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Obituary: LADY LOANE

19 April 2013

Muriel Porter, Australia correspondent, writes:

LADY LOANE, widow of the Rt Revd Sir Marcus Loane, a former Archbishop of Sydney and Australian Primate, died in Sydney on 20 March, aged 99. Sir Marcus, who was the first Australian-born Archbishop of Sydney and Primate, died in 2009; they had been married for 71 years.

Born in Adelaide in 1914, Patricia Loane was the second of ten children of the Revd David Knox, a formidable Irish-born conservative Evangelical clergyman, and his wife Doris. Trained at Sydney's Moore Theological College, Knox was rector of an Adelaide parish at the time of Patricia's birth, but later returned to New South Wales to lead Sydney parishes.

One was St Paul's, Chatswood, where the young Marcus Loane was a parishioner. Sir Marcus's biographer, the retired Sydney Bishop John Reid, records that David Knox was a father-figure to Marcus, who became his protégé.

The relationship was consolidated further when Marcus became a catechist at Knox's next parish, Christ Church, Gladesville. One of his duties was to teach scripture classes in local schools - along with Patricia Knox. They married at Christ Church in December 1937. Their union linked the future Archbishop not just with a highly influential Sydney clergyman, but also with his eldest son, Patricia's brother, David Broughton. Broughton Knox became Principal of Moore Theological College, in succession to Marcus, in 1959, a post that he held until 1985. Knox's biographer has described him as the "father of contemporary Sydney Anglicanism".

Sir Marcus (he was knighted in 1976, during his term as Archbishop of Sydney) and Lady Loane had four children, and Reid records that the "greater share" of the upbringing of their family fell on Lady Loane. "She protected her husband from many household chores and family responsibilities so that he could press on with his work," Reid writes. "She expected him to be head of the family and to make major decisions, but all who knew her were aware of her strong and independent mind."

She was not an innovator, however, and, "like her husband, held on to old standards and values". She found it difficult, he writes, "to be confronted by more radical points of view".

She was widely known as a generous hostess, particularly when her husband was Archbishop and Primate, offering hospitality at their home, Bishopscourt, Sydney, to all the Sydney clergy at various times, to their wives, to overseas visitors, and to politicians and community leaders.

She is survived by her four children, as well as 17 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.

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