Gill, Silas

Pioneerlocal preacher in New South Wales, who became known as 'the Apostle of Methodism on the Macleay'. He was converted in Beckley, Sussex, under the ministry of Thomas Collins, who said as Gill responded to his invitation, 'Here comes a giant for Jesus.' Arriving in NSW in 1837, he worked on farms and as a farmer in the Camden district, the Hunter, Hastings and Macleay Rivers. His preaching to convicts and settlers resulted in many hundreds of conversions and the establishment of Methodism in several country places. Though poor in material possessions, he was rich in faith. When he lost his farm in the 1864 floods, he rowed over the flooded Macleay River to Kempsey and seeing the Rev. J. Bowes on the parsonage balcony called out, 'It's all right, Mr. Bowes. I've lost the farm and all my possessions, but I haven't lost my faith.' He is representative of - and pre-eminent among - a galaxy of local preachers who pioneered the work in many places in Australia, resulting in its phenomenal growth in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was buried in West Kempsey cemetery in September 1875. Five hundred attended his funeral and attested to his gracious influence in their lives. In September 1985 an obelisk was dedicated in his memory in Gill Park, South Kempsey.

  • Eric G. Clancy, Silas Gill, a Giant for Jesus (Sydney, 1972)
  • Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography

Entry written by: EGC
Category: Person
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