Life and Faith: View from the Faraway Pagoda

Robert and Linda Banks discuss the life of Sophie Newton, an early Australian missionary to China.

Rob Banks met his grand-aunt Sophie Newton once as a young man; when she died, she left him all of her personal papers, detailing her fascinating life as a pioneer woman missionary in China for more than thirty years. Rob and his wife Linda have turned the documents to good account in their book View from the Faraway Pagoda, which tells the story of Sophie’s work in empowering women, opposing the opium trade, and challenging cultural practices such as foot-binding and infanticide over a period which spanned the Boxer Rebellion, the Nationalist Revolution, and early communist uprisings. Rob and Linda discuss early twentieth-century China and the many challenges and legacies of this remarkable Australian woman.