Good Will Rewarded

A Gift from the Dudley Presbyterian Sunday School

One Sunday shortly before Christmas in 1928, Frederick V. D’Arcy (1901-1996) sat down to write the following inscription on the first blank page of a small leather-bound bible: ‘16th December 1928, Presented to Mr. B. Wallbank, From the Dudley Presbyterian Sunday School, F.V. D’Arcy, Superintendent.’

D’Arcy was born in Walcha, New South Wales, on Anaiwan Country, and by his late twenties was living almost 300km south, around Dudley, near Newcastle on Awabakal Country. On Christmas Eve 1927, he married his fiancée, Mary Mowbray (1904-1986), in the Dudley Presbyterian Church and by the next year he was superintendent of its Sunday school.

In the course of this role he met Constable Albert ‘Bert’ Wallbank, the recipient of this inscribed bible. Wallbank was a well-liked constable who actively supported local community organisations, including the School of Arts and the Surf Life Saving Club, so it is likely he extended this support to the Sunday school as well.

Perhaps Wallbank’s support was considered particularly generous as he was not Presbyterian. In fact, Bert and his family were actually a part of the Church of England. Nevertheless, it seems that he was willing to support churches of denominations other than his own.

This generosity, complete with a hint of religious obligation, earned him appreciation from D’Arcy and his Sunday School. Perhaps, in turn, they clinched some heavenly favour for Wallbank as well.