College – Issue 41

“called at sixty-six islands, and effected eighty-one various landings and brought back thirty-three pupils from different islands, the greater number coming from the Solomon Islands, Bauro and Guadalcanar [Guadalcanal]”. 35 This continued the regular visits which had begun in 1848 of bringing Melanesians to New Zealand for education and then returned to evangelise and civilise. 36 Dudley also spent time working with Patteson at St John’s College and at St Andrew’s at Kohimarama as well as undertaking further trips to Melanesia. Indeed in 1860 when Patteson was off Ambrym in the New Hebrides he wrote, “Oh! that Benjamin Dudleys could be multiplied. We want young men for this mission, who can learn languages & adopt habits easily – Benjamin with a staff of teachers I could place at Mai, or at Mota or at Bauro…” 37 On 22 December 1861 Dudley was ordained deacon by Patteson in Auckland; Patteson had been consecrated Bishop in Melanesia. Ultimately, Dudley’s health, possibly the impact of malaria, meant that he was no longer fit enough to spend long periods of time in Melanesia. 38 Perhaps that is the reason why, in 1871, he declined nomination to be the Diocese’s Bishop. He did however return in 1872 on a rescue mission to Norfolk Island and preached at the consecration of John Richardson Selwyn as Bishop. In 1880 he was once more on Norfolk Island where he preached at the consecration of the Patteson Chapel. From 1865–1897 he was the Vicar of St Sepulchre, in Auckland. In 1900, not long before he died, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his work in Melanesia. On Tuesday 18 December 1900, he preached at the College Jubilee Service with the text from Psalm 115, “The Lord shall increase you more and more; you and your

Figure 8 – The Diocese of Melanesia – From The History of the Diocese of Melanesia by E S Amstrong op p xxviiii

children.” 39 He recalled many of the major events of his own lifetime including the arrival of Bishop Selwyn and the Canterbury Pilgrims. He remembered those who had played in the barrack-yard in Lyttelton and the importance of Henry Jacobs in his own decision to become a priest and serve in Melanesia. He acknowledged the services held in the College Chapel over the generations and recognised that like many boys “he found regular service irksome at times, and kicked against it in my boyhood”. His obituary in the same edition of the Christ’s College Register ends with, “He was one of those happy men to whom is given ‘to work to the end of life’, for on the very evening before his death, he took a Confirmation class, and went about his usual duties, and on the Tuesday morning he entered into his rest.” 40

Figure 9 – Benjamin Thornton Dudley DD 1838–1901

College Issue 41 2021


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