Robert Raikes is generally considered the father of the Sunday School movement, although Bible reading and the teaching of basic skills on a Sunday was an established activity in some eighteenth century Puritan and evangelical congregations, and in Wales some circulating schools offered a Sunday School. Robert Raikes started his first school for the children of chimney sweeps in Gloucester, England, in 1780. Raikes used his position as proprietor and editor of the Gloucester Journal to publicize the work. After his first editorial in 1783, Sunday Schools rapidly. Two years later an undenominational national organisation, the Sunday School Society, was set up to co-ordinate and develop the work.
In Australia the arrival of Rev. Samuel Leigh August 10 1815 marked the beginning of an organised Methodist Church in Australia. Leigh was referred to as a 'Wesleyan minister'. The government granted Leigh land for a chapel in Macquarie Street, Sydney. It was completed in 1819. By the 1820s further groups of Methodists were active, with Sunday schools, a Bible society and support for missions to Polynesia.
A Wesleyan Sunday School Exhibition was held around 1873 (date according to Chitty). Medals were issued to commemorate the occasion, manufactured by Stokes and Martin (NU 20231 and 20232).
Wesleyan Methodist Church, Australia, website http://www.wesleyan.org.au/about/history.html
John Owen Smith website http://www.johnowensmith.co.uk/histdate/methdist.htm
Hardgrave, D. (1988). For Such a Time: A History of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia
Smith, Mark K., 'Robert Raikes and Sunday Schools'. Infed website http://www.infed.org/walking/wa-raikes.htm