Fifty Years of Presbyterianism in Mortlake [Victoria] 1917 • E-Books

Fifty Years of Presbyterianism in Mortlake [Victoria] 1917

J. E. Murdoch, ,

Fifty Years of Presbyterianism in Mortlake,

1847 - 1897.



"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.,"




Mortlake [Victoria]:

Printed at the “Dispatch" Office.


* * *


"When once thy foot enters the Church, be bare.

God is more than thou; for thou art there

Only by His permission. Thence, beware,

And make thyself all reverence and fear.

Kneeling ne'er spoilt silk stockings; quit thy state,

All equal are within the Church's gate.

Let vain or busy thoughts have there no part;

Bring not thy plough, thy plots, thy pleasures thither.

Christ purged His Temple; so must thou thy heart.

All worldly thoughts are but thieves met together

To cozen, thee. Look to thy actions well;

For Churches either are our heaven or hell."

—George Herbert.





Minister: Rev. William McBride.

Secretary: Mr. W. Swinton. Treasurer: Mr. George Graham

Session: Mr. John Neilson. Mr. T. F. Harbinson. Mr. W. Swinton.


Mr John McWilliam.

Mr H. Stewart.

Mr L. J. Weatherly.

Mr J. E. Jones.

Mr Geo. Graham.

Mr. E. Miller.

Mr. W. J. Cathcart.

Mr. J. Beardsley.

Mr. James Cathcart.

Mr. Geo. Alen [Allen?].

(Members of Session, ex-officio).

Auditors: Messrs. W. J. Aikman and C. A. Cameron.


Mr. R. A. D. Hood.

Mr. W. M. Bayles.

Mr. C. J. Read, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.

Mr. W. J. T. Armstrong.

Mr. J. Lamond.


Mr. Walter Brooks, Treasurer.

Mr. Geo Geddes, Secretary.

Mr. J. Holdsworth.

Mr. R. Ford.

Mr. A. Robertson.

Mr. C. A. Buchanan.

Collectors for Assembly Schemes: Miss Pumphrey and Miss Brooks.

Seat rents collected in last week in March, June, September and December.

Collectors: Mr. J. E. Jones. Mr. L. J. Weatherly. Mr. J. Beardsley.

Mr. J. McWilliam. Mr. E. Miller. Mr. Jas. Cathcart

General Assembly Schemes:

Collectors: Miss Paterson and Miss Stewart.

Choirmaster: Mr. J. Neilson.

Organiste: Miss Olive McDonald.

For Sittings apply to Mr. H, Stewart,



MY sole object in view in writing this brief sketch is to supply a short historical account of the Presbyterian Church of Mortlake, and thus place on permanent record the names and Christian activities of those who laid its foundation and contributed to its growth and expanding usefulness since its formation in the year 1847.

That it contains mistakes and imperfections is possibly true, though no pains have been spared to make it an accurate account of a very interesting period of the Church's growth from childhood to its jubilee.

In its compilation I have largely availed myself of the Rev. C. Stuart Ross' books, "Colonization and Church Work in Victoria," and "The Scottish Church in Victoria," to whom my thanks are due. I am also indebted to the Rev. A. Dunn, M.A., B.D., of Camperdown, for permission to peruse the records of the Mortlake Charge, in his custody as Clerk of Presbytery; to the Rev. W. McBride, for his encouragement and kindly interest; also to the proprietors of the Mortlake "Dispatch," and to several old residents for items of information not otherwise obtainable.

In grateful remembrance of the many kindnesses received at the hands of Ministers, Elders, and Members of the Congregation, I send forth this slight historic sketch with the hope that it may prove of some interest to friends and fellow-members of the Church.


"Rydal Cottage,"

Mortlake, 1917.



* * *

THE author of "Fifty Years of Presbyterianism in Mortlake" has kindly asked me to write a brief “Foreword" for insertion, and I do so with pleasure; yet a pleasure not unmixed with sadness.

No Minister can have the oversight of one parish for a quarter-of-a-century without witnessing great changes in the personnel of his original congregation.

