SMH, January 21, 1861, 9; he arrived in England in April 1861. SMH, June 13, 1861, 4.  His return journey details are uncertain. A Mr Adam travelled from Melbourne to Sydney on the Rangatira on January 2, 1862 so perhaps he arrived on a ship in Melbourne at the end of 1861.

[39] Hardy, Living Stones, 30. Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), April 10, 1880, 17.

[40] The Sydney Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), March 23, 1880, 3.

[41] SMH, July 23, 1868,5.

[42] SMH, May 5, 1862, 8. The leading role played by Adam is consistent with the report of the Scottish Free Church Colonial Committee which refers to Adam first despite the presence of the very eminent professor saying “The Committee record the pleasure they have had in all their intercourse with J. S. Adam, Esq., and Professor Smith, commissioners from the congregation, and the cordial and unwearied assistance they received from them”   Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, 1862, 15.

[43] Free Church Macquarie Street, Session Minutes, September 17, 1855; June 25, 1866.

[44] SMH, January 22, 1873, 5. Adam’s ability to make such a sizeable donation may be related to a sale of land held in New Zealand. [accessed November 17, 2017.] He had previously made a donation of £100 to the building of Chalmers Street Presbyterian, Church.  Empire (Sydney, NSW), January 8, 1856, 6.

[45] St Stephen’s Church, Phillip Street, Annual Report, 1877, 1.

[46] Hardy, Living Stones, 48.  Could be read to give a date of 1880 but he and his family were received into membership of the Ashfield Presbyterian Church in December 1879 and this the year given by John Walker’s obituary. John Walker, The Late John Sheddon (sic) Adam obituary. The Messenger (Sydney, NSW), January 18, 1907.

[47] St Stephen’s Church, Phillip Street, Annual Report, 1880, 1.

[48] J S Adam and Mrs Adam and Louisa and Janet were received as members in December 1879.  Session Minutes, Ashfield Presbyterian Church, December 4, 1879.

[49] The date of Induction was December 21, 1879. Session Minutes, Ashfield Presbyterian Church, December 4, 1879.

[50] He was appointed Session Clerk February 18, 1880. Session Minutes, Ashfield Presbyterian Church, February 18, 1880.

[51] Ashfield Presbyterian Church 1876-1976 [no date, no publisher], 2. He was the commissioned elder from the Ashfield Session in April 1880. SMH, April 8, 1880, 6. Session Minutes, Ashfield Presbyterian Church, April 23, 1885.

[52] Session Minutes, Ashfield Presbyterian Church, April 23, 1885.

[53] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), August 22, 1885, 2.

[54] James Cameron, Centenary History of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1905), 211.

[55] D F Murray, History of St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Bathurst (Bathurst; St Stephen’s Centenary Committee, 1972), 70.

[56] National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), December 17, 1890, 2; Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), December 2, 1891, 3; August 26, 1893, 2. Murray, History of St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Bathurst, 70.

[57] John Walker, The Late John Sheddon (sic) Adam obituary. The Messenger (Sydney, NSW), January 18, 1907.

[58] The Presbyterian, January 13, 1894, 4.

[59] JS Adam to R Steel, Session Clerk, Woollahra Presbyterian Church, 4th January, 1900 contained in Session Minutes, Woollahra Presbyterian Church, 15 February 1900.

[60] Cameron, Centenary History, 367.

[61]  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (Maitland, NSW), November 10, 1855, 2.

[62] Empire (Sydney, NSW), September 9, 1865, 4.

[63] For example in 1867.  Illustrated Sydney News (Sydney, NSW), November 16, 1867, 2.

[64]  Evening News (Sydney, NSW), March 14, 1895, 2.

[65]  SMH, November 20, 1862, 2.

[66] SMH, September 29, 1863, 5.

[67]  Empire (Sydney, NSW), May 22, 1858, 3.


[69] Kiama Examiner (Kiama, NSW), January 22, 1859, 2.

