Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Chapter 4—(1892) The Australasian Bible School

One of the reasons why the General Conference asked Ellen White and her son to go to Australia was the need there for a school to train the youth in their homeland. The principal item of business at the Australian Conference session that was held immediately after their arrival in Melbourne was the establishment of such a school. Provision was made for a committee on location, to which members representing Australia and New Zealand were named. 4BIO 42.1

The next step was the securing of support from the believers in New Zealand, a conference with a membership about two thirds that of Australia. This was accomplished at the session of the New Zealand Conference held in Napier, April 1 to 14, 1892. Now it was time to move forward with the development of plans and to devise means of financial support. In the General Conference action recommending the school be established, taken in March, 1891, the matter of finances was left to the Australian field. The actions taken at the two conference sessions made no provision for supplying money for the project. 4BIO 42.2

Australia was moving into an economic depression. Not all believers saw the need of a school; nonetheless, they took the first steps in deciding where the school should be located. Some argued for Sydney, others for Melbourne. Ellen White favored the latter. 4BIO 42.3

Work had to begin in rented buildings. As the choice of a location narrowed down to Melbourne, it seemed that the area known as North Fitzroy, about two miles from the publishing house, would serve best. There they found a complex consisting of four buildings, two of which were available, and the rent was within reason. On either side of the buildings was open land (Letter 13, 1892). 4BIO 42.4

The Bible Echo of August 1 carried the announcement of plans for the opening of the school. The arrival of L. J. Rousseau, an educator from the United States, in late July gave assurance that the school could be opened soon. In the Echo report, readers were informed of the attractive situation of the school: 4BIO 43.1

The situation is nearly all that could be desired, on one of the city's most attractive boulevards, and yet enjoying abundance of open space on every side. In connection with the buildings is a nice grass paddock, while across the street are the broad acres and lake of Albert Park. 4BIO 43.2

The place is easy of access from train or boat, and is well known. There is good accommodation in the buildings both for home and school. 4BIO 43.3

The houses rented were so closely connected as to form one house of twenty-three rooms. One large room, about eighteen by thirty-five feet, would serve for chapel exercises and Bible classroom. There were other quite large rooms that would be used in the school work (The Review and Herald, September 15, 1892). 4BIO 43.4