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HISTORIC SKETCHES OF PRESBYTERIES AND PARISHES
(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
PRESBYTERY OF BATHURST
AT the Union Assembly in 1865 the Synod of Australia had a Presbytery of Bathurst including the Charges of Bathurst, Mudgee, and Carcoar and Orange. The General Synod had no Presbytery but listed the Rev. Colin Stewart of Bowenfels as one of its Ministers without Charge. The Presbytery as rearranged by the Union Assembly comprised Bathurst, Bowenfels, Carcoar and Orange, Mudgee, Wellington and Dubbo, Forbes. With the growth of the Church in the West the Presbytery expanded until 1880 when it was divided, the Presbytery of the Lachlan being formed, comprising the Charges of Orange, Forbes, Grenfell and Cowra, and Condobolin. The Bathurst Presbytery retained the Charges of Bathurst, Mudgee, Bowenfels, Carcoar, Hill End, and Dubbo. By 1916 the Presbytery comprised 22 Charges and Home Mission stations. In 1917 a rearrangement was made whereby the Presbytery of The Lachlan, which contained five Charges and Home Mission stations, disappeared. The new Presbytery of Orange comprised 16 Charges and Home Mission stations and included every centre westward of and including Orange along what is now the Broken Hill Line and the Main Western Line and including Gilgandra and Gulargambone. Bathurst retained very much the same territory which it serves today. In 1931 the Presbytery of Dubbo was formed by division of the Presbytery of Orange, and it included Coonabarabran from the Bathurst Presbytery. The Presbytery of Bathurst initiated action by the General Assembly in 1879 to observe the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at its annual meetings: In 1877 it moved the Assembly regarding the status and ordination of Ministers received from other Churches; and it also moved the Assembly in 1904 to provide for an annual holiday for Ministers. As early as 1867 it overtured the Assembly to make provision for the payment of travelling expenses of members attending its meetings, but this desirable end has not yet been achieved.
Clerks of Presbytery have been Dr George Busby, 1865-8 (he was Clerk of the Presbytery under the Synod of Australia); Dr A. C. Geikie, 1869-1891; Rev. A. Dandie, pro tem. 1883; Rev. J. C. McDonald, 1891-6; Rev. W. G. Maconochie, 1896; Rev. J. Kinghorn, 1897-1902; Rev. S. G. Crawford, 1902-9; Rev. W. G. Sharpe, 1910-14; Rev. C. Crane, 1914-19; Rev. A. D. Robertson, 1919-21; Rev. W. P. Stewart, 1921-3; Rev. P. Hope, 1923-8; Rev. C. A. White, 1928-30; Rev. John Waugh, 1930-9; Rev. A. A. Dougan, 1939-41; Rev. W. A. Loftus, 1941; Rev. J. McKinney, 1942-3; Rev. A. A. Dougan, 1944- .
The first meeting held west of the mountains in connection with the Presbyterian Church took place in Bathurst on 18th January 1832. It was called by Dr Lang,
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who laid before the assembled Scottish settlers a proposal for the organization of a Church and the settlement of a Minister. Captain John Piper, who had presided over the early meetings in connection with Scots Church, Sydney, some eight or nine years before, was Chairman of the meeting. The Bathurst Church thus initiated is the third oldest Presbyterian congregation on the continent, being junior only to Ebenezer and Scots Church. At this meeting it was agreed to invite the Rev. Thomas Thomson, A.M., to reside in the district and to dispense the ordinances of religion, with a view to a call, which eventuated a few months later. Mr Thomson had been ordained by the Presbytery of Glasgow to the pastoral charge of "the Scotch Church in the district of Maitland, Lower Hunter's River", but found when he presented himself at Maitland that the services of a Minister were not required by the few Scottish settlers in the Hunter Valley. He preached his first sermon in the Bathurst district at "Sorn Bank" some eight miles on the Sydney side of Bathurst, on Sunday 12th February 1832. During his brief ministry of three years, a beginning was made with the erection of a church (the first St Stephen's) which was completed and opened for worship in July 1835, under the ministry of his successor, the Rev. Kirkpatrick Dickson Smythe, A.M. A manse was completed early in 1841, and a Presbyterian School building later the same year. The Government contributed half the cost of the church, manse, and school buildings and (until 1865) paid £100-£l50 per annum towards the stipend of the Minister. The third Minister was the Rev. J. B. Laughton, B.A. (1855-65). He organized country preaching centres all through the parish, and was a familiar figure even on its most distant boundaries. In 1864 Mr Laughton initiated at Sofala a mission to the 2000 Chinese on the Turon goldfield. He secured the services of a Christian Chinaman who had reasonable success in his work. This was the first mission to Chinese conducted by the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales. The first move (in 1854) towards the union of the various branches of Presbyterianism in the colony was made by Mr Laughton, and at the first General Assembly of the United Church in 1865 he was appointed Assembly Clerk. He was translated to Parramatta at the end of that year.
The Rev. A. C. Geikie (later D.D. and LL.D.) was Minister of the Bathurst parish for the long period of 30 years (1866-96). His ministry is noteworthy for the building of the present St Stephen's Church at a cost of over £5000. The foundation stone was laid by the Rev. Adam Thomson on 17th September 1871, and the church was opened in 1872. The Deacons' Court in the report for 1871 stated: "We are erecting a church, not only for the present moment but for the future; a church every way worthy of our antecedents and our prospects, a building which, when erected, will be an ornament to the town, a comfort to the congregation, and an honour to the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales." The pipe organ was installed in 1893.
The Rev. Jas. Kinghorn became colleague and successor to Dr Geikie in 1895, and sole Minister of the parish on Dr Geikie's resignation in the following year. He was translated to St Peter's, North Sydney on 3rd June 1904. Subsequent ministries have been: the Revs A. Clark, translated from Toowong, Queensland, on 3rd August 1904, translated to North St Leonard's (Crow's Nest) on 3rd December 1909; J. H. Robertson, translated from Berry on 15th June 1910, and translated to Limestone Plains, N.Z., on 15th March 1916; W. P. Stewart, inducted 26th March 1916, resigned 30th April 1923; A. C. Grieve, translated from Penshurst on 18th July 1923, and translated to Drummoyne on 1st May 1929; J. Waugh, translated from Auburn on 29th June 1929, and translated to Neutral Bay on 28th February 1939; A. A. Dougan translated from Blayney
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on 1st November 1939, is still the Minister. All of these have left their mark upon the life of the Congregation as faithful and earnest preachers, and worthy successors of the pioneer Ministers of this historic congregation.
The present manse was purchased in 1904 and remodelled in 1930. Mr J. H. Stewart of "The Mount" gave the school hall in 1908, to which the congregation added a kindergarten hall in 1929.
There are five preaching centres outside the city; at Evans Plains (where we have a church building erected in 1865), Eglinton, The Lagoon, Freemantle, and Rockley. The Minister also holds a chaplaincy in connection with the gaol.
The first Session seems to have been formed about the year 1835, consisting of Dr George Busby, Dr Peter Macarthur, George Ranken, and Robert Smith. Other Elders since the foundation of the parish have been: Mr George Ferguson, Dr Mac-hattie, Messrs John McKay, Alexander B. Rae, William Ross, John McCredie, John Busby, John Scotford, Henry Butterworth, James L. Alexander, George Farquhar, John Shedden Adam, James Simmons, Dr H. Kirkland, Messrs H. C. Slade, James McCredie, W. J. Scotford, John Halstead, Athol W. Stewart, H. Anderson, J. Thompson, Dr Hugh Busby, Messrs W. Clark, Samuel Hunt, A. T. Pringle, U. J. Tinkler, James S. Gordon, Alex Busby, George McGregor, Charles Prior, Richard Goodman, A. W. Patterson, A. C. Powell, Thomas W. Aubin, David Currie, Edwin Ray, R. P. Stirling, George MacKenzie, Leslie T. Goswell, John T. Prior, A. G. Avis, A. J. McGregor, G. A. Stirling, A. Barrington Jones, Alexander Abbott, A. D. Fraser, B.A., S. V. Shoesmith, Dudley Macaulay, N. B. Richardson, George Trotman, A. Shumack, A. Druitt, M. Muir, L. C. Allen, W. H. Martin, B.A., Rev. B. Galloway, B.A., C. Phemister, K. M. Forrest, Bruce Duncan, A. E. McLucas, M.A., B.Ed., H. R. Fieldham, C. G. Edwards, C. O. G. Thomas, B.E.