[70] SMH, March 10, 1884, 7.

[71] SMH, April 20, 1882, 3.

[72] The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), January 13, 1877, 40; SMH, July 5, 1882, 3.

[73] Cameron, Centenary History, 328.

[74] National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), August 16, 1893, 2.

[75] SMH, December 5, 1868, 5; Empire (Sydney, NSW), November 16, 1869, 2; SMH, October 22, 1885, 9.

[76] SMH, July 23, 1863, 4; June 28, 1899, 8.

[77] The Presbyterian and Messenger, August 3, 1899, 181.

[78] The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), July 22, 1871, 650.

[79] The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW), June 22, 1903, 1;

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), August 26, 1903, 3. The bill was passed in November 1904.

[81] The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW), August 22, 1903, 2.

[82] SMH, April 19, 1862, 1.

[83] She was born February 22, 1863. SMH, February 24, 1863, 1. Married the Rev T R Curwen Campbell on November 2, 1881. SMH, November 8, 1881, 1. Died at Tunbridge Wells, England on 23/08/1951 (NSW State Records Probate Packets). SMH, January 28, 1952, 10.

[84] Janet was born June 30, 1864. Sydney Mail (Sydney, NSW), July 2, 1864, 9. She never married and died in 1945. NSW Births Deaths and Marriages Adam, Janet Blanche 15802/1945.

[85] She was born July 1, 1866. SMH, July 4, 1866, 1. She married Charles Ernest Young in 1891, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), March 4, 1891, 1 and died on December 12, 1951 at Turramurra. Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW), June 27, 1952 [Issue No.135], 2270.

[86] The children were in part educated by a private teacher or governess. SMH, July 6, 1877, 12; September 27, 1879, 9. Mrs Vaillant was a private tutor for the daughters for a time. SMH, September 27, 1879, 9.  Shedden, as he was known, was educated at All Saints, Bathurst. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), January 12, 1901, 10.  Shedden, was born on September 23, 1868, SMH, September 25, 1868, 1, he married Ruth Harris on November 10, 1897, SMH, November 24, 1897, 1, and died on March 26, 1941, SMH, April 1, 1941, 3. He was educated at All Saints’ College, Bathurst graduating in 1888. Adam, the Pen and the Plough, 27. He became an architect and designed the ‘College Chapel, the school extensions to Esrom House and the Boer War Memorial in the College dining room.’ All Saints’ College VIM Issue 1, 2010, 6. Shedden became the architect for the Presbyterian Church and designed numerous buildings for the Church.

[87] SMH, February 24, 1863, 1. Upper Liverpool Street Darlinghurst; Sydney Mail (Sydney, NSW), July 2, 1864, 9; Empire (Sydney, NSW), April 4, 1863, 1; Macleay Street Darlinghurst in 1866, SMH, July 4, 1866, 1.

[88] SMH, September 25, 1868, 1; New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW), August 27, 1872 [Issue No.241], 2224. During the period 1872-1874 Adam invested in several mining companies. Marshalls Rich Vein Gold Mining Company Limited, 250 shares  £1 each; Ironbarks Golden Gully Company,  50 shares 25/- each; Rapp’s Gold Mining Company Limited, 305 shares £1; 1873 The NSW Northern Boundary Tin Mining Company, Limited,  836 shares £1 each; 1874 Rampant Lion Gold Mining Company, Limited, 225 shares at £1 each. New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW), October 22, 1872 [Issue No.278], 2746; August 27, 1872 [Issue No.241], 2224; December 20, 1872 [Issue No.322], 3292; March 4, 1873 [Issue No.51], 678; August 28, 1874 [Issue No.207], 2610. None of these Companies seemed to have been particularly profitable.

[89] SMH, July 6, 1877, 12; August 27, 1881, 14; The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), October 19, 1880, 4.

