Robert Hartley Rev.

(08/03/1817 - 25/05/1892)

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Born: 08/03/1817 at Trawden, Lancashire, England Certified Father: William Hartley (09/04/1789 - 29/09/1848)
Died: 25/05/1892 Certified Mother: Christiana Lister (27/01/1791 - 00/00/1859)
Children: Jane Elizabeth Hartley (Died 01/12/1877)
(female) Hartley
Anna Christiana Hartley (00/00/1840 - 02/05/1874)
William James Hartley (21/04/1845 - 31/08/1898)
Robert Taylor Hartley (30/01/1848 - 00/00/1918)
Stewart Williamson Hartley (00/00/1850 - 25/09/1909)
Siblings: Mary Ann Hartley (12/08/1812 - 00/10/1813)
Elizabeth Robinson Hartley (00/00/1814 - 29/01/1815)
Lister Hartley (27/09/1822 - 00/00/1875)
John Hartley (13/07/1825 - 27/01/1892)
Richard William Hartley (Born 02/09/1832)

Jane Williamson on 12/05/1840 at St Peters Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands Certified


Baptised on 13 April 1817 at St Bartholomews Parish Church, Colne (Thanks Gordon for the info) Robert Hartley from birth was, by his father, dedicated to the Lord. At 18 he entered the Primitive Methodist Ministry and for 25 years faithfully filled that position in the Old country in various circuits. In 1860 he arrived in Sydney, where he remained for 4 years, then moved to Rockhampton where he lived and laboured for 28 years, first as a Minister in charge and then as a supernumary assistant. He was ever loyal and devoted to his church, working heroically to protect and advance her interests, and was at the same time the willing and enthusiastic helper of all the churches. He was a life long abstainer and vigourous temperance advocate, the ever available and faithful friend of the Kanaka, one of the founders and friend of the Benevolent Society, being ceaselessly vigilant in looking after the poor and distressed. He was always happy when doing something for somebody. His last Sunday on earth he preached twice, and would have done so thrice only for the persistent refusal of the Rev J Williams to allow him, and early on Wednesday morning he 'ceased at once to work and live". His funeral was the largest known in Rockhampton, and in every Church in town Memorial Services were held on the following Sunday. The town people marked their appreciation of his worth by erecting a drinking fountain in front of the Post Office. (Source: The Christian Ensign: The Organ of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, Queensland; Brisbane, September 3, 1896)

Says on his Gravestone: For 57 years, a faithful Minister of Christ

Religion: Methodist

At the beginning of 1864 the late Rev. Robert Hartley opened the Primitive Methodist Church on the site in Fitzroy Street, where the business premises of Messrs. James Miller and Co. Used to be. Mr. Hartley remained in Rockhampton till his death, and lived to see it become a flourishing town. A harder working minister than Mr. Hartley surely never lived. He took great delight in what may be termed pioneering work, and visited the various gold diggings regularly, and in all weathers. He often had to put up with poor fare, and hard bed, and perhaps, worst of all, very little encouragement, but he was always cheery. Such a man soon endears himself to everyone, and after passing the allotted span of human life, he passed away full of years and of honours, all classes following his remains with sincere respect to the cemetery.
He lived in Rocky for 28 years (from 1864). He previously spent 24 years as a Minister in England then 4 years in Sydney.

Hartley R, Prim.M.Min, Bolsover St (Source =

In Sydney, Robert resided at 34 College Street, Sydney. (Source: / Sands Directory: Sydney and New South Wales)

In Wikipedia, the page for Aaron Buzacott says that Aaron's funeral was held on 21 September, a Presbyterian minister reading from Scripture, and the procession then moving on to the Bourke Street Congregational Church (in Sydney, NSW) where Rev Hartley, a Primitive Methodist, gave out the hymn. He was buried in the Congregational burying-ground in Devonshire Street, Sydney, now the location of the Central Railway Station. So Rev. Hartley may have spent some or all of his time in Sydney at the Bourke Street Congregational Church. Years later Rev Hartley's son, Stewart also married a member of the Buzacott family.

Robert Hartley was an outstanding pioneer minister of the Methodist Church in Rockhampton. He was filled with zeal and energy and by 1868 was riding through the bush on horseback to hold services at the surrounding goldfields and before long he established preaching places at Cawarral, Mount Wheeler, Stanwell and Westwood. He was loved by his congregation and he became the friend and counsellor of immigrants and South Sea Islanders. In 1873 he baptised the first Polynesian child to be received into the Christian Church in Rockhampton and he was active in such nondenominational organisations as the Temperance Society and the YMCAand he was a supporter of the Benevolent Society for most of his long years in the town.

Rev. Robert Hartley was on the committee of gentlemen who took the first steps to found a nondenominations Grammar School at Rockhampton in 1873. It wasn't until 1878 that the Rockhampton Grammar School was given a green light, and opened on 1 February 1881.