The present organist, Mr Paul M. Robinson, has occupied this important office since 1915.
Blayney was separated from Carcoar in 1883, becoming a separate Charge with the Rev. J. H. Craig duly inducted as Minister. The foundation stone of St Paul's Church, Blayney, was laid on 3rd July 1861 by the Rev. Jas. Adam, and the church was opened the following year. Shortly afterwards, the appearance of the building was greatly enhanced by the addition of a most attractive tower, rising into a shingled brooch steeple, in which was hung the beautiful bell which still calls the faithful to the House of God. For a number of years this was the only Protestant Church in Blayney, and it was used by the Anglicans and Methodists until they erected buildings of their own. The manse was erected in 1897 during the ministry of the Rev. Jas Adam. The church has been adorned by various memorial gifts during the years—a pulpit chair and Communion table in memory of Mrs Charles Crane; the beautiful oak pulpit in memory of the Rev. James Adam; a Moderator's Chair in memory of the Rev. S. G. Crawford and a Lych-gate to commemorate the Rev. J. T. Thorburn.
The original Church at Hobby's Yards was erected in 1864; this served also as the Hobby's Yards school for many years. A new brick church was erected at this centre in 1939. A wooden church was built at Brown's Creek many years ago. The church at Moorilda (St David's) was opened in 1877; sixty years later the church was beautified inside and a porch added as a memorial to Mr and Mrs Thomas Gordon.
The ministry beginning with the Rev. J. H. Craig in 1883 was carried on by
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the Rev. J. J. Jennings, 1886-1890. The Rev. Jas Adam was translated from Penrith and St Mary's in 1894. A riding accident in which he was seriously injured, was responsible for Mr Adam's resignation from the Charge on 30th June 1899 and he did not return to the active Ministry. After a few years in quiet retirement he passed to his reward on 7th July 1911. Mr Adam served in the Charge of Carcoar (from which the Charges of Orange, Cowra, and Blayney were formed), in the reduced Charge of Carcoar (a second pastorate), Blayney (really a second pastorate), and Penrith-St Mary's. In 1881 he took charge of the Tutorial Institute in Sydney, but in 1884 he returned to his second pastorate in Carcoar. Known in the west as "the apostle of the saddle", he made an indelible impression on the life of a large and important tract of country. He left the fragrant memory of a faithful Christian character which made him "a man greatly beloved".
The Rev. S. G. Crawford was inducted on 13th June 1900 and ministered until called to his reward on 23rd February 1911. He had been educated for the teaching profession in Ireland and had a distinguished scholastic course. Ordained in 1881, he served for several years in Ireland. Then in 1885 he came to Queensland and rendered good service in the charges of Enoggera Terrace and Charters Towers. His ministry in Blayney was marked by faithfulness and growing influence and success. He was Clerk of the Bathurst Presbytery, and an active member of the General Assembly. He had a strong hold on the affection and esteem of his congregation, and his preaching was evangelical and scholarly. Endowed richly with physical and mental gifts, and possessing a kindly and generous disposition, he devoted himself with singleness of purpose to the cause of Christ in the Church he delighted to serve. The Rev. C. Crane was inducted on 28th June 1911 and resigned on 6th June 1919. With the demission of Blayney Mr Crane completed his ministry, save for occasional supply. He was a native of Redfern, trained principally in this State with some study in Edinburgh. He was induced to enter the Ministry through a mission conducted in Ashfield in 1875 by the Rev. John Walker. He served in the Charges of Eskbank, Taree, Braidwood, Taralga and Blayney. After a few years spent in quiet retirement he fell on sleep on 4th May 1941, at the age of 83. He was an earnest evangelical preacher, and a genial warm-hearted man. The Rev. J. T. Thorburn was inducted on 3rd May 1920 and resigned on 30th June 1932. Mr Thorburn completed his ministry with his resignation of Blayney and lived quietly in his home district of Shoalhaven until the Final Call came while on a visit to Blayney on 4th March 1935. His earlier Charges were Tenterfield, Walcha, Gloucester, Eskbank, and Palmer St (Woolloomooloo), and in each parish where he served he left his mark. Perhaps his most remarkable piece of work was the gathering of a considerable number of youth of the larrikin element in Woolloomoloo into the Church, and a group photo of these which adorned his study, with himself in the centre, was something to make any Minister proud. His ministry was intensely spiritual and everywhere it bore fruit. He was a brother beloved who sought not great things for himself.
The Rev. D. Glyn Jones was inducted on 25th November 1932 and he was translated to Gloucester on 20th August 1936. The Rev. A. A. Dougan was translated from Balranald on 19th November 1936 and was translated to Bathurst on 1st November 1939. Rev. H. O. Moore was inducted on 30th April 1940 and was translated to Northbridge on 9th June 1943. The Rev. J. McKinney was inducted on 1st September 1943 and was translated to Gilgandra on 21st September 1949. The Rev. T. E. Pollard was translated from Port Macquarie on 21st September 1950.
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The first Session was formed in 1901, when Messrs William McKenzie and Peter McKellar (of Hobby's Yards), and Thomas Gordon and J. C. Hood (of Moorilda) were admitted to the Eldership. Other members of the Session during the years have been Messrs J. B. Gordon, David Beddie, J. M. Hood, P. J. Clements, Alex McKenzie, Chas. Eassie, H. B. Davidson and F. Rumpf.
The second district west of the mountains in which a Presbyterian Cause was established was that of Hartley and Bowenfels, where the Rev. Colin Stewart, M.A., was appointed to labour in the year 1839. His ministry was very much of the type represented today by an A.I.M. Patrol, with the difference that all Mr Stewart's travelling had to be done on horseback over rough bush tracks. The late Mr George Cooke of Bowenfels told the editor on one occasion that he could remember seeing Mr Stewart start out on a six weeks' trip down the Castlereagh riding one horse and leading another loaded with his gear. In 1842 he was called to labour in the Bowenfels parish proper, and the stone church (Knox Church) was erected.
In addition to ministering to the spiritual needs of his parishioners, "Parson" Stewart, as he was affectionately called, true to the Scottish tradition, assumed the duties of dominie, and opened a school for boys at his residence, a venture which he carried on for a number of years with much success until 1872 when he removed to Sydney. The building which he then occupied, known as "The Hermitage", still stands.
The Bowenfels Church was enlarged in the middle eighties by the addition of transepts, necessitated by the establishment of Cooerwull Academy, a college for boys, which was founded and built by the late Andrew Brown (who came to Bowenfels in 1823), in which many students gained the advantage of a higher education. After serving this purpose for many years, however, the college was closed in 1916. The manse, which was erected during the ministry of the Rev. S. F. Mackenzie, and enlarged during that of his brother, the Rev. W. Mackenzie, comprised some 30 acres of Glebe, most pleasantly situated. It was sold in 1943, and the erection of a new manse more centrally situated is being planned. What is now the Cooerwull Church was originally a school and belonged to the Brown Estate. Mrs J. L. Brown purchased the building with an ample block of land from the estate and presented it to the Church. A school hall was erected on the site in the nineteen forties. A church was erected at Good Forest in 1935, and services have also been held in a church at Marangaroo.
