Frederick Sharp

Photo courtesy of Milton Hook. From the collection of Elma (Blair) Coombe, Cooranbong, NSW.

Sharp, Frederick Lacey (1864–1953) and Louisa Jane (Hulle); later Etta Marion (Malcolm)

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.

Frederick Sharp was a multitalented person. He served the Church as an accountant, institutional manager, pastor, and evangelist. He oversaw the finances of the fledgling Sydney Sanitarium before taking up appointments in Tasmania, the Society Islands, and New Zealand.

Early Experience

Frederick Sharp was born in Launceston, Tasmania, on July 26, 1864. His father was a professor of music, and Frederick himself learned to play the church organ when he was young. Music, however, did not become the focus of Frederick’s career. Having moved to Sydney, NSW, he took up accountancy and worked for Danks Hardware Store. He often played the organ at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, central Sydney.1

When Sharp was 21 years of age, he married Louisa Hulle on November 5, 1885, in St. John the Baptist’s Anglican Church at Ashfield.2 A son and three daughters were born into their family.

A New Direction

In October 1897 Frederick Sharp’s life changed dramatically when he walked into a marquee at Stanmore, near his home, thinking it was a circus. Instead, it was a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) camp meeting where an evangelistic series was being conducted for the public.3 Sharp kept attending with his family, listening to A. G. Daniells, S. N. Haskell, J. O. Corliss, and W.L.H. Baker.4 He was convicted of the Saturday Sabbath, observing his first on October 30, 1897. Jesse Pallant conducted home Bible studies, and on January 9, 1898, both Frederick and Louisa were baptized at the Ashfield SDA Church by George Starr.5 Sharp lost his job with Danks because of his desire to observe Saturdays, but he found another within a week. The whole episode attracted much interest from Ellen White, who wrote about it in her diary and letters.6

Church Employment

After repeated invitations from W. C. White, A. G. Daniells, G. B. Starr, and E. G. White, Sharp accepted an appointment as treasurer of the New South Wales Conference in July 1898.7 Eighteen months later he transferred to be the accountant at Summer Hill Sanitarium8 but remained on the conference executive committee. The next few years were some of the most eventful in his life.

In conjunction with his role at the Summer Hill Sanitarium he also acted as the treasurer for the Australasian Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association,9 an entity Dr. Edgar Caro established to oversee medical and philanthropic work based on the Dr. J. H. Kellogg model. The association was short-lived because church officials became uneasy about its semiautonomous policies, and it was discontinued.10 It was also the time that donations were being collected for the planned new sanitarium at Wahroonga. Funds were sent to Sharp for this project,11 and he made a trip to Tasmania to solicit more donations.12

Tragedy struck when Sharp’s beloved Louisa, affectionately known as Louie, suffered a ruptured ovarian cyst and passed away with peritonitis in the Summer Hill Sanitarium on September 1, 1900.13 Left with four children between 5 and 14 years of age, Sharp was fortunate to find another loyal partner in Etta Malcolm, a nurse at the Summer Hill Sanitarium. They married in Caro’s home at Burwood on October 29, 1901, the service conducted by George Tenney.14 Two children were added to their family, Stanley (1905) and Frederick (1907).

Sharp remained on the board of the Summer Hill Sanitarium until it closed at the end of 1901.15 In the meantime he became increasingly involved with the planning of the sanitarium on the northern fringe of Sydney at Wahroonga. He was in the search party for a suitable site and was made a trustee/director of the enterprise in its embryonic stage.16 He also united with Merritt Kellogg, William White, and others to formulate building plans.17 He continued to manage the finances of the institution through to its opening date, January 1, 1903, and on until August 27, 1904.18

Transition to Ministerial Work

On September 21, 1904, the Sharp family sailed to Hobart, Tasmania, where Sharp began ministerial duties and then transferred to New Norfolk. Here he conducted his first public crusade, a series in the Oddfellows Hall, starting on October 20, 1905.19 During his stay in Tasmania he served as vice president of the conference,20 but it was short-lived because an urgent call was made for a temporary accountant at the Echo Publishing Company. For this reason the family moved to Melbourne, VIC, on March 22, 1906, and Sharp once again kept accounts until April 12, 1907. He remained in Victoria until 1910, some of that time ministering in the Euroa and Bendigo/Benalla area. It was while in Benalla that they lost their 11-month-old son, Frederick, with enterocolitis on October 17, 1908.21

