John Ward (1885–1949), the son of an Anglican minister, was born in British Honduras. He was a Cambridge scholar and became the Headmaster of the Diocesan School in Rangoon, Burma.
Due to ill health he retired from teaching and became a prominent figure in the Federation of British Industries. During this time he met Jessie Page, a Headmistress of a large school in Finchley, England and they eventually married.
After a series of mystical experiences relating to the return of Christ, Ward gave a number of lectures in London in the late 1920s. A nucleus of people joined John and Jesse Ward, to form a spiritual community called the Confraternity of the Kingdom of Christ.
A residence on a small block of land was found in Barnet, just north of London. Five of those who joined were teachers and a small private school St. Michael’s College was started. During this time John Ward was ordained and later became the Archbishop of the Orthodox Catholic Church in England. A 16th century tithe barn was moved to the property in Barnet and rebuilt as the beautiful Abbey Church.
From childhood John Ward was an avid collector of historical art and artefacts, and he established an ‘open air’ Museum called the Abbey Folk Park, at New Barnet This Museum became well known throughout England for its cultural impact and its unique ways of displaying his collection which by this time numbered up to 40,000 pieces. Unfortunately it was forced to close its doors during the World War II. The Confraternity then moved to the island of Cyprus until the Enosis movement made it unsafe for them to remain.
In 1955, the members of the Order arrived in Sydney and after spending some time in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, they moved to Queensland, to finally settle in Caboolture in 1965.