Torr, William

Bible Christian Local Preacher and educator, born at Tavistock on 26 May 1853, the son of John Torr, an illiterate miner. The family emigrated to South Australia in 1855, where he was educated at Stanley Grammar School until he was seventeen. He then moved to Tasmania to work on a sheep farm. Returning to South Australia in 1875. he was appointed a teacher, subsequently becoming the headmaster of Moonta Mines School. In 1885 he became headmaster of Wray College, the Bible Christians' boys' school in Adelaide,. Meanwhile, the death of his wife had left him in a comfortable position enabling him to study in England, gaining degrees at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, as well as at Trinity College, Dublin. Then in 1891 he was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, although he never practised. On returning, he reported to the Australian government on educational trends in England and elsewhere.

Methodist Union in 1900 led to the closure of Wray College in 1903. He now became an evangelist in both Australia and New Zealand and then from 1909 to 1920 was the governor of the Methodist Training Home at Brighton, Adelaide. With a modernist view of the Bible, he was a liberating influenceon both ministers and lay preachers. He died at Brighton on 13 September 1939, a memorial window being installed at the Brighton Uniting Church.

  • Edwin A Curnow, "Bible Christian Methodists in South Australia 1850-1900",

Uniting Church SA Historical Society, 2015

  • Australian Dictionary of Biography


Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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