Society Islands Mission

Late in 1910 Sharp was appointed to the Society Islands. He arrived at Papeete, Tahiti, on December 24, and a month later took up his work on Raiatea Island, a lonely outlying mission station in the Leeward group.22 Frederick and Etta spent thirty months at this post, enduring a distressing time as the membership roll throughout the Society Islands Mission was broken down and reorganized after it was discovered that many members were not maintaining church standards.23

Return to Australia

Returning to Australia in mid-1913, Sharp was appointed to teach Bible classes at the Australasian Missionary College, Cooranbong, NSW.24 In 1914 through to 1916 he ministered in the New South Wales Conference, including Bathurst and Newcastle,25 before returning to the Tasmanian Conference (1917 and 1918). He was ordained in Hobart on the Sabbath of November 24, 1917.26 In October 1918 he attended the Australasian Union Conference session at Cooranbong, NSW. At the session he was appointed once again to the Australasian Missionary College for 1919, this time as preceptor and assistant Bible teacher.27 It was the era that Bible teachers were given tenure for brief periods lest the students become too attached to one man’s brand of theology. For this reason he moved on in 1920, accepting the superintendency of the North Queensland Mission, a territory centred at Mackay.28 It also included the Monamona Mission for Aborigines, where a recent cyclone had destroyed most of the infrastructure. It was his responsibility to arrange the rebuilding of the station.29

Three Decades in New Zealand

Three years in North Queensland were followed by thirty years in North New Zealand, a significant change in climate. In 1923 and 1924 Sharp served at the New Zealand Missionary College at Longburn as preceptor, Bible teacher, and college pastor.30 A move in 1925 took him to Napier,31 and in the early 1930s he was located at the New Plymouth church. For the remainder of his working years he served in various churches in Auckland. Because he was close to the head office, it was convenient for him to also act as religious liberty secretary. His experience was valued as a member of the North New Zealand Conference executive committee for extended periods.32

From time to time Frederick and Etta would return to Australia to visit relatives. It was on one such visit to Sydney in 1953 that Frederick suffered a brief illness and died on Sabbath afternoon, October 3, in the home of his daughter, Ella Hellestrand.33 Etta returned to Auckland and died on September 11, 1960.34

Frederick Sharp was small in stature but long in service, adapting to diverse needs of the church such as keeping accounts, Bible teaching, overseas mission work, departmental roles, and carrying the various duties of a church pastor. What he thought was a circus tent proved to be the instrument to shape his destiny.

Sources

Australasian Missionary College Faculty minutes, 1898-1918. Avondale College Archives, Box 203, Cooranbong, NSW. Volume: “Australasian Missionary College Faculty Minutes.”

Baker, W[illiam] L. H. “New South Wales Conference.” Union Conference Record, August 15, 1898.

———. “The Victorian Camp Meeting.” Union Conference Record, March 9, 1908.

Blair, R[oss] E. G. “It Was a Success.” Australasian Record, December 6, 1943.

———. “Twenty-second Annual Session.” Australasian Record, March 23, 1936.

“Brother and Sister Sharp, accompanied . . .” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1904.

“Brother and Sister Sharp arrived . . .” Australasian Record, June 16, 1913.

“Brother F. L. Sharp and wife . . .” Union Conference Record, May 1, 1905.

“Brother F. L. Sharp, business manager . . .” Union Conference Record, May 1, 1900.

“Brother F. L. Sharp is having .  . .” Union Conference Record, August 5, 1907.

Caro, E[dgar] R. “Special Meeting of the Australasian Medical, Missionary, and Benevolent Association.” Union Conference Record, March 1, 1903.

