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The Daniel Mannix Memorial Lecture delivered at Newman College, University of Melbourne.

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Gerard Kennedy Tucker - Priest in the Church of God, Founder of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Founder of Community Aid Abroad died in his eighty-ninth year in the Geelong Hospital in May 1974. He wrote his own epitaph on a small scrap of paper placed in a box containing his few books and possessions, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith". The phrase is familiar because it comes from Paul's Letter to Timothy, Chapter 2, Verse 7.

When the Rector of the College Father Peter L'Strange invited me to deliver the Mannix Lecture this year I accepted without hesitation saying that the obvious leader I had to choose was Father Tucker who, in death as in life, has always sat on my left shoulder goading me on and keeping me up to the mark as he did with so many others.

Initially I tried to prepare a learned oration about a remarkable person in Australian and Victorian society but in the end I have concluded that the task is too difficult. I would ask you to set aside that I am the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and to regard me for tonight as someone who served under Father Tucker and who has taken on this assignment as a labour of love and as a tribute to a remarkable though sometimes impossible man. I've also intuitively chosen him as the subject of my address on leadership because it is an important means for me to reconnect with the roots of my tradition and my early ministry with the Brotherhood of St Laurence. From a human point of view it is also the opportunity to revisit the life of one whom I've always regarded as something of an enigma and whose life was a remarkable paradox. At the end of the day I want to suggest that Gerard Kennedy Tucker should properly be recognised as a holy person in the official calendar of the church to which I belong. He was a classical example of the power of God at work through human weakness and frailty. He had few of the conventional attributes usually required for success and leadership. He was intellectually limited and only passed his theology exams after three attempts; he was small, bespectacled and frail; he had to deal early in his life with self doubt and anxiety; he was one of a large family of successful people with a grandfather and a father who were both giants in the church and great priests and leaders; and worst of all he was afflicted with a serious stammer which in his youth appeared to rule him out from the possibility of priestly ministry. In a talking profession how could you have someone who had such difficulty communicating in words? Yet, he was able to overcome these serious difficulties and limitations to achieve more than his forebears in their lifetime.

His life certainly overlapped with that of Archbishop Daniel Mannix and in many ways there are some

striking contrasts, for example between Mannix's opposition to conscription and Australia's involvement in the first World War and Tucker's enthusiastic enlistment against the wishes of his Anglican Archbishop Lowther Clarke first as a private and later to become a distinguished chaplain in France. The two did meet and here I wish to acknowledge a recent monograph of Father Tucker written by his nephew David Scott who is here tonight to whom I am greatly indebted. The title of the booklet is "He Got Things Done". I am also indebted to the work of John Handfield in his very insightful biography written in 1980 entitled "Friends and Brothers" in which I had considerable involvement. David Scott says this about the meeting between Father Tucker and Archbishop Mannix. "As Honorary Secretary of the Slum Abolition Campaign, I went with Tucker to meet Archbishop Mannix. I was nervous and anxious about the success of the historic meeting and scarcely remember more that the softness of Mannix's hand and handshake, the cups of tea and the feeling that the churchmen were deeply respectful of each other. Mannix declined to attend the meeting, held again in the Assembly Hall, described by cynics as "the home of lost causes", but he endorsed the campaign and sent Father Eric Perkins, Head of the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau as his representative." Father Tucker and those who led the campaign were convinced that the churches had to mobilise their efforts together to put pressure on the State Government to take action. They were convinced that they would form an irresistible force if Dr Daniel Mannix could be persuaded to take part in the meeting of the Slum Abolition Campaign. As David Scott says "It was bold to even contemplate inviting Dr Mannix to join other church leaders at this time. Relations between the Catholic and other churches was strained and there was little communication or co-operation." Dr Mannix was by then a very old man and he had great respect for Father Tucker and the work of the Brotherhood. The offer of Father Eric Perkins later to become Bishop Perkins was the beginning of a strong relationship between the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and many other voluntary welfare organisations.

