About the author


Alana Milson

Alana is a primary school teacher. She and her husband, David lived in Cairns for over 17 years but are now living in Cape York in a remote Aboriginal community. Alana enjoys teaching in many different capacities, reading missionary biographies and pursuing biblical womanhood.


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    Picture me digging through the cupboard in the rumpus room looking for old tapes!!!!!

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    Janet McKinney

    Unbelieveable photo – I think I can point to my mother for bringing that one to light. That is the front steps of our house

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    Yes, Janet, that is the front steps of your house and yes, your mother gave me the photo.
    She’s been very helpful with finding Pucknell information for me.

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    Gavin Petersen

    When I was a new believer Fred Pucknell often preached at Maryborough.
    My wife and I had the privilege of spending time with the Pucknells in their home. They told wonderful stories of their time in China and afterwards when they were expelled by the communists.
    It impressed us that they had decided to not have children so that they could better serve Christ.
    Once Mr Pucknell preached the same sermon two Sundays in a row (he was getting on) and in it told of his missionary call. His call impacted me. I left Maryborough in 1985 for Teacher’s College. My wife and I later responded to the missionary call and have served as missionaries in Brazil since 1994. The Pucknells were a part of that.
    I’m not sure when Mrs Pucknell went to be with the Lord but I think I only knew her a short while. I knew Mr Pucknell longer. I remember especially that he simply radiated Christ. He was very passionate about the Lord.

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    Rhonda Cox

    Have you contacted Clive Connell for info? He was instrumental in getting the Pucks to retire in Mbro. They lived a very frugal life style in retirement, as well as on the mission field. I can give you connell’s email address if you don’t have it.

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    Rhonda Cox

    I see you have heard from Clive.

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    Yes, I have received quite a bit of information from Clive Connell. Thanks.

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    Loved this Alana!

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    Peter Cooper

    Between 1960 and 1966, I was a missionaries’ kid living in Jesselton, North Borneo – later Jesselton, Sabah, Malaysia. I used to go to the afternoon Sunday School at Tanjong Aru at the Pucknells’ home.

    I lived at Kapayan- a district a little to the south of Tanjong Aru, which was a little to the south of Jeselton town.

    Happy to fill in a boy’s memories of the gap to which you refer.

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    Alana Milson

    So exciting to hear from you. Could we talk further via email? You can reach me on

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    Franco Laviano

    Hi Alana
    I got the great privilege of meeting Fred Pucknell when I first became as Christian in 1982. His wife had recently died. I was told by others that when they went around to read the Bible and pray for Mrs Pucknell, no sooner had they started reading from a passage, she would finish it. She greatly encouraged them!
    Fred attended the Maryborough Gospel Chapel. I used to sit next to him each Sunday. Three things that impressed me about him was his deep-seated joy, singing in harmony and reading the Scriptures (when preaching) with wonderful expression (not the lifeless monolog that many read in).
    On a trip to Europe I visited Fred’s brother Percy in Seven Oaks, Kent. He told me that on furlough, Fred would translate the Emmaus Bible Study notes/courses into Chinese. When I asked about G Campbell Morgan, a minister at Westminster Chapel London who had published many theological books of whom Fred was very fond, his brother said that when Morgan preached he got up a “pulpit sweat” from the fervency of preaching!
    In Belfast, a missionary privately relayed me a story of one night when he preached somewhere, he saw Fred in the audience and the Spirit prompted him to stand aside and let Fred preach. He ignored the prompt and his own message spilled out flat and lifeless. This missionary recognised at once the presence of the Holy Spirit in Fred Pucknell!
    I used to visit Fred in his little flat in Alice Street, Maryborough and he would be at his desk wearing a skull cap and using a magnifying glass to studying the Good Book as I arrived. Behind him was a sizable library of pastoral theology (including a lot of Spurgeon) which, he told me, he acquired at SPCK in London, second hand. He was progressive in that whilst others were adamant that the KJV was the only bible to be read, he read a different version each year (3 chapters a day and 5 on Sundays = bible in one year) besides his KJV.
    When he moved into Fairhaven nursing home I continued to visit him. On a couple of occasions I observed that he had been reading from his old journals that he and Sybil both kept over the years. These would have been rich in spiritual wisdom –a spiritual classic. However, as he read each A4 page he would reminisce then rip it out and throw it in the bin. How I wished I has stuffed my shirt with the binful of pages I saw on at least two occasions! He commented that God knew what he and Sybil had done and nobody else need know so that all the glory would be the Lord’s. A challenging thought for a Facebook generation.
    He did tell me a few things about his call to China (28 years in China, 18 years in Borneo). He started touring with an evangelist in England as a young man. After a while the evangelist asked if he could take over the crusade while he had a break. Fred agreed. However the evangelist never returned. Whilst on this mission the Spirit began calling him to China, a foreign and unknown place. One night on the train to Hastings, as the wheels made their rhythmic clanking over the tracks, Fred committed himself to go to China. During this period he had also met Sybil, a beautiful Christian lady. But a decision had to be made, would he stay with Sybil in England or go to China? He decided to honour his Hastings commitment and left for China. It was with great joy that he met Sybil again in China and they married!
    I have often contemplated that many in his local church were unaware that a Hudson Taylor was in their midst. His last words to me were, “Yield yourself to the Lord” (Rom 6:13) –a challenge that still speaks. Fred Pucknell died in 1987.
    NB. Peter Polley of the Maryborough Gospel Chapel had a collection of tapes of many of Fred’s sermons. If you get a chance to unearth and listen to them, you will hear his wonderful expression of speech and rich, positive expository.
    Fred had a tremendous theological library but after his death people took liberties and many of his books went awol. These may have benefited his local church congregation, especially all the margin notes and papers hidden inside. Seeing they had no children, they belonged to the congregation.
    Franco Laviano 25/01/2013

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    Alana Milson

    Franco, I wrote this post 2 years ago so it was a delight to hear from another person again who knew Mr Pucknell. The post previous to this one is entitled “As unto the Lord”. Maybe this biographical sketch of their lives (that I put together early in my research) you may like to read? Click on my name at the top of this post and it will go to the archive. If you could email me at I would love to talk further about the Pucknells. Thanks!

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    Sheila ne Pucknell

    Very interested to read the comments about my Uncle Fred on this site. Fred was my father’s elder brother and I have childhoood memories of Fred and Sybil visiting us and, in early days, my grandmother on their trips home.
    Pendants that Fred gave to my mother were stolen but I do still have a gown from China and some wonderful paintings on rice paper.
    I also have a number of photos including that taken on their wedding anniversary.
    Please let me have more information about which library holds my Uncle’s diaries and papers, I would be very interested to see them. Thanks Sheila

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    Gary Akehurst

    I have 7 recordings of Fred Pucknell that I have digitised and they are ready to go online. Let me know if you’d like a link.

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      Franco Laviano

      Hi Gary
      I’d love to have a link to Fred Pucknell’s sermons. Thanks Franco

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    Angela Hudson

    Hello. I was interested to come across this post and the photos of Fred and Sybil Pucknell having found some old postcards that I think Fred sent to Sybil from Echo Point in Australia. Sybil was previously Sybil Daws, my Granddads sister. I am thrilled to read this.


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