1864-1866 Dawson St Church Built
Charles Martin's home page

  1. 1864 Land Purchased for the Church.
        1. 13th January - Sister Greaves -
        2. 9th March - A member is unhappy with the rigid beliefs of the church
        3. 16th March - First signs of tension between Martin and Picton?
        4. Sir Divers in Trouble Again.
        5. The Church Growing Strongly.
      1. Other Membership Troubles -
        1. Zeal for Outreach and Evangelism - and to form a library.
        2. Payment by Results
      2. 1865. A Big Year - The Church Building Erected.
        1. January 18th - An Important Meeting to organise arrangements for the church building (after dealing with the repentant husband).
        2. A New Church Building at Mount Clear.
      3. 28th June, 1865. New Building Opened.
      4. 1866.

1864 Land Purchased for the Church.

    In January, the question of a more suitable block of land for the church was again discussed. The block in Peel St was evidently considered unsuitable, as was the one in Barkley St which had been considered a few months earlier. The matter was regularly discussed at business meetings for the next six months or so, and in May it was decided that the collection on every alternate "Lord's Day" be set aside for this purpose. On 19th October the minutes record that -
19th October - Bro Martin mentioned that a piece of ground in Dawson St was for sale, and that he thought it would be an eligible site for a chapel. Br Jenkins moved and Br Neish seconded "That Brethren Picton, Martin, Neish, Wright, Reid and the mover form a committee and that they have full power to purchase the ground".
    An amendment was moved by Br Divers and seconded by Br Cassider, "That Brethren Wright, Picton and the mover ascertain what other land may be for sale in the neighbourhood and report to the church." The amendment was carried.
21st October - Brethren Wright, Picton and Divers reported that they had been unable to find a more suitable site for a chapel, than the allotment in Dawson St mentioned by Br Martin.Moved by Br Neish and seconded by Br Long "That the piece of ground in Dawson St be purchased for the church."
Then a month later the minutes record -
17th November - Bro Martin reported that the allotment of land in Dawson St had been purchased on behalf of the church.
7th December - It was agreed to have the conveyance of the land in Dawson St made out in the name of Bro Martin.
Br Davey moved Br Neish seconded "That a building committee be elected to consist of Brethren Picton, Martin, Neish, Jenkins, Reid and the mover. Agreed to."
    So after searching for a suitable block for well over a year, and discussing the matter at great length, it was finally settled - the block in Dawson St was to be the one. It had been sold to a Mr John Cain two years previously for £102, but Charles now managed to purchase it from him for £75. No time was lost in appointing a committee to get on with the task of building a chapel. The church that was to be built upon it was to last for 140 years. At the present time (1997) it is still in operation, but as inner city Ballarat has become unsuitable, a new site has recently been purchased on the Western Highway on the outskirts of Ballarat, and within a few years the church will be re-located and this historic site will be sold.
    But throughout the year, as well as discussing the purchasing of land, the general work of the church had to proceed.
    Purchase Document

13th January - Sister Greaves -

    At the church meeting held 13th January the pastoral care of the church for its members is again obvious -
    Sister Greaves having been bereft of her husband, the Deacons were requested to wait upon her, and ascertain if she were in distressed circumstances.
Then at the the next meeting it is recorded -
    Br Martin reported that the Deacons had waited on Sr Greaves and in the name of the church presented her with £2/18/- which she thought would be sufficient to supply her present needs.

9th March - A member is unhappy with the rigid beliefs of the church

Church meeting held 9th March 1864 at the residence of Br Divers. Bro Martin presiding. He stated that Br Picton had received the following note
Dear Sir,
    "Will you please have the kindness to withdraw my name from the church book as I have come to the conclusion to resign my membership.
    Wishing you all peace and prosperity,
    I remain, Yours etc, James Mason.26/2/64.
    Br Martin stated that the officers of the church had had an interview with Br Mason and had requested him to give his reasons for acting in so strange a manner, and that he replied that he had done so, because he differed from the brethren on several doctrinal questions, chiefly the work of the Holy Spirit, Baptism for the remission of sins, and strict communion. He refused to discuss these questions, stated that he was not prepared, but that he had fully determined to leave the church.
    Br Divers moved, Br Wright seconded that, Mr Mason having excluded himself from the breaking of bread without giving a satisfactory reason, his name be erased from the church book." Carried.

16th March - First signs of tension between Martin and Picton?