[90] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), October 19, 1880, 4; SMH, November 8, 1881, 1; May 4, 1883, 2; October 22, 1884, 16. Adam was also appointed Session Clerk of Ashfield in 1880. Ashfield Presbyterian Church 1876-1976 [no date, no publisher], 2. He was the commissioned elder from the Ashfield Session in April 1880. SMH, April 8, 1880, 6. The family left Croydon sometime after March 1885. SMH, March 11, 1885, 2.

[91] SMH, November 8, 1881, 1.

[92] Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 24.

[93] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), August 22, 1885, 2; The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), March 4, 1891, 1; Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), September 8, 1893, 3.

[94]  SMH, November 24, 1897, 1; 1890 Sands Directory. Adam, The Pen and the Plough, 27, 28.

[95] The name of the house may be significant. John Shedden Adam (Jnr) named his house ‘Ferguslie’ and his father called his house ‘Ellerslie’ which is a variant spelling of ‘Elderslie’. This is the name of a town which is near ‘Ferguslie’ and both are close to Paisley west of Glasgow. These areas had strong family connections to the Adam family, see James Dobie, Memoir of William Wilson of Crummock. In addition Ellerslie in New Zealand is the area where the Adam family was granted land. Family recollection is that the house was named after the location of John’s original house in New Zealand. (The Historian, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society 40 (1) October 2011, 112.) It is possible that Ellerslie in New Zealand was named by JS Adam and not, contrary to what is commonly believed, by Robert Graham, who appears to have had no connections to this area in Scotland spending his boyhood at High Possil Farm north of Glasgow. [accessed 17/10/2017]

[96] SMH, December 6, 1906, 6;  Architect John Shedden Adam via (courtesy of NSW Heritage) [Accessed 19/10/2017].

[97]  The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), August 10, 1904, 9.

[98] SMH, June 12, 1894, 7; January 22, 1907, 4.

[99] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), December 1, 1874, 2; SMH, December 20, 1887, 8.

[100] SMH, January 23, 1855, 4; Evening News (Sydney, NSW), February 25, 1890, 2.

[101] SMH, May 10, 1880, 8. In 1861 he had given £10 to support the opening of a Sailor’s Home in connection with the Bethel Union. Empire (Sydney, NSW), April 12, 1861, 2.

[102] Empire (Sydney, NSW), August 26, 1856, 2.

[103] Walter Phillips, ‘The Churches and the Sunday Question in Sydney in the 1880s’ Journal of Religious History, 6, 1, 41–61, June 1970.

[104] Empire (Sydney, NSW), August 12, 1857, 3; SMH, September 7, 1858, 5; Empire (Sydney, NSW), January 31, 1861, 8; Waugh’s Australian Almanac, (Sydney: Sherriff and Downing, 1863), 136; SMH, November 3, 1880, 5; The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), April 22, 1884, 5.

[105] Sydney Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), October 19, 1880, 4.

[106] Hugh Miller (10 October 1802 – 24 December 1856) was a self-taught Scottish geologist and writer and an evangelical Christian. He was a strong supporter of a traditional view of the Lord’s Day. [accessed 20/11/2017]

[107] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), April 1, 1886, 2; June 22, 1886, 2.

[108] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), June 22, 1886, 2.

[109] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), June 22, 1886, 2.

[110] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), March 10, 1887, 2.

[111] SMH, February 26, 1856, 5; May 27, 1874, 3.

[112] Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney NSW), October 9, 1823, 3.

[113] SMH, October 22, 1885, 9; Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), February 18, 1890, 2; February 16, 1892, 2; National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), February 17, 1894, 3.

[114] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), October 29, 1887, 2.

[115] Waugh’s Australian Almanac, (Sydney: Sherriff and Downing, 1864), 128.

[116] Empire (Sydney, NSW), June 2, 1863, 5; SMH, May 21, 1884, 6.

[117] SMH, May 21, 1884, 6.

[118] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), July 28, 1870, 2; SMH, August 9, 1876, 5; April 4, 1878, 6.

[119] SMH, August 13, 1873, 5.

[120] SMH, October 27, 1875, 6.