I came to the Brotherhood of St Laurence in 1964 having served a curacy in a group ministry called the Melbourne Diocesan Centre for four years in North Melbourne. I came because I had many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of the church's ministry amongst low income and working class people and because I believed that the traditional parish ministry was not an effective way of engaging them in the church and in helping them to come to faith. I was appointed by Bishop Geoffrey Sambell the then Director who later became Archbishop of Perth. At that stage the Brotherhood was reaching its zenith as was Community Aid Abroad. Geoffrey Sambell was however still the Director on a very part time basis in addition to his other diocesan responsibilities and David Scott was the Associate Director spending two thirds of his time with Community Aid Abroad and a third with the Brotherhood concentrating mainly on research and social action. The accounting and administration was handled by Bruce Buchanan and Father Tucker was by then living at St Laurence Park, Lara, still described as the Superior of the Brotherhood and still a force in the land especially in Geelong. He had two outstanding people to support him as well as a strong regional council which often challenged the central board. He had Eric Hart, a Geelong business man and Neville Brooke as the Administrator of the settlement who was one of many young people whom he recruited to the cause.

I used to drive down regularly from Fitzroy to Geelong to listen to Father Tucker, to absorb his experience and wisdom in an attempt to find my way in this remarkable and charismatic organisation. I have to confess that as a young priest testing out some fairly radical ideas I had difficulty engaging with the older priest who was absolutely clear cut in his views and convinced that there was only one way of doing things and that was his! I did try to listen and to engage with him but at the end of the day I realized that I had to find my own way with the theological insights that I was working with at the time

and that the best thing that I could do was also to equip myself and to qualify as a social worker. Being somewhat older now I am closer to him now and more sympathetic to his beliefs, his methods, and his unshakable determination and commitment. As we get older and time begins to run out, we become more impatient to achieve our vision. I regret that I could not see this more clearly and that I felt his theological and practical solutions as laid down in his last great attempt to establish the Lara Movement during the Vietnam War were for me too simplistic. One of the unintended outcomes about a university education is that it can sometimes get too preoccupied with identifying and dealing with complexity, running the danger of "paralysis by analysis". Certainly Father Tucker thought that and today I too am slowly coming around to that view. If I were to give this address a title it would be "The Triumph of Heroic Failures". Gerard Kennedy Tucker was a man of vision and impatience who was always bubbling over with new ideas. No one could ever keep up with him and he would start to implement a new project and then hand it on to someone else with varying degrees of success. There were many other plans and projects that he implemented which failed. I don't think he ever acknowledged failure because in many ways he could not afford to do so. He would close something down if it was not going to plan and because there was an exciting new project ahead that was much more likely to bear fruit. In other cases movements and programs that he established for one set of objectives like for example the struggling Carrum Downs settlement for low income families during the depression was turned into a highly successful and innovative community accommodation program for the active elderly in the post war years.

His attempts to forge a brotherhood of brotherhoods all over the Australian church to assist Diocesan Bishops with new approaches to parish ministry that would support four priests on one stipend failed because he could not provide enough clergy to fulfill their needs at the appropriate moment. His attempts at introducing brotherhoods into the parishes of Adamstown and then St Mary's, Fitzroy and St Cuthbert's, East Brunswick had partial successes but in the end fell away for a variety of reasons not of his making. But he was always able to pick himself up and move on to the next great challenge without ever looking back and this I believe was one of his great strengths. There is more that I want to say about the details of his long and remarkable ministry but I would now like to turn to discuss the issues of leadership and to consider how he measured up to our own contemporary understanding of good leadership.

It is recognised today that there is a need to distinguish between management and leadership, to recognize that both sorts of people are needed but that they operate at very different levels in a collaborative way. Gerard Tucker was clearly a leader but he was no manger and was well aware of that. One of the early members of the Brotherhood, Father Selwyn Reynolds once described him to me as a practical mystic which in many ways was an apt label. Those who followed him realized that he was always dreaming dreams, having visions and moving with breathtaking speed from grasping a good idea and endeavouring to implement it without a great deal of thought as to what was required in between. He had a deep compassion for the poor, the homeless and those who were disabled. He was determined to do something about the appalling living conditions under which so many Victorians were forced to live between the 1930s and 1950s. For him it was a fundamental question of justice that people should have a fair go and the opportunity to live their lives in simple dignity. He was no Marxist and indeed he was shy of all kinds of party politics though it was clear enough that social change of the kind that he envisaged required political action and it was in that area as a catalyst and a goad that he was so very effective. The severe disabling speech stammer he eventually turned to good effect as all of us can well remember. On that dramatic occasion in the 1930s in Fitzroy Street as he watched the police evicting some homeless