Farnsworth, E[ugene] W. “Australasian Union Conference Council.” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1901.

———. “Louisa Jane Sharpe (sic) obituary.” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1900.

Foster, P[hilip] G. “North New Zealand.” Australasian Record, November 30, 1925.

F[rederick] L. Sharp Birthday Book. c. 1917. Personal collection of Gail (Harrison) Clark.

“From the tent company at Euroa . . .” Union Conference Record, April 19, 1909.

Fulton, J[ohn] E. “The Eastern Polynesian Mission.” Australasian Record, June 17, 1912.

Glockler, P. “News Notes from the Field.” Australasian Record, May 20, 1929.

———. “North New Zealand Annual Conference.” Australasian Record, March 2, 1931.

Haskell, S[tephen] N. “New South Wales Camp Meeting.” The Bible Echo, October 11, 1897.

Hellestrand, Ella Louise (Sharp). "Frederick Lacey Sharp Life Sketch." Personal collection of Robyn (Hellestrand) Baldwin.

Kirk, H[enry]. “Longburn, New Zealand.” Australasian Record, January 21, 1924.

Lyndon, F[rank] E. “Society Islands.” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914.

Magnusson, A[nders] E. “Etta Marian Sharp obituary.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 17, 1960.

McKean, James. “Frederick Elwyn Sharp obituary.” Union Conference Record, November 2, 1908.

Morse, G[eorge] W. “Membership in the A.M.M. and B. Association.” Union Conference Record, January 1, 1900.

“New South Wales Conference.” Union Conference Record, July 31, 1899.

“On October 29, the marriage of . . .” Union Conference Record, December 1, 1901.

“On Sabbath, August 26, Pastor F. L. Sharp . . .” Australasian Record, October 2, 1922.

Pallant, J[esse]. “Tasmanian Conference.” Union Conference Record, January 1, 1905.

"Pastor F. L. Sharp, who has been appointed . . ." Australasian Record, April 5, 1920.

“Report of the Australasian Union Conference.” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918.

“School Faculties.” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918.

Scragg, W[alter] M. R. “Conference and Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, March 12, 1928.

———. “North New Zealand.” Australasian Record, August 22, 1927.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1906–1953.

Sharp, F[rederick] L. “A New Church Organisation at Avondale.” Australasian Record, September 15, 1919.

———. “Benalla, Victoria, Tent Effort.” Union Conference Record, April 27, 1908.

———. “Experiences in Connection with the Starting of the Sydney Sanitarium.” Australasian Record, August 21, 1933.

———. “Newcastle Mission.” Australasian Record, May 15, 1916.

———. “North Queensland Mission.” Australasian Record, November 15, 1920.

Sharp, F[rederick] L., and E[tta] M. “From Sydney to Tahiti.” Australasian Record, February 20, 1911.

“Sharp–Hulle.” Sydney Morning Herald, November 14, 1885.

Stewart, A[ndrew] G. “A Brief Life Sketch of Pastor F. L. Sharp.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 9, 1953.

———. “Among the Veterans.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, September 7, 1953.

“Sydney Sanitarium Board.” Union Conference Record, February 1, 1904.

“The Sanitarium Fund.” Union Conference Record, March 1, 1900.

“Union Conference Proceedings.” Union Conference Record, July 26, 1901.

———. Union Conference Record, July 31, 1901.

White, Ellen G. Ellen G. White to E[ugene] and [Vesta] Farnsworth. December 15, 1897. Letter 54, 1897. Ellen G. White Estate.

———. Ellen G. White to Edson and Emma [White]. February 2, 1898. Letter 38, 1898. Ellen G. White Estate.

———. Ellen G. White to Edson and Emma [White]. July 17, 1900. Letter 110, 1900. Ellen G. White Estate.

———. Ellen G. White to [Josephine] Gotzian. February 11, 1898. Letter 8, 1898. Ellen G. White Estate.

White, H[arold] C. “North New Zealand Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, February 2, 1925.

Notes

  1. A[ndrew] G. Stewart, “A Brief Sketch of Pastor F. L. Sharp,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 9, 1953, 5, 6.