In the early days, a Presbyterian Church was erected at Wallerawang by the Walker family who were the pioneers of the district. In 1881 Mrs Georgina Lyon Wolgan Abbott, daughter of the late James Walker, erected the handsome stone church which still stands across the road from the original church. The new building was intended to be a family memorial, and, while remaining the property of the Walker estate, it was for the joint use of the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches. It was opened on 7th November 1881 by the Rev. Dr Steel, an ex-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church. He was assisted by the Rev. W. Mackenzie, Minister of the Charge, and by the Rev. Colin Stewart, the pioneer Minister of the district. The Church of England representatives were the Rev. W. J. Debenham of Sydney and the local catechist, a Mr Morgan. After the tragic death of Mr Barton and his sister Miss Barton, the estate was liquidated and the church property is being vested in Trustees representative of the Presbyterian and Anglican Churches. Wallerawang is on the eve of considerable developments and it will be interesting to watch this local adventure in some form of united working of the two Churches.
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The Portland Home Mission station was united with the Bowenfels Charge in 1942 as a wartime measure. It was disjoined and became a Home Mission station again in 1947.
Ministers who have served the Bowenfels parish are: the Revs Colin Stewart, M.A., inducted 1839; S. Falconer Mackenzie, 1857; A. C. Geikie, 1863; A. W. Sinclair, 1867; William Mackenzie, 1872; W. G. Maconochie, 1888; W. Anson Smith, 1891, demitted 30th June 1899; W. A. S. Anderson translated from Cooma on 14th February 1900, and translated to Liverpool on 21st December 1905; T. D. Evans, translated from Mudgee on 26th September 1906, and translated to Gulargambone on 27th July 1916; Richard Jennings, translated from Dulwich Hill on 27th June 1917, and resigned on 30th June 1921; H. S. Parsons, ordained and inducted on 4th January 1922, and resigned on 31st May 1925; C. A. White, inducted on 17th August 1925, and translated to Concord West on 22nd December 1931 (Moderator 1930-1); H. W. Whittle, inducted C. and S. 29th December 1930, and sole Minister from 22nd December 1931, was translated to Richmond-Kurrajong on 4th July 1935; Stuart MacIntyre, translated from Culcairn on 30th March 1943, was translated to Arncliffe on 30th November 1949; C. C. Mullan, ordained and inducted on 15th February 1950- .
The Rev. A. J. Doig who was the esteemed Home Mission Superintendent for several years, was a native of this district, and received part of his education at Cooerwull Academy. In his will, Mr Doig left £100 to the Bowenfels Charge, and £100 to Good Forest. His brother Mr J. T. Doig left £2000 to the Bowenfels Charge, being £1000 endowment for Stipend: £500 towards new manse, £200 for repairs to Bowenfels Church, £150 for repairs to Cooerwull Church, and £150 for repairs to Good Forest Church.
The first Session was formed on 11th March 1858 when Messrs Thomas Brown, John McLennan and William McClintock were ordained and inducted. The following were added to the Session in subsequent years: Messrs Charles Sidey, Andrew Brown, James Barrie, Charles Hill Thomson, Thomas G. Walker, George Farquhar, Edwin Thompson, William A. Crawford, Andrew Pitt, William C. Davis, Alexander Lobban, W. N. Wood, George Kestre, George Wilson, Charles Baggs, A. G. Corderoy, Rev. D. Smith, Messrs J. L. Brown, J. T. Cary, Francis Nicol, Nathaniel Wilson, Frank M. Brown, William Wilson, James Kirkwood, J. M. Wilson, A. Bryce, James Dalziell, E. J. Cooke, John C. Bulkeley, A. S. Cox, James T. Doig, John H. Wilson, Charles E. Lane, Harrie Small, G. L. Brown, A. W. Robertson, John W. Nicol, William Pole, A. A. Commens, J. Cook, J. S. Ives, A. Bulkeley, Wm McDonald, W. Wilson.
The district to the west and south-west of Bathurst, including Orange, Carcoar, Blayney and Cowra, was developed just on a hundred years ago. The first Minister settled in that area was the Rev. J. B. Laughton who was appointed to labour, with Carcoar as his centre, in 1849. He was followed in 1853 by the Rev. James Cameron (afterwards D.D.) of Richmond. The ministries of these two brethren, like that of the Rev. Colin Stewart, were mainly of an itinerating nature, and in their journeyings they travelled far afield with the Gospel message. On Mr Cameron's translation to Richmond in 1856 the parish was vacant until the arrival in 1859 of one who is still affectionately remembered as the "apostle of the saddle", The Rev. James Adam, M.A. He had been ordained in Scotland as Minister of the Upper Lachlan parish, and did an amazing work as he travelled throughout his immense territory. He set himself
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at once to organize the Presbyterian Cause in every part of his parish, and churches were soon erected under his energetic ministry at Carcoar, Cowra, Orange, Blayney, Hobby's Yards, Brown's Creek, Tea Pot Swamp (now Moorilda) and a few other centres, while a manse was erected at Carcoar. All of these buildings were substantial and creditable, all the more so as building operations were not very easy of accomplishment in those days. Mr Adam's success in this direction entitled him to be called the great master-builder of the West. St James's Church, Carcoar was opened in 1862. Mr Adam had the joy of seeing the Cause at Orange erected into a separate Charge in 1867, while shortly after his departure from the district the congregations at Blayney (1883) and Cowra (1884) were similarly separated. After 19 years' service in this district, Mr Adam accepted a call to Penrith and St Mary's in 1877. Following brief ministries by the Rev. Gavin Malcolm (1877) and Alexander Dandie (1879), he was recalled to Carcoar in 1884, where he laboured for a further seven years. His successors have been: Revs J. C. Christie, 1891-7; Jas Goudie, translated from Mittagong in 1897, demitted on 31st December 1900; J. A. R. Brotchie, inducted on 24th July 1901 and translated to Beecroft on 26th February 1907; H. S. Anderson, inducted on 30th September 1908 and demitted on 31st March 1910.
After this, there was a considerable vacancy, during which, however, the work of the parish was carried on very capably by Mr A.. G. Gibbins, a home missionary. The Rev. Moses Henry was inducted on 20th December 1926 and was called to Higher Service on 14th April 1933. Mr Henry came from Ireland where he had a distinguished educational training. A theologian above the average, he was widely read in other branches of learning. His service to the Church was entirely in country parishes, in each of which he left enduring memories. He was possessed of a singular modesty and self-effacement, by reason of which he seemed to be less known even to his brethren in the Ministry than he deserved to be. He was a Minister much loved—by little children and by grown men. Later ministries have been those of the Revs Bruce Galloway, translated from Gulgong on 12th October 1933, and translated to Hunter's Hill-Lane Cove on 14th July 1937; W. A. Loftus, ordained and inducted on 22nd December 1937, and translated to Cootamundra on 25th November 1941; Hector Macdonald, translated from Manilla on 29th April 1942, and translated to Hagley-Deloraine, Tasmania, on 24th May 1948; James Marshall translated from Mascot on 31st August 1940.
The old manse in Carcoar, at the foot of the hill on which the church stands, was sold in 1938, and a new manse was erected in Mandurama in 1940. The preaching centres connected with the parish are Carcoar, Mandurama (church opened in 1925), Neville, Trunkey, Tuena (at each of which there is a church building), Gallymont, and Burnt Yards.
The first Session was formed in 1924 but there does not seem to be any record of the members. The following have served: Messrs William Nicholson, James Radburn, A. P. Radburn, R. H. McKenzie, H. McKenzie, K. D. McKenzie, J. G. Sinclair, A. C. Hextell, A. W. Rowlands.
This district originally formed part of the Mudgee Charge and received occasional services from the Rev. A. McEwen of Mudgee. In 1871 it was reported to the Presbytery of Bathurst that the Rev. Thomas Craig had been preaching at Gulgong for some time, but he did not settle there. In 1871 Mr Thomas J. Curtis, a young man from the Bathurst Church, who was training for the ministry, was appointed to develop the work in the district. A substantial
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weatherboard church was built, and also a manse, standing on a Government grant of nearly an acre, and all free of debt. This church was sold and removed some years ago, and a new manse situated in Mayne St was opened on 23rd November 1949. The old manse is used for meetings and is known as the Guild Hall.