    The minutes record that Bro Long had absented himself from the breaking of bread on account of a disagreement with Bro Martin. The matter was left for the deacons to investigate, but as Bro. Long was a friend of Bro. Picton, it is possible that we have here the first indication of tension between Bros Martin and Picton. When the matter was followed up by the deacons a month or so later, Bro Long reported that the cause of the disagreement no longer existed (so he and Bro Martin must have patched up their quarrel).

Sir Divers in Trouble Again.

27th April. Br Martin reported that Mr Diver a member of the church at Prahran had laid a serious complaint against Sr Divers, that the deacons had endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation, but had failed to do so, and that they now on behalf of Mr Diver appealed to the church, and suggested the advisability of appointing a special committee to investigate the matter and deal with it as they see fit. Carried.
1st May - Lord's Day. At the close of the morning service Bro Picton reported to the church that the Committee appointed on the previous Wednesday evening had unanimously resolved "That Sr Divers having circulated certain reports prejudicial to the character of Mr Diver of Prahran, and having failed to substantiate such statements, and refused to withdraw them, moreover having manifested throughout an unchristian spirit, she be excluded from the fellowship of the church until repentance be manifested".
    So Sr. Divers was excluded until repentance be manifested. The minutes never get around to stating if she ever manifested it.

The Church Growing Strongly.

25th April. At this time there was another visit by D. Willder who was building up a congregation at Maryborough, but also engaged in some quite lengthy journeys of evangelism throughout Victoria -
    I have lately returned from a tour in Ballarat, Geelong, and thence to Cherry Tree Station, about one hundred and forty miles from Maryborough. I spent some time in Ballarat. A strong church has been planted there, numbering over fifty members, under the pastoral care of Brethren Picton and Martin, with every prospect of additions. We held meetings almost every night in the open air - large attendances and great attention. The brethren are full of zeal and good works.
    On Lord's day there was a good meeting in the morning. In the afternoon we went to Mount Clear, where the people are beginning to see clearly. Four or five were baptized by Bro. Picton. A chapel is rented to the Disciples for the nominal rent of one shilling a year. It was formerly a Union church. In the evening I preached in the Temperance Hall, Ballarat to a good audience, and immediately afterwards held an open air service, where crowds listened with eager attention to the words of eternal life.
    Taking a farewell of the loved ones at Ballarat, I rode to Maryborough in safety, thanks be to God, having ridden with the same horse near three hundred miles without an accident, but resting for a few days every fifty miles. "
    At about the same time, April 25th, a report of a meeting at Mount Clear appeared in the "Ballarat Evening Post” which was reproduced in the "British Millennial Harbinger".
"On Monday evening the Disciples of Christ held a social tea meeting in the Mount Clear Chapel. The building was completely crammed. Mr Anderson, having been called upon to preside, stated that after Mr Potter had left the Union Church, formerly worshiping there, they experienced great difficulty in maintaining regular services - that they had applied to the Baptists, but found they were unable to keep the pulpit supplied, and that in their difficulty their friend Mr Long had introduced them to Mr Picton, who apprised them that the Disciples were both willing and able to conduct services in the chapel twice every Lord's day. Shortly afterwards they invited Mr Picton to preach. He did so, but the church was then informed by Mr Sutton that either Mr Picton or himself must discontinue preaching in the chapel. That being the state of matters, the members of the Union church determined to let the chapel to the disciples for twelve months, and since that time they have had the privilege of enjoying the memorial feast in the morning, and of having the gospel proclaimed in the afternoon of every Lord's day. He then mentioned that their object that evening in having a tea meeting, differed from that of tea meetings ordinarily, which was that of raising money, their aim being to enable the inhabitants of the locality, to hear from the Disciples a statement of what it is that they do preach and uphold. He then called upon Mr Long to address the meeting, who expressed his joy that the brethren had been enabled to preach the gospel unto them, and rejoiced to know that it had not been in vain.Mr Martin read an address. Mr Picton in an able address explained wherein the Disciples differed from the various denominations of professing Christians, and expressed his willingness to deliver lectures there on any subjects, any week evening that would be convenient to the inhabitants of the place, and at the close of the lectures, allow any to ask further information, which he would be willing to the extent of his ability to afford. The meeting was then closed by praise and the benediction."
15th June - Church meeting held at the residence of Bro Martin. Present 16 Brethren and 10 sisters. (NOTE: A rather large meeting - 26 in all). A request was made for a re-hearing of Sr. Divers case - but it was refused.
    Br Picton stated that the meeting had been convened on account of a letter received from Br Knights asking for a re-hearing of the case of Mrs Divers.
    Bro Wright reported that the Pastors and Deacons Bardwell, Reid, Neish and Wright having considered the letter of Br Knights respecting the exclusion of Mrs Divers from the fellowship of the church, report that Br Knights has given no reason to justify the re-hearing of the case and therefore recommend that the decision of the committee be confirmed and accordingly moved "That the decision of the committee be confirmed". Br Reid recorded. The motion was carried no one expressing dissent.
13th July - Bro Divers feels that he should resign - presumably because of the behaviour of his wife.
Bro Bardwell stated that Br Divers had mentioned to him that he thought he could not scripturally hold the office of Deacon in his present position and wished the church to express its opinion thereon. Br Bardwell was requested to see Br Divers and inform him, that the church considered that if he were unable to discharge the duties of the office he should resign, although to receive his resignation would afford the members no pleasure.