While some of those who were standard-bearers in the Church twenty-five years ago are still carrying the banner of the Cross, yet, alas, how many have fallen by the way, and entered into their rest.

Readers of this Booklet, as they step through the past years, will call to mind the men and women of those pioneer days, who had to endure trials and difficulties of which we have no experience to-day, yet kept their faith and their loyalty to the God and the Church of their fathers. But the question arises to our lips, "Are the sons and daughters of these pioneers following in their footsteps." In the majority of cases we can thankfully answer, Yes. Yet we have to confess there are some who apparently seem to forget their duty to God, and the Church, and the memory of their sainted parents, to whom religion was a very real and living force.

Let me say here that I have been greatly cheered in my ministry by the splendid loyalty of our people as a whole, and by the invariable kindness and consideration extended to me at all times, for which I sincerely thank them.

In concluding this "Foreword" I would say to those who read these pages, especially my own people, as your minister I venture to call every member and adherent of this old Church, with so many noble and inspiring traditions, to rally to the old flag and the old service of winning men for Christ. Our fathers gave their best. We are what we are as a people, because they were earnest men, alive to the opportunities of their hour, and willing to buy those opportunities up at the cost of sacrifice and personal devotion. Let us summon ourselves to serve God and the Church as well in our generation as our fathers did in theirs.

"The Lord hath done great things

" for us whereof we are glad,"

And greater than these will He do if we keep

" Still faithful to our God

" And to our Captain true."

The Manse, - Mortlake, June, 1917.



[Photograph: Presbyterian Church, Mortlake. Photo: B. Stewart, Mortlake]


Fifty Years of Presbyterianism in Mortlake,


IT was a most fortunate thing for the Western District that “the early pioneer squatters were men of education and good family, and carried with them into their new surroundings a simple faith in God and a civilizing power for good, for which we, of a later day, owe them much. They were men of grit, these pathfinders. They thought little of the difficulties that beset them in exploring an unknown country, inhabited by naked savages. With cheery optimism they pushed their way through primeval forests and illimitable plains, in search of new homes under the Southern Cross.

Surrounded as they were by conditions at once so novel and unique in their experience, and freed from all restraints of civilized life, they never forgot they were Christian gentlemen. In the early forties, we are told, the squatters in the immediate district foregathered together on Sundays at Davidson's Inn (the site of the present manse), Darlington, for mutual and friendly intercourse; occasionally to hunt the dingoes, which, at that time, were a great pest. After one of those hunting expeditions, finding themselves with a revenue of £300 a year, the idea suggested itself to Mr. Neil Black and others, that if they could combine to bear joint expenses for dingo hunting, it would be possible to arrange for a joint fund for better purposes.

As a result, after some informal talk on the subject, a meeting was held at Darlington early in 1848, at which it was agreed to send circulars to residents in the vicinity of Mount Elephant, stating the desirability of having a Minister of the Gospel settled in the district. In the meantime Mr. Lachlan McKinnon, of Mount Fyan's station, had written to the Rev. W. Hamilton, who was then living at Goulburn, N.S.W., stating that there was a probable opening in the Western District for a Presbyterian Minister.

To the Presbyterian Church, thus belongs the honor of being


the first of the Protestant denominations to follow her sons into the Western Plains with the Gospel message.

Mr. Hamilton resigned his charge at Goulburn, and on the 28th day of October, 1846, set out on his long and toilsome journey to Melbourne.

He was accompanied by his wife and family, two men servants, a bullock dray, a horse and cart, a milch cow, and a tent with suitable indispensable furnishings. The journey, which occupied nine weeks, was a much longer and more exhausting one than they had anticipated; flooded rivers and boggy tracks seriously impeded progress. For a week they lay encamped on the northern bank of the Murray, on the site now occupied by Albury. They were arrested by inundations caused by heavy rains, the punt, which in ordinary circumstances facilitated traffic, being now consequently useless. On the 1st of January, 1847, the little company arrived in Melbourne, and on the following day they reached the home of Mr. Clow, at Dandenong. “Towards the end of the month I visited," says Mr. Hamilton, “the Western District, and preached to small congregations at Glenormiston and Lake Webster. The place of meeting here was a small parlour in Mr. Webster's Homestead, and the congregation, though two or three strangers were present, did not exceed a dozen, but a dozen may be said to have been there, and for two years after the average number of the resident population of Mortlake and all the parishes adjacent."

