Elwyn and Narelle Currow

Photo courtesy of Steve Currow.

Currow, Elwin George (1926–2016)

By Stephen J. Currow

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Stephen Currow, D.Min. (Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, the United States), is the vice president (academic) at Avondale College of Higher Education, Cooranbong, NSW, Australia. Trained as a pastor, he has worked in various ministry positions including pastor, lecturer, and administrator in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom. His research interests and publications have been in the areas of congregational life, youth ministry and Adventist mission history. He is married to Narisa and has two adult daughters.

Elwin George Currow was a doctor of medicine who not only had a distinguished medical career as a hospital administrator but also served the Seventh-day Adventist Church on significant boards and committees in the South Pacific Division.

Early Years

Elwin George Currow was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on September 16, 19261 while his parents, George and Dulce Currow, were teaching at the church school.2 He had one sister, Elaine June Burns (1929-2019).3 After just eighteen months in New Zealand (Auckland and Gisborne), Elwin’s father returned to Australia. Most of Elwin’s childhood and youth were spent in Cooranbong or Sydney.4

Employment

In 1948 Elwin graduated from the University of Sydney with a MBBS5 and was appointed to Maitland Hospital where he served for a year, followed by locum appointments at Bundaberg Hospital and Greta Migrant Camp.6 On May 4, 1950, Elwin and Rachel Narelle Cox were married by Dr. W. G. Murdoch in the Concord SDA Church.7 For the next four and a half years, Elwin was a senior registered medical officer and surgical registrar at Royal Newcastle Hospital.8 Elwin spent two years in London and was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in 1956.9 During their time in England, their first child, Helen, was born. He returned to Australia and spent a year at Concord Repatriation Hospital, during which time their second child, Kathryn, was born. In 1958 Elwin was appointed as the superintendent and surgical specialist of Maitland Hospital.10 Their last two children, Stephen and David, were born while in Maitland.

Most of Elwin’s working life was at the nearby Royal Newcastle Hospital where he served as the chief executive officer (CEO) for 21 years, retiring at the end of 1986.11 To assist him in this role, Elwin became a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (FRACMA) in 1968.12 He also was appointed a surveyor for the Australian Council of Hospital Surveyors (ACHS) in 1978 and served until 1997.13 During this time Elwin was involved in the development of the Outpatients Building and the establishment of the medical school at the University of Newcastle and associated hospital services in the David Madison Clinical Services Building.14

Coinciding with the transition of nursing education from hospital-based training to a tertiary program, Elwin served for around ten years on the Council of Newcastle College of Advanced Education as it morphed into the Hunter Institute of Higher Education to become part of the University of Newcastle.15 From 1985 Elwin served as vice president of the council16 to become the president of the Council of the Hunter Institute of Higher Education in 198917 and subsequently a member of the interim Council for the University of Newcastle from November 1989.18

Elwin was also a member of the Hunter District Water Board for eight years19 and a member of the Newcastle Rotary Club for twenty years.20

Contribution

As an active church member all his life, Elwin served the corporate church in a number of significant roles including being a member of a number of executive committees at conference,21 union22 and division levels. Having served on the Executive Committee of the Australasian Division for the quinquennium, Elwin was elected to be a delegate at the 1980 General Conference Session in Dallas.23 He also served on a Site Development Subcommittee of Avondale College Board in the early 1970s,24 as a board trustee of Sydney Adventist Hospital for ten years in the 1990s25 and on the NNSW Conference Retirement Villages Management Committee.26

In his retirement Elwin relieved the medical officer at Sopas Adventist Hospital in Enga Province of Papua New Guinea for six months.27 He also worked for eighteen months as the acting CEO of the Adventist Warburton Health Care Centre and Hospital.28 Elwin also spent hours researching scholarly perspectives on the prophetic book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ and published his findings as Your Revelation Study Companion in 2007..29 Since 2008 an award for the best performing student in New Testament Apocalyptic Studies at Avondale University College was sponsored by Elwin, until his death, and continues in his honor.30

Final Years

For almost fifty years, Elwin and Narelle were members of Hamilton (NSW) Church --a church founded during Ellen White’s time in Australia.31 He died on October 19, 2016, and Narelle died on October 21, 2016. Their memorial service was held on October 24, 2016, in the Hamilton church.32

Sources

Carter, Noel, ed. Newcastle’s Hospital by the Beach: Some Photographic Memories. Newcastle: Royal Newcastle Hospital, 1990.

Clapham, Noel P. “Life-Sketch of George Currow.” Australasian Record, May 17, 1982.