After Mr Curtis's brief pastorate of three years, there is no record of services being held for a considerable time. This seems to have been due to the exhaustion of the goldfields and the consequent removal of most of the population. In September 1885, however, Mr W. H. Meek, a "Catechist" or home missionary, was appointed to the district and gained considerable encouragement. He was ordained three years later "for work in the Gulgong district only", and was inducted as Minister of the parish—the first settled Minister of this extensive parish. He resigned in 1891. The Charge was now supplied by Home Mission agents, until, in November 1896, Mr J. A. R. Perkins was ordained and inducted. He remained until 11th January 1899 when he was translated to Liverpool. After a vacancy of nearly two years the Rev. A. J. Doig was inducted on 28th November 1900, and he demitted on 29th October 1905. Ministers who served later were Revs B. D. Morris, inducted on 15th August 1906 and resigned on 31st December 1910; R. C. Sands, inducted on 20th September 1911, demitted on 28th February 1914. Then followed a prolonged vacancy in which various home missionaries rendered faithful and valuable service. On 14th April 1931 Mr Bruce Galloway was ordained and inducted. He was translated to Carcoar on 12th October 1933. Mr T. K. Gibson was ordained and inducted on 6th February 1934 and he was translated to Creswick, Victoria, on 4th October 1935. The Rev. W. L. I. Arnold was translated from Queanbeyan on 9th March 1938, and he was translated to Muswellbrook on 28th January 1942. On 24th June 1942 the Rev. G. J. Stevens was translated from Lockhart and he resigned on 1st July 1948; Mr. A. J. Watt was ordained and inducted on 23rd November 1949.
The furthest outpost in the parish is Cassilis (40 miles), while services are also held regularly at Dunedoo (32 miles), Turill (30 miles), Birriwa (20 miles) and Ulan (15 miles). The present beautiful church in Gulgong (St David's) was erected in 1909. There is also an attractive brick church at Dunedoo (erected 1924). We have a church building also at Ulan.
The Elders who have served include Messrs William Dobbie, J. Keith Miller (later Rev.), Robert Cochrane, James Clark, Albert Brigden, Dr J. L. M. McCreadie, Messrs Thomas Gudgeon, Alexander Douglas, Frank Lugsdin, Herbert N. Fisher, Herbert A. Brigden, John S. Stone, William Christian, Ronald Bowman, Andrew Bowman, Dr Leslie W. Tunley, Messrs Robert G. Campbell, Harry Seis, Simeon Taylor, George J. Brown, S. E. A. Beardow.
Work in this great gold mining centre was commenced by the Rev. A. McEwen working from Hargraves as Chaplain to the goldfields. The cause prospered so well that in 1873 the Rev. Roger McKinnon was settled in Hill End, but after two years he was translated to Tumut. He was succeeded by the Rev. Colin Greig whose ministry extended from 1876 to 1880, after which he went to Walcha. There was no further settled Minister in Hill End and from 1887 it disappears from the Assembly Roll, and was presumably incorporated in Mudgee. There is a substantial stone church, St Paul's, and there was a brick manse when the Charge was fully occupied. This Centre is now worked by the Bathurst Presbytery H.M. Patrol.
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There is no clear record of the first services in Eskbank (now Lithgow), but they may have been as early as 1850 and were certainly conducted by the Rev. Colin Stewart of Bowenfels. Prior to the coming of the railway in 1869 there was very little population in the valley now occupied by the town of Lithgow, but the railway meant development and regular services were properly established in 1870. In 1880 the first church was erected in Eskbank. It was the gift of Mr Thomas Brown "the original proprietor of Eskbank", in memory of his wife Mary who had passed away a couple of years previously. The name of this large and attractive church, St Mary's, was given in compliment to Mrs Brown. As far as is known there is only one other church of our denomination in New South Wales to bear this designation. In 1883 Eskbank was disjoined from Bowenfels and became a separate parish. The Rev. John Taylor, who had arrived in the colony the previous year from the Free Church of Scotland, was inducted as the first Minister and did a valuable work during a four years' ministry. He was succeeded by Mr C. Crane who was ordained and inducted in 1888. The Rev. C. W. Willis was Minister from 1891 to 1894. Then came the Revs David Fenwick (1895-6), David Fulton (1898-9), David Baird, translated from Dungog on 14th March 1900 and translated to Portland Head and Pitt Town on 28th February 1906; J. Oliver Dick, inducted on 1st August 1906, and translated to Oatlands, Tasmania, on 5th ApriM911; J. T. Thorburn, translated from Gloucester on 29th November 1911 and demitted on 31st May 1916; A. D. Robertson, translated from Parkes on 4th October 1916, translated to Rozelle on 21st March 1921; Percy Hope, translated from Kirklands and Epping, Tasmania, on 2nd June 1921, demitted on 30th June 1933; T. Mathers, translated from Newtown on 23rd August 1933, translated to Auburn on 13th May 1946. The Rev. N. H. Symes, the present Minister, was inducted on 21st August 1946, following seven years in Naval Service.
After using St Mary's Church for 48 years the congregation moved into the magnificent Hoskins Memorial Church, which was the gift of Charles Henry Hoskins, proprietor of the steelworks, in recognition of the grace and favour of Almighty God, and as a family memorial. The building was commenced during Mr Hoskins's lifetime, and was completed in terms of his will by his widow and family. It was opened by Mrs Hoskins on 24th November 1928, and solemnly dedicated by the Presbytery of Bathurst with the Very Rev. Dr Scott West associated, who preached the sermon.
The building which is of Gothic architecture, and in the English Perpendicular style, is faced with Sydney sandstone, and is the most prominent and beautiful building in Lithgow. It is perfectly harmonized within and without, a joy to preach in, and a sanctuary which holds the atmosphere of worship. It is seated for 450 persons. A chimes carillon has been installed as a memorial to the service rendered by members and adherents during World War II. The site is a filled-in quarry which was used as a rubbish dump. There are a fully equipped parish hall and two tennis courts within a considerable expanse of lawns and gardens. All are maintained by a special Hoskins family endowment fund. The manse adjoins the old St Mary's Church, which is now used for Scout and Guide purposes.
The Lithgow branch of the Men's League was one of the earliest in the State, and its members earned praise for their loyal support of their Minister and Church.
At Oakey Park (where occasional services are held) and at the Extension
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(Methven Street) there are brick Sunday School halls. The Oakey Park Hall was opened in 1924.
Elders who have served since the beginning of the Charge include: Dr Hugh Kirkland, Messrs C. C. McMurtry, J. P. Williams, John McCall, Peter Mearns,
C. J. Morgan, F. Elliott, A. Sweeney, George Robertson, John Frail, Charles Stewart, Joseph Henderson, Robert Clarke, John Pillans, Duncan McPhee, A. E. Knight, Alexander Duff, A. S. Taylor, C. C. Drummond, William Williams, Alex. G. Robertson, C. F. Fenton, John Tougher, W. G. Crawford, David Muir, John A. Conen, John Reid, David Wilson, W. R. Milligan, James Ramsay, James McAllister, E. C. Robertson, Albert C. McGowan, J. J. Robertson, A. L. Hewitt (later Rev.), William Macdonald, Arthur Allison, Hugh Campbell, W. O. Douglas, A. C. Gibson, Alexander Rankin, H. W. Murray, A. G. Avis,
D. K. Robertson, W. McLennan, F. W. Harrison, D. C. Macdonald, Flint McClelland, James R. McGill, Alan Cargill, Willam H. Thomson, James R. McGregor, R. Gowan, W. J. Robertson, S. K. Garnsey and C. Dansie.
