CONFERENCE MINUTES, 1915, Section II.
What Ministers have died since the last Conference?
JAMES WOOLNOUGH was a native of England, born at Eriswell
in 1847. While yet a lad, he came with his parents to Tasmania, and, in 1865, removed to New South Wales, where, in 1871,
he was accepted as a candidate for our ministry. His appointments were to the Wellington, Carcoar, Grafton-Wallsend, Singleton,
east Maitland, Waverley, Newtown, Bowral, and Burwood circuits. As a Circuit Minister his work was marked by many evidences
of the best kind of success, which was made visible in a number of Circuits by handsome new Churches. He was not given to
talking of his doings, and in consequence, many of his friends did not know how much was done in leading people to the knowledge
of the Redeemer. His fine literary taste, his relish for the poetic and the humorous, imparted sparkle and freshness to his
preaching. In addition to superintending important circuits, he was several times Chairman of District, and in 1897 was President
of the Conference.
In 1896 he was appointed General Secretary to the Church
Sustentation and Extension Society and agent for the Church in its business with the Government. In 1904 he became Custodian
of Deeds. In this sphere his quiet skill in finance was shown in the fashion in which he successfully grapped (sic.) with
chronic and great difficulties in Circuit and Trust finance, often making that which was apparently impossible quite simple.
In all such things he was the trusted advisor of the Church, and results fully justified the Churchs confidence in his counsel.
The Special Help Fund, by which £13,279 of old Circuits debts were liquidated at the time of the Methodist union, as well
as a Special Fund to meet the financial difficulties arising out of the consummation of Methodist Union, were originated and
successfully carried to their issue by him. His management of the Loan Funds materially increased their effectiveness, while
his system of dealing with grants improved conditions for all parties concerned.
The standing of our Church today among the commercial
men of the city is an impressive tribute to the sagacity and worth of Mr. Woolnough. But his keenest delight in all this work
arose from the knowledge that in these ways he rendered much service to his brethren in the ministry as well as to the work
of the Church in all departments. He remained in active service till the close of his life, though unable to leave his home
for six months previous to his death. Those days of inactivity were a great trial, yet in wonderful patience and courage he
cheerfully endured until his relief came. He exchanged mortality for life on the 30th December, 1914, in the 68th
year of his age, and the 44th year of his ministry, deeply regretted by the whole Church, in whose love he ever
held a large place.