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John Alfred Cable

Male 1910 - 2005  (95 years)


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  • Name John Alfred Cable  [1
    Gender Male 
    Born 29 March 1910  Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Died 6 April 2005  Nursing Home, Gordon, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried after 6 April 2005  St. Marys Cemetery, Waverley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I67491  Clan Moffat Genealogy
    Last Modified 24 January 2006 

    Father William Alfred Cable,   b. 23 June 1879, Albion St, Waverley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 July 1964, Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Mother Mary Ann Moffatt,   b. 6 November 1888, Pill Farm, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 July 1978, Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years) 
    Family ID F47207  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • When Uncle John studied at Moore College, The Rector at Newtown also had been the Rector at Kensington and he remembered one of the children had lost their shoe on a Sunday morning and someone had to run around to the drapers to buy another pair of shoes. The draper was related to us.

      St Mary's Church of England, Birrell St, Waverley - c. 1959
      On 5th June, 1863 the foundation stone of the Church was laid by Sir John Young, K.C.B., K.C.M.G. Its full name was St. Mary the Virgin but it is commonly known as St. Mary's. It is believed that the land was purchased from Mr. R. Newman, and formed a part of the south-east corner of the grant of land to Barnett Levey.

      The architect of St. Mary's was Edmund Blacket, a great Australian architect and a personal friend of the first Rector, Stanley Mitchell. Blacket intended that the building would dominate the landscape, but the tower and spire he designed never eventuated.

      The church was built of white stone with a bell tower at the western end and an Anglo-Norman cross at the eastern gable of the building.

      St. Mary's was dedicated on May 13, 1864. In 1872 two porches and an organ chamber were added, and in 1889 the organ was installed.

      There have been six rectors in all: Rev. Mitchell, Rev. McKeown, Rev. North-Ash, Rev. Riley, Rev. Pattison-Clarke and Rev. Dicks.

      Restoration of the church has recently taken place. The building is classified by the National Trust and funds from the Heritage Council have assisted with the building work.

      Published by Waverley Library, in association with Heritage Week, 1984



      John lived in India for abt. 40 years as a Missionary at Chota Nagpur as Archdeacon in the Anglican Church.



      Father John Cable

      Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in India. For 39 years (1937-1976) John worked as a missionary in India. ((79-1980 in PNG)

      In India he translated the New Testament from the original Greek to Hindi.

      He lived at St David's Village Forestville for 16 years (1981-1997). From 1997 - at Lady Gowrie Home, Gordon and then the Nursing Home until his death in 2005.

      "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" John 14:12

      The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was founded by Royal Charter granted on June 16, 1701. The Bishop of London, Henry Compton, concerned about the lack of religious activity in the colonies appointed Thomas Bray as commissary for Maryland in 1696. Bray was instrumental in forming the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in 1698 and it was in a meeting of S.P.C.K. that the S.P.G. charter was written.

      The primary object of the Society was to "ensure that sufficient mainteynance [sic] be provided for an orthodox clergy to live amongst the colonists and that such other provision be made as may be necessary for the propagation of the gospel in those parts..." Hence the original work of the S.P.G. was in areas ruled by the British Crown.

      Responsibilities of the first missionaries included: performance of divine service, catechism, baptism, instruction for the "heathen and infidels" and encouragement of educational establishments.

      Besides North America, work was also carried on in Africa from 1751, and India from 1818. Since that time the organization expanded its outreach into all British Colonies and is still an active organization working under the name, The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.


      Archdeacon John Cable
      (29th March 1910 - 6th April 2005)
      By David Cable
      "Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. " John 14:12

      Archdeacon John Alfred Cable was born on the 29th March, 1910 in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney - the second of eleven children for Mary and Alfred. John was only four years old when the First World War commenced. The impending horrors and the carnage that was to come were quickly brought home when his mother's youngest brother was killed on the 12th September 1914. John's uncle was killed during the seizure of New Britain from the Germans by the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary force. He was the first of 60,000 Australians to perish during the war.

      John was only twelve, when as he knelt by his bed in prayer and heard a voice that clearly told himÖ "You are to be a Missionary and work for me."
      At 17, John preached his first sermon in a small branch church in South Canterbury and subsequently joined the staff of St Stephens Church, Newtown as a lay missionary.

      It was at the time of the Great Depression when the inner suburbs of Sydney suffered incredible poverty. John's work began teaching the scripture to a "Gang of Barefoot Scallywags" at Camperdown and his Chaplaincy to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. This provided John with the experience of working with a community that was both poor and hungry. John worked in Newtown for five years, and attended Moore Theological College where he Studied Greek before graduating and becoming the Curate at St Mary's, Waverley where he had been baptised as a baby.