A meeting of squatters favourable to the settlement of a Presbyterian Minister was held at Darlington (then called Elephant Bridge) on the 8th February, 1847; Mr. Neil Black in the chair. It was then unanimously agreed to invite the Rev. W. Hamilton to become their Minister, with an annual stipend of £216 a year.

A committee, consisting of Messrs. Lachlan McKinnon, J, Webster, Alex. Davidson, Robert Anderson, John. Thomson, Daniel Curdie and John Ross, with Mr. Neil Black as secretary and treasurer, was elected to take charge of Church matters in the district. On the 20th of April following, at a large meeting held at Darlington, Mr. Hamilton was formally received as Minister of the New Charge, which was ecclesiastically to be known as the Kilnoorat and Western District Church, which is thus the Mother Church of the Presbytery of Mortlake.

Holy Communion was first celebrated at Wooriwyrite on. the 4th of March, 1849, when the following members were admitted:—


[Photograph: THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN MORTLAKE, Photo: B. Stewart, Mortlake.]

[THE CHURCH ON THE COMMON, Photo; B, Stewart, Mortlake.]



Daniel Curdie, Tandarook; Ebenezer and Mrs. Oliphant, Wooriwy-rite; Robert and Mrs. Anderson, of Bolac Plains; John Crawford, shepherd, Glenormiston; Mrs. Hamilton, Kilnoorat; Henry Gibbs, Eilyer; and Duncan McNichol, Timhoon (Camperdown).

The original Manse at Kilnoorat was a slab building of two rooms, with kitchen attached. Service was held at first in the Manse parlour, and some years subsequently a small wooden Church was built. The first stone Church was built at Darlington in 1864.

The first service according to the Presbyterian form (already referred to) was held by the Rev. W. Hamilton in the parlour at the station of Mr. J. Webster, Mount Shadwell, afterwards in the woolshed at a corner of the section. Sometime about 1854 Divine service was held in the house of Mr. Archibald Small, occasionally in the barn. The house was afterwards occupied by Mr. Kerr, shire engineer, and was accidently burnt down some years ago.

Towards the end of June, 1856, steps were taken to erect a Church in Mortlake, on a site given by Mr. Hamilton. A small Church, costing £190, was opened in September, 1857 (the old Shire Hall), at present in the occupation of Mr. John Williamson. The Rev. Mr. Hamilton resigned his charge, of Darlington and Kilnoorat in 1857, and was succeeded by the Rev. S. Corrie on the 1st of January, 1858.

Mr. Hamilton having purchased the Cairnlea property at the first land sale, held at Geelong, finally removed from Kilnoorat and came to reside at Mortlake in 1854.

At first he had no definite intention of continuing his ministry further than making himself useful to his neighbours, but he was led to give the people a Sabbath day's service, and gradually to form and organise the Mortlake Church.



At a meeting of the congregation, held on the 10th of December, 1860, an application was ordered to be made through the Rev. Irving Hetherington, Clerk of the General Assembly, to try to secure from the Government a grant of a piece of land for a site for Church and Manse, the land desired being part of Section. II. in the Town Reserve. It was pointed out that they at present assembled in a small building capable of holding some 70 or 80 persons, which was regularly filled every Sabbath, and that many were prevented from attending Church by the want of accommodation. The site desired, part of Section II., next the Church of England reserve, could not be granted, but a like area, situated in Section 10 of the town allotments, was offered and duly accepted. Steps were therefore immediately taken, to collect subscriptions towards the erection of the new Church, and the following gentlemen were appointed trustees, viz.:—W. Armstrong, Hexham Park; Alexander Sloan, Myrnong; Archibald Small, Mortlake; Alex. Hamilton, Mortlake; and the Rev. W. Hamilton, Cranilea, who had been trustees for the old Church, erected in December, 1859. Early in November, 1861, a commencement was made with the new building, the estimated cost of which was £700.

