Scots Church Adelaide
Rev. Professor John Davidson

Rev. Professor John Davidson (1834-1881 was minister at Chalmers Church Aug 1870 – 1877. In 1869 he was called to Adelaide and arrived with his wife and children in June 1870. At Chalmers Church, North Terrace, he was soon 'instrumental in raising his congregation to a high state of prosperity'.[i] It was said of him, "A man more lovable, a teacher more luminous, or a preacher more interesting could be hard to find."[ii]

He undertook lecturing duties at the Theological College, became the first Professor of English Language and Literature and Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy in the new University of Adelaide (1874-1881). John Davidson was not a university graduate but was appointed on the insistence of Sir Walter Watson Hughes, a benefactor of the University. When, in 1877, this additional work was placing too much strain on his work at Chalmers, he resigned from the ministry and confined himself to his University duties and public activities. He became an elder and continued to give great support to the Church. He continued to preach on most Sundays at various churches. It was reported that “Davidson’s theological views were … too advanced for some of his congregation, but his expositions were always sincere and scrupulously fair. His purity of style and close reasoning were attractive even to students who had little taste for the subtleties of metaphysics and his manliness won him widespread respect and friendship”[iii]. His wife, Harriet, was the daughter of Hugh Miller, the famous Scottish geologist.[iv]

[i] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

[ii] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

[iii] Walker, R.B. 1972, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

[iv] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

© Scots Church Adelaide  Ph. 08 8223 1505