Ship model, SS "John Williams IV", London Missionary Society steamer
The "John Williams IV" is the fourth of seven ships to bear the name "John Williams" for the London Missionary Society. The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglican, Baptist, and Congregational Protestants to bring Christianity to Africa and the Pacific Islands. John Williams, a missionary, was killed and eaten by cannibals in 1839 in Erromanga, in the New Hebrides.
This model is part of the A.A. Stewart collection of ship, mechanical, and railway models acquired over nearly 30 years, from 1938 to1963. Albyn A. Stewart waas a trained engineer fascinated by engineering models, and he constructed some of those in the collection. Others were bought from amateur and commercial modellers at great expense to Stewart, who travelled regularly to England to seek out models. The models were carefully collected by Stewart, who collected as much for posterity as he did for personal interest. Once contacted by the Technological Museum, the precursor of the Powerhouse Museum, he deliberately sought out models which would fill historical and technological gaps and, as a result, the collection is one of the most significant still extant in Australia.
The ¬?John Williams IV¬?, built in 1893, was a clipper-bowed barquentine of 663 tons with auxiliary steam powered propulsion. She was the fourth ¬?John Williams¬? ship built for the London Missionary Society.
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in1795 by evangelical Anglican, Baptist and Congregational Protestants to bring Christianity to the islands of the South Pacific and to Africa. It was particularly successful in Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea. It is now part of the Council for World Mission.
John Williams, one of the early leaders of the Society, was killed and eaten by cannibals in 1839 on Erromango in the New Hebrides. The first ship to bear his name was a barque, wrecked in 1864; the second, also a barque, was lost at sea in1867; the third, also a barque, served the London Missionary Society until 1894 when it was sold.
After a long working life in the South Pacific, the ¬?John Williams IV¬? was sold in 1930 to Chinese buyers, to be replaced by "John Williams V", a steel auxiliary 3-masted staysail schooner that was wrecked on a reef in Samoa in 1948. It was used to evacuate white settlers and to carry supplies during the 1939-45 war. The ¬?John Williams VI¬? was built in 1946 as a coastal freighter, and was purchased in 1948 by the Society to serve mainly in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The last of the ships to bear the name, the "John Williams VII" was built in 1962 and based at Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. She was decomissioned in 1968.