The earliest services in this district were no doubt conducted by the Rev. Colin Stewart who made periodical trips from Bowenfels through the Mudgee district, reaching as far as the Castlereagh. The Charge of Mudgee, however, owes its inception to the Rev. Alexander McEwen, who commenced his labours there, probably in the year 1858. Mr McEwen arrived in Sydney in 1853 from the Church of Scotland. He was appointed chaplain of the western goldfields in 1856 with his headquarters at Hargraves (between Mudgee and Hill End), but on the discontinuance of the chaplaincy he took up his abode in Mudgee, and set about organizing a congregation. It was not long before a church was erected (1858) which is now used as a school hall, and Mr McEwen was inducted as Minister of the parish. He travelled considerable distances and preached occasionally in Dubbo. The development of the parishes of Coonabarabran, Gul-gong, and Hill End was due largely to the pioneering work which he carried out in those areas. It is recorded that, throughout the wide district in which he laboured, he was looked to by people of all classes and creeds as their guide, counsellor, and friend. With the exception of a brief pastorate in Hinton (1860-64) Mr McEwen remained the Minister of Mudgee till his death in 1883. The second Minister of Mudgee was the Rev. C. W. Neely (1884) who had recently arrived in the colony from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, but he was compelled to resign after a ministry of only eight months on account of ill health. Subsequent ministries have been those of the Revs W. G. Maconochie, inducted in 1885; John C. McDonald, 1888-94; C. W. Willis, translated from Eskbank in 1894 was translated to Pyrmont on 27th August 1901; T. D. Evans, translated from Forbes on 26th February 1902, and translated to Bowenfels on 26th September 1906; H. Stewart Anderson, translated from Tumut on 17th April 1907, demitted on 1st July 1908; T. J. Curtis, inducted on 30th November 1909, resigned on 4th October 1916; R. B. Garner, translated from Berry on 28th June 1917, translated to Campbelltown on 19th December 1919. A vacancy of four years followed, and it was filled on 24th March 1924, when the Rev. T. McDougall was inducted. His short ministry was terminated by his translation to Cowra on 23rd September 1925. The Rev. J. Vardre James was translated from Crookwell-Taralga on 21st April 1926, and was translated to Katoomba on 17th April 1929. Other Ministers were: the Revs H. S. Michie, translated from Walcha on 29th May 1929, translated to Broken Hill on 6th July 1932; R. W.
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Wannan, translated from Quirindi on 13th October 1932, translated to St Mary's-Rupertswood on 14th May 1937; A. G. Wood, translated from Narrabri-Wee Waa on 2nd September 1937, demitted on 1st July 1944; G. E. Howland, translated from Leeton-Yanco on 28th September 1944, was translated to Mt Pleasant and South Rhine, S.A., on 31st August 1948; the Rev. D. R. Wilcox was translated from Tumbarumba on 1st February 1949 and is exercising a vigorous ministry.
The original church served the needs of the congregation until the erection of the present handsome structure which was opened on 10th March 1878. The church has been adorned with many memorial windows which bear the names of old families in the district. Originally roofed with shingles, it was re-roofed with slates in 1941. The manse, a commodious cottage adjoining the church, was erected some time before 1868 when the earliest reference to it is found in Assembly reports. The whole of the rear portion of the manse was rebuilt in 1950. Considerable improvements to church property have been made in recent years, notably by the installation of a War Memorial Electric Amplifier to sound church chimes, which was erected in 1947 at a cost of £200. The pipe organ was rebuilt and an electric blower installed the previous year.
A hostel for boys has recently been established. A suitable building situated in Court Street was purchased at auction for £3800. It only requires minor alterations and will accommodate 40 boys. Through the good offices of the Rev. D. R. Wilcox, who is in charge of the nomination of migrants for the N.S.W. Church, Mr and Mrs Thomas Cowperthwaite from Scotland have been appointed Master and Matron. Up to 1st June 1950 the sum of £2600 had been raised towards the purchase of the property, including £500 from the Gillespie Trust, and £1000 from the Soutar Trustees on a £ for £ basis, which has already been attained. The hostel was opened by the Moderator, the Right Rev. Hector Harrison, on 16th September 1950. Mr Cowperthwaite, an Elder for 20 years in Fountainbridge Church, Edinburgh is now Session Clerk in Mudgee, and with other migrants nominated by the Presbyterian Church is making a substantial contribution t6 ttie1 life of the Church and the community.
The first Session was formed in 1866, the original Elders being Messrs William R. Gillespie (who held office for 54 years, until his death in 1920), John Hume and Thomas Quigley. Others who have served in subsequent years include: Messrs Allen McLean, Hugh Caughey, Thomas Robertson, Robert Collings, William Shaw, Alex. McDonald, William Tait, Frederick K. Leslie, Mark Stones, Robert R. Caughey, Duncan M. Marshall, J. P. Williams, George F. Oram, Rev. W. G. Maconochie, Messrs John A. Donaldson, James Stoddart, James H. Shaw, Frederick W. Taylor, Robert C. Nicholls, Wallace J. Caughey, James Cox, Cecil J. Cox, Cecil A. Paine, Ron W. M. Short, A. K. Stoddart, Patrick Murphy, Wallace J. Rhodes, Trevor Spratt, Thomas Cowperthwaite, (Session Clerk), John F. Knight.
In addition to St Paul's, Mudgee, preaching centres served by the Minister of Mudge are Hill End (now worked by the Bathurst Presbytery H.M. Patrol), (45 miles), Hargraves (25 miles), Windeyer (26 miles), Mullamuddy (8 miles) and Yarrabin (23 miles).
The first Home Mission station to be established in the Portland district was centred at Sunny Corner, then a prosperous gold-mining area with a population of 15,000, but now, like so many other old-time goldfields, almost deserted. A missionary was appointed to work there in 1886, in which year a weatherboard church was erected. Sunny Corner, however, ceases to be mentioned in Home
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Mission reports after 1896. Services were held in the Portland district a few years later by the missionary from Rylstone, and apparently in the early years of the century the disused church at Sunny Corner was removed to Portland. It was destroyed by fire, however, in the year 1914.
The Portland Home Mission station first appears in the Assembly Roll for the year 1911, but it was not until 1914 that it was disjoined from Rylstone, becoming a separate station with its own missionary. A new brick and concrete church was erected a few years later, which has served local needs up to the present. During World War II Portland was amalgamated with the Bowenfels parish, owing to man-power shortage, but it reverted to independent Home Mission status in 1947. The Rev. D. G. Cole came into the Ministry from this congregation.
In addition to Portland itself, services were held at Cullen Bullen (7 miles distant), where the Methodist Church is used, and at Mt Lambie (9 miles), in our own church which is built exactly on the crest of the Dividing Range.
Elders past and present: Messrs R. Y. Frew, M. W. Guy, William R. Preece, C. Keightly, and J. Fraser.
The district included in this Home Mission station originally formed part of the Bowenfels parish, and services were held there in the early days during the ministry of the Rev. Colin Stewart. Mr Stewart resigned from Bowenfels in 1857, but apparently continued to minister to the folk in the Capertee and By long valleys for some 20 years or more. A church was erected at Glen Alice in the sixties; it is still in use and is made available to other Protestant denominations. In 1879 a Home Mission agent was sent to labour in the district under Mr Stewart's direction, and apparently met with a considerable amount of success. In 1898 the work was reorganized, and in 1900 the Home Mission Committee reported to the Assembly "Capertee" as a Home Mission station, changed in the Assembly Roll the following year to "Rylstone-Capertee". In 1902 a substantial stone church (St Andrew's) was erected at Rylstone and opened free of debt. Services were maintained in subsequent years by agents of the Home Mission Committee until 1942. In that year, as a wartime measure, local co-operation was effected with the Methodist Church, which provided a Minister for the two denominations up to 1950. Now it is our turn to provide the Minister, and the Rev. Robert James Wray from Burt Co. Donegal, Presbytery of Londonderry, Ireland, was inducted on 19th December 1950.
Rylstone is an extensive pastoral district, while Kandos (some five miles away) owes its existence to large cement works. A concrete church building was erected in Kandos in 1926. Probably the oldest settlement in the district is Glen Alice (about 26 miles from Rylstone). One of the pioneer families in that part of the parish is the McLeans, who came from the Isle of Skye a century or so ago. They brought with them a Communion service, which was the first and only Communion service used in the Capertee Valley for very many years. The other centres in this extensive parish are Running Stream, which has a stone church (26 miles from Rylstone), Ginghi (19 miles) at the upper end of the Bylong Valley), Ilford, Triangle, Limestone, Camboon, Kangaroo Flat, Charbon, Crudine, Capertee.
