Eminent teacher and faithful priest gave us ‘a glimpse of God’

The Revd Dr Norman George Curry AM

By Beryl Rule

September 22 2015The Revd Dr Norman George Curry AM, a much-loved priest and distinguished educationalist, died on 11 July after a long illness.

Preaching at Dr Curry’s funeral at Holy Trinity Kew on 21 July, the vicar, Fr Robert Newton, paid tribute to a man who “made tremendous contributions to Victoria’s education system and theological training in Australia, all the while acting as a faithful ordained Anglican priest.”

Born in 1931, Dr Curry completed his secondary education at Melbourne High School, graduated as a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education from Melbourne University, later obtaining a doctorate from the University of London in 1968.

He taught at Camberwell and University High Schools before taking up a position at the Secondary Teachers’ College, and then moving to Melbourne University’s Faculty of Education, where he was to become Sub-Dean. He was appointed Vice-Principal of Melbourne State College in 1975, Principal of Toorak State College two years later and was Director-General of Education in Victoria from 1982–85.

Dr Curry served on the St Catherine’s and Scotch College councils, and worked hard for chaplains in state schools.

With his wife Nancy, he enjoyed entertaining and on one occasion his contribution was to make 13 pavlovas! The couple also enjoyed collecting silver and china, some of which are now at St Paul’s Cathedral.

As President of the Melbourne College of Divinity from 1995–97, Dr Curry paid a significant part in its college’s attainment of University status, and was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology (Honoris Causa) in 2000 for his “vision of theological education which honours God and serves the community”.

“All of this followed his unsurpassed years of service to St Paul’s Cathedral from 1961 to 1999 as Associate Priest, Minor Canon and acting Dean of Melbourne,” Fr Newton said in his funeral sermon. “Norman also acted as locum at St John’s Heidelberg, St John’s Toorak, St John’s Camberwell and lastly at St James and St Peter Anglican Church Kilsyth-Montrose... As Associate Priest and locum at Holy Trinity Kew, he helped successive vicars in a fruitful and much-loved ministry to the parish.

“While he was an unwavering Anglican, he clearly loved the Church Universal and was committed to the ecumenical movement long before it was necessary to even mention such things…

“We have been in the presence of a priest and teacher who with all the usual human frailties, has given us a glimpse of God. Norman would have been taught in his upbringing in the Anglican Church that we are here in this life to echo the life of Christ, to grow in wisdom and age like Him, to reach out like Him in healing to the wounded of the world, to love children, to have compassion on the weak and suffering, to make our hearts known to our friends, to take up our crosses, to forgive others and to be forgiven and to have the courage to oppose evil... These facets of Christ himself are alive for us today because we have seen them in the life and love of Norman Curry.”