Rudolph and Maud Constandt with their son, Cyril

Photo courtesy of Milton Hook. From the collection of Neville Rowden, Sydney, NSW.

Constandt, Rudolph Henry (1867–1935)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Rudolf Constandt was an Australian educator and church administrator.

Early years

Rudolf Constandt, usually called Harry, son of Danish settlers Hermann and Caroline Constandt, was born on July 15, 1867 on the Gilbert Estate of “Pewsey Vale” in Eden Valley, South Australia. Rudolf’s father worked on the property of Joseph Gilbert, who had built a small village of stone cottages, a school, and an Anglican Church amid his sheep and grapevines. The Constandt family lived in one of the cottages, attending the church and utilizing the school. As a teenager Rudolph learned the skills of a cooper but did not continue with the trade. When Rudolph was sixteen years of age his father died, whereupon Rudolf left Eden Valley in search of employment elsewhere.1

Crossing the border into New South Wales (NSW), Rudolph found work with a farmer who was a member of the Salvation Army. Nearby lived Seventh-day Adventists, the Joseph Steed family, and others. They would often all gather in the farmer’s home for Bible discussions and hymns. Rudolph was an excellent bass singer and loved these times of fellowship and singing around the organ. It was Steed who led Rudolph to the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church.2

Training for Church Service

When the Avondale School for Christian Workers (ASCW) opened in 1897 at Cooranbong, NSW, Steed and Constandt were among the first students to attend.3 Constandt is on record enrolling again on May 31, 1898, to study business subjects.4 During the year he also took an active part in neighborhood evangelism at a branch Sabbath School at Dora Creek, acting as superintendent over the summer. He held Bible studies on Sunday afternoons for a group of twenty-five at Dora Creek.5

On March 6, 1899, Constandt again enrolled at the ASCW. During the year he pursued the advanced course.6 In the formative years of the ASCW there were no graduation classes or certificates. Instead, result cards were given at the end of the school year and students were pressed into denominational employment as quickly as possible, especially senior individuals such as Constandt. Having completed his studies, he worked on the ASCW farm and as bookkeeper during summer vacation.7 He continued as bookkeeper/treasurer of the Avondale School Board during 1900 until mid-1901.8

When the Union Conference Session was held at Cooranbong in July 1901, Constandt was appointed to return to the South Australian Conference9 where he was granted a license to preach,10 an annual endorsement given to him for more than three decades.

Working in South Australia

Constandt was initially appointed to the Mount Gambier district in the southern region of South Australia. He assisted in a tent crusade,11 was elected elder of the small company of SDAs,12 and explored interests in nearby Port MacDonnell.13 His efforts brought twenty-five new members at Mount Gambier, yielding a total of thirty-six individuals attending Sabbath School.14

At the end of 1903, Constandt was elected the tract society secretary and treasurer for the South Australian Conference, prompting his transfer from Mount Gambier to Adelaide.15 In 1904 he became involved in the distribution of The Rights of Man in response to a government move to implement Sunday laws. He organized a free handout of 110 copies to government identities.16 In addition to his office duties, he preached in the Adelaide churches17 and was elected a delegate to the 1906 Union Conference Session held at Cooranbong.18

At forty years of age Constandt, met a young lady named Alice Maud Green, known as Maud. Her interest in the SDA Church was first aroused by its emphasis on healthful living and she subsequently attended evangelistic meetings that Constandt was conducting in Adelaide.19 They married on August 19, 1908, in a service conducted by Elder Edwin Butz, the South Australian Conference president.20 A son, Cyril, was born on September 28, 1909.21

Constandt continued his work as tract society secretary, conference treasurer, and a member of the executive committee.22 He represented the South Australian Conference once again at the Union Conference Session at Cooranbong, September 1908.23 Later, at the Union Conference Council held in Wahroonga, September 1909, he was asked to transfer to the West Australian Conference.24

Western Australia

During 1910, Rudolph was based at Subiaco where he could readily minister to the Perth metropolitan churches.25 At the March 1911 West Australian Conference Session, he was elected to take up similar duties as those he left in South Australia, such as conference secretary and treasurer in addition to tract society treasurer and a member of the Darling Range School Board.26 Late in 1913, he was transferred to rural districts, first at Narrogin (1914)27 and then to the Manjimup district (1915).28

Constandt resigned in 1915 and began poultry farming at Armadale. He took part in community affairs as a member of the Armadale-Kelmscott Progress Association.29 On November 16, 1915, a daughter was born. They named her Mary Edna,30 who came to be known as “Molly.”

