Vale, Bishop James

St Paul’s Cathedral gives thanks for the life of the Twelfth Dean of Melbourne, the Rt Revd James Alexander Grant AM, who died 10 July 2019.


Ordained sixty years ago this year, Bishop James served parishes in Murrumbeena, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows before taking on the role of Chaplain to Archbishop Sir Frank Woods in 1966. In 1970, he was consecrated Bishop. He combined his episcopal ministry to the central and western regions of the Diocese with his leadership of the College Chapel of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, from 1970-76, which included a period as Acting Warden of the College in 1974. From 1983-84, Bishop James led the affairs of the Diocese of Melbourne as its Administrator.

In 1985, Bishop James was appointed the Twelfth Dean of Melbourne, succeeding the Very Revd Tom Thomas. During his fifteen-year tenure, he greatly resourced the Cathedral’s rich musical life by restoring the Great Cathedral Organ in 1990 and establishing the Cathedral Music Foundation in 1993. With his wife, Rowena Armstrong AO QC, he was a Founding Trustee of the Music Foundation.

A fine historian, Bishop James contributed numerous publications, including the centenary history of Trinity College, Perspective of a Century (1972), the history of Anglicans in Victoria, Episcopally Led and Synodically Governed: Anglicans in Victoria 1803–1997 (2010), and the authoritative history of St Paul’s Cathedral (2014). During his tenure as Dean, Bishop Grant consolidated the Cathedral’s archives, which now bear his name and have recently been recognised as a Collection of National Significance.

In the 1994 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Bishop Grant was awarded membership of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to the Anglican Church of Australia, and in 2010 he was made a Senior Fellow of Trinity College Melbourne.

In celebrating the life and ministry of Bishop Grant, the current Dean of Melbourne, Andreas Loewe said: ‘We give thanks for the generosity of service of Bishop Jim, and his leadership of St Paul’s from 1985-1999. I am grateful for his continued longstanding association with St Paul’s through the twenty years since, including as a weekday Chaplain and Trustee of our Music Foundation. Our prayers are with Rowena and his family, and all who mourn his death: may he rest in peace, and rise in glory’.

Bishop James’ funeral will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 19th July at 11am.