“Congratulations to . . .” Australasian Record, September 13, 1948.

“Council.” Newcastle College of Advanced Education Annual Report, 1985.

Craig, Tina. Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows. London: Royal College of Surgeons of England. Accessed March 9, 2019. livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk.

Currow, Elwin. Your Revelation Study Companion. Charlestown, NSW: Elwin Currow, 2007.

“Delegates to the 1980 Session.” Adventist Review - General Conference Bulletin No.1, April 17, 1980.

“Elwin Currow Prize for New Testament Apocalyptic Criteria.” Office of the President, Avondale University College, updated July 2019. Personal collection of the author.

“Elwin George Currow: Curriculum Vitae, January 29, 1987.” Personal collection of the author.

“General Medical Practitioner . . .” Record, December 10, 1988.

Hunter, Cynthia. “Interview with Dr Elwin Currow February 17, 2003.” Unpublished manuscript in the personal collection of the author.

Hunter District Water Board to Dr E. G. Currow, November 11, 1982. Letter held in the personal collection of the author

“Interim Council of the University Established - Deputy Appointed.” Uninews, November 1989.

Litster, W. Glynn and Malcolm Bull, Light on the Northern Coalfields: A Short History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Greater Newcastle Area 1898-1998. Wallsend, NSW: Newcastle Centenary Committee, North N.S.W. Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1998.

Manchester, E. G. H., ed. Senior Yearbook, 1948. Sydney: Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, 1948.

Murdoch, W. G. C. “Currow-Cox marriage.” Australasian Record, June 12, 1950.

Nixon, Roger and John Cox. “Elwin George Currow obituary.” Adventist World, January 2017.

Nixon, Roger and John Cox, “Rachel Narelle Currow obituary.” Adventist World, January 2017.

“Report of North New South Wales Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 41st Session Biennial Period 1972-1973.” Unpublished document held in the personal collection of the author.

Sydney Adventist Hospital. Striving for Good Health: Annual Review 1999-2000.” Unpublished manuscript held in the personal collection of the author.

Sydney Adventist Hospital Annual Report for the Year Ending June 30, 1991, Sydney Adventist Hospital, 1991.

“The Council.” Hunter Institute of Higher Education 1988 Calendar Handbook.

“The Council.” Hunter Institute of Higher Education 1989 Calendar Handbook.

“The joy of achievement . . .” Australasian Record, January 21, 1957.

Tracy, Doug; Harding Burns; Tom Nash; Bruce Hartnett; B. J. Smith; Ian Waugh; Terry O’Sullivan and Peter Harvey, eds. “50 Years On, University of Sydney MBBS 1948 Class Reunion Committee, 1998.” Unpublished manuscript in the personal collection of the author.

Wakeley, Cecil B., ed., Annuals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, January-June 1957. London: The Royal College of Surgeons of England, n.d.

White, Albert H. “Currow-Fury marriage.” Australasian Record, February 16, 1925.

Wood, Josh. “Elaine June Burns obituary.” Adventist World, December 2019.

Notes

  1. Elwin George Currow: Curriculum Vitae, January 29, 1987. Personal file of author.

  2. A. H. White, “Currow-Fury,” Australasian Record, February 16, 1925, 6.

  3. Josh Wood, “Burns, Elaine June,” Adventist World, December 2019, 31.

  4. N. P. Clapham, “Life-Sketch of George Currow,” Australasian Record, May 17, 1982, 13.

  5. “Congratulations to ...,” Australasian Record, September 13, 1948, p.8; and “Elwin George Currow (Sydney Hospital)” in E. G. H. Manchester, ed., Senior Yearbook, 1948, (Sydney: Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney), 1948, 82.

  6. Cynthia Hunter, “Interview with Dr Elwin Currow,” February 17, 2003. Personal file of author.

  7. W. G. C. Murdoch, “Currow-Cox,” Australasian Record, June 12, 1950, 8.

  8. “Elwin Currow,” in Doug Tracy, Harding Burns, Tom Nash, Bruce Hartnett, B. J. Smith, Ian Waugh, Terry O’Sullivan and Peter Harvey, eds., 50 Years On, University of Sydney MBBS 1948 Class Reunion Committee, 1998. Personal file of author.

  9. “The joy of achievement ...,” Australasian Record, January 21, 1957, 16; and “Currow, Elwin George (Sydney), Grant of Fellowship Diplomas, December 13, 1956,” in Cecil B. Wakeley, ed., Annuals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, January-June 1957, (London: The Royal College of Surgeons of England), 9.

