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I was Rector of Berridale. The clergy of the Monaro were invited to dinner in the Cooma Rectory to meet Sir Marcus Loane, then Archbishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia. I found him a shy and reserved person, but when Church history was the subject his face lit up. He loved the stories of the great Christians of the past, especially the leaders of the evangelical end of the Anglican spectrum.

I mentioned Henry Martyn, Anglican missionary (1781 to 1812), who translated the Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer into various languages including Hindustani, Persian and Arabic. Sir Marcus had written about Martyn and other notable missionaries. He expressed surprise that I was so interested in Martyn, though I was Anglo-Catholic in theology. Sir Marcus wrote to me later and said how good it had been to talk about such men and he hoped I would keep up my reading and study.

The other day I found several letters from Sir Marcus Loane in my library. The list of Loane’s writings on Biblical and doctrinal subjects as well as many biographies, is most impressive. I treasure his letters as reminders of one of the great men of the Australian Anglican Church, the first Australian born Archbishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia.

Born in Tasmania in 1911, he died in 2009 at the age of 97. He married Patricia and, with their four children, they celebrated 71 years of married life. Sir Marcus served his entire ministry in the Diocese of Sydney, except for two years as an army chaplain in New Guinea. He loved his Diocese but was very sad to see the use of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in worship being discarded in recent years.

Sir Marcus Loane was a great man and we give thanks to God for him.

by Fr Robert Willson