Free Online Bible Library | Richard Johnson

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Richard Johnson

1753-1827. Anglican clergyman. Educated at Cambridge, he was appointed first chaplain to the convict colony at Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia, in 1786. Both the Eclectic Society and members of the Clapham Sect* helped to secure his appointment. He conducted the first service in Australia on 3 February 1788. As the only chaplain his task was made more difficult by opposition from the military junta in the colony. He built a church at his own expense. His emphasis on personal salvation brought charges of “methodism.” Yet independent observers recognized his unsparing help towards the sick among the convicts, the aborigines, and the orphans. Like most government officials he acted as farmer and magistrate, but his main concern was for his clerical duties. He left the colony in 1800 officially on leave, but in 1810 he took a London parish.