- 1970-1990 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Mary Maria Andrews was born at Dry Plain Station (near Cooma, NSW) in 1915 to Albert and Ann Andrews. The family moved to Mittagong in 1925 then Sydney in 1927 for educational purposes following the separation of her parents. Mary was educated at Homebush Intermediate High School and later Hornsby Girls' High. She underwent training as a General Nurse at Gladesville Mental Hospital from 1933-1935, . studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible College from 1935-6 and was a resident at Deaconess house from 1937-8 at the recommendation of the Church Missionary Society of Australia (CMS), to which she had applied as a missionary to China in 1937.
Sailing to China in September 1938, she engaged in language learning at the College of Chinese Studies in Peiping (which was under Japanese occupation at the time) and later in Lin Hai, where she performed missionary work until she was forced to leave in late 1943 in fear of Japanese troops. She worked in Lahore, India, during 1944, and returned to Australia on furlough in 1946, during which time she was 'set apart' as a Deaconess. She returned to China in June 1947, working as a missionary in Shaohsing until she was forced to leave due to pressure from the Communist government in 1951.
Following her missionary career she continued to be heavily involved in CMS Candidates and General Committees and was a committed supporter of the South American Missionary Society (SAMS) and served on their Candidates and Pastoral Committee.
She began work as the Principal of Deaconess House in 1951, and was commissioned as Head Deaconess in the Diocese of Sydney in early 1952. As Principal, she oversaw a dramatic expansion of the institution in both physical size and occupancy. She held the position until her reluctant retirement in 1975. Many of the women who trained at Deaconess House continued to correspond with her, confide in her and shares the joys and trials of ministry with her until her life's end.
She then took on the role of part-time chaplain to three retirement villages - Goodwin Village, Woollahra (where she also resided); Elizabeth Lodge, Kings Cross, and St John's Village, Glebe. Not only did she conduct Bible studies and hold devotional meetings with the residents but she also encouraged them to give generously to missions, other Christian work and organisations for the aged. Additionally, she increased her involvement in a number of ecumenical and women's associations and was a fixture at these for the remainder of her life. Material found in her papers suggests that she supported the Healing Ministry at St Andrews Cathedral, Basilea Schlink of Darmstadt and that she attended the Billy Graham Crusade in 1979.
In 1980 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her Services to Religion.
Mary Andrews throughout her career and ministry was a strong proponent of greater inclusion of women into church life. She was actively involved in the events leading up to a number of milestones, including an increased prominence of the Deaconess order, the inclusion of women in the Anglican synod, and the ordination of women as Anglican Deacons. Late in her life she was fiercely in favour of the ordination of women as priests, and was a member of the Movement for the Ordination of Women (MOW).
She had a healthy interest in a wide range of Christian beliefs and recorded broadcast interviews of Chrisians from Roman Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, and various other Christian denominations from Australia and abroad.
Recreationally she enjoyed traditional hymns, English Cathedral music and when time permitted attended performing arts particularly 'classical' music. In fact she entered into correspondence occasionally regarding the programs of concerts and the choice of operas if she thought they were unsuitable. She also had a life-long interest in photography and left behind an exhaustive documentation of the work of Deaconess House, the organisations that she was involved with, her many overseas trips, significant occasions in the ministry of former students and friends and of women's ministry in general.
She died on the 16th of October 1996, a few weeks after the 50th anniversary of her 'setting apart' as a Deaconess.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Mary Andrews made and retained much audio-viusal material. She collected
published material from various organisations and appears to have recorded
addresses at services and meetings she attended . She recorded hymns and other sacred music and interviews from radio programs and she owned a range of commercial recordings acquired either by purchase and gift. The quality of the tapes is unknown.
The audio records that have been retained consist of meetings of organisations in which Mary was active, and of addresses in the main areas of her interest including the ministry of women. Some of these supplement the printed records held in this collection.
Commercial material and material recorded from radio programs (thus governed by complex intellectual property provisions) has been destroyed.
Tapes of services (mainly Healing Ministry) at St Andrews Cathedral have been
transferred to Moore College Library.
Tales of Verlag Evangelische Marienwesternschaff, Darmstadt-Eberstadt, (Basilea Schlink) Germany, mainly addressed by Basilea Schlink have been offered to Moore College Library.
The following have been retained.
- Addresses and interviews by Mary Andrews (various media organisations)
- General and Sydney Diocesan Synod debates manly on the ordination of women,
- Women's ordination services
- Proceedings of meetings of the organisations (especially women's organisations) with which Mary was associated.
Cassettes comprising item 8 include the addresses by the following - Brother
Andrew; Canon Jim Glennon; Bishop Fest Kivengere;; Dr Phillip Potter; Angnes
Sanford; Dr Robert Schuller; Rev John Stott; Bishop Christopher Spnyonso; Re.
David Watson; Women and Ministry (Brisbane October 1973) Holy Spririt
Seminar 4 April 1981.
A note relating to the item list: The tapes are not individually listed. An 'item"
consists of a group of related talpes e.g. the tapes relating to an organisation. Some tapes have been used for more than one purpose. They have been placed with the group that describes most of the content.
It would appear that some of the tapes were made by Dss Andrews (with our
without permssion of organisations or speakers) and that others were sold or
distributed by the organisation concerned. In making access to this material
decisions may nned to be made on an individual basis.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
The cassettes may be played but not copied, for intellectual property reasons.
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
The cassettes have been digitised, and some of the recordings (Mary Andrews' own voice, St Andrew's Cathedral service and the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary/Basilea Schlink) are available as mp3 files on Myrrh: https://myrrh.library.moore.edu.au/handle/10248/39