At the Australasian Union Conference Session at Cooranbong, October 1918, Albert Piper, the West Australian Conference president, nominated Constandt to be the Darling Range School farm superintendent and teacher of Old Testament history, a role he was urged to begin in 1919.31 Having completed the school year, he was then persuaded to accept the role of conference secretary.32 He held this position for three years until he retired in 1922.33

In retirement he farmed a small property at Maida Vale and acted as treasurer and elder of his local church at Guildford.34 Periodically, he served on the conference executive committee. He continued to hold a ministerial license or honorary ministerial license,35 occasionally preaching in Perth suburban churches. At sixty-eight years of age he collapsed in his garden and died on July 10, 1935.36 Maud passed away in the Lesmurdie Hospital on November 27, 1960.37

Summation

Rudolph was typical of those who came to the Church later in life but, nevertheless, wanted to serve in some useful capacity. His short business course proved to be adequate and his natural gift for public speaking found him often in the pulpit despite the fact he was never ordained.

Sources

“Actions Taken by the Union Conference Council.” Union Conference Record, vol. 13, no. 40, October 4, 1909.

“Actions Taken by the Union Conference Council Held at Wahroonga, New South Wales.” Australasian Record, vol. 17, no. 40, October 13, 1913.

“Arrangements for the Summer Vacation.” Union Conference Record, vol. 2, no. 9, November 1, 1899.

Avondale School Register 1892-1906. Avondale College Archives, Cooranbong, New South Wales. Box 1487. Document: "Avondale School Register 1892 – 1906."

Baker, W[illiam] L.H. “The West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, vol. 15, no. 17, April 24, 1911.

Baker, W[illiam] L.H. “West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, vol. 17, no. 19, May 12, 1913.

“Births.” The West Australian. vol. 31, no. 4254, November 20, 1915.

“Brother R.H. Constandt…” Union Conference Record, vol. 12, no. 35, August 31, 1908.

“Brother Constandt, who has been…” Australasian Record, vol. 14, no. 1, January 3, 1910.

Butler, S[idney] C. “Thirty-first Annual Session of the West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, vol. 38, no. 17, April 23, 1934.

Butz, E[dwin] S. “South Australian Conference." Union Conference Record, vol. 12, no. 16, April 20, 1908.

“Church Notices.” Great Southern Leader, vol. 7, no. 352, June 19, 1914.

Constandt, R[udolph] H. “Effort with ‘Rights of Man’ in South Australia.” Union Conference Record, vol. 8, no. 17, September 1, 1904.

Constandt, R[udolph] H. “West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, vol. 26, no. 11, May 15, 1922.

Craddock, T[homas] H. “Mount Gambier, South Australia.” Union Conference Record, vol. 5, no. 15, October 15, 1902.

“Delegates to Union Conference, 1906.” Union Conference Record, vol. 10, no. 20, October 1, 1906.

“Delegates to the Union Conference, 1908.” Union Conference Record, vol. 12, no. 36/37, September 7, 1908.

Lemke, L[udwig] D.A. “Rudolph Henry Constandt obituary.” Australasian Record, vol. 39, no. 33, August 19, 1935.

“Notice.” Union Conference Record, vol. 3, no. 12, December 1, 1900.

Palmer, E[dwin] R. "Avondale School." The Gleaner, vol. 1, no. 12, June 1897.

Piper, A[lbert] H. “Western Australia.” Australasian Record, vol. 19, no. 22, May 31, 1915.

Piper, H[arold] E. “West Australian Conference and Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, vol. 27, no. 17, April 30, 1923.

Rowden, Mary "Mollie" Edna (Constandt), "My Father Rudolph Henry [Constandt]," Life sketch, August 5, 1987, Personal collection of Julie (Rowden) Mullins.

“School Faculties.” Australasian Record, vol. 22, no. 23, November 11, 1918.

Semmens, A[lfred] W. “The Week of Prayer in South Australia.” Union Conference Record, vol. 9, no. 14, July 15, 1905.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1904-1927.

“The Avondale Bible School…” The Bible Echo, vol. 15, no. 47, November 19, 1900.

“Union Conference Proceedings.” Union Conference Record, vol. 4, no. 7/6, July 31, 1901.

“We learn with pleasure…” Australasian Record, vol. 24, no. 1, January 12, 1920.

White, W[illiam] C. “The Work at Avondale.” Union Conference Record, vol. 1, no. 12, December 15, 1898.

Woodford, W[illiam W]. “South Australian Conference.” Union Conference Record, vol. 7, no. 24, December 1, 1903.

Woods, J[ohn] H. Woods, "South Australian Conference," Union Conference Record, vol. 4, no. 10, October 1, 1901.

Woods, J[ohn] H. “South Australia.” Union Conference Record, vol. 4, no. 12, December 1, 1901.

Woods, J[ohn] H. “South Australia.” Union Conference Record, vol. 5, no. 3, March 1, 1902.

Woods, J[ohn] H. “South Australia.” Union Conference Record, vol. 5, no. 8, July 1, 1902.

