The Deacon Story
Rev. Thomas Deacon, 1788-1860
General Baptist Minister
Bourne, Lincs., UK 1843-50
United Congregational Church, Ipswich, Queensland, 1853-4
Ipswich 'General' Baptist Church 1859-60
Read about the life and ministry of Rev. Thomas Deacon, the second Baptist minister in Queensland, and his son William Thomas Deacon, a former student minister. It is a story tinged with tragedy and hope.
Thomas and William Deacon: General Baptists in Queensland, David Parker (Research Paper) (1998) 28pp ISBN 0-9586622-7-4
$3.50 posted Australia $5 overseas Australian currency only
BHSQ Publications, c/- Mrs R. Kopittke, 98 Yallambee Rd, Jindalee, 4074 Q., Australia
Thomas Deacon became assistant minister of the General Baptist Church at Bourne, Lincs. in 1844; he was already in his mid-50s, and had a fine reputation for lay preaching and Christian character. His son, Wm. Thomas Deacon began studies at the General Baptist College, Leicester a year later, but took seriously ill while serving an interim pastorate at nearby Spalding during a college break.
When news of Dr John Dunmore Lang's Moreton Bay migration scheme appeared in the British Banner, Deacon Jnr. decided to take advantage of it in the hope of regaining his health in a warmer climate; his father became an enthusiastic admirer of Lang's "heroic" efforts for the Kingdom of God in Australia. Together with his wife and young family, Wm. Deacon sailed on the Fortitude in September 1848, with another Baptist, Rev. Charles Stewart as chaplain, and a large number of other dedicated evangelical Christians; he established a saddlery business in Brisbane, and his wife, Louisa, set up as a milliner. Lang was pleased to cite Deacon Jnr. as a satisfied and exemplary participant in his migration scheme. With his health remarkably improved, Deacon soon moved to Ipswich, and his widower father, although fearful of the long journey, joined him there early in 1851. But after only a short time, the son's health deteriorated again and before the end of the year he was dead.
Deacon Snr. established himself in Ipswich as a "devout and saintly" man; he re-married (with Rev. Charles Stewart, now minister of the United Evangelical Church, Brisbane, performing the ceremony) and in 1853 was appointed pastor of a United Congregational Church established in the wake of Stewart's efforts to provide worship services in the town; he was willingly replaced only a year later by an Independent minister when the church was restructured on denominational lines, and continued his dedicated involvement in that church and in the community. He conducted the first service in the UEC chapel after the departure of Stewart in January 1855.
In 1859, separate efforts by Rev. James Voller of Sydney, and by Rev. Benjamin Gilmore Wilson of the Brisbane Baptist Church in Wharf Street, resulted at last in the formation of a Baptist work in Ipswich; the first meeting was held in Deacon's home and when the church was formed early the next year, he was appointed pastor. Deacon gave land for the erection of a chapel, which was opened 20 August 1860 with Voller, Wilson and others participating.
But having seen his long held hope come to fruition, Deacon died a few days later aged 72 years, universally respected as "a Christian, a friend, and a citizen, who has left the world the better for his having lived in it."
Order your copy of the full story of these two dedicated men and their families
They were the only General Baptist ministers to serve in Queensland.