men who were squatting in a tenement house he turned to his brothers and said "Wwwwwwwhat kind of chchchchchurch is it that ssssstands there watching like we are with its arms fffffffolded. We must dddddddo something." And something they did. The first step taken in the slum abolition campaign was to begin collecting funds for the establishment of a number of hostels for homeless men at the time. He always began with practical demonstrations in quite specific ways and then broaden out his vision and indeed to establish new demonstration projects as to how things should be done to achieve change.

Yet there is no question that he was first and foremost a priest and a man of prayer and for him the Eucharist and the daily offices were central to his life. He also believed in the idea of brotherhood and the establishment of communities of priests and lay brothers. It was not the model of a contemplative religious community (along the classical Benedictine or Dominican lines) but something far more practical to solve the serious problems the church had in supplying priestly ministry in areas of need. He believed in the divine commission to go into the world to bring in the lost sheep and he believed that by the practical application of action orientated brotherhoods with four priests living on the stipend of one they could achieve great things for the kingdom. This was his primary vision and his central passion and the idea of a "brotherhood of brotherhoods" all around Australia assisting in urban and rural situations with its own rule of life and its own commitment to building up the church was what initially drove him. The other primary vision went back to his earliest student years to establish a brotherhood in the heart of the slums in order to meet people's practical and spiritual needs simultaneously.

Time does not permit me to go into a detailed analysis of why the brotherhood as a religious order failed although Father Tucker never relinquished his vision about this and to his dying day continued to be addressed as the Superior of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and he never lost an opportunity to call aside young men challenging them to follow in his path. But it was not to be, I think primarily because dynamic, charismatic, visionary leaders of his kind do not make good heads of religious orders. Indeed the students used to describe it as the Tuckerhood of St Laurence and their secret nickname for him was Suppy presumably a derivation from the word superior. There was never a permanent commitment to celibacy nor was there a fixed term of office of say five years as was the case with the bush brotherhoods in North Queensland where they were bound to the order for a specific period of time under oath of obedience. It may be too that this open ended approach to the celibacy carried within it the seeds of collapse because there does need to be a clear and sustained commitment of some kind in order to maintain stability and continuity. It also has to be said that many of the young men who joined the Brotherhood in Fitzroy in the thirties came because this was the only way they could ever study for their Licentiate of Theology and get ordained because they could not afford to go into residence in a college. The idea of the Brotherhood where they had food and board found, where they were part of a disciplined community of prayer and practical good works and studying at night was something that worked very well for them, particularly in the years of depression and many of them turned out to be very fine priests but virtually none of them had it in mind to stay with Tucker for the whole of their life's ministry. It is not clear whether Gerard Tucker understood that or if he did whether he turned a blind eye and behaved as if they were always going to be there with him in spite of their present intentions.

It was the other twin objective - meeting of human need in practical ways which grew and flourished even to this day. Handfield aptly called his biography "Friends and Brothers". If the Brotherhood diminished as an order, the friends grew in strength and in commitment. They were a remarkable network of his family, friends, parishioners and people whom he constantly nurtured and reinforced with his writings and his personal relationships. They were encouraged to see themselves as his compatriots in

the war against slums and poverty and countless men and women and young people responded to his call and the remarkable thing about it was that many of them served the Brotherhood for most of their active lives. A number of the members of the original council that he established, local business people were still serving on the Brotherhood Board forty years later which is a remarkable example of commitment and loyalty seldom found these days.

In many ways Gerard Tucker came into his own in this area because this is where his greatest strengths lay. He was not a person with a strong intellect in fact his theology was very simple and basic. He was not a powerful, physically inspiring figure, quite the contrary - he was small, frail and bespectacled. The stammer, though it ceased to be a problem for him because he turned it into a positive, continued to be a part of who he was. He had had many self doubts in his early years and with good reason but out of his very weakness came grace and strength. He had spent his early years fighting the demons of doubt and uncertainty in himself to the point where in the middle years of his life he would never entertain such things again and if there were any areas of deficiency such in the area of planning, budgeting and organizational maintenance he would leave those tasks to others. It was not that he underestimated the importance of good management but rather that he was impatient to get on with the central goals of the Brotherhood and leave that to others.

