Frederick Reekie

Pastor Glenn Townend outside the old Eugowra church not far from where Phillip Reekie sold the first book to Thomas Kent. (Photo credit: Nick Lindsay)

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I first read about Frederick Reekie in a short history of the Church in Western Australia when I arrived there to lead the Conference as president. He was the first Seventh-day Adventist in WA and had a significant impact.

Frederick Reekie was a gardener at Kew Gardens in London and migrated with his uncle Philip Reekie to Melbourne in the late 1880s. His uncle married a Seventh-day Adventist woman and both men attended public meetings by Pastors Corlis and Israel that convinced them of the biblical truth of the Adventist message in 1889. Frederick was convicted to follow Jesus and the biblical message the Adventists proclaimed by selling books. Frederick and his new wife Marion (Lowrie), also a “canvasser”, were sent to the colony of WA in 1893. 

Marion worked until their first child was born in 1894. To travel economically and not miss anyone, Frederick’s transport was a bicycle. He rode from Perth to Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany and most places in between on the sandy roads, selling Adventist literature and taking Bible studies in the evenings with those he stayed with. Frederick showed real dedication and churches were started. 

In 1899 Frederick moved to Avondale to become a gardener. Ellen White, who was living at Sunnyside near Avondale, challenged him to go back to the literature ministry. He eventually based his family at Avondale and did literature selling tours, riding trains and bikes in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. 

I like cycling—mainly for my health. There are times when I put Christian and Adventist information in letterboxes. Frederick’s faithful ministry has helped inspire me and five other General Conference Session delegates to do an “I will Go” ride from the GC building near Washington DC to St Louis where the GC Session will be held from June 6 this year. In the two weeks’ ride we will be giving out GLOW tracks, and Adventist health and biblical material—honouring the pioneers who established the Church in Australia on bicycles. 

For more information on Frederick Reekie visit <encyclopedia.adventist.org/> and search for “Frederick Reekie”. For more information on the “I will Go” bike ride visit <iwillgoride.org>.

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