In 1893, two weeks after Robert Hartley's death, a public meeting in the School of Arts decided that the most appropriate memorial would be a public drinking fountain. the substantial sum of money was collected in ten cent donations. Permission was obtained by this citizens' committee to erect the stone drinking fountain on the footpath in front of the post office.

It is built from Stanwell freestone (as is the Post Office) and had to be moved to the median strip on East Street after traffic lights were installed at the intersection in the early 1970's. It remains a handsome memorial to one who advocated pure water as the best drink for men.

The old Fitzroy Street church was sold in 1900 and a new church in Archer Street opened on 29 April 1901 which was named Hartley Memorial Church. Throughout the twentieth century the church pursued a vigorous policy, but one which changed with the changing times. In 1963 a new hall at the Archer Street Church was opened to mark the centenary of the founding of Methodism in Rockhampton.

Note: All the churches formerly vested in the Methodist Church became part of the Uniting Church of Australia in 1977.

Source of information: Rockhampton: A History of City and District by Lorna McDonald.

Clipping from the Rockhampton Bulletin:

Saturday, 5th August, 1865:

Members and Adherents of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, who have arrived per "Royal Dane" are cordially invited to attend the PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH, Fitzroy-street.
For list of Sabbath and Week-day Services see News of this date.
Send your Children to the Sabbath School.
Rockhampton, August 5, 1865.
Source =

Robert Hartley, Aged 75, Parents: William Hartley & Christiana Lister, Died in 1892. Burried: Old Rockhampton Cemetery
Source: Rockhampton Cemetery Lookups - via email

Death Ref: 1892/003507

HARTLEY,Robert, Died: 25MAY1892, 75 years, Death at Rockhampton QLD, Notice appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 26 MAY 1892. Source:

An excert from 'The Life of Sir William Hartley' by AS Peake reads as follows: "... Robert Hartley, Sir William's uncle, was a man of very handsome presence and exceptionally fine character. He became a Primitive Methodist minister at an early age, and after spending a quarter of a century in England, went to Australia and laboured for thirty-two years in Queesland. One feature of his many-sided activity was his kindness to the emigrants from England whom he met at the landing-stage. His home was at Rockhampton on the coast; but he covered a wide field, reaching from Brisbane nearly to the Gulf of Carpentaria. He was apparently too much occupied to send hom reports of his work; so Dr Samuel Antliff, when he was sent to visit Australia, was instructed to make investigations. He found him the leading man in Rockhampton. His fellow-citizens celebrated his ministerial Jubilee and presented him with a purse of gold; and after his death dedicated a public fountain to his memory. A Hartley Memorial Chapel also commemorates his work. A letter from Dr McLaren may fitly be quoted at this point. It was written on July 23, 1892. "Mr Hartley was in Southampton during several years of my pastorate there, when I leared to esteem him very higly for his earnestness, warmth of heart, bright temperament, diligence and self-forgetfulness. I had the pleasure of a visit from him when he was in England some years since, and have always cherished warm feelings of friendship for him. I share with your denomination the sense of loss by his death, and should be glad if you would tell Mr Hartley of Aintree how truly I esteemed and honoured his uncle." " (Source: Life of Sir William Hartley by AS Peake)

Rev Robert Hartley and family came to Australia on board the ship "Echo". It departed from London and arrived in Sydney on 22 June 1860. The family members that came with him were: Mrs Jane Hartley, Miss AC Hartley, Master WJ Hartley, Master RT Hartley, Master SW Hartley and Miss Jane E Hartley. "Echo" details: Of Glasgow, Captain James Price, Master, Burthen 1189 Tons. (Source:

Rev Robert Hartley married Jane Williamson at the Town Church, St Peter's Port, Guernsey on the 12 of May, 1840 by the Rev. Mr Guille.

Baptism Information:
Baptism: 13 Apr 1817 St Bartholomew, Colne, Lancashire, England
Robert Hartley - Son of William Hartley & Christianna
Abode: Trawden
Father's Occupation: Shopkeeper
Baptised by: S.Blyth
Register: Baptisms 1813 - 1819, Page 208, Entry 1657
Source: LDS Film 1471024
Can be found here:

Image Gallery

Hartley Memorial Methodist Church in Rockhampton, Queesland
Hartley Memorial Church
RE Hartley Death Notices
RE Hartley Death Notices
Hartley Reunion
Hartley Reunion
Rev Robert Hartley and Jane Williamson Hartley
Rev Robert Hartley and wife
The Rev Robert Hartley in Rockhampton
Rev Robert Hartley
Rev Robert Hartley of Rockhampton
Rev Robert Hartley
Hartley Monument, Rockhampton
Hartley Monument - Rockhampton
Hartley Monument, Rockhampton
Hartley Monument
Hartley Monument, Rockhampton
Hartley Monument, Rockhampton

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