In 1950 the South Australian Methodist Historical Society was formed by the Methodist Conference. The objects of the Society were research, promotion of Methodist history, acquisition of historical material, publishing and opportunities for members to meet for lectures and discussion thus creating “a living interest in Methodist history”.
After the Inauguration of the Uniting Church in 1977 members of the former Congregational and Presbyterian Churches joined the Council of the Society. Since then the Society has published a Newsletter and most of the lectures which have been held each year – including the Gordon Rowe Memorial Lectures, supported by a bequest from the estate of the Reverend Gordon Rowe, a founding member of the Society and President from 1953-1961.
In 1988 historical documents and memorabilia which had been stored at Kent Town Church were moved to a cottage in Malvern owned by Mr Colin Watson. With Mr Watson’s death in 2001, the South Australian Synod of the Uniting Church received a generous bequest from his estate “for the exclusive use of the South Australian Uniting Church History Society”. This bequest made possible the purchase of the former Church of Christ property at 44A East Avenue, Black Forest, enabling the establishment of the Uniting Church History Centre. The bequest also provides income for the work of the Society.
The Society is now recognised as an Agency of the Synod and is responsible for the preservation, storage and maintenance of historical material and memorabilia which is not required by the Synod to be stored in the State Library of South Australia.