Barker, Frederick (DNB00)

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BARKER, FREDERICK, D.D. (1808–1882), second bishop of Sydney and metropolitan of Australia, was grandson of William Barker, dean of Raphoe, 1757–1776, and the fifth son of the Rev. John Barker, vicar of Baslow by Bakewell, Derbyshire, who died 6 June 1824. Frederick Barker was born at Baslow on 17 March 1808. He was educated at Grantham School and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. degree in 1831 and proceeded M.A. in 1839. He was appointed 24 April 1831 to the perpetual curacy of Upton, a small village in Cheshire, where he ministered until 28 Sept. 1834, and then spent a few months (4 Oct. to 21 Dec. 1834) in Ireland in the service of the Irish Church Mission. In the beginning of 1835 he was appointed to the perpetual curacy of St. Mary's, Edgehill, Liverpool, and held this preferment for over nineteen years. In the course of his incumbency he manifested a warm interest in scriptural education. On account of failing health Barker was induced to accept from the patron, the Duke of Devonshire, the paternal vicarage of Baslow, which had fallen vacant by the death of his elder brother, the Rev. Anthony Auriol Barker, on 21 Dec. 1853. Before leaving Liverpool Barker published a volume entitled ‘Thirty-six Psalms, with Commentary and Prayer for Use in Families,’ London, 1854. Barker also contributed to ‘A Course of Sermons on the Principal Errors of the Church of Rome, preached in St. Andrew's Church, Liverpool, by Ten Clergymen of the Church of England,’ 1838; to ‘A Course of Sermons on Romanism, preached in St. Michael's Church, Liverpool, in 1838–9, by several Clergymen of the Church of England,’ 1840; and to ‘Twenty-two Sermons by different Clergymen, contributed in aid of the Erection and Endowment of a New Church at Grange in the Parish of Cartmel, Lancashire,’ 12mo, Liverpool, 2nd edition, 1854.

Barker had been scarcely three months in residence at Baslow, when he was selected by Archbishop Summer in August 1854 to succeed Dr. Broughton as bishop of Sydney, New South Wales. This office carried with it, by the queen's letters patent, dated 19 Oct. 1854, that of metropolitan of Australia. He was consecrated at Lambeth on St. Andrew's day, 30 Nov. 1854, and received the degree of D.D. per literas regias. He arrived in Sydney in May 1855. His predecessor had procured the erection of the sees of Tasmania in 1842, and of Adelaide, Melbourne, and Newcastle, all in 1847; and Barker in his lifetime effected the formation of the additional dioceses of Perth 1856, Brisbane 1859, Goulburn 1863, Grafton and Armidale 1866, Bathurst 1869, Ballarat 1875, and North Queensland 1878. Thus Barker's primacy, as first constituted, extended over twelve separate dioceses, in which, one after the other, the principle of constitutional government was developed in conformity with the precedent set by the dioceses of Victoria and Sydney. The first synod of the latter diocese met on 5 Dec. 1866; and in addition to the diocesan synods thus initiated Barker succeeded in establishing a general synod, composed of clerical and lay representatives from the several diocesan synods, for the exercise of certain legislative and administrative authority over the whole church in Australia and Tasmania. The formation of this general synod, which met three times during Barker's primacy, the last time being in his absence in October 1881, was regarded as having perfected the constitution of the Australian church. Under this régime the diocese of Sydney continued more and more to prosper, and when state aid to religion was abolished in the colony, it was ordained by the legislature that Barker should continue to receive his government salary of 2,000l. a year. Funds were forthcoming for the building of churches and the maintenance of the clergy; a noble cathedral was erected and paid for, and the requisite buildings, endowments, and staff were provided for a college for the education of young men for the ministry. Barker's work was arduous; and he paid three visits to England for the purpose of advancing the diocesan and provincial interests committed to his care. His first wife died in Sydney in 1876: on his third visit to England he married his second wife, Mary Jane, the elder daughter of Edward Woods, Esq., of London, and returned to Sydney in October 1878. He paid a fourth visit to Europe in 1881 in the hope of recovery from an attack of paralysis; after revisiting Derbyshire, he proceeded to the Riviera for the winter of 1881–2. He died after four weeks' illness at San Remo on Thursday, 6 April 1882, and was buried at Baslow on the 18th of the same month. Barker's only episcopal publication appears to have been ‘A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Sydney, 23 Nov. 1858, at the Primary Visitation, &c.,’ 8vo, Sydney, 1859.

[Therry's Reminiscences of Thirty Years' Residence in New South Wales and Victoria, 2nd ed. 1863; Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of the Time, 1879; Times, 7 and 19 April; Church Times, 14 and 21 April; Guardian, 19 April; High Peak News, and Buxton Advertiser, 22 and 29 April; Record, 14 and 21 April and 18 Aug. 1882; and private information.]

A. H. G.