Woodcock, William John - I77
William John Woodcock
|1808 – 1868|
Archdeacon William Woodcock; Source: State Library of South Australia; SLSA B46868_17
|Woodcock Family - F91|
|Voyage to Adelaide in 1866|
|Personal role||First Class Passenger|
|Name on list||Archdeacon William John Woodcock|
Archdeacon William John Woodcock (1808-1868) was a passenger on the City of Adelaide from London to arrive home in Adelaide in October 1866.
On the recommendation of his panel of three doctors, Archdeacon Woodcock had already made such a trip to New Zealand to recuperate his health. It was unsuccessful in "restoring his vigour", and when a much longer break was prescribed, he arranged a voyage to England.
A testimonial from his church-wardens on behalf of the congregation, wishing him a safe journey and restoration of health, was reported in The Register in November 1865. Among many other words that bordered on a fond farewell, it referred to times when "sickness and feebleness have prostrated your strength and energy". In his response the Archdeacon thanked them for their sympathy and affection “which will greatly help to solace me in those hours of isolation (most probably of weakness and suffering) which await me in the course of my projected voyage”.
When Archdeacon Woodcock travelled on the City of Adelaide from London to arrive home at North Adelaide in October 1866, he was completing that return trip. He took up his work again, but it was still interrupted by bouts of severe illness, and he died within 18 months.
Archdeacon Woodcock, who had been born in London, married Mary Carter at Chelmsford, Essex in 1837. He arrived at Port Adelaide with his wife and five children on the barque Emu in May 1846. They had moved to the new colony of South Australia under the auspices of the S.P.G. (The Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts), an Anglican missionary organisation.
Rev. Woodcock preached his first sermon in Trinity Church the following Sunday morning, and immediately created a favorable impression of his potential value to the community. He first served at St John’s Church in Adelaide, then was involved in the construction of Christ Church, North Adelaide in 1849, where he served for the rest of his life, living in the vicarage alongside.
He was a warm, earnest and zealous worker, not only within his own congregation, but also with Pulteney Street School, St Peter’s College and other organisations and missions. During the years he officiated in the colony he won the regard, esteem and affection of all those with whom he came in contact. One tribute to him said "He was a most worthy colonist, and a man whose whole life was imbued with the spirit of catholicity, true nobleness and goodness."
About 1860 he was created The Venerable William John Woodcock, Archdeacon of Adelaide and Incumbent of Christ Church in the Diocese of Adelaide.
Prior to his arrival in SA he had worked as a missionary in the East Indies and in the West Indies. It was the debilitating climate in these places that was blamed for his failing health at a comparatively early age. The periods of weakness that were interspersed with times of comparative strength, were "not traceable so much to any specific form of disease as to a general prostration and gradual breaking down of the system".
Archdeacon Woodcock died at the North Adelaide vicarage in May 1868 in his 60th year, leaving a wife and seven children. Following a crowded Christ Church funeral service attended by many dignitaries and members of his congregation, he was buried in North Road Cemetery next to his late daughter. His widow Mrs Mary Woodcock, "a lady possessed of much amiability of character" passed away in North Adelaide at the age of 89 in May 1902.
Researched by Ron Roberts
Register & Observer 1868