Elders, past and present: Messrs L. McLachlan, W. McQuiggan, G. A. McQuiggan, A. Sanderson, L. Banks, F. Lang, J. Sneddon, J. Samuel, John Blain, E. L. Atkins, T. B. Jorden Ay ling, J. McLean, E. C. Dicker.
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BATHURST PRESBYTERY PATROL
The Bathurst Presbytery, recognizing the needs of people in scattered settlements within its bounds, enlisted in 1946 the co-operation of the Home Mission Committee in establishing a patrol. On 2nd June 1946, Mr G. V. Reeks was appointed to commence work in the area, and a number of centres were opened with encouraging results. After eighteen months Mr Reeks gave place to Mr A. Barr who made his headquarters at Portland which had been transferred from Bowenfels Charge. This arrangement did not prove satisfactory, and Mr G. Mitchell was appointed to work from Tarana. In October 1948 Mr Bruce Eden-burgh was appointed as assistant to the Minister of Bathurst to serve the patrol. He was followed by the appointment of Mr P. Boase on 5th February 1950. The work is gradually being consolidated, but the expenses of travelling make the financial position difficult. The centres being served are Yetholme, Mt Lambie (where there is a church), Walang, Sofala, Hill End, where there is a church, Oberon, Sunny Corner, Locksley and Freemantle.
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PRESBYTERY OF THE CLARENCE
In the year 1881 the Charges of Richmond River, and Grafton and Ulmarra, appeared in the roll of the Presbytery of Sydney. In the next Assembly (1883) the Presbytery of The Clarence was formed in St Stephen's Church, Philip Street, Sydney, on 13th March 1883, with four Charges, namely: Grafton and Ulmarra, Lismore, Port Macquarie, and Rocky Mouth (now known as Maclean). The Rev. J. Burgess was ordained and inducted to the last-named Charge. Next year the Presbytery was enlarged by the emergence of the Charges of Ballina, Kempsey, and Woodburn, making seven Charges in all. Today the Presbytery contains six Charges. But so far from indicating shrinkage, the Clarence is honoured by being a mother of two Presbyteries, both of which have outstripped the mother numerically, The Hastings Presbytery containing eight Charges and The Richmond thirteen Charges. The districts covered by this Presbytery and that of The Hastings are notable as the main areas in which the old-time divisions have persisted. On the Clarence there were at one time three competing Presbyterian Churches, and they were so far from dwelling together in amity, that, it is reported, one contending faction attempted to force entrance to the church by physical violence. The establishment of the United Church was not always easy and in Maclean in particular, much of the subsequent success is due to the work of the Rev. J. Burgess. On the Hastings we have the happy spectacle of a Church owned by the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales in which the Free Church folk worship on alternate Sundays with us, and our service conforms to the Free Church practice of standing to pray, and sitting to sing and singing with the aid of a Precentor. On the Manning the Free Church has maintained its witness all through the years, and time has softened the relationships between the two branches of Presbyterianism, so that while any approach in the direction of closer union has always been firmly resisted, the two Churches are able to exist side by side with mutual respect and good will.
The development of the Clarence and Richmond districts attracted many settlers from the Shoalhaven district, of which Dr Grant was the Minister. This apostolic Minister made more than one journey up the coast to further the spiritual interests of the growing communities. In a letter to another Minister he has vividly described how he went to the Clarence by boat, then hired two horses and a black boy who accompanied him in a ten-day tour across to the Richmond, visiting his former parishioners and others in the interests of the Kingdom.
The Report of the Church Extension Committee presented to the General Assembly in October 1867 contains the following: "Returning to the districts of the Lower Clarence and the Richmond Rivers, your Committee have much pleasure in reporting a visit kindly undertaken at their request to the former by the Rev. John Kinross of Kiama, and a visit more recently to both districts by the Rev. William Grant of Shoalhaven. The following extract from a report by Mr Kinross of his visit, which extended over a month, may not be unacceptable: 'I arrived at Rocky Mouth on 21st February, and preached on the four following Sabbaths at the undermentioned places—Rocky Mouth, each Sabbath at 11 a.m.;
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Palmer's Island on 3rd March; South-arm on the 10th, and North-arm on the 17th, at half past three p.m. The attendance at each of these places was encouraging, although it is susceptible of very considerable improvement. The number present at Rocky Mouth on the last Sabbath I was there, was, I should imagine, about 70 or 80; at the South-arm about the same; and 30 at the other two places. Each of the three outlying places is about eight miles distant, in different directions, from Rocky Mouth; and although the people residing in them often come to the latter, it will be necessary for the labourer you may send there to continue the services in the same order in which they have been instituted. This will not involve much labour, as he will not require to officiate more than twice on Sabbath. The only mode of communication in that district is by boats, and its grand highway is the noble river. None of the houses are situated more than 500 yards from its banks. On this account I found visiting much more easily performed than at home, especially as the people were always kind enough to send two rowers along with me. I was thus enabled to visit in all about 53 families, from all of whom I received a kind welcome, and some of them stating that a Minister of the Gospel had not entered their house for seven or nine years before. Of these, nearly 40 families are Presbyterians, and the remainder belong to the Church of England and the Wesleyans. I may state that the overwhelming majority of the population of the Lower Clarence belongs to the Presbyterian body, or rather bodies. If all the Highlanders would join the United Church, I have no hesitation in saying that the Presbyterian Congregation at Rocky Mouth would be the largest out of Sydney. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case.'" The effect of Mr Kinross's visit, it is hardly necessary to say, was in the highest degree valuable. "During his short stay," wrote one of the office-bearers after he left, "he has done more for the cause of our Church here than all who have preceded him." It is only proper to add, that one of the members of the congregation entertained him hospitably in his house during his stay, and that the congregation liberally defrayed all his travelling charges and the expense of supplying his pulpit at Kiama during his absence.
Mr Grant's visit to the Clarence and Richmond rivers extended over nine weeks, including the months of July and August, his time being about equally divided betwixt the two districts. At the former he nobly continued the work in which Mr Kinross had preceded him. The story of the labours of the one and the other is substantially the same, and it is unnecessary to repeat it; suffice it to say, that the interest was not only sustained but extended. "The attendance," says Mr Grant in his report, "increased every day, until on the last Sabbath the number was the greatest that had met in connection with our cause since the Union; and at one station, 'The Elbow', not visited before, the attendance was large beyond all expectation, persons from every Christian denomination being present." Mr Grant's testimony concurs with that of Mr Kinross as to the promising nature of the field presented by the locality. "There are materials here," he says, "for the formation of a flourishing congregation. It is greatly to be desired that the district may be speedily provided with an earnest and devoted Minister."
Presbytery Clerks: Revs J. Burgess 1883-90; A. Barron 1890-9; A. P. Cameron 1899-1902; A. Fraser 1902-8; M. Kirkpatrick 1908-9; D. Allen 1909-11; D. Brown 1911-12; A. Fleming 1912-13; J. Carson 1913-15; G. Logan 1915-19; W. D. McIlwraith 1919-20; J. C. Milliken 1920-3; W. D. McIlwraith 1923-34; J. Marshall 1934-7; A. A. Adam 1937-9; J. W. Miller 1939-41; E. Johnson 1941-3; J. P. Mortimore 1943-9; H. M. Courts 1949- .
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The Free Church was the first to carry on work on the Bellinger, which they did with students or lay agents. Among those who are mentioned as workers in this field are Messrs Bate, Ashly, Wilson, and Allan. On 7th March 1884 the Presbyterian Church of N.S.W. formed a Charge, and the Rev. J. H. Terras pioneered the work from Fernmount as a centre. The journey to the Bellinger in those days was accomplished by boat from Sydney to Kempsey, and thence by coach over very primitive roads. The Rev. James Goudie was inducted as the first Minister in 1884, and he did effective work until 1887. Succeeding Ministers in the Charge were the Revs N. E. Paterson 1891-5; T. D. Evans 1896-8; J. W. Yarnell ordained and inducted 1st February 1911, resigned 14th June 1914; W. G. Bradley inducted 16th September 1919, resigned 31st December 1922; S. T. Knight inducted 1st March 1927, translated to Upper Manning 29th August 1928; J. W. Stewart Lang ordained and inducted 4th January 1929, translated to Cessnock on 9th June 1931; O'B. R. St J. Palmer, inducted 30th August 1932, resigned 26th July 1936; W. E. Dorin, translated from Condobolin 23rd March 1937—still serving faithfully.