Other Membership Troubles -

Sisters Picton and Manse Fighting - Br Wright reported that there had been a serious disagreement between Sisters Picton and Mance (or Manse), and that although the Deacons had made several attempts to reconcile the two, Mrs Picton positively refused to be reconciled. After considerable discussion the following resolution proposed by Br Wright and seconded by Br Bardwell was carried, "That Sister Picton refusing to be reconciled to one of the sisters in the church be excluded from fellowship until reconciliation be effected".
Bro and Sr Neale - and son - Deacons Neish and Wright reported that Br and Sr Neale seniors had absented themselves from the breaking of bread, and that they had visited them but could get no satisfactory reason from them.
    The following resolution on the motion of Br Jenkins seconded by Br Long was unanimously carried , "That Br and Sr Neale seniors having excluded themselves from the breaking of bread without giving a satisfactory reason, their names be erased from the church book".
    Deacons Bardwell and Wright reported that Br Neale Jr had also absented himself and that they were unable to procure from him a satisfactory reason for his conduct.
    Br Long moved, Br Bardwell seconded that Br Neale Jr having excluded himself from the breaking of bread without giving a satisfactory reason, his name be erased from the church book". Carried.
25th May - Albert Edward (5th child) born. He was to become a doctor, training in London and practising for a few years in Plymouth, before returning to Ballarat in about 1900 to establish a practice in Sturt St, and in 1904 to move to Perth, becoming the first eye specialist there.
Husband and Wife Arguments - "Sorry Darling".
    Arguments between husband and wife were often brought into the open and came before the church officers. On one occasion a special meeting was convened to investigate charges made against one of the brethren by his wife. The gentleman was present in the meeting and professed repentance. He was requested to "express his contrition to his wife in the presence of Brethren Picton and Bardwell." (Hmm! I wonder what he said. "Sorry about that darling! O.K. Let's go home and make up.")

Zeal for Outreach and Evangelism - and to form a library.

    The minutes show that during this year much time was given to the purpose of forming a library, and towards giving financial support for an evangelist to come to Australia as well as house meetings for local evangel­ism.
    Br Martin read a letter from the Evangelistic Committee in Melbourne asking for assistance. Bro Wright moved, Bro Bardwell seconded "That we set apart a collection monthly for this purpose". Br Bardwell also moved Br Reid seconded "That we remit £3 immediately".
    Br Jenkins moved Br Nicoll seconded, "That in order to spread the truth of the gospel, meetings be held on week evenings for prayer exhortation or conversation in the house of any or every member who shall be willing to come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty". Carried by the votes of the mover and seconder, no others voting.
    Br Jenkins then moved "That, in order that the members of this church be thoroughly built up in the truth of the principles of the New Testament for which we contend, as soon as practicable a library be formed in connection with this church, of works written by eminent brethren or others eminent for the truth. Bro Long seconded.
    An amendment was proposed by Br Cassider and seconded by Br Renton, "that we keep the Bible as our only library". For the amendment, 5 votes and the original motion, 7.
November 18th - Another report of the church submitted to the "British Millennial Harbinger".
We see by the B.M.H. that efforts put forth by the church have not been without considerable success. In this we rejoice, hoping the little ones may become a great nation. I am happy to inform you that the church in Ballarat is also making progress, the difficulties thrown across our way notwithstanding.This day week three females and one man were immersed into the ever blessed name. There is a spirit of enquiry manifesting itself. May it go on here and everywhere. Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth faithful laborers.
                                                T. Wright.
School - was examined on 24th March by D.I.Sircom (and possibly on other occasions as well). The average attendance for the first half of the year was 98, and for the second half it rose to 120 - quite a sharp increase.