By way of contrast leaders are people who help create a vision for the future and then develop strategies to achieve that vision. They also communicate the required direction in such a way that the relevant parties understand and believe the message. Good leaders have strong motivational skills and they are capable of producing change in organisations. Leadership then is a critical factor in providing direction, mobilising the people and in bringing about the necessary changes in the society or the organisation. John Kotter once wrote that outstanding leaders are people who are able to do the following things very effectively:

They challenge the existing processes in a constructive way which can engage people, without their feeling unduly defensive ●

They inspire and share a vision of how things might be, encouraging others to think beyond the constraints of the present ●

They enable others to act by empowering them to do so ●

They model the way by personal example ●

They encourage the heart, knowing that the process of motivation and the achievement of change are not purely rational matters relating to the head alone. ●

There is no question that Tucker had outstanding ability in being able to challenge the status quo where he thought it was wrong, to inspire people to share in his vision which many did in ways that changed their lives and to enable others to achieve things beyond their capacity. In every way he was a model who by his frugal lifestyle and virtual absence of worldly goods witnessed to the virtue of evangelical poverty in a way that few people could do. Furthermore he was never afraid to make an appeal to the heart without in any way being sentimental because he was a practical realist. What he could do was to speak

practical commonsense appealing to people's better nature, their enlightened self interest and their desire to achieve for others what they would want for themselves. If there was a weakness in his leadership style it was to do with a tendency to demand that others do things his way and not theirs. You were fine if you were on his wavelength but if you strayed, deviated or went in a different direction he would rapidly lose interest in you.

It is very much a matter of how one evaluates this quality because there are also positive sides to it. There is no doubt that he was proud of the modern Brotherhood that emerged as a quite different organisation to the one that he envisaged. He was always quick to encourage it but it was probably not central to his original hopes and aspirations. In his later years he was deeply committed to Community Aid Abroad which had emerged out of the Food for Peace Campaign because this was much more a person to person, local group to local group movement dealing in practical ways with third world poverty. His great leadership strength was that once he took hold of a vision of what had to be done he never let it go. He might put it aside if he felt there was serious opposition from the Board or from some other group but only until a more opportune time when he thought no one was watching he would bring his pet scheme forward again and usually have his way by sheer persistence and persuasion.

The best type of leadership is transformational and in that respect both Archbishop Mannix and Father Tucker fulfilled those requirements because their leadership was inspirational, relational and intellectual. Tucker clearly had the capacity to inspire people by setting high goals and expectations and he had the means of expressing complex and important issues in very simple ways by which all the friends of the Brotherhood could understand the vision. He was also a very deep carer and gave much personal attention to the needs of those around him. He would encourage people to develop personal responsibility and he exhibited much trust in them. There were times when that trust was not fulfilled and some of his cherished schemes fell to the ground, sometimes because the people whom he handed them to were not up to it. In the area of intellectual stimulation he had the gift of taking hold of good ideas, new at the time and turning them into self evident truths. For example, the idea that it was more important to build fences across the top of a cliff than to have ambulances pick up the victims at the bottom of the cliff after they had fallen. He had very strong ideas about programs of prevention just as he believed that people needed to have the tools of empowerment in order to change their lives for good. He was no intellectual as I have already said but he certainly had a great capacity to stimulate and challenge people intellectually and spiritually along the paths that he first delineated.

I can well remember the first time I heard him preach in the pulpit and it was back at St George's, Malvern where I was serving a readership in the 1950s even as he had done forty years earlier. This small, spare, unobtrusive man stood up in the pulpit and spoke clearly, forcibly, with a great sense of vision. The vicar remarked afterwards that it was very much the sermon of a young man even though he must have been well into his seventies by then.