Notes

  1. Mary "Mollie" Edna (Constandt) Rowden, "My Father Rudolph Henry [Constandt]," life sketch, August 5, 1987, personal collection of Julie (Rowden) Mullins.

  2. Ibid.

  3. E[dwin] R. Palmer, "Avondale School," The Gleaner, vol. 1, no. 12, June 1897, 65.

  4. Avondale School Register 1892-1906, Avondale College Archives, Cooranbong, New South Wales. Box: 1487. Document: "Avondale School Register 1892-1906."

  5. W[illiam] C. White, "The Work at Avondale," Union Conference Record, vol. 1, no. 12, December 15, 1898, 121-122.

  6. Avondale School Register 1892-1906, Avondale College Archives, Cooranbong, New South Wales. Box: 1487. Document: "Avondale School Register 1892-1906."

  7. "Arrangements for the Summer Vacation," Union Conference Record, vol. 2, no. 9, November 1, 1899, 8.

  8. "Notice," Union Conference Record, vol. 3, no. 12, December 1, 1900, 15.

  9. "Union Conference Proceedings," Union Conference Record, vol. 4, no. 7/6, July 31, 1901, 89-91.

  10. J[ohn] H. Woods, "South Australian Conference," Union Conference Record, vol. 4, no. 10, October 1, 1901, 9-11.

  11. J[ohn] H. Woods, "South Australia," Union Conference Record, vol. 4, no. 12, December 1, 1901, 15.

  12. J[ohn] H. Woods, "South Australia," Union Conference Record, vol. 5, no. 8, July 1, 1902, 7.

  13. J[ohn] H. Woods, "South Australia," Union Conference Record, vol. 5, no. March 1, 1902, 18.

  14. T[homas] H. Craddock, "Mount Gambier, South Australia," Union Conference Record, vol. 5, no. 15, October 15, 1902, 5.

  15. W[illiam] W. Woodford, "South Australian Conference," Union Conference Record, vol. 7, no. 24, December 1, 1903, 3-4.

  16. R[udolph] H. Constandt, "Effort with 'Rights of Man' in South Australia," Union Conference Record, vol. 8, no. 17, September 1, 1904, 5.

  17. A[lfred] W. Semmens, "The Week of Prayer in South Australia," Union Conference Record, vol. 9, no. 12, July 15, 1905, 2.

  18. "Delegates to Union Conference 1906," Union Conference Record, vol. 10, no. 20, October 1, 1906, 5.

  19. Julie (Rowden) Mullins, email message to Milton Hook, December 6, 2016.

  20. "Brother R.H. Constandt..." Union Conference Record, vol. 12, no. 35, August 31, 1908, 7.

  21. Julie (Rowden) Mullins, email message to Milton Hook, December 6, 2016.

  22. "South Australian Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907), 73-74.

  23. "Delegates to the Union Conference 1908," Union Conference Record, vol. 12, no. 36/37, September 7, 1908, 44.

  24. "Actions Taken by the Union Conference Council," Union Conference Record, vol. 13, no. 40, October 4, 1909, 2-5.

  25. "Brother Constandt, who has been..." Union Conference Record, vol. 14, no. 1, January 3, 1910, 8.

  26. W[illiam] L.H. Baker, "The West Australian Conference," Australasian Record, vol. 15, no. 17, April 24, 1911, 4-6.

  27. "Church Notices," Great Southern Leader, vol. 7, no. 352, June 19, 1914, 5.

  28. A[lbert] H. Piper, "Western Australia," Australasian Record, vol. 19, no. 22, May 31, 1915, 6-7.

  29. Julie (Rowden) Mullins, email message to Milton Hook, December 6, 2016.

  30. "Births," The West Australian, vol. 31, no. 4254, November 20, 1915, 1.

  31. "School Faculties," Australasian Record, vol. 22, no. 23, November 11, 1918, 36.

  32. "We learn with pleasure..." Australasian Record, vol. 24, no. 1, January 12, 1920, 8.

  33. "West Australian Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1923), 168-169.

  34. L[udwig] D.A. Lemke, "Rudolph Henry Constandt obituary," Australasian Record, vol. 39, no. 33, August 19, 1935, 7; Julie (Rowden) Mullins, email message to Milton Hook, December 6, 2016.

  35. E.g., "West Australian Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1925), 187.

  36. L[udwig] D.A. Lemke, "Rudolph Henry Constandt obituary," Australasian Record, vol. 39, no. 33, August 19, 1935, 7.

  37. Julie (Rowden) Mullins, email message to Milton Hook, December 6, 2016.

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Hook, Milton. "Constandt, Rudolph Henry (1867–1935)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7B70.

Hook, Milton. "Constandt, Rudolph Henry (1867–1935)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7B70.

Hook, Milton (2020, January 29). Constandt, Rudolph Henry (1867–1935). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7B70.