[121] Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW), February 28, 1882, 4; The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), July 29, 1884, 6; Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), February 11, 1886, 3.

[122] SMH, September 16, 1878, 7; Nepean Times (Penrith, NSW), August 16, 1884, 2.

[123] Sometime later the Committee provided a young boy as a travelling companion and guide around Sydney. Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), June 24, 1885, 2.

[124] Nepean Times (Penrith, NSW), June 27, 1885, 2.

[125] SMH, January 5, 1884, 3.

[126] SMH, November 28, 1889, 3.

[127] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), February 23, 1900, 7.

[128] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), November 4, 1886, 3; March 22, 1887, 2; November 3, 1887, 2; The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW), July 12, 1889, 6.

[129] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), October 24, 1889, 2.

[130] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), April 25, 1889, 2.

[131] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), April 26, 1892, 2; December 6, 1892, 3.

[132] National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), July 24, 1893, 2.

[133] Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), November 18, 1893, 19.

[134] John Walker had shown an interest in missions to China before Adam’s arrival at Woollahra. SMH, November 12, 1891, 3.

[135] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), October 12, 1893, 4.

[136] The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), December 12, 1891, 1318.

[137] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), January 27, 1887, 2.

[138] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), September 5, 1893, 2.

[139] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), January 17, 1890, 2.

[140] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), January 30, 1891, 2.

[141] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst NSW), October 11, 1887, 2; November 17, 1887, 2; January 31, 1888, 4.

[142] SMH, June 10, 1889, 2.

[143] See

[144] SMH, May 10, 1884, 9.

[145] Mary Greenleaf Clement Leavitt (1830–1912), [accessed November 12, 2017]

[146] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), August 22, 1885, 2.

[147] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), October 6, 1887, 3.

[148] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), July 19, 1892, 2.

[149] SMH, April 7, 1902, 5. Florence Balgarnie, (1856-1928), feminist and temperance campaigner, was born in Yorkshire the eldest of three daughters of the Reverend Robert Balgarnie (1826-1899) and his wife, Martha Rooke.

[150] J S Adam Senr, The Temperance Question (Sydney: Stationers Hall, 1895), cover.

[151] Adam, The Temperance Question, 1.

[152] Adam, The Temperance Question, 8.

[153] Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), November 19, 1898, 5.

[154] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), August 28, 1886, 2.

[155] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), March 1, 1887, 2.

[156] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), January 10, 1890, 2.

[157] He spoke at the Bathurst WCTU annual meeting in 1888. SMH, August 31, 1888, 8; National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), September 9, 1892, 2; Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), May 27, 1893, 2. He was present at the 1897 opening of the new premises of WCTT at Phillip Street. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), April 13, 1897, 3.

[158] [accessed 20/11/2017]

[159] Franklin D. Scott Sweden, Enlarged Edition: The Nation’s History (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988), 412.

[160] Goulburn Evening Penny Post (Goulburn, NSW), March 19, 1895, 2. Adam corrected this misreporting in a letter to the editor. The Presbyterian (Sydney, NSW), March 23, 1895, 9.

[161] The Presbyterian (Sydney, NSW), April 24, 1896, 4-5.

[162] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), July 21, 1888, 5.

[163] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (Bathurst, NSW), April 25, 1890, 2.

[164] National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), September 8, 1893, 2.

[165] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), January 30, 1894, 3.

[166] SMH, January 30, 1894, 3.

[167] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), December 2, 1896, 4.

[168] SMH, December 6, 1906, 6.

[169] John Shedden Adam, Last Will and Testament, 38658. New South Wales Will Books 1800-1952,

[170] The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW), December 7, 1906, 4.

[171] John Walker, The Late John Sheddon (sic) Adam obituary. The Messenger (Sydney, NSW), January 18, 1907.

[172] Louisa A Adam to Rev John Walker 11th January 1907. John Walker Papers, Ferguson Library and Presbyterian Archives, Sydney NSW.

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