There is another side to Father Tucker's personality which is manifested in an unusual sense of humour which he also used to very good effect. The Food for Peace Campaign had been going for some years when President Kennedy of the United States announced a major international political initiative a program of the same name. Tucker's response was to write to the President and explain to him that he could not use the title Food for Peace because the Brotherhood had already claimed it some years earlier. He also had the capacity to use his humour to pull up a colleague if he did not particularly like the direction in which the argument was going. I remember one evening at a Brotherhood Board meeting

when his friends and colleague of forty years surveyor Saxil Tuxen was expounding at great length a very complex intellectual proposition about human settlements. Father Tucker cut across him and said "Mr Ttttttuxen, you're just like me, a sssssssilly old man who tttttttalks too much." Saxil finished his sentence with a smile and then fell silent willingly accepting the friendly rebuke of the Superior.

There was another great occasion when after much pressure from the Slum Abolition Campaign, the Minister for Housing announced they were just about to begin the State Government's slum clearance program and had already chosen the area in which to commence. Tucker immediately wrote to the Minister saying that as a religious order it was the Brotherhood's custom to have a service of thanksgiving to Almighty God when any new great work was about to begin. Could the Minister please identify exactly where the slum clearance was to begin and they would go and conduct such a service. History does not record that he ever received a reply!

In his later years his health declined, which was hardly a surprise given his appalling dietary habits for it seems that he ate little else other than tinned apricots and tea mixed with Weeties often reheated by emersion heater. On occasions when one paid a visit to his sparse quarters, he would say "Wwwwould you like a cup of ttttttea?" I only ever accepted once because he placed the emersion heater in the tea and Weeties and offered the concoction in a not very hygienic old mug. The residents at Lara were always concerned about his diet and many of the women used to cook casseroles and pies to build up his strength. They soon abandoned the practice once they saw their delicacy on someone else's table.

There was another occasion when I received word that he was in hospital, unconscious and not likely to regain consciousness. With a heavy heart I went down to the Geelong Hospital and there he was in a room on his own nigh unto death and barely breathing. After a brief prayer I said to him, Father, it is Peter here. If you can still hear me, have you any advice to those of us who have to continue on as to what we should do about the Church. A voice seemingly came from nowhere "Bbbbbbbburn it down and ssssssstart again." I drove back to Melbourne concluding that he still had some life in him. It came as no surprise that a week later he was out of hospital and doing what he always intended, which was to be present when his old friend the Lieutenant Governor Sir Edmund Herring came down to St Laurence Park, Lara to open his latest project, the next wing of Flinders Lodge, accommodation for frail aged people. There was a marvelous sense of repartee between two old men who deeply respected one another. Father Tucker announced to the crowd "and now the Lieutenant Governor Sir Edmund Herring will do as he always does for us and that is plant a tree in honour of the occasion. A great gardener and a lover of trees he never missed the opportunity to do some ceremonial planting. Sir Edmund replied "I hereby plant this tree but the trouble is Father Tucker that the trees you always give me to plant usually die". If they did, he was always quick to replace the loss by asking the planter to come down again using the occasion to start off yet another new project. He was honoured with an MBE and later an OBE for his services to church and community. He was quite pleased with the post nominal and used it but on tidying up his few things his friend Neville Brooke found the old MBE underneath a pot plant, for he was never likely to wear it. In his theology and liturgical tradition he was definitely a high churchman but he liked to perform the Liturgy with the minimum amount of floweriness and fuss. His Catholicism was expressed within the framework of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer which he offered with simple dignity. When the Brotherhood came to St Mary's Mission, Fitzroy in 1933 he was confronted with the extremes of Anglo-Catholicism, carried out by middle class people who came from outside of Fitzroy not because of their social conscience but because they liked the way this elaborate form of the Liturgy was performed. He steadfastly refused to conform with these practices and reduced the number of shrines to

the Blessed Virgin Mary in the correct belief that one was enough. One day he was being loudly chastised by a middle class lady "we asked for a proper Catholic Priest and we got you" when the Angelus rang before he had a chance to reply to her. He fell silent until the peal had concluded and turning said "Mmmmmmadam I was about to reply to you when the Angelus rang. Just as well that I'll not give you the benefit of my remarks. I bid you good day" and abruptly turning on his heels he departed.

