James Noble Pioneer Aboriginal Deacon 25th november 2016


NOBLE, James (1876-1941)
Author John Harris,

NOBLE, JAMES (b. 1876, western Qld; d. 25 Nov 1941, Yarrabah, Qld). First ordained Anglican Aboriginal.

Of full Aboriginal descent, James Noble grew up in the gulf district of western Queensland. As a teenager, he worked as a stockman for the Doyle brothers, droving cattle between Qld and Invermein Station, near Scone NSW. Noble impressed the Doyles both intellectually and physically, so they agreed to his request to remain in Scone. He was employed at Invermein during the day and taught by staff of Scone Grammar School in the evenings. Through Mrs Doyle’s Sunday school, he became a Christian, and was baptised and confirmed in St Luke’s, Scone, in July 1885.

Becoming unwell in the cold climate, Noble was sent back to Qld to live with Canon Alfred Edwards at Hughendon. His athleticism brought him to the attention of professional race promoters, but when Edwards died, Bp Barlow arranged for Noble to move to Yarrabah. There he commenced his long association with Ernest Gribble (q.v.) and his life of service to his fellow Aboriginal people.

At Yarrabah, Noble married Maggie Frew. She and their infant son died, as did his new fiancée. Finally, Noble married Angelina, also from western Qld. Angelina had been abducted as a girl by a white stockman and forced to live as a ‘drover’s boy’. A talented young woman, she was to share James’ life work. They became indispensable to Gribble, accompanying him on exploratory trips to Mitchell River and negotiating with Aboriginal people on his behalf. They were made responsible for Bukki Creek, the largest of Yarrabah’s eight outstations. James Noble developed considerable preaching and teaching skill and became an active evangelist. In 1907, he preached to large gatherings in Brisbane. In 1908, the Nobles, together with Horace Reid, volunteered to go as founding missionaries to assist in the initial establishment of the new CMS mission at Roper River. [read on]

Source: NOBLE, James (1876-1941) | Harris | Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography


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