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WOOD, Gillam Albert McConnell OBE, OAM, BA (1910-1993)

WOOD, Very Reverend Gillam Albert McConnell ‘Pat’ OBE, OAM, BA (1910-1993)

G A Wood, known throughout his life as ‘Pat’ was a prominent Presbyterian Minister. He was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria in 1961 and Moderator of Tasmania in 1969. From 1974 to 1977 he was Moderator General of the Australian Presbyterian Church, overseeing the move of most Presbyterians into union to form the Uniting Church in 1977. He was awarded the OBE and OAM.

'Pat' Wood was the son of Elizabeth (nee McConnell) and her husband Edward Gillam Wood, a farmer of Noorat, Victoria. Born at Geelong on 6 December 1910, Wood grew up in Noorat where he met the Rev. Frank Rolland, the local minister who was later Principal of Geelong College and a strong influence on Wood

After tuition at Kolora State School and Terang Higher Elementary School he
'Pat' Wood (Prefect, 1930)

'Pat' Wood (Prefect, 1930)

attended Geelong College from 1927 to 1930 as a boarder. He was a prefect in 1930 and House Captain of Morrison House for part of that year. He graduated from the University of Melbourne (Theology) and was later ordained at Whyalla, South Australia in 1938. In 1937 he married.

After gaining experience in a number of ministries including Sale and then St Andrews, Geelong (1949-1963), he became Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria in 1961. This was also the School’s centenary year and Rev Wood was involved in these celebrations. One of the earliest films held by the School includes the Rev Wood in Centenary celebrations at the School, and leading a College group to the Geelong Cemetery.

'Pat' Wood.

'Pat' Wood.

In 1948, he was a delegate to the first World Council of Churches conference in Amsterdam, Holland. From 1974 to 1977 he was moderator of the Australian Presbyterian Church and has served as national and Victorian president of the Retired Persons Association. He was particularly notable for many years as the Chieftain of the Newtown Highland Gathering held annually at Queen’s Park.

'Pat' Wood also authored a small publication entitled 'Some Geelong Scots' which briefly sketched the history of various Scots based organisations in Geelong. He was also a member of the Geelong College Council 1950-1963. His son Douglas Wood, also a student at the School (OGC 1951-1958), achieved national prominence in 2005 following his kidnapping in Iraq.

He was described by Macolm Prentis in 'The Moderators of the Presbyterian Church' as follows:
'Wood, Gillam Albert McConnell OBE, OAM, BA (6.12.1910-3.10.1993) b. Geelong, s. E.G. Wood (farmer, Noorat); educ Geelong College, Ormond College & U Melbourne, 1930- , Theol Hall. m. 28.12.1937, Mary Seavinton Stuckey (d. 1982), 4s. Known as “Pat”. Ord Whyalla SA 1938- 42; Sale 1942- 49 (& RAAF Chaplain); Geelong St Andrew’s 1949-63; Mod Vic 1961. To PCTas: Hobart Scots 1963-76. Mod Tas 1969; Clerk GA, PCTas 1970-76, Emeritus, Geelong in UC Presb of Barwon. Minister-in association at Corio-Norlane 1977; Lorne 1979-80, Airey’s Inlet, St David’s Geelong, retd. Convener Aust Pres Board of Missions 1967-77; member Rotary, Probus, Geelong Caledonian Society. OBE 1976, OAM 1989. d. San Francisco, USA. Publications: The Geelong Keys 1522? (2nd ed. Geelong 1980, 16 pp.), Some Geelong Scots (Geelong 1982, 20 pp.)'

Very Reverend Gillam 'Pat' Wood was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery at Geelong College in 2011.

Sources: Prentis, Malcolm D. Fathers and Brethren: The Moderators of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, 1901-1977 Church Heritage, 12,2 (Sept 2001) p 139.
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