Bernard Linden Webb


 BORN 25 November 1884 in East Macquarie district, NSW.

NSW Birth Record 14065/1884

 DIED 28 June 1968 in Sydney, NSW.

NSW Death Record 3432/1968

 FATHER Tom Edmund Webb (1855-1925)
 MOTHER Fanny Edgeworth Byrnes (1853-1942)
 MARRIED Eleanor Dunbar (1887-1966) in 1911 in Sydney, NSW.

NSW Marriage Record 2932/1911

 CHILDREN   Linden Edward Webb (1912-2003)

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3 daughters and 1 son.

Hay Historical Society records

Bernard Linden Webb was born at Bathurst on 25 November 1884, the fourth of six children of Edmund and Fanny Webb. The Webbs were one of the most numerous and devout Methodist families of the region. Linden Webb had planned to become a lawyer, but during his second year at Sydney University he felt the call to preach. Webb completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1906, after which he attended the Methodist theological training school, Newington College.

During 1908 Webb served as a probationer in the North Sydney circuit. From early 1909 to early 1911 he served at Moss Vale, NSW. In 1911 Bernard Linden Webb and Eleanor Dunbar were married (registered at St. Leonards); the couple had met during Webb’s probationary period at North Sydney. Linden Webb took leave of absence in 1911 to travel to England. In 1912 Rev. Webb served at Tighe’s Hill in the Hamilton-Wickham circuit (Newcastle region). A bout of ill-health required him to rest from active ministry for part of 1913; during that period Rev. Webb was based at the Central Methodist Mission at 139 Castlereagh Street in Sydney.

In March 1914 the New South Wales Methodist Conference assigned Rev. B. Linden Webb to the Hay circuit …

In the early months of the [W War I] conflict the local recruiting sergeant requested assistance from the clergymen of Hay to encourage and appeal to the young men of their congregations to enlist. The recruiter received support from each of the local clergy, with a single exception. The young Methodist minister, Rev. B. Linden Webb, rejected the request and refused to be an agent of recruitment to the Australian armed forces. Furthermore, in the early months of 1915, Rev. Webb preached a series of sermons in the Hay Methodist church presenting a moral case against the war. Later that year he published his pacifist sermons in a pamphlet called The Religious Significance of the War, which caused a degree of agitation within the broader Methodist Church. Webb remained at Hay until October 1917 when he resigned due to irreconcilable differences with the leadership of the Methodist Church, particularly in regard to the Church’s official stance on conscription.

From November 1916 until early 1917 Rev. Bernard Linden Webb was based at the Central Methodist Mission at 139 Castlereagh-street in Sydney. Rev. Webb was recorded as a marriage celebrant at Moss Vale during 1917 to early 1918 in the New South Wales Government Gazette. However, Linder states that during this period at Moss Vale Linden Webb did not work as a minister, but tried to support his family by other means; he tried his hand at teaching elocution, farming, peddling apples door to door and clothing sales. During this period Prime Minister ‘Billy’ Hughes made a second attempt to introduce conscription. The referendum was held in December 1917 and, after a bitter and divisive debate, was again rejected.

From 1920 to early 1921 he was appointed as the Methodist minister at Muswellbrook, NSW.

In 1921 Rev. Webb was at Toronto, NSW, where he remained for three years. From 1924 to early 1926 he ministered at Gordon, in suburban Sydney.

For part of the period 1927 to 1935 Rev. Webb served at Norfolk Island. It is probable, also, that he suffered from bouts of poor health during this period. In his obituary Rev. Webb was described as "physically frail, dogged for many years by ill health".

From 1936 to early 1938 Rev. Bernard Linden Webb served at Summer Hill, in suburban Sydney. From 1938 to early 1939 he was appointed to Campbelltown, NSW. During 1939 Rev. Webb was transferred to Kensington, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. With the outbreak of World War II Rev. Webb felt that his pacifist principles were not consistent with his work in the church and resigned from his ministry.

Rev. Webb spent the remainder of the war-years supporting his family by selling fruit and vegetables.

After World War II Rev. Webb re-entered the ministry, but ill-health supervened, and after a couple of appointments he was compelled to relinquish normal circuit duties, and retire into the ranks of the supernumeraries (probably at Helensburgh, south of Sydney).

Linden Webb’s wife, Eleanor, died in 1966. In 1968 Linden Webb’s health, described as never robust, began to fail, and he removed into his daughter’s Convalescent Home [Rima] at Mosman. Rev. Bernard Linden Webb died of a stroke on 28 June 1968, aged 83 years, at the Rima Private Hospital in Mosman.


Keenly alive to the changes of outlook that have come with the scientific discoveries of recent years, [Webb] sought and found an expression for religious faith that satisfied both the demands of the spirit and the temper of the age. Thoughtful, tolerant and good humoured he was a pleasant and stimulating companion. He saw that life was a constant becoming, and never became ossified in his views. With a talent for verse-writing he embodied much of his vision in hymns, some of which have appeared in The Methodist. For all his gentle modesty he was inflexibly firm and courageous in maintaining his convictions. He believed that war is utterly wrong, and was a thorough-going pacifist… Three daughters and a son survive him, and to them we offer our heartfelt sympathy, together with a sort of congratulation on the satisfaction they must feel in the remembrance of a long life loyally devoted to truth and mercy.  

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