It was opened for public worship on Sabbath, the 8th of June, 1862; the service being conducted in the morning by the Rev. W. Hamilton and in the afternoon by the Rev. S. Corrie, of Kilnoorat and Darlington. The congregations were the largest that had ever assembled in Mortlake up to that time.

On the Monday evening a public meeting was held, the chair being occupied by the Rev. W. Hamilton. In speaking, of the difficulties and slow progress made in the formation of a congregation he said, “We met at first in an open, uncomfortable woolshed, then in a farmer's kitchen or barn, and only by a great effort accomplished the erection of what we may now call our old Church. That building we thought a great work when it was opened for worship, and we congratulated ourselves much when we had cleared it of debt. I believed it was quite sufficient for any Presbyterian congregation that would exist here in my day or for long after. It was far from being filled at first, but with the increase of the town the congregation increased, until the house was found quite inadequate for its accommodation and clearly insufficient to meet the requirements of the place. Then I proposed the erection of a new Church, and the call was


[Photograph: The Choir. Standing (left to right): - Miss O. McDonald (Organiste), Miss H. Cathcart, Miss Benallack, Mr R. A. Flanders, Miss N. Stewart, Mr. E. Miller, Miss L. McDonald. Sitting (left to right): Miss A. Paterson, Miss M. Cameron, Miss R. McWilliam, Mr. J. Neilson (Conductor), Miss D. Flanders, Miss N. Neilson, Mrs. Miller. [Photo: B. Stewart, Mortlake].]



warmly responded to. Our building committee was appointed and set to work, and this house is the result. I consider it a perfect model of a country Church."

Other speakers were the Rev. R. Sutherland, Allansford; Rev. J. M. Donaldson (Anglican), Mortlake; Rev. S. Corrie, Kilnoorat; Thomas Shaw, Esq., Wooriwyrite; W. Armstrong, Esq., Hexham Park; Thomas Armstrong, Esq., Hexham; Robert Burke, Esq. (Anglican), Mortlake. Others present were Messrs. A. Small, Jas. Armstrong, Andrew Hamilton, Jas. Geddes, John Cameron, Alex. Hamilton, W. McLeod, Thos. Geddes, and James Johnstone.

The contractors were:—Messrs. Geddes and Gemmel, mason work; Messrs. Hamilton and Co., carpenters' work; Messrs. Grieve and Ellis, slating the roof.

It is worthy of note that all money was obtained as freewill offerings, without the questionable means frequently employed of bazaars and soirees. All the money the managers received from the State grant was about £130, but all the rest, £1300 or more, were voluntary contributions.

In 1863, Thomas Shaw, Esq., of Wooriwyrite, donated £20 for the purchase of suitable Communion plate and accessories; he also contributed £100 towards the Church Building Fund. Mr. W. Armstrong, Hexham Park, contributed a like amount.

Mr. Hamilton retired in 1874, and fell on sleep 25th of May, 1879; aged 72. Hexham and Woorndoo were joined to Mortlake, and the Rev. John Dykes was settled as Minister of the united charge in 1876.

He was succeeded in 1881 by the Rev. W. M. Alexander, who resigned in 1892; and the present Minister, Rev. W. McBride, was called on the 3rd of October, 1892.

The first person to be baptised by Mr Hamilton in this Parish was Donald, son of James McDonald, overseer, Menin-goort, April 2nd, 1847; and the first at Mortlake were Joseph and William Wykes, in June, 1857; the former was born on March 22nd, 1854, and the latter April 2nd, 1857.

The first marriage solemnised by Mr. Hamilton in the Parish took place at Kilnoorat on the 3rd of January, 1848, the contracting parties being James McKay, of Mt. Shadwell, to Catherine Buckley, of Mt. Shadwell, in the presence of Matthew Sullivan and Elizabeth Keeble, of Mt. Shadwell.



