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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4776


Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (13:52): Sunday was a very wet day in Parramatta, but a large number of people on Sunday morning braved the weather and arrived at St John's Anglican Cathedral in Parramatta—largely wet from at least the knees down, for most of us—to celebrate a very special day. It was the 200th anniversary of the first Sunday school in Australia. In May 1813, Mr Thomas Hassall, who later became, of course, the Reverend Thomas Hassall, was sitting out in the sun—and this story is told in a publication of St John's Anglican Cathedral:

One hot Sunday afternoon Thomas Hassall was resting and a fly persisted in trying to settle on his face; he continued to drive away the intruder until it became too much to him. Sleep was driven away, if not the fly, and with a little warmth of temper he walked outside the house. There he saw some children at play. It then occurred to him that he ought to find some better way of spending his Sunday afternoon. He took the children indoors and told them Bible stories …

The next week the children returned and the first Sunday school in Australia was born.

It was a wonderful service on Sunday. A time capsule was buried, in the rain. And we paid tribute to the many teachers who, over the last 200 years, have worked so hard with the children to keep that Sunday school thriving—and thriving it is. I congratulate St John's Anglican Cathedral and the Anglican Sunday School of St John's for 200 years— (Time expired)