  10. “Elwin Currow,” in Doug Tracy, Harding Burns, Tom Nash, Bruce Hartnett, B. J. Smith, Ian Waugh, Terry O’Sullivan and Peter Harvey, eds., 50 Years On, University of Sydney MBBS 1948 Class Reunion Committee, 1998. Personal file of author.

  11. Noel Carter, ed., Newcastle’s Hospital by the Beach: Some photographic memories (Newcastle: Royal Newcastle Hospital), 1990, 36.

  12. Elwin George Currow: Curriculum Vitae, January 29, 1987. Personal file of author.

  13. Ibid.; and “Elwin Currow,” in Doug Tracy, Harding Burns, Tom Nash, Bruce Hartnett, B. J. Smith, Ian Waugh, Terry O’Sullivan and Peter Harvey, eds., 50 Years On, University of Sydney MBBS 1948 Class Reunion Committee, 1998. Personal file of author.

  14. Elwin George Currow: Curriculum Vitae, January 29, 1987. Personal file of author.

  15. Ibid.; “Council,” Newcastle College of Advanced Education Annual Report, 1985, 21; and “The Council,” Hunter Institute of Higher Education 1989 Calendar Handbook, 14.

  16. “Council,” Newcastle College of Advanced Education Annual Report, 1985, 21.

  17. “The Council,” Hunter Institute of Higher Education 1988 Calendar Handbook, 14.

  18. “Interim Council of the University Established - Deputy Appointed,” Uninews, November 1989, 1-2.

  19. Letter from Hunter District Water Board to Dr. E. G. Currow, November 11, 1982. Personal file of author.

  20. Elwin was a member of Newcastle Rotary Club from 1967-1986. See “Currow, Elwin George (1926-2016),” Tina Craig, Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows, Royal College of Surgeons of England, accessed March 9, 2019, livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk.

  21. “Executive Committee,” Report of North New South Wales Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 41st Session Biennial Period 1972-1973, 10.

  22. “Elwin Currow Prize for New Testament Apocalyptic Criteria,” Office of the President, Avondale University College, updated July 2019. Personal file of author.

  23. Elwin G. Currow, Australasian Division: Delegates at Large, “Delegates to the 1980 Session,” Adventist Review - General Conference Bulletin No.1, April 17, 1980, 12.

  24. “A twenty-year plan for the development of Avondale College site ...” Australasian Record, November 20, 1972, 16; and L. L. Butler, “Inauguration of the Adelaide Chapter, ABPM,” Australasian Record, February 12, 1973, 6-7

  25. Elwin was a Board Trustee for the Sydney Adventist Hospital from 1990-2000. See “Board of Trustees,” Sydney Adventist Hospital Annual Report for the Year Ending June 30, 1991, 10; and “Sydney Adventist Hospital Board of Trustees,” Striving for Good Health: Annual Review 1999-2000, 7.

  26. “Elwin Currow Prize for New Testament Apocalyptic Criteria,” Office of the President, Avondale University College, updated July 2019. Personal file of author.

  27. “Elwin Currow,” in Doug Tracy, Harding Burns, Tom Nash, Bruce Hartnett, B. J. Smith, Ian Waugh, Terry O’Sullivan and Peter Harvey, eds., 50 Years On, University of Sydney MBBS 1948 Class Reunion Committee, 1998. Personal file of author.

  28. “General Medical Practitioner...,” Record, December 10, 1988, 14.

  29. Elwin Currow, Your Revelation Study Companion, (Charlestown, NSW: Elwin Currow), 2007.

  30. “Elwin Currow Prize for New Testament Apocalyptic Criteria,” Office of the President, Avondale University College, updated July 2019.

  31. W. Glynn Litster [and] Malcolm Bull, Light on the Northern Coalfields: A Short History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Greater Newcastle Area 1898-1998 (Wallsend, NSW: Newcastle Centenary Committee, North N.S.W. Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church), 1998, 7.

  32. Elwin died on October 19, 2016 and Narelle died on October 21, 2016. See Roger Nixon [and] John Cox, “Currow, Elwin George,” Adventist World, January 2017, 31; and Roger Nixon [and] John Cox, “Currow, Rachel Narelle,” Adventist World, January 2017, 31.

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Currow, Stephen J. "Currow, Elwin George (1926–2016)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed September 22, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AB6Z.

Currow, Stephen J. "Currow, Elwin George (1926–2016)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access September 22, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AB6Z.

Currow, Stephen J. (2021, April 28). Currow, Elwin George (1926–2016). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 22, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AB6Z.