ON the 5th March, 1862, Mr James Armstrong, of Mortlake, and Mr. William Armstrong, of Hexham Park, were elected as the first Elders, and duly ordained on Sabbath, March 30th. On the 3rd of April the Session met for the first time at Cairnlea, Sederunt—Rev W. Hamilton, James Armstrong, of Mortlake, and William Armstrong, of Hexham Park; Mr W. Hamilton, junr., not an Elder, but a member of the congregation, was elected Session Clerk.

A second election was held in 1863, when Mr John Grieve and Mr James Aikman were chosen Elders; the latter, however, declined to accept Office. In July, 1867, Mr John Grieve resigned the Eldership.

On two occasions in the history of the Church, in default of a Session, the Minister was assisted by Assessors appointed by the Presbytery, and at one period the Session at Woorndoo. Messrs. R. G. Armstrong and Andrew Lillies acted for Mortlake.

In 1891, the Rev. W. M. Alexander took steps to have Elders elected, and the choice fell upon Mr Archibald Stewart, Mr John Neilson and Mr J. R. Murdoch, who were duly ordained; Mr Stewart and Mr Murdoch resigned in 1902. At an election for Elders in 1901, Mr Charles McLean, Mr H. Stewart and Mr W. Swinton were elected, the two former, however, declined to take Office; Mr Swinton was ordained on September 22nd, 1901.


[Photograph: The Board of Management: Standing (left to right):- Messrs. J. McWilliam, Geo. Alen, L.J. Weatherly, G. Graham, J. Beardsley. Sitting (left to right):- Messrs. E. Miller, J. Cathcart, H. Stewart, J. E. Jones, W. Cathcart. [Photo: B. Stewart, Mortlake].]



"TTEIE only son of the Rev. Andrew Hamilton, of the High Church, Kilmarnock, Scotland, was born on the 30th March, 1807. In November, 1822, he entered Glasgow University with the purpose of studying for the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, and, having passed the usual curriculum in Arts and Theology, he was licensed to preach the Gospel in 1830. Three years later he entered upon his first regular engagement as Home Missionary, chiefly among the colliers at Dundonald.

[Photo: Rev. W. Hamilton]

In somewhat less than three years he accepted a call to become Assistant to the Rev. Patrick Macfarlane, of the West Parish, Greenock, where he remained till he left for Australia in May, 1837, in the ship, “North Britain," having as fellow passengers:—Revs. James Clow, J. Little and J. Tait.

He was called to Goulburn, N.S.W., in October, 1837. In 1840 he married Miss M. J. Clow, daughter of the Rev. J. Clow, his friend and fellow passenger. In 1846 he demitted his charge at Goulburn, and was called to Mortlake in 1847.



WAS born and educated at Clydesdale, Glasgow; prepared, for the University at the High School there, where he had the honor of having as one of his teachers the father of Lord Bryce.

He took the usual Arts course at the University and the Divinity course in the Free Church College (now the U.F. College). His first appointment was at Strathblane, near Glasgow, and was afterwards assistant to the Rev. Charles Thompson, of Wick, whose congregation was the largest in Scotland. The Church seated 1300 and the pews were always occupied at public worship.

Later, the Rev. Mr Dykes returned to Glasgow to take up the position of assistant to the Rev. Mr Nicholl, of Free St. Stephen's.

This was also a very large congregation, and the strain of speaking to such exceptionally large audiences brought on throat trouble, which necessitated seeking a drier climate. The Mission Board of the English Presbyterian Church pressed him to go as a Missionary to China, but medical friends advised Australia. Mortlake was his first charge. On leaving Mortlake he was called to Jerilderie, N.S.W., where he remained until his retirement. He is now living in a suburb of Sydney.



WAS born under the shadow of Westminster Abbey, London, and came out to Australia as a youth in the fifties. On his mother's side Mr Alexander is Highland, as his mother's name, Mackay, Implies; on his father's side he is Lowland, from the Kingdom of Fife.

