Francis Bertie Boyce

Francis Bertie Boyce (1844-1931), Anglican priest and social activist, came with his family to Sydney from Devon in 1853. Five years later his accountant father died, so Francis left school and worked in a bank. He taught Sunday School, and was ordained a priest in 1869. He worked in western New South Wales until 1882, when he returned to Sydney. His two year stint in Pyrmont as parish priest at St Bartholomew was followed by 46 years in Redfern. This exposure to urban poverty inspired his commitment to social reform. Through the Christian Social Union he campaigned against poverty, advocating temperance (he published The Drink Problem in Australia) and model housing instead of slums. He favoured old-age pensions and female suffrage.

As means of promoting a moral sense, he promoted religious schooling, the study of history, and helped create the British Empire League and (after the Great War) the League of Nations. He died at Blackheath in 1931.