Payment by Results

    In January of this year the infamous "Payment by Results" system was introduced into Victorian Schools. It now meant that teachers' pay was drawn from three sources
1. Salary from the Board. This was at a fixed rate, as determined by the teachers classification, position in the school (whether HT or Assistant), and the location of his school (whether it was a city school, a country school, or a Gold Fields school).
2. An Augmentation based on the Average Attendance at the school for the previous six months. For a male, with 1st Class Honors, the maximum augmentation was £60, and with 2nd Class Honors (Charles) £30. If the average attendance at the school was 40 or more, then the teacher receiv­ed 10% of the augmentation, and with every increase of ten pupils, the augmentation increased by 10%. Thus, if the attendance was 130 or more, the full augmentation was received. Of course, this "incentive" offered to teachers resulted in much "Juggling" of the rolls, and one Inspector who found that seventy of the rolls in his inspectorate were false (although not necessarily deliberate) noted -
"Now human nature is frail; the falsification of rolls is difficult to detect; a few strokes of the pen more or less will not be noticed; the roll showing an average attendance of thirty nine will cause the teacher to lose his income; one simple stroke of the pen an eighth of an inch in length and that income will be saved."
3. An Augmentation Based on Results. The children were given exams by the D.I. and there was a certain scale of payment for those who passed. For example -
"If above 7 years of age, subject to passing an exam in reading, writing and arithmetic, 8/-. And on their passing the above examination, 4/- if they also pass the additional examinations in grammar and geography, under the same standard - viz 2/- for each."
    This led to many abuses, and placed great strain on teachers which they passed onto the children. It, resulted in a narrow focus of teaching, as teachers concentrated on the three R's", often to the exclusion of other subjects. It also had the effect of producing much "cramming", with the teacher again transferring his anxieties to the children. Four years later, in July 1878, the system was modified to apply to classes rather than to individual children, but the effects of it were still much the same. The amount which Charles received from results is difficult to know for sure, but it was possibly about £50 - £80 per annum.
    By now (end of 1864), Charles had just turned 37 and Elizabeth was 29.
They had four children, Charles junior 9, Charlotte 7, Leonard 2 and Albert 6 months. He also had at least nine nieces and nephews living in Ballarat, plus five more in Melbourne. In addition to this, Edward Hitchcock, Elizabeth's brother who had been on the boat with her (aged 10 at the time) is now 22 and living in the area, as he took up land at Grenville, 18 miles from Ballarat, at least by 1862. Elizabeth was married to Charles, Mary was married to William Davey, Charlotte (the mother) was married to William Clay, and Edward also married and had a large family.

5th June -To Henry and Eleanor in Melbourne - a son - David. To Hannah and Thomas Farr - a son Leigh in Ballarat
To Hannah Anderson (Charles future wife) - a son Alexander. Also, at some time during this year, her husband died at age 50, leaving Hannah with four sons to bring up. Hannah was 25 years of age at this time, and she remained a widow for the next 19 years, until she married Charles in 1883.
Also during this year, Elizabeth's younger brother, John, died at 15 years of age, probably in Melbourne.

1865. A Big Year - The Church Building Erected.

    This was a big year for the church group in that a substantial church building was erected. It was quite an achievement. It was only three years since Charles had joined this small group, meeting in a house. The land had been purchased in November, and in June the new building was opened, the occasion being marked by large meet­ings and an evangelistic thrust. Charles had quite a hand in these proceedings, advancing a loan for the building, which was still being repaid some 25 years later. (In fact, it was never fully repaid as he "let them off" at the end.)
    But first the ordinary business of the church had to proceed, as is evident from the record of a special church meeting in January.
January 11th - A special meeting was convened to investigate certain charges made against one of the brethren by his wife. The brother was present and professed repentance, whereupon Bro Martin moved, Br Long seconded "That the brother be requested to express his contrition to his wife in the presence of Brethren Picton and Bardwell. " (Wow! Whew! "Sorry darling! I won't do it again. Promise!") Carried.