Educated under Alfred Brunton, at 13 he was a pupil teacher, then assistant in the best State school in Victoria, where he was afterwards Head Teacher, subsequently Head Teacher of the Melbourne Orphan Asylum till he entered the Ministry. He was a Sunday school teacher before he was 14 and filled every office in the Sunday school from Secretary to Superintendent. He had the advantage of sitting 13 years under the spiritual instruction of Dr Adam Cairns, and then 12 years under Dr Donald McDonald, of Emerald Hill. In the Dorcas St. 'Congregation Melbourne, he was on the Board of Management for 12 years, and an Elder and leader of the Young Men's Bible Class. In Y.M.C.A. work he was an earnest


worker; also in the Band of Hope and Missionary efforts. When he was licensed to preach the gospel, he was called to Ryrie St. Church, Geelong, but preferred to close with a call to Bright, where he had double the work and half the stipend. He was then transferred to Mortlake, where he laboured successfully for 11 years. Thence he was called to Erskine Church, Carlton, where he laboured for 17 years, and removed thence to Abbotsford. He was unanimously elected Clerk of the Presbytery of Melbourne North, and afterwards became Junior Clerk of Assembly. He represented the Church in the Pan Presbyterian Council in 1888, the first Australian trained Minister to have that honor, and was sent to the New Hebrides in 1891, to report confidentially on Mission affairs there. In 1913 he was called to the highest and most honored position in the Church, namely, Moderator of the General Assembly. He entered on his arduous duties with characteristic energy and thoroughness, visiting most of the country and outback charges, hitherto unvisited. It was while in the Horsham district that he was seized with a stroke, by which he was incapacitated for the performance of further Ministerial duties, and resigned his charge in 1914. During the years he has been laid aside, he has never lost his cheery, optimistic outlook on life; his large-hearted benevolence always finds him ready to help in any good cause; he combines staunchest adherance to principle, with most generous charity towards all who differ from him. Possessed of a keen and caustic wit, and readiness of retort, there was never a. dull moment when, he spoke in Presbytery or Assembly.

He is held in affectionate regard by the people of Mortlake, who pray that the eventide of his strenuous life may be serene and happy.



WAS educated at the National school, Bally-Keel, Lough Erne, and the Model school, Belfast, Ireland. He left Ireland for Australia in October, 1883, and landed at Melbourne in December, 1883. In 1881 he conducted services for the Rev. Mr Howe, of Yackandanda, and did other Home Mission work; entered Ormond College the same year, passed his exit examination in 1886, licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Melbourne, January, 1887.

Ordained to the Pastoral Charge of Dromana and associated districts, June 4th, 1888; called to Mortlake in 1892, and inducted into the charge, October, 1892.



THE want of a suitable residence for the Minister of the Church had long been felt, but it was not till October, 1882, that a serious effort was made to supply that want. In December, 1882, a suitable site was secured by the purchase of the paddock belonging to Mr R. Armstrong,

The building was commenced early in 1883, and .completed in 1884, at a cost of £2000. The Contractors were: Mr Kellar, for mason work; Mr Jos. Wykes, for carpentry work; W. Alen and Son, painters; Mr Kerr, architect; Mr Thos. Geddes, clerk of works. The original trustees of the Manse were:— Mr W. Armstrong, Mr M. Young, Mr John McWilliam, and the Rev. W. M. Alexander.

* * *


LIKE most Presbyterian congregations, the Mortlake church has attracted to its services representatives of all classes of the community. The farmer and storekeeper, the squatter and professional man, the enterprising tradesman and sturdy worker have all alike served on its Session and Boards of Management. We append a list of all those who have acted as Conductors of Psalmody, Members of the Board of Management, and Sabbath School Staff.

* * *



Mr. T. F. Brown.


Mr. H. C. Johnstone, at a salary of £10 a year.


Mr. J. G. Flanders.


Mr. Maynard, at £4. 4s. a quarter (for. two quarters).

Mr. John Grieve.

Mr. J. R. Baird.

Mr. Alex. Hamilton.

Mr. John Neilson.


[Photograph: The Manse, Mortlake.]




