Reverend Hugh Gough

The Right Reverend Hugh Rowlands Gough and his wife Madeline owned 21 Sydney Buildings from December 1971 to December 1974. No. 22 also belonged to them and was home to their daughter Lucy.

Hugh Gough had been Archbishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia but it was a short journey to Sydney Buildings when he retired in 1972 as he was then rector of Freshford and vicar of Limpley Stoke. He had also held a parish appointment in Bath early in his career.

He was an Army Chaplain during World War Two in the Middle East - where he was wounded -and was awarded an OBE in 1945. In 1948 he became Bishop of Barking, also Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral and Archdeacon of West Ham. He was chairman of the Billy Graham Crusade in London in 1954 and was the rising hope of Evangelicals in the 1950s.

The last bishop to come direct from England to a Metropolitan See in Australia, he was appointed Archbishop of Sydney in 1958 and in 1959 Primate of Australia, posts he held until 1966. He was awarded the CMG in 1965. He also held the position of Chaplain and Sub-Prelate of the Order of St John of Jerusalem from 1959 until 1972.

As Primate he travelled widely in Australia and abroad. He presided over a start in Ecumenism, the adoption of a new constitution, acceptance of state aid for church schools and a professional approach to church finances. He was also instrumental in establishing a company that founded and governs two University colleges in Australia.

He described himself as one of nature’s conservatives but his vigorous new style was not universally welcomed. A willingness to engage with everyday life was also at odds with an overbearing manner and clipped speech. On most matters he was the complete Evangelical - gambling was abhorrent and he railed against sexual promiscuity. It is however acknowledged that the discovery of his relationship with a married woman was the reason for his resignation from the See, although officially attributed to a breakdown in health

His obituary in the Independent mentions his adventurous and courageous nature, the warmth of his friendship and a humble loyalty and devotion. Photographs in the National Gallery show him to have been tall, dark and handsome; his picture can also be seen on the cover of an edition of Oz magazine. Back in England he apparently kept in touch with Sydney affairs, followed church life in Sydney with interest and welcomed many Sydney visitors in his home. He died in Over Wallop, Hampshire on 13 November 1997.


M L Loane – obituary, The Independent newspaper, 29 November 1997

Humphrey McQueen – article,, 10 December 2003

Oz, June/July 1966, editors Richard Neville & Dean Letcher

Sarah Pooley

June 2009

Sydney Buildings History Group ©