Category Archives: Looking Back

Looking back… 50 years ago – Downlingville Uniting Church

text from the South Australian Methodist - 03 November 1967

Downlingville Uniting Church building

From the South Australian Methodist – 03 November 1967

Dowlingville Uniting (then Methodist) Church was built in 1879, so 50 years ago would have celebrated its 88th birthday.
Another 50 years on, and the church still has regular worship services attended by people from the surrounding farming communities (some of whom are descendants of the pioneer settlers in the area)

The photo of the church was taken approximately 12 months ago.

Looking back… 60 years ago

text from The South Australian Methodist, 13 October 1957

From The South Australian Methodist – 13 October, 1957< >
Times have changed – in 1957, the state Methodist Conference had papers and proceedings published in a bound book. Now, as we get ready for the SA Presbytery & Synod meeting next month, we will be downloading our papers from the Synod website, and most of us will be using our electronic devices to read them

Looking back… 60 years ago

newspaper snippetThe old Naracoorte Methodist ChurchThe new Naracoorte Methodist Church (now Uniting)





From The South Australian Methodist – Friday 4 October 1957…

60 years ago, Naracoorte Uniting Church (then Methodist) were getting ready to move into their brand new building.
The photos are from documents in the History Centre’s collection – the ‘new’ church shown in the early 1960s from a Stewardship information brochure; and the old Methodist Church from the order of service for the Opening and Dedication Ceremonies for the new church.

The opening service was held on Sunday October 22, 1957 and was led by the then President-General of the Methodist Church of Australasia – Dr the Rev. A. Harold Wood, M.A. – and the Minister of the Circuit – The Rev. E. N. Broomhead, M.A.

Looking back… 100 years ago – Gawler Methodist Circuit

From ‘The Australian Christian Commonwealth‘ – July 28, 1916

A snippet from the report of the Gawler Circuit Quarterly meeting (held on July 1)
“Number of members, 431 full, 36 junior…
Sunday schools were reported on as satisfactory, special mention being made of Williamstown and Gawler West, the latter school being in need of increased accommodation.”

Looking back… 100 years ago

From The Australian Christian Commonwealth┬á– July 21, 1916…

A poem from the Rev. O. Lake
(seemingly inspired by Acts 26:12-13 and his own conversion)

“To my distracted life there came a calm
Like that upon the sea at Christ’s rebuke;
I seemed to breathe the sunshine, all the world
Was changed to share the rapturous joy with me
That day stands out, with memory’s best replete,
My day of joyous days, filled out, complete.

The storms since then have thundered round my way,
And days have passed relieved with scanty light,
But I have never lost the afterglow
Of that great day, the heavenly prototype;
Let all the coming years bring what they may,
they cannot memory rob of that great day.

In coming days the floods may rise and roar
And strife may thrust aside the thoughts of peace;
But He who gave me that wide liberty
Can in the fettered flesh the soul release.
In my conversion was the earnest given
Of tearless, sinless, joyous life in heaven.”

Looking Back… 100 years ago

From The Australian Christian Commonwealth – July 14, 1916…

A report from the Conference Executive on Evangelism

“The Conference Executive, at is meeting on Friday evening last, decided upon an AUGUST EVANGELISTIC MISSION, along the following lines :-
(1) That during the month of August all our Sunday evening services be made distinctly Gospel services, preceded by a Prayer meeting and followed by an after-meeting for the purpose of securing decisions for Christ.
(2) That in as many places in each circuit as possible Gospel services e held during the week nights following, such services to be conducted by the ministers of the circuit, in conjunction with the local preachers
(3) That during these missions our people be specially urged to engage in house-to-house visitation and canvass, with a view to inducing and encouraging those who do not attend any place of worship to come to the mission services.”

Spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ has changed a bit in 100 years, but our Methodist predecessors were certainly quite earnest in getting the word out!

Looking back – 100 years ago

From The Australian Christian Commonwealth – July 7, 1916…

Letters from the Front
“Smith Street in Egypt.” by Chaplain Rev. T. C. Rentoul

Captain Gault and I are in neighbouring training battalions in this great canvas city. We unite as far as possible in our work, and our combined efforts are being blessed. In order to reach a large number of fellows who do not frequent the Y.M.C.A halls – of which we have three – we decided to commence open-air services on a couple of nights a week…
On the first night… the soldiers gathered round as curious and yet as shy as colts. Evidently they thought we were going to sell razor paste or mechanical toys, or start a gambling school. When the hymn books came out and a tune was started, one fellow groaned, “Good Lord, it’s religion@” and the crowd commenced to evaporate. But they soon came back. The are attracted by singing like flies to bread and jam (to full appreciate the force of the simile one needs to live in Egypt)

Looking Back – 100 years ago

From The Australian Christian Commonwealth – front page, June 30 1916… (so the language is not what we would use today)

“The Bible leads its student into God’s great out-of-doors. It enables him to find the symbols of spiritual truths in things material. The works of God and the word of god are interpretative of each other. In the lover of nature God finds His best-qualified messenger.”

The author of the article goes on to talk about the Shepherd & His sheep, the vineyard and The Vine pruner, etc.

‘The Australian Christian Commonwealth’ was a weekly newspaper of the early Methodist Church in South Australia, and can be found online at the National Library’s Trove website (, or print versions can be read at the History Centre.