January 18th - An Important Meeting to organise arrangements for the church building (after dealing with the repentant husband).

    Bro Picton reported that Bro Nicoll had complied with the request of the church and had expressed contrition for his misconduct toward his wife in the presence of himself and Br Bardwell.
    Br Martin then reported the following suggestions as recommendations from the Building Committee; viz: that if possible £100 be raised by subscription towards the Building Fund within 3 months: That a chapel of brick or stone be built size 40 x 35 with wooden back: That a portable baptistry be made: That some of the brethren be authorized to contract a loan of £300 or £400 on behalf of the church: and That upon the completion of the building all the collections but one per month be set apart for the reduction of the debt and that one be kept as a sick fund.
    Proposed by Br Davey, seconded by Br Neish that it was desirable to erect a brick building. Carried.
    Br Jenkins gave in separate estimates of the probable cost of a building. Wood with stone foundation £200, Stone with walls plastered inside and cemented outside £360 and Brick with the walls coloured within E300 besides this the cost of seating and lighting must be added to each, probably about £50.
    A subscription list was there opened and the members present invited to state what they were willing to give towards the building when the sum of £62/10 was promised within three months. Bro Martin also kindly proffering a loan of
£100 for 12 months free of interest on the condition that the building erected be of brick.
    It was then proposed by Bro Martin seconded by Br Davey that the Building Committee be empowered to contract a loan of £200 or £300.
    Proposed by Bro Martin seconded by Bro Jenkins that the chapel be put into the hands of Mr Doane, Architect. Carried.
    Proposed by Bro Martin seconded by Br Bardwell that 3 collections out of 4 be reserved for the reduction of debt on the completion of the building. Carried.
    Proposed by Bro Davey seconded by Bro Cassidy that Br Martin be requested to act as Treasurer for the Building Fund. Carried.

A New Church Building at Mount Clear.

    However, the "Disciples" were not only busy with plans and preparations for their own new building. In January they were also helping a similar project at Mount Clear, a report appearing in the "Harbinger" -
"an extremely interesting meeting was held at Mount Clear on the occasion of the opening of a newly erected building for the worship of God and the proclamation of the Gospel".
    The lease which they had had on the former building had expired, so rather than discontinue the work, money was raised by loan and subscription and a wooden building erected with seating for one hundred people. On this night in January, a tea meeting was held, and after the meal -
"Brethren Neish, Long, Wright, Martin and Picton were called upon to address the meeting. The subjects treated by the several speakers were various and brief. The members of the church were congratulated upon what they had undertaken and quickly and successfully completed. Brother Anderson announced that not only was the building free to the inhabitants of that locality for the preaching of the gospel, but also for any object that would contribute to the happiness and well-being of mankind, mentioning especially the Temperance cause.
    This report is from a neighbourhood in which a church holding our peculiar views has not existed much over twelve months. They are now twenty in number. May they grow in grace and in knowledge, and may the God of all grace and mercy grant the needful blessing, and his name shall have the praise."
    So before they had obtained a building for themselves, the members of the Ballarat Church of Christ were instrumental in obtaining one for nearby Mount Clear.

1st February - The meeting was convened for the purpose of taking into account and considering upon the various plans and designs for a building submitted by Mr Doane and also for receiving and considering a letter received from the Evangelistic Committee in Melbourne.
8th February - Several plans for a building and their estimated cost were submitted to the meeting for their selection and after a little conversation thereon it was
    Proposed by Br Neish seconded by Br Martin that the plan with the Gothic roof be adopted. Carried.
    After a little further conversation it was thought expedient that the building should be proceeded with without delay so as not to be overtaken by the winter rains. The meeting then adjourned.
7th March - Church meeting held 7th March at the residence of Bro Martin.
Bro Martin then reported on behalf of the Building Committee that in answer to our advertisement for tenders the following had been received,
Nicholls and Ellis (Whole Tender)  £539/15/-
F.Baker (Whole tender)                £582/-/-
J.Buley (Whole Tender)                £565/-/-
    Nicholls and Ellis, at £539, being the lowest tender and being nearest the estimate made by Mr Doane had been by the committee accepted. The meeting then adjourned. (NOTE - This was a lot dearer than their earlier estimate of £300.)
26th March - A church meeting was held on the 26th March at the residence of Bro Martin to consider the fittings for the new building. At this meeting a systematic discussion took place regarding the fittings and furniture for the chapel, and all the details were hammered out for the seating, the lobby, the aisles, the lighting, etc. (The lighting was to be by gas). The building committee was authorised to negotiate a loan.
April - In the midst of all this church activity it could easily be overlooked that Charles is actually the head master of the school, and Eliz­abeth is a teacher there - and mother of a young family. This was no easy job. In April of 1865, Charles and Elizabeth received their certificates for "Second Class Honours". I believe that these certificates were a necessary part of the change in the education system when the Common Schools Act was introduced in 1862. The certificates state thus -
Board of Education.
Certificate granted under Rules 57 and 58 to Teachers who were classified under the late Board of National Education.
The Board of Education hereby certify that Charles Martin having produced satisfactory evidence that he was classified under the late board of National Education in the First Division of the Second Class, is entitled to a Certificate of the Second Class of Honours.
Mr Charles Martin therefore is classified accordingly.
Dated at Melbourne this fourth day of April 1865.
By order of the Board of Education."
Elizabeth's is identical, except that she was only in the "Second Division of the Second Class".
         Image of Charles' Certificate
17th May - Church meeting held 17th May at the residence of Br Martin. Proposed by Br Wright seconded by Br Jenkins that the first Sunday in every month the collection be taken for the necessities of the poor.