Sometimes the right thing involved controversy and even going as far as breaking the law. Back in the 1930s in the midst of the impossible legal maze of landlord and tenant laws in relation to sub-tenancies, Mrs Thompson, a widow, who had been associated with the Brotherhood had been virtually locked out of her own home which was under sub-tenancy arrangement. She had been released from hospital and spent the night in a railway shelter. In order to demonstrate the injustice of the law, Father Tucker and Frank Coaldrake and Tony Bishop decided to camp on the verandah of the Armadale house until such time at the sub-tenant was forced to move out. The famous verandah vigil as it become known lasted for 37 days but eventually the case was won, the lady concerned was restored to her home and the landlord and tenant laws were changed.

It also has to be said that he was a fierce opponent of Melbourne hosting the Olympic Games in 1956, not because he was against sport in any way but because he believed that the grave housing shortage at the time really needed to be addressed before Melbourne could afford the luxury of hosting the Games. That however was a campaign that he was never likely to win but his opposition to wrong public priority never abated.

He was an uncompromising ethical idealist and that idealism drew many young people to his causes who wished to pursue policies of social reform even though they did not necessarily accept all his religious ideas. It was this which gave the Brotherhood much of its great strength and credibility over the years. For although he was uncompromisingly committed to the Christian faith and to justice, he was also able to warmly embrace fellow travelers who did not believe exactly the same things, but whose hearts were in the right place and who were in agreement with him on some of the important programs of social reform. Though the Brotherhood was an independently incorporated Anglican organisation and a High Church one at that, it was also made up of people who had a wide range of beliefs - the first social worker Theresa Waddell was a Roman Catholic, there were Jewish staff while people like Tony Bishop would attend the Eucharist regularly even though he would describe himself as an agnostic. During the wartime years many young people who were pacifists came to the Brotherhood in order to fulfill their social commitments and because they could not in conscience enlist in the war. This would be a major reason why many people regarded the Brotherhood as a bit leftist, yet Father Tucker's political position was never driven by political considerations - indeed he was vigorously anti-Communist being something that he would have shared strongly with Archbishop Mannix. Both men clearly believed the teachings of Jesus Christ if carried out faithfully were a far better way and neither of them was above using the communist menace as a warning to people that our society could not afford to ignore the problems of poor housing, poverty and homelessness.

In bringing this Mannix Oration to its conclusion, may I say how grateful of the opportunity to revisit old territory, to re-read books like John Handfield's "Friends and Brothers" and David Scott's "He Got Things Done" as a means of revisiting the life of Gerard Kennedy Tucker, Founder and Superior of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Founder of Community Aid Abroad, contemporary prophet, priest and man

of God. He could be a hard and even a stern man but he had a deep love of souls, in fact his abiding passion was to win back the lost sheep and to return them into the life of the church. His love of humanity came from his love of God. His beliefs were fundamentally based upon the Sermon on the Mount and his outspoken social action came out of the great Judeo Christian prophetic tradition.

In a world dominated by post modernist individualism and the preoccupation of doing one's own thing, coupled with the pursuit of all manner of unusual and sometimes self-indulgent spiritualities, Tucker's clarity of belief, simplicity of life and uncompromising commitment to truth single him out as a remarkable and unforgettable character, but far more than that, he was a saint of God and a holy person who ought to be recognised as such. "Not everyone who says unto me Lord Lord shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but he that does the will of my Father which is in Heaven." If those divine injunctions from St Matthew's Gospel are the criteria for entry into the kingdom of God on any count Gerard Kennedy Tucker in his own distinctive and sometimes idiosyncratic way clearly qualifies for entry. David Scott concluded his memoir on his much loved uncle with these words "The characteristics of Tucker's ideas and work were responsibility beyond services into social and political action, sometimes even in defiance of laws; the importance of innovation; the need for social priorities in public policy; a more integrated, holistic church ministry; and avoiding co-option to organisations that compromise independence. He also showed that the commitment and perseverance that come from belief are necessary for success as well as a good measure of anger at injustice." These he concludes are the practical outcomes of responding to the love of God, expressed in a down to earth way in the life of a man whose earthly motivation was to prove himself to his father by demonstrating the fruits of the spirit in his own life in his love of God his heavenly Father.