Rev Ralph Drummond

Rev Ralph Drummond (1792-1872) was a minister of the United Secession Church. (The United Secession Church was a union of some of the small dissenting Presbyterian churches that formed in Scotland in the 18th century.) Influenced by the principles of religious equality offered in South Australia, Drummond arrived in Adelaide from Scotland with his wife and seven children in 1839, and a 'Scotch Church' was opened in Gouger Street in 1842. This church originally adhered to the Secession Church of Scotland but later was linked to the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland (UP) when the United Secession Church and other old separatist churches combined to form the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1847. In 1854, with other clergy, he successfully petitioned South Australian Parliament to allow ministers from other churches to be granted the right to conduct marriages, which until this time only Anglican ministers had the power to do so. Drummond resigned from full-time ministry in 1855[i], but continued taking services for many years afterwards, being seen as a major founder of the Presbyterian Church in South Australia. He died at Mitcham in 1872.

He was the first Presbyterian minister to come to this state. He kept in touch with people outside of Adelaide, walking or riding long distances, even to the Barossa. To overcome financial difficulties he took in students. The first years of the church were stormy ones and many left the fellowship after a serious rupture in 1851. Drummond was praised for "efficient, earnest and laborious efforts" for his church and for the wider Church.

In 1839, Rev Ralph Drummond set up the first Presbyterian School in Angas Street, Adelaide.

[i] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

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