28th June, 1865. New Building Opened.

    This was a very important occasion, and no doubt as such it received lots of attention at the time. Evangelist Earl came up and the new church building was opened. It was an excellent effort to build such a substantial building in such a short time. There were large meetings and much interest. One meeting alone, in the Mechanics Institute, attracted a crowd of 800 - 1000. There were 200 at a tea meeting at which Charles (along with others) spoke.
    Earl was an English evangelist who had trained in America. He came to Melbourne and attracted huge crowds of between one and two thousand. In his first year with the Lygon St Church, he added 200 to a Victorian membership of 400. He stayed in Ballarat for ten days and delivered six addresses. The crusade, plus the new building, gave the church much impetus and encouragement.
    The first meeting was held on the night of Wednesday, 28th June. A small advertisement was placed in the Ballarat papers -
    Mr H.S. Earl, B.A., will lecture this evening at the Disciples of Christ's meeting house, Dawson Street. Subject: - "Christ, the Great Teacher." All are invited.
    The following day an account of the meeting was reported in the "Ballarat Star" -
"The Disciples' Meeting-house, in Dawson street, was opened to the public on Wednesday evening, when a discourse was delivered by Mr. Earl, an American member of the denomination. The chapel was filled, though not crowded, the very inclement weather possibly having something to do with the attendance. Mr Earl is a young man, and as a speaker he is earnest in manner, and plain but fluent in speech. His subject was, "The Teaching of Christ," which he regarded as simple, earnest, faithful, and loving, and as seconded by the example of 'the Great Teacher", characteristics of which Mr Earl said were too often absent in the preaching of the present day. It was announced that Mr Earl would preach in the same place on Friday evening, and in the Mechanics' Hall on Sunday, and that the meetings would be opened punctually. We would suggest that as a point was made of this, the time at which the meetings are to be held should be revealed in the advertisements, an omission in the advertisement of last night's meeting of the hour of meeting caused some embarrassment to several persons. "
After the Sunday meetings, a further report appeared -
Mr Earl, B.A., of the Disciples of Christ, delivered two discourses on Sunday, in the hall of the Mechanics' Institute. In the afternoon his subject was "The Messiah", and in the evening "The wisdom and perfection of the gospel". There were good audiences on both occasions, but especially in the evening- when the hall was filled nearly to the doors.'
In the "British Millennial Harbinger, a fuller account was printed -
    We have great pleasure in announcing that through the tender mercies of our God and Father we have been enabled to erect a building suitable for our purposes as a church wherein we may meet to worship God according to the ordinances of his own appointing, and wherein the glorious Gospel of our blessed Lord and Saviour may be sounded forth in fulness and clearness to the accomplishment of the loving purposes of its glorious Author and Finisher.
    On the occasion of the opening of the above, we had a visit from our esteemed and talented Brother H.S. Earl, who remained with us ten days and delivered six excellent discourses, which were listened to with marked attention by crowded audiences - four of these discourses in our new place of meeting, the other two in the large and capacious hall of the Mechanics' Institute, to an audience numbering from eight hundred to a thousand. The subjects were "The Messiah , "The Wisdom and Perfection of the Gospel of Christ", "Christ the Great Teacher", "The Rich Fool", "Eternal Life", "The Longings of the Soul Satisfied". We have nothing in the shape of results to record, yet good, we trust, has been accomplished, for attention has been drawn to our position, a spirit of enquiry instigated, and prejudice has been removed.
    Besides the above discourses delivered we had a tea meeting, at which about two hundred sat down to a plentiful repast. Addresses were delivered by Brethren Martin, Picton, and Neish of Ballarat; Burt of Melbourne, and Brother Earl, which were listened to with profound attention.
    We feel encouraged in the work to which we have set our hand. May the Lord graciously assist us in carrying it forward, to the praise of his name and the extension of his kingdom."