1859. Messrs. A. Sloane, Alex. Hamilton, John Cameron, A. Small, Jas. Geddes. Mr. Sloane, secretary and treasurer.

1860. Messrs. Thomas Armstrong, W. McLeod, D. McLean, and above.


1861. No new names.

1862. Messrs. Andrew Hamilton, Thos. Geddes, James Johnstone.

1863. Messrs. Jas. Aikman, John Richie, John McDonald.

1864. No new names.

1865. Messrs. Charles Rowand, Robert Armstrong.

1866. No new names.

1867. Messrs. W. Gilbert, J. G. Flanders.

1868. Messrs. Jas. Armstrong, John Grieve, D. Cairncross, M. Young, A. Denny.

1869. No new names.

1870. Mr. Jas. Bogle.

1871. Messrs. Jas. Pate, Jas. Paterson.

1872. Messrs. Jas. Smith, Archibald Stewart.

1873. Messrs. William Aikman, H. M, Hamilton.

1874. Messrs. John Armstrong, Robert Ross, A. Gilbert.

1875. No new names.

1876. No new names.

1877. Mr. C. Buchanan.

1878. Mr. Thos. Swinton.

1879. Mr. John McWilliam.

1880. No new names.

1881. Mr. Mc J. Innes.

1882. Messrs. W. Swinton, W. R. Bell.

1883. No new names.

1884 No new names.

1885. Messrs. W. Whitson, J. McWilliam, J. Neilson.

1886. Mr. Jos. Bradshaw.

1887. Mr. J. B. Doyle.

1888. No new names.

1889. No new names.

1890. Messrs. J. R. Murdoch, Geo. Graham.

1891. Messrs. H. Stewart, A. J. Brookman, A. McKenzie, D. Fiddes, C, Cameron.

1892. No new names.

1893. No new names.

1894. Messrs. Thos. Small, Thos. McBride.

1895. Mr. J. E. Jones.

1896. Messrs. C. McLean, J. C. Hamilton,

1897. No new names.


[Photograph: THE SESSION. Standing:—Rev. W. McBride. Sitting (left to right):—Messrs. T. F. Harbinson, J. Neilson, W. Swinton.

Photo; D. Stewart, Mortlake.]



Miss Rowe.

Miss Geddes.

Mr. A. J. Brookman.

Miss Doyle.

Miss M. Doyle.

Miss N. Swinton.

* * *


FOR many years the Sabbath School was conducted in the Church, and held after morning service, but as population grew and the number of scholars increased, it was found very inconvenient and quite inadequate for the proper conduct of the school. In 1893 a vigorous attempt was made to erect a Sabbath School hall, the result being that a spacious hall was erected and opened in 1894, at a complete cost of something like £300. The hall has proved a great boon in the increased facilities for teaching, for lectures and social gatherings.

* * *


FOURTEEN acres of Glebe land and Manse at Mortlake; one acre at Hexham (Grown grant), one-half acre on which is built a substantial school and preaching station, free of debt; two acres at Kalora are held in trust by the Presbyterian Trust Corporation, Victoria. Reserve Crown sites—At Mortlake, 1 acre 2 roods; Hexham, 1 acre 2 roods; Woorndoo, 2 acres. No titles have been issued for these three sites.



IT will have been seen that the Jubilee of the Church should have been celebrated in September, 1897, but owing to a variety of causes the important event was postponed till 1904.

On Sabbath morning, April 1st, 1904, the Jubilee services were commenced by the Rev. Donald A. Cameron, M.A., who preached before a large congregation.

In the evening he gave an able discourse on the subject of "Excuses given why some people do not go to Church," and delivered a most instructive and edifying sermon.

* * *


Tuesday was set apart for holding a Jubilee Festival. Tea was Served in the Sabbath School hall, the building being beautifully and artistically decorated for the occasion. After tea an adjournment was made to the Mechanics' hall, where a public meeting was held.

* * *


Presided over by the Rev. W. McBride, the meeting opened with the singing of Psalm 100, followed by prayer by the Rev. S. Frazer. Apologies were read from several old members of the Church regretting their inability to be present, notably from Mr. John Grieve, Mr. E. M. McKay and Mr. A. Sloane.

The chairman read a brief historical statement of the Church since its foundation (as previously outlined), which was supplemented by the Rev. S. Frazer, M.A., of Terang, who read letters in his possession from old pioneers.

