Chaplain Cyril David Alcorn

Cyril David Alcorn

Cyril David Alcorn (1911-1972), Methodist minister, born on 16 July 1911 at Mutdapilly, near Ipswich, Queensland, eldest of nine children of David Ebenezer Alcorn, farmer, and his wife Mary Ellen, née Wells, both Queenslanders. Cyril was educated at Normanby and Tingalpa State schools, Brisbane State High School and the Teachers' Training College. Sent as a teacher to Greenup, in south west Queensland, he lived in a tent in the school grounds to save money for a theological training, but was known to swagmen during the Depression as one who would provide them with food. In 1935 he was accepted as a candidate for the Methodist ministry; he entered King's College, University of Queensland (BA, 1940; MA, 1964), and was ordained 3 March 1941.

At the Albert Street Methodist Church, Brisbane, Cyril married Joyce Carmichael, a domestic science teacher, on 29 March 1941. The couple had intended to go to India as missionaries, but their plan was frustrated by Japan's entry into World War II. From December 1942 until 1946 Cyril served as a chaplain in the RAN: he was initially stationed in Darwin and later sailed in HMAS Shropshire in 1944-45. While in Darwin he had made friends with Rev. Arch Grant, a former padre with the Australian Inland Mission; after the war he and Alcorn worked together in Darwin to help set up a United Church in Northern Australia. As Principal (1947-55) of Blackheath and Thornburgh Colleges at Charters Towers, North Queensland, Cyril improved the property and introduced a new course in agriculture, as well as another in home science (run by his wife Joyce). In 1956 he became Superintendent Minister of the Ashgrove circuit and was Senior Naval Chaplain at the Port of Brisbane. He received a Bachelor degree from the Melbourne College of Divinity in 1958.

With his brother Ivan, in 1960 he established the Methodist Training College and Bible School (later Alcorn College) at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, where students were prepared for the ministry.

When he was appointed MBE in 1966, Cyril's citation acknowledged the pastoral care he had given after the sinking of HMAS Voyager in 1964. He was respected as 'a great preacher and a compassionate man'. Survived by his wife, daughter and three of his four sons, Cyril Alcorn died of ruptured abdominal aneurysm on 15 May 1972 at Parkville, Melbourne and was cremated in Brisbane. As an embodiment of robust Christianity Cyril was a teacher, scholarly, thoughtful and without guile.

Source -