    Bro. Earl also recorded the events from his perspective -
    On Tuesday, June 27th, I took train for Ballarat, to conduct the opening services in the new chapel recently erected by the brethren in that town. After a pleasant ride of four hours and a half I arrived there in safety, and was cordially welcomed by the brethren. The same evening we held an interesting and profitable prayer meeting, preparatory to the opening of the building. The next night / preached the first discourse in the new chapel. A good audience assembled, although the weather was cold and rainy. On the following Lord's day a lively interest sprang up, and increased daily during my stay. My visit closed on Thursday, July 6th, with a crowded assemblage. Several ministers were among our auditors. During my visit, one person was baptized, one received from the Baptists and three others decided for Christ. Besides these, many were "almost persuaded to be Christians," and we trust that much fruit may appear 'ere long.
    The chapel is a neat and substantial brick building, eligibly situated, and calculated to hold, I should think, from 250 to 300 persons. The prospects of the cause in Ballarat are cheering. "
    After all the excitement and interest created by the opening of the building and the short evangelistic thrust which accompanied it, it was back to life as normal - except that they had a nice new hall in which to hold their meetings. For Charles it was only a stone's throw away from his house and school - a couple of hundred yards at the most.
                    Picture of the Church               Church in 1997
19th July - Church meeting held in the meeting house Dawson St. Bro Martin in the chair. Present 14 Brethren and 3 Sisters.
Business. To take into consideration the suggestions thrown out by Bro Earl for the advancement of the cause of Christ in our midst. In accordance with his suggestions it was -
Proposed by Bro Wright and Seconded by Bro Cassidy that for the better ordering of our morning meetings any Bro desiring to speak, to give out a hymn or take any part in its proceedings should intimate the same to the presiding Bro by handing in a slip of paper before the commencement of the service. Carried.
Proposed by Bro Long Seconded by Bro Reid that Bro Picton supply the Meeting House on Lord's Day evenings 3 out of 4. The members present being equally divided upon this subject it was;
Proposed by Bro Bardwell Seconded by Bro Cadogan that it be reconsidered next Wednesday evening. Carried.
(NOTE - This innocent looking motion regarding Bro Picton conducting the services was no doubt more sensitive than it appears, in view of the fact that tensions between Martin and Picton were probably beginning to surface. The fact that the meeting was evenly divided on the subject would appear to confirm this.)
26th July - Church meeting held in the meeting house Dawson Street, July 26th. Bro Martin in the chair. Present 16 Brethren and 6 Sisters. (NOTE - A rather large meeting).
    In accordance with the resolution passed at the previous meeting the proposition that Bro Picton supply our meeting house for the proclamation of the Gospel 3 Lord's day evenings out of 4 was considered.
    An amendment was proposed by Bro Jenkins Seconded by Bro Divers that he supply in that way for three months.
    To that amendment was proposed by Bro Barrett Seconded by Bro Davey that the matter be left in the hands of the officers of the church.
    After considerable discussion on the matter it was proposed by Bro Divers seconded by Bro Earthroll that Bro Picton supply every other Lord's day evening. Carried.
    The Church having then to say who should supply on the intervening evenings decided to take the (this word is illegible) of the meeting as to the desirability of Brethren Neish, Wright and Jenkins taking it alternatively being submitted separately the Church were unanimous in electing Bro Neish, Bro Wright was elected without a dissenting voice and Bro Jenkins by a majority of nine to four.
    Notice of motion was then given by Bro Jenkins to the effect that all matters of importance brought before the Church for decision be carried by a majority of two thirds before being acted upon.
    Notice of motion was also given by Bro Davey that for the future no meeting of the Church be held to discuss matters of importance excepting that it be first announced