top of page

An old time Gospel Revival

In April 1902 Reuben Archer Torrey an American evangelist came to Melbourne in response to thousands of petitions sent to DL Moody to preach in Australia. Unfortunately Moody had died in 1899, so R A Torrey was sent by the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

For a number of years leading up to the mission that was conducted by the Australasian Evangelization Society, there was 2,100 prayer meetings, attended by 15,000 people that were organised by John McNeil and Mrs Warren to pray for a "big revival" 

Torrey and Charles Alexander his musical conductor arrive to start their meetings in May to find thousands of people eager to hear the gospel.

R A Torrey

There were 50 mission centres with 50 local evangelists preaching in halls and 30 large tents, while in the city, the town hall, several theatres, and the 7,000 seat exhibition buildings were packed. Weekly attendance across the city reached 250,000 , in a city of 1 million people.

Alfred Deakin who was at the time, the first Federal Attorney General, is seen below attending an armistice celebration for the end of the 2nd Boer War on 31st May. RA Torrey is seated to the left of the Lord Mayer of Melbourne Sir Samuel Gillott in the Melbourne Town Hall. (photo date June 2nd 1902)

R A Torrey

Alfred Deakin

Melbounre Town Hall

Melbounre Town Hall

This image below comes from Alfred Deakins personal diary that you can clearly see he was excited about PEACE. And he makes a diary note about attending a Melbourne Town Hall meeting dated Monday 2nd June 1902.

The Second Boer War, was fought during 1899 to 1902 between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics. Aproximately 16,000  Australian soldiers were involved and 600 died.


Major General Sir Harry Chauvel played a significant role in various campaigns during the Boer War and later went on to command the Australian troups in Holy Land which included the Lighthorse charge in Beer Sheva, which eventually liberated Jerusalem. 

The main website background photo was taken at the Melbourne Exhibition Building- May 1902 meeting. There were a number of newspaper reports of the meetings. The original archive reports are available at these websites.

bottom of page