The Charge originally included Dorrigo, Coramba, Coff's Harbour and now covers a number of small centres on both arms of the Bellinger River. Bellingen is essentially a country parish, the work of the Minister being distributed rather than concentrated. It will be noted that, with the exception of the present ministry, the pastorates have not been very lengthy, and there have been considerable gaps in which various agents, including ordained Ministers and students, have carried on the work. Membership has steadily grown from 15 in 1900 to 100 in 1950.
A new church building fund was opened in 1944. Mrs Harold Humphries, daughter of Mr John Pollock, served as Sunday School Superintendent for 19 years until compelled by ill health to resign.
Elders, past and present: Messrs John Pollock, G. W. Gordon, A. B. Wood-ford, G. J. Henderson of Raleigh, W. T. Baird, T. A. Beattie, J. J. Johnston, L. J. Grant, A. Winter, N. A. Paull, H. Ellis of Dorrigo, S. M. McFadyen, J. C. Henderson, P. H. Lyon, and G. T. Gordon, William Russell Collie.
The parish of Bellinger-Orara formed in 1884 included Coff's Harbour, Karangi, Coramba, and other centres but the exact date on which service commenced in any of them is not exactly known. The church at Karangi however has a small board inside the porch stating that it was erected in 1897, and this is the oldest church in the district. The Rev. John Bannatyne presented the Rev. N. E. Patterson, Minister of Bellingen, with a pulpit Bible, evidently intended for the Karangi centre, bearing the following inscription: "Presented to the Rev. N. E. Patterson by John Bannatyne, Strathclyde. Nov. 20, 1892." The Coff's Harbour pulpit Bible bears the inscription: "Presented to Coff's Harbour Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia by John Bannatyne, emeritus. V.D.M. Strathclyde, Orara River, Aprils 4th, 1903." These dates are a strong pointer to the date of commencement in these two centres. A notice of discharge of the guarantors of the Ulong Presbyterian Church from the manager of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney dated 14th June 1917 was good news for Messrs D. C. Smith and Mr Robert Durie, the guarantors. On 1st January 1906 Coramba became a separate Home Mission station. The Charge was worked from Bellingen by Mr W. Ferries until the end of 1906 when he was
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transferred to Coramba. Coff's Harbour was worked with Coramba although the name does not appear in the Assembly Roll. A church was completed at Coff's Harbour and opened by Dr Bruce on 17th November 1907. In 1910 and 1911 Coramba appears as a vacant Charge. In 1912 it is again a Home Mission station. In 1913 Coramba appears as a vacant Charge and Coff's Harbour appears for the first time, also as a vacant Charge. The Rev. E. S. Henderson was inducted to Coramba on 16th July 1913, and he resigned on 31st July 1915. In 1916 Coramba is listed as a vacant Charge. Coff's Harbour appears as a vacant Charge in 1914 and 1915. In 1916 it is a Home Mission station. In 1917 the two centres were linked together under the title "Coramba-CofFs Harbour". The Charge made heavy weather for a number of years. At a meeting held at Coff's Harbour on 26th July 1916 it was agreed that the whole area should merge but that there should be separate Committees at each end and a central or parish Committee to meet at Karangi. The Charge being then heavily in debt, the Presbytery in 1926 resolved to discontinue separate services and to work the Charge by the Minister of Bellingen. In 1936 the Charge was restored to separate working and the growth of Coff's Harbour was illustrated by reversing the title to read "Coff's Harbour-Coramba" while finally in 1937 Coramba disappears from the title. On 10th March 1937 the Charge won its full place by the induction of the Rev. N. H. Symes, who was translated from Norwood, S.A. Mr Symes did excellent work for three years when he was accepted for service as a naval chaplain and resigned the Charge on 13th August 1939. He was succeeded by the Rev. G. A. Beatty who was ordained and inducted on 4th March 1940. He resigned on 3rd December 1942 to take the position of a Chaplain in the A.I.F. On 1st April 1946 Mr Beatty became "Assistant to the Director of Youth Work under the G.A.A." and subsequently Assistant Director. After a somewhat prolonged vacancy the Rev. H. M. Coutts was translated from Temora on 1st March 1944, and still continues an effective ministry in this important centre. A manse next door to the church was purchased in June 1915 from Mr A. McLeod for £450. A new Sunday School Hall was built and opened for use in 1950 costing £2000.
Elders, past and present: Messrs Russell Hodge, Thomas Pollock, David McGregor, Alex. Laing, C. E. Brice, R. M. Wills, John McFarlane, Daniel Jones, Sydney Charles Hardy, Roy J. Barrett, Neil McLean, L. C. Price, C. W. Partridge, D. E. R. Hinten and Stuart Dugald McGregor, W. J. Maston.
The rich plateau adjoining the Bellinger with Dorrigo as the chief township, was constituted a Home Mission station on 25th May 1917 and over the succeeding years it has had fluctuating fortunes, maintaining its own Home Mission agent from time to time, and receiving sympathetic aid from the Bellingen Charge. In 1907 the Presbytery drew the attention of Mr Morrison, Home Mission agent at Bellingen, to the necessity of working Little Plain, Beilsdown, and North Dorrigo, At the same meeting Mr John Stinson was thanked for his donation of a site for church and manse at Ashton town, Dorrigo. #Soon after becoming a Home Mission station steps were taken to build a church at a cost of £750, and on 16th August 1918 the church was opened by the Moderator the Right Rev. David Smith. Agents who laboured in the Charge included the Rev. Mr Hitch, Messrs Owen, C. P. Bradley, W. E. Dorin (1921-2), Kellie, and Druery. In 1926 it was recognized that the Charge was unable to meet its debts, and since then it has been worked from Bellingen, although not incorporated in the Bellingen parish.
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In 1850 work was commenced in Grafton by the Rev. John Gibson, one of the Ministers brought out by Dr Lang. He was succeeded in 1854 by the Rev. Robert Miller who died after a short pastorate. The Church was served successively by the Revs James Collins, James Niven, W. J. Cuthbert, J. M. Innes, Allan Macdougall (8 years), A. Barron (13 years), A. Fraser inducted 8th February 1899, and translated to St Philip's, Newcastle, on 4th March 1908. Since the beginning of the century the main feature in the development of the Charge was the reorganization of the Charge of Middle Clarence in 1929, which involved taking Lawrence and South Grafton from the parent Church. In this period the Ministry was represented by the Revs D. Brown, translated from Hornsby 28th October 1908, and translated to Toowoomba, Queensland, on 18th December 1912; H. D. Mackie, ordained and inducted on 22nd October 1913, translated to Leura and Wentworth Falls on 12th December 1917; W. D. Mc-Ilwraith, translated from Clunes on 10th April 1918 and translated to East Brisbane, Queensland, on 7th March 1934; W. Mullan, translated from Taralga-Crookwell on 27th June 1934, and translated to Lidcombe-Berala on 9th December 1937; J. W. Miller, translated from Mullumbimby on 28th July 1938, and translated to Moree on 6th November 1941; Dr John Craig translated from Quirindi on 19th February 1942, and demitted on 2nd December 1944. Dr Craig was not long spared to enjoy his leisure for on 20th September 1945 he entered into his rest in New Zealand. He was trained for the Ministry in New Zealand and was ordained in 1907. He came to this State in 1934 and served with distinction in the Charges of Aberdeen-Rouchel, Quirindi, and Grafton. He received valuable assistance from his wife, Dr Jeanie Craig. The Rev. J. H. Costello was translated from Bondi on 5th April 1945, and was translated to Norman Park, Queensland, on 21st April 1950. He was succeeded by the present Minister, the Rev. Eric S. Robson, who was translated from Scone on 24th July 1950.
