​Taken for ‘TMA’ in 2002, this photo marked
the 10th anniversary of Melbourne’s first
women priests.

Women clergy from all areas of Melbourne, from wider Victoria and from interstate will gather in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne next Sunday, 9 December, at 2.30pm for a service celebrating 20 years of women priests in the Anglican Church of Australia. All media are welcome to attend. 

In December 1992, in three separate services, a total of 33 women were ordained priest in St Paul’s Cathedral. After decades of debate in the national church, the General Synod had finally approved legislation for women priests the previous month. Melbourne Diocese had been seeking the ordination of women since the 1970s.

The first woman priest ordained in Melbourne in 1992, the Revd Elizabeth Alfred, now aged 98, will be attending Sunday’s service. Taking part will be Bishop Keith Rayner, now living in retirement in Adelaide. As Melbourne’s Archbishop at the time, he presided over the three services in 1992.

Archbishop Philip Freier will unveil a commemorative plaque in the cathedral during Sunday’s service, when the presider will be Melbourne’s woman bishop, Barbara Darling, who was ordained priest in December 1992. She became Australia’s second woman bishop, and Melbourne’s first, in 2008.

Present at the service will be Archdeacon Alison Taylor, Vicar of St John’s Church, Camberwell, who has just been appointed Australia’s fourth woman bishop. Her appointment, as a regional bishop in the Diocese of Brisbane from next April, was announced last Sunday [2 December].

The preacher on 9 December will be the Revd Canon Dr Colleen O’Reilly, Vicar of St George’s Church, Malvern, who was a significant pioneer of the women’s movement in the Anglican Church of Australia. In 1975 she co-founded Anglican Women Concerned and, in 1983, the Movement for the Ordination of Women in this country.


For further information please contact:
Dr Muriel Porter, member of the organising committee
M: 0430 575 874
Roland Ashby, Media Officer
M: 0418 342 561


 Related news