Among the gentlemen present on the platform were the Rev. Jas. Wagg, B.A., of the Anglican Church; the Rev. Thos. Collins, representing the Methodist Church; Rev. D. A. Cameron, M.A., Warrnambool; Rev. C. S. Ross, Darlington; Rev. W. Thomson, Camperdown; Rev. A. I. Davidson, Noorat; Rev. W. Miller, Framlingham: Rev. W. M. Alexander, Erskine Church, Carlton; Thos. Shaw, Esq., Wooriwyrite; the President of the Shire (Councillor Ormsby), and Messrs. Andrew and James O. Hamilton, sons of the first Minister.

* * *


Wednesday evening the Sabbath school scholars and teachers gave the Cantata, “Under the Palms," under the leadership of Mr.


[Photograph: Sabbath School Teachers: Standing (left to right):- Miss A. Paterson, Miss Doyle, Mr W. Swinton (Superintendent), Mrs. J Stewart, Miss A. Cameron, Miss V. McWilliam. Sitting (left to right): - Miss R. McWilliam, Miss J. Aikman, Miss W. Flanders, Miss E. Goodall, Miss O. McDonald. [Photo: B. Stewart, Mortlake.].]


John Neilson, choirmaster, the building being crowded with a highly appreciative audience; after which the Rev. W. McBride distributed the prizes to the successful scholars.

* * *


Thursday evening was devoted to a sacred concert, which was very largely attended. During an interval the Rev. W. M. Alexander delivered a most interesting and characteristic address to the young people present.

* * *


On Friday afternoon the Right Rev. Arthur Davidson, Moderator, held a reception in the Sabbath School hall, when an enjoyable hour was spent in social chat. In the evening he delivered a lecture on “Pursuit of Pleasure" to a large congregation.

* * *


At the time of the Jubilee.

Superintendent: Mr. A. Grant.

Secretary and Librarian: Mr. W. Swinton.


Miss J. Aikman.

Miss B. Milloy.

Miss A. Cameron.

Miss A. Paterson.

Miss M. Cameron.

Miss M. Dickison.

Miss E. Prentice.

Mr. A. Grant.

Mr. Wilson.




IN concluding this sketch of the rise and progress of the Church at Mortlake, it seems incomplete without a word of sacred and affectionate remembrance of the men and women who helped by their work and influence to make the Church what it is today.

Who can measure the work and influence for good exercised by Mrs. and Miss Hamilton as teachers and leaders in everything that tended to the advancement of the Master's Kingdom; or Mrs. Swinton and Mrs. Milloy, two Mothers in Israel, whose presence at meetings of Church or School seemed to infuse a spirit of geniality and good-will, and whose co-operation in all social functions was so readily and unselfishly given. Other names come trooping through the mind in twos and threes—Alexander Sloane, James and William Armstrong, Alexander Hamilton, William McLeod, John Cameron and Archibald Small, the Geddes Brothers, and John Greive, pioneer helpers in the Infant Church; James Paterson and Robert Ross, men whom to know was to respect; James Aikman, honest and sturdy Scot, whose word was his bond; Archibald Stewart, genial, clear-headed and benevolent Ulsterman, Elder and many years Chancellor of the Church's Exchequer, and others who are no longer with us.

Many of them have left worthy successors, who still carry on, faithfully and well, the traditions and work of the historic Kirk of their fathers.

The dear lads who, with the chivalry of the race, went from our midst to serve their King and Country in defence of honour and justice and the cause of freedom, and those who have fallen and now peacefully sleep—the sleep of the honored—on the rock-bound ridges of far Gallipoli, the sun-scorched sands of Egypt or on the fair fields of Flanders, we remember gratefully and reverently.

Much has been quietly and unostentatiously done by the Church in the past, in the discharge of her mission to elevate the tone of society and to raise the standard of conduct among the community.

We earnestly hope and pray that, with the help of the Great Head of the Church, the work may continue to be carried forward with unabated zeal, and that all things done, and to be done, may redound to His honour and glory and the upliftment of the people.


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