worldwide missions
Samuel Marsden: Chronology of Life
compiled by Dorothy Ross

Samuel Marsden Samuel Marsden (1765-1838) was an English missionary to New South Wales, Australia, where he began serving as chaplain to convicts in a penal colony in 1794; and to New Zealand where he was the first to present the gospel to the Maoris in 1814. He returned to England once in 1807-1808.
1765 Born Farsley, Yorkshire, England. (June 25)
1788 Penal colony in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, founded by Captain Arthur Phillip of the Royal Navy.
1790 Began studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, England.
1792 Offered chaplaincy post at the penal colony in NSW, through influence of William Wilberforce; he declined at first.
1793 Accepted appointment as chaplain to penal colony in NSW. (Jan 1)
Married Elizabeth Fristan (some sources say Tristan). (Apr 21)
Ordained in the Church of England. (May 26)
Sailed on William, part of a convict transport for NSW. (Sept)
1794 Daughter Ann(e) born during voyage. (Mar 1 or 2)
Arrived Port Jackson, NSW, to assume duties as second (assistant) chaplain to penal colony. (Mar 10)
Took up residence in barracks of Parramatta, near Port Jackson. (July)
1795 Made an official visit to convict settlement at Norfolk Island, 1200 miles from Sydney (early in year through Sept)
Consented to serve as magistrate in colony at request of colonial Governor.
1798 Son Charles Simeon (1) born (Mar 21); died Sept 2, 1801.
Marsden helped London Missionary Society's missionaries who had fled to NSW from their mission station at Tahiti.
1799 Daughter Elizabeth born. (Dec 13)
1800 Senior chaplain Richard Johnson resigned his post and returned to England. Marsden became the only chaplain for the colony.
1801 Son John born. (Oct 26); died Aug 14, 1803.
Became correspondent and adviser to the London Missionary Society for its Tahitian Mission.
1803 St. John’s Church, first brick church in Australia, completed at Parramatta; Marsden conducted the service of consecration (Apr)
Son Charles Simeon (2) born. (June 26)
1806 Daughter Mary born. (July 1)
1807-1808 Marsden and his family return to England (the only time).
Made report to government on conditions in colony and its needs including: a proper asylum for women convicts; more ministers; a lending library for the colonists.
Appealed to Church Missionary Society to begin mission to Maoris of New Zealand.
Brought wool from his sheep raised in NSW, generating interest of the King of England in potential commerce.
1808 Daughter Jane Catherine born at Hull, Yorkshire, England. (Dec 7)
1809 Massacre of the passengers and crew of the Boyd by natives in New Zealand.
1809-1810 Marsden given gift of sheep from King George III of England.
Returned to NSW with William Hall and John King as first missionaries to the Maoris of New Zealand.
Ruatara (or Duaterra), a Maori chief on board ship.
Marsden began to learn the Maori language.
Ruatara remained at Parramatta with Marsden for several months.
1810 William Cowper and Robert Cartwright, arrived in NSW in response for additional clergy in colony.
1811 Daughter Martha born. (May 6)
1813 Schoolmaster Thomas Kendall and his family arrived to be part of New Zealand mission.
1814 Marsden purchased the brig Active for missionary service to New Zealand.
Exploratory trip on the Active by Kendall and Hall to Bay of Islands, New Zealand; brought back Ruatara and other Maoris.
1814-1815 First missionary trip to New Zealand by Marsden. (Nov 1814-March 1815)
Conducted first Christian service ever held in New Zealand. (Christmas Day)
Purchased plot of land at Rangihoua for New Zealand's first missionary settlement. (Feb)
Wrote journal of his experiences and observations of the Maori way of life.
1815 Opened the first Sunday School in Australia, at Parramatta.
Founded the Seminary at Parramatta for Maoris.
1817 Governor Macquarie's secretary, John Thomas Campbell, wrote and published an article denouncing Marsden using the pseudonym "Philo Free" in the Sydney Gazette. (Jan)
Marsden accused Campbell of malicious libel; Criminal Court at Sydney found Campbell guilty. (Oct)
1818 Superintended the construction of the Orphanage, at Arthur's Hill, near Parramatta (1815-1818).
Resigned magistracy.
1819 Second missionary trip to Maoris. (July-Nov)
Accompanied by John Gare Butler (who would be superintendent of the mission) and his family, and other missionaries.
Expanded his contacts with chiefs; detailed his observations of Maori life.
1820 Third missionary trip to the Maoris. (Feb-Dec)
Explored the interior.
1823 Fourth missionary trip to the Maoris. (July-Sept)
Accompanied by the Henry Williams and his family.
Investigated and corrected the conduct of erring missionaries.
Missionaries Kendall and Butler removed from New Zealand mission.
Shipwreck soon after initial departure to return to NSW, no lives lost.
Return voyage from New Zealand to NSW. (Nov)
1824 Attack on Marsden by W. C. Wentworth, A Statistical Account of the British Settlements in Australasia.
1826 Marsden defended himself in his pamphlet, An Answer to Certain Calumnies in the late Governor Macquarie's Pamphlet and the Third Edition of Mr. Wentworth's Account of Australasia.
1827 Fifth missionary trip; stayed only 5 days in New Zealand. (Mar-Apr)
Concerned for safety of the mission.
Used his influence to bring peace among the Maoris.
1830 Sixth missionary trip, accompanied by daughter Mary. (Mar-June)
Restored peace between rival tribes in the Girls' War.
1835 Wife Elizabeth, invalid since 1811, died, Parramatta, NSW, Australia. (Oct 2)
1837 Made last of his seven voyages to New Zealand, accompanied by daughter Martha. (Feb-July); visited most of the mission stations.
1838 Died at Windsor, New South Wales, Australia. (May 12)
Buried in cemetery of St. John's Church, Parramatta, NSW.

Compiled by Dorothy Ross for WholesomeWords.org. 2011.

More Information on Samuel Marsden


about | contact us | terms of use | store
Copyright © 2017 • Wholesome Words • All Rights Reserved
"...to the glory of God." • since 1996