  2. “Sharp–Hulle,” Sydney Morning Herald, November 14, 1885, 1.

  3. Ella Louise (Sharp) Hellestrand, “Frederick Lacey Sharp Life Sketch,” personal collection of Robyn (Hellestrand) Baldwin.

  4. A[ndrew] G. Stewart, “Among the Veterans,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, September 7, 1953, 5, 6.

  5. F[rederick] L. Sharp Birthday Book, c1917, personal collection of Gail (Harrison) Clark.

  6. Ellen G. White, Ellen G. White to E[ugene] and [Vesta] Farnsworth, December 15, 1897, Letter 54, 1897, Ellen G. White Estate.

  7. W[illiam] L. H. Baker, “New South Wales Conference,” Union Conference Record, August 15, 1898, 89, 90.

  8. “Bro. F. L. Sharp now occupies . . . ,” Union Conference Record, November 1, 1899, 15.

  9. G[eorge] W. Morse, “Membership in the A.M.M. and B. Association,” Union Conference Record, January 1, 1900, 14.

  10. E[dgar] R. Caro, “Special Meeting of the Australasian Medical, Missionary, and Benevolent Association,” Union Conference Record, March 1, 1900, 3.

  11. “The Sanitarium Fund,” Union Conference Record, March 1, 1900, 3.

  12. “Brother F. L. Sharp, business manager . . . ,” Union Conference Record, May 1, 1900, 17.

  13. E[ugene] W. Farnsworth, “Louisa Jane Sharpe (sic) obituary,” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1900, 15.

  14. “On October 29, the marriage of . . . ,” Union Conference Record, December 1, 1901, 15.

  15. “Union Conference Proceedings,” Union Conference Record, July 31, 1901, 89, 90.

  16. E[ugene] W. Farnsworth, “Australasian Union Conference Council,” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1900, 12.

  17. Ellen G. White, Ellen G. White to Edson and Emma [White], July 17, 1900, Letter 110, 1900, Ellen G. White Estate.

  18. F[rederick] L. Sharp Birthday Book.

  19. Ibid.

  20. “Tasmanian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1906): 68.

  21. F[rederick] L. Sharp Birthday Book.

  22. Ibid.

  23. F[rank] E. Lyndon, “Society Islands,” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914, 38, 39.

  24. “Brother and Sister Sharp arrived . . .” Australasian Record, June 16, 1913, 8.

  25. F[rederick] L. Sharp, "“Newcastle Mission,” Australasian Record, May 15, 1916, 5.

  26. F[rederick] L. Sharp Birthday Book.

  27. “School Faculties,” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918, 36.

  28. “Pastor F. L. Sharp, who has been appointed . . .” Australasian Record, April 5, 1920, 8.

  29. F[rederick] L. Sharp, “North Queensland Mission,” Australasian Record, November 15, 1920, 7.

  30. H[enry] Kirk, “Longburn, New Zealand,” Australasian Record, January 21, 1924, 5.

  31. P[hilip] G. Foster, “North New Zealand,” Australasian Record, November 30, 1925, 7.

  32. R[oss] E. G. Blair, “Twenty-second Annual Session,” Australasian Record, March 23, 1936, 5, 6.

  33. A[ndrew] G. Stewart, “A Brief Life Sketch of Pastor F. L. Sharp,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 9, 1953, 5, 6.

  34. A[nders] E. Magnusson, “Etta Marian Sharp obituary,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 17, 1960, 10.

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Hook, Milton. "Sharp, Frederick Lacey (1864–1953) and Louisa Jane (Hulle); later Etta Marion (Malcolm)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 10, 2021. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=884R.

Hook, Milton. "Sharp, Frederick Lacey (1864–1953) and Louisa Jane (Hulle); later Etta Marion (Malcolm)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 10, 2021. Date of access January 28, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=884R.

Hook, Milton (2021, January 10). Sharp, Frederick Lacey (1864–1953) and Louisa Jane (Hulle); later Etta Marion (Malcolm). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 28, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=884R.