In 1909 a church was opened for public worship at Nymboida. In 1913 the church and manse land at South Grafton was resumed for railway purposes. In 1921 the foundation stone of the church at South Grafton was laid. In 1922 the church was removed from Upper Copmanhurst to Copmanhurst. The first Communion service was held in South Grafton on 23rd September 1923, 10 persons participating. In 1928 a branch of the Men's League was formed with 27 members. In 1934 Communion chairs presented by the Women's Guild, and a Communion service presented by Mrs Crisford, in memory of the late Mr Harold Crisford, were dedicated. In 1939 a memorial tablet in memory of the Rev. Andrew Barron, Minister 1885-98* and Mrs Barron, was presented by their daughter, Mrs Naismith. In 1936 a new Sunday School building was opened. Various improvements to the church fabric had been carried out during the period, including considerable expenditure on the church spire, the manse and the fence enclosing the property. Since the Diamond Jubilee the church ground has been enclosed from the manse to the school hall with a substantial prefabricated cement and brick wall with one pipe rail fence, at a cost of £260. The Diamond Jubilee of laying the foundation stone of St Andrew's was celebrated on 6th October 1946 and a fund was opened for the installation of a memorial pipe organ. The church has been enriched by the gifts of a Baptismal Font from the Congregation in memory of Mrs Helen McDonald: a bell by Mr Peter Fraser: the spire by Mrs McIntosh, to whose memory windows in the entrance vestibule are dedicated: and the pulpit chair by Mrs Fraser. The centenary of Presbyterian-
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ism on the Clarence was celebrated in October 1950 with special services and gatherings.
Elders, past and present since 1904: Messrs W. J. Hyde, D. J. Lobban, McGill, Lewis Fletcher, Thomas Matheson, Harold Crisford, A. A. Young, R. T. Healey, C. I. Imeson, A. R. Baillie, W. Harrison, Dr W. B. Clipsham, Messrs Raymond Kitchner, R. Staddon, C. T. Bate, Campbell Cameron, C. J. Perm, David Fraser, A. Coote, J. H. Oldfield, H. A. Peden, J. W. Chalmers, G. Maxwell. Outstanding among these and other workers in the Church is Mr D. McFarlane, who was Session Clerk for many years. Mr H. Crisford was for 32 years a teacher and Superintendent of the Sunday School, and as an Elder and Session Clerk he also served for many years.
The locality was originally known as Rocky Mouth and was a stronghold of Free Church folk. Our Church was fortunate in sending Rev. John Burgess, who was ordained and inducted as first Minister of the Charge in 1883, remaining for seven years. He was followed in 1890 by the Rev. J. S. Scott who continued for eight years. Both of these brethren did yeomen service for Christ's kingdom and for the Church, laying foundations upon which various Ministers have built in the subsequent years. These Ministers have been: Mr T. Scott Neil, who was ordained and inducted on 1st November 1899, and was translated to Liverpool on 27th April 1910; Mr A. Fleming who was ordained and inducted on 19th December 1910, and was translated to Albury on 20th May 1914; the Revs George Logan, translated from Alstonville on 20th January 1915, and translated to Chatswood on 12th December 1918; J. C. Milliken, translated from Goondi-windi, Queensland, on 18th July 1919, and translated to Rockdale on 1st March 1923; A. Wood, translated from Stanthorpe, Queensland, on 13th July 1923, and translated to Woonona-Corrimal on 6th May 1926; R. Cordiner, inducted on 12th July 1927 and demitted on 12th July 1929; John Marshall, ordained and inducted on 27th November 1930 and translated to Cessnock on 28th September 1936; E. Johnson, inducted on 13th July 1937, and translated to Con-dobolin on 1st April 1943; James Allan, translated from Bingara on 3rd Septem-1943 and resigned on 30th June 1948; Mr R. T. Joughin ordained and inducted on 16th March 1949 and translated to Charleville, Queensland in 1950. A wooden church with comfortable manse alongside stands on an eminence with a magnificent outlook up both arms of the river, which unites at this point after dividing 15 miles further up. The church was destroyed by a storm on 2nd January 1947, after standing for 60 years. The timber in it was used in the making of the present building, which is a replica of the old. The opening service in the restored church was held on 26th September 1947. In 1920 a church was opened at Yamba. Services are also conducted in several Union Churches in the district, and Lawrence was added to the Charge in 1929.
Elders, past and present: Messrs Angus McInnes, Archibald Smith, John McLachlan, Andrew H. Garven, Donald Shearer, Dugald Macdonald, Benjamin Morrison, William Hutton, J. Cameron, M. L. M. Shepherd, W. Weir, Young, W. Beckman, John Davies, J. E. Arnold, D. McIntyre, C. I. Imeson, James McIntyre, John Shearer, F. V. Doust, C. E. Campbell, John Parsons, W. Harrison, W. D. Harrison, Stewart McIntyre. One at least of the men named used to travel to Grafton by rowing boat to attend service before the initiation of our Church services in McLean. It was a 30-mile row, and the tide being all-important it was necessary sometimes to start at two-o'clock in the morning to catch the tide. There were spiritual giants in those days!
 White, The Challenge of the Years
The Charge was formed in 1885 when Mr A. Fraser was ordained and inducted as the first Minister of the Charge. His ministry extended over the period 1885-9. Successive Ministers have been: the Revs A. McClinchie, 1893-5; J. Gray, 1895-7; A. P. Cameron ordained and inducted in 1897, and demitted on 20th May 1902; R. Cordiner, inducted on 10th September 1902 and demitted on 31st March 1906; J. Carson, translated from Botany on 5th February 1907, who received the call to Higher Service on 22nd December 1923; J. Frew Brown, translated from Alstonville on 10th May 1924, resigned on 20th April 1928; J. Gillespie, translated from Coraki on 17th December 1929, resigned on 31st January 1935; A. A. Adam, ordained and inducted on 3rd December 1935, and was translated to Holbrook on 17th November 1938; A. C. Begbie, ordained and inducted on 22nd March 1939, and resigned on 28th August 1942 to enlist in the field artillery. He resigned from the Ministry on 2nd November 1944. J. P. Mortimore was translated from Campbelltown on 7th November 1942, and was translated to Port Macquarie on 1st December 1948. J. C. McDiarmid was translated from Southport, Queensland, on 6th July 1949.
Of these ministries the most notable is that of the Rev. J. Carson. Ordained by the Presbytery of Belfast on 24th June 1863, he died on 2nd December 1923, thus completing his Diamond Jubilee in the Ministry. He laboured till the end in the parish, and his labours were most exacting and indefatigable. His handling of transport—horses, and later a motor car—excited the admiration and awe of those who had associations with him. The Charge consisted originally of three main centres, Cowper, Ulmarra, and Lawrence with a manse at Cowper near the junction of the two arms of the river. In 1929 Lawrence was attached to Maclean, and South Grafton was added to Middle Clarence and became the headquarters of the Charge. St Stephen's Church, South Grafton was opened and dedicated by the Moderator-General, the Right Rev. Dr James Gibson, on 17th March 1922. A new manse was opened at South Grafton in 1938. In St Stephen's Church, South Grafton, the Communion table and chairs are a memorial to Mr John Harvey, and the baptismal font was given in memory of Miss Jane McLean. In St James's, Ulmarra, the Communion table and chairs were dedicated to the memory of the Rev. James Carson. In St David's, Cowper, the Communion table and chairs were dedicated to the memory of Mr W. P. Thomson and Mrs T. McKinnon. The memorial fence in front of the church commemorates Messrs C. Napper, W. Connor, F. G. Blanch, and W. P. Thomson.
Elders past and present: Messrs D. Nicholson, W. K. Watson, V. Carmont, P. Hall, W. J. Benson, E. C. Napper, G. A. E. Blanch, T. J. Roberts, C. Napper, L. R. Thomas, V. G. Thompson, D. S. McGregor, W. R. Giles.
© Southern Cross College, 2006.