      John came to realise that his time at Newtown was God's preparation for his work among the poor in India. The next part of that plan was revealed when this young priest met visiting Bishop Westcott who had served as Bishop of the Diocese of Chota Nagpur. The result of this unlikely but fortuitous meeting was the beginning of a remarkable ministry of forty years in a place far removed from his birthplace. The very fact of an Australian serving in a parish in India, with an English Mission, in this case "The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel", was very unusual indeed.

      John's missionary service began in a time when most of the authority in the church, as in the state was under "The British Raj". A member of his family who stayed with "Father John" on a short visit provided this image of John decked out in a pith helmet, sandals and a flowing white cassock, flapping around the dusty streets and market places, encouraging and cajoling the villagers to schools and the medical centres. He always rejected offers of lifts in motor vehicles preferring to tuck up his robe and pedal his iron bedstead of a pushbike or travel by train, always third class, abiding firmly to his creed that a pastor must be part of the community to properly understand their problems. John knew the name of every boy in his large village school.

      After Independence and the partition of India and as the Diocese was rich in minerals the area was changed dramatically by industrialisation by foreign multi-national companies. The influx of Hindu workers impacted to disadvantage the aboriginal village people schools from primary to middle and then on to high schools. As Archdeacon it became John's responsibility to administer not only his district schools including his favourite project, the school for blind boys, but schools and medical centres throughout the large dioces. Even with these duties he continued with his translations of the New Testament from the original Greek to Hindi, nor did he neglect his Parish. He continued to live in his village, pack up his tent and his tin bath, round up his faithful bearers and do his grand tours, showing his magic lantern slides, holding communion and preaching the Gospel.

      When the time came to leave his much loved mission it was with a heavy heart, 40 years is a long time! This sadness is perhaps best expressed in a letter he wrote on the occasion of the centenary of the Chota Nagpur Diocese in 1990: "It is 53 years since I first went to Chota Nagpur and my head is still there as is my love for its people. May God Bless and keep you all and use you greatly for the extension of his Kingdom. Everyday I say the Lord's Prayer in Hindi and in Kurkh and think of you all".


      On his return to Australia John found it impossible to retire from God's work. He accepted the role as Chaplain for the "Walk for the Child". This walk took 3 months and three days from Perth to Adelaide. He walked long distances each day, queued for his food and rolled his blanket like everyone else. John was quoted as saying "I've got blisters on my tongue as well as my feet". In the report of the Crusade, John was thanked for his "Wise counsel and spiritual guidance".
      John then went on to Popendetta, Papua New Guinea for a teaching post in a Theological College for about a year.
      Lastly, but certainly not least, was his work with his new community at St David's, Forestville. John's happy years at St Davids helped to compensate for his separation from his life's work in India and he certainly derived much satisfaction from his Christian witness amongst his dear friends in the village.
      John achieved much to be pleased within his labours in God's name. His work as an administrator, translator, and the invitations to preach in great cathedrals around the world is proof of this.
      However, I feel the symbols of his long service that would in his own eyes please him the most, would be an old pith helmet, sandals, an old iron pushbike and a rusting tin bath.
      Father John passed away on 6th April, 2005 at the Lady Gowrie Nursing Home, Gordon, Sydney.



      Saturday April 9, 2005, The Sydney Morning Herald


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      CABLE, Archdeacon John Alfred. Passed away peacefully April 6, 2005. Late of the Diocese of Chota Nagphur, India, St David's Village, Forestville and Lady Gowrie nursing home. Much loved son of Alfred and Mary (both deceased), loving brother and brother in law of Louie (deceased), Kathleen and Alan (deceased), Dorothy and Ted (deceased), Jean and Peter (both deceased), Robert (deceased), Bruce and Joan Douglas, David and Lynda, Laurie and Faye (deceased) and Phillip (deceased). Loved uncle John to his many nieces and nephews. "With Christ, which is far better" Aged 95 years Privately cremated Relatives and friends are invited to a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of JOHN to be held at St. David's Village Chapel, 45 Cook Street, Forestville on Tuesday (April 12, 2005) at 3.00pm. Gregory & Carr Gordon 9498 4455 Australian Owned AFDA [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S897] GEDCOM file from “Thomas Egbert Moffatt's Family3.FTW”, from Kathy Jackson.


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