Tom Frame (bishop)

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Tom Frame
Native name Thomas Robert Frame
Born (1962-10-07) 7 October 1962 (age 58)
Stanmore, New South Wales
Academic background
Alma mater University of New South Wales (BA [Hons], PhD)
University of Melbourne (DipEd)
Sydney College of Divinity (MTh)
University of Kent (MA [Hons])
Thesis title Where Fate Calls: The HMAS Voyager Tragedy
Thesis url
Thesis year 1991
Doctoral advisor Roger Thompson
Academic work
Institutions University of New South Wales (2014–)
Charles Sturt University (2006–14)
Main interests Australian military history
Maritime and naval history

Thomas Robert "Tom" Frame (born 7 October 1962) is an Australian Anglican bishop, historian, academic, author and social commentator.

Frame was born in Stanmore, New South Wales and raised in Wollongong by his adoptive parents.


After commencing his education at West Wollongong Infants School (1968–70), West Wollongong Primary School (1971–74, awarded Dux in 1974) and Wollongong High School (1975–78), Frame joined the Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell as a 16-year-old junior entry cadet midshipman in January 1979. Later that year, he was assigned to the destroyer escort HMAS Derwent as a junior officer under training, where he earned his helmsman's certificate. He graduated from the RAN College in December 1983. Frame completed his studies in Chinese history and economics at the University of New South Wales, graduating with Bachelor of Arts (honours), and the inaugural W.J. Liu Memorial Prize for Excellence in Chinese Studies in 1984.

Frame was the inaugural Summer Vacation Scholar at the Australian War Memorial in 1985, then completed his training aboard HMA Ships HMAS Jervis Bay and HMAS Supply. He was then assigned to the shore establishment HMAS Cerberus as an instructor. While there, he took on additional duty as director of the base's museum, also working as a consultant for the Australian National Maritime Museum and studying for a Diploma in Education from the University of Melbourne.

Frame was appointed Research Officer to the Chief of Naval Staff at Navy Office, Canberra in April 1988. Two years later he undertook study in military history at the Australian Defence Force Academy leading to the award of a PhD in October 1991, taking as his thesis topic the Melbourne-Voyager collision. He served as a staff officer at the Headquarters, Australian Defence Force, then resigned from the RAN in November 1992.

Post Naval career

Frame then completed a Master of Theology degree with a thesis entitled The Delphic Sword: Reconciling Christianity and Military Service in Australia and trained for the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Australia in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

He was ordained in December 1993 and appointed curate of St John's Church in Wagga Wagga and a Visiting Scholar at Charles Sturt University. In November 1995, he was inducted as Rector of St James' Church, Binda.

From 1996 to 1997, he took leave in England and completed a Master of Arts (Honours) in applied theology at the University of Kent at Canterbury as the Lucas Tooth Scholar and ministered in the United Benefice of Hever, Four Elms and Markbeech in the Diocese of Rochester.

He became Rector of St Philip's Church, Bungendore, in January 1999 and was appointed lecturer (half-time) in public theology at St Mark's National Theological Centre in June 2000. He was also a Visiting Fellow in the School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University from 1999 to 2003.

On 28 June 2001, he was consecrated bishop and became the first full-time Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force. He was the youngest Anglican bishop in Australia when consecrated and the fifth youngest in the nation's history. He was Patron of the Armed Forces Federation of Australia (2002–06), a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial (2004–07) and judged the Inaugural Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History in 2007.

Academic career

Frame resigned as Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force in November 2006 to become the Director of St Mark's National Theological Centre at Barton in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, the administrative headquarters of the School of Theology of Charles Sturt University with the title of Professor. He was Head of the CSU School of Theology from November 2006 to June 2008. He completed his Directorship of St Mark's in January 2014.

In July 2014, Frame was appointed Director of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society (ACSACS) at University of NSW Canberra and commissioned to produce a 50th anniversary history of the relationship between the University and the Department of Defence for release in 2017.

Personal life

Frame married Helen (Bardsley), a pianist, secondary school science teacher and former Army Reserve Officer, in December 1983 at Huskisson, New South Wales. They have two daughters (Megan (1987) and Kelly (1989)) and two granddaughters (Lily and Imogen). In 2010, he relocated to a rural property adjacent to the village of Tarago (north-east of Canberra) where he is engaged in small-scale beef production. He is also Honorary Priest in Charge of the Mulwaree Anglican Mission District consisting of churches at Lake Bathurst, Tarago, Currawang and Collector..


Frame is the author (or editor) of more than 25 books, including:

  • The Garden Island (1990)
  • He was convenor of the first Australian Naval History Seminar and co-edited its proceedings, Reflections on the RAN (1991)
  • Where Fate Calls: The HMAS Voyager Tragedy (1992) [on which the 1992 Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners television documentary The Cruel Legacy was based]
  • Pacific Partners: A History of Australian-American Naval Relations (1992)
  • HMAS Sydney: Loss and Controversy (1993) (on which the 1993 Channel 9 television documentary No Survivor was based]
  • Binding Ties: an experience of adoption and reunion in Australia (1999), [autobiographical]
  • The Shores of Gallipoli: Naval Aspects of the Anzac Campaign (2000)
  • A Church for a Nation: The History of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn (2000) [Second Prize, 2002 Australian Christian Literature Society's Australian Christian Book of the Year awards]
  • Mutiny! Naval Insurrections in Australia and New Zealand (2001)
  • "Anglicanism in Australia: A History" (2002) [co-edited]
  • "No Pleasure Cruise: The Story of the Royal Australian Navy" (2004)
  • Living by the Sword? The Ethics of Armed Intervention (2004) [Second Prize, 2005 Australian Christian Literature Society's Australian Christian Book of the Year awards]
  • The Life and Death of Harold Holt (2005)
  • "The Cruel Legacy: The HMAS Voyager Tragedy" (2005)
  • "Church and State: Australia's Imaginary Wall" (2006)
  • "Agendas for Australian Anglicanism: Essays in Honour of Bruce Kaye" (2006) [co-edited]
  • "Anglicans in Australia" (2007)
  • "Children on Demand: The Ethics of Defying Nature" (2008)
  • "HMAS Sydney: Australia's Greatest Naval Tragedy" (2008)
  • "Evolution in the Antipodes: Charles Darwin and Australia" (2009)
  • "Losing My Religion: Unbelief in Australia" (2009) [Winner, 2010 Australian Christian Literature Society's Australian Christian Book of the Year awards]
  • "Called to Minister: Vocational Discernment in the Contemporary Church" (2010) [edited]

He co-authored:

  • First In, Last Out! The Navy at Gallipoli (1990)
  • Where the Rivers Run: A History of the Anglican Parish of Wagga Wagga (1995)
  • Labouring in Vain: A History of Bishopthorpe (1996)
  • The Seven Churches of Binda: the history of an Anglican rural parish (1998)
  • "Stromlo: An Australian Observatory" (2003)
  • "Defining Convictions and Decisive Commitments: The 39 Articles in Contemporary Anglicanism" (2010)


External links