James Moorhouse, the second Anglican Bishop of Melbourne, was one of the great public figures in the city during the 1870s and 80s. His oratorical skills were unsurpassed, and he provided an authoritative and stabilising voice, week in, week out, before thousands of citizens whether gathered in city or country.
Moorhouse was a keen and constructive participant in many of the major social issues of his day, including education, race relations, prostitution, slums, and the irrigation of the Victorian hinterland. His private character lent authenticity to his public role, for he was a man with a passionate sense of vocation, derived from a powerful mystical experience in his young adulthood. Yet he was also tolerant and worldly, a man who supported temperance while continuing to enjoy his pipe and a glass of wine; indeed, Moorhouse was the very embodiment of ‘muscular Christianity’.
Drawing heavily on the ample reportage that Moorhouse received in the contemporary press, this book acknowledges the central role he played in the public life of Marvellous Melbourne, while showing how he earned the title of ‘bishop of magnetic power’.
Morna Sturrock has spent a lifetime in journalism, and in later years has returned to academic studies in Arts and Theology. She has published three parish histories, and centenary histories of the Toorak mansion Stonnington and the religious community of Brigidine Sisters in Victoria. Her most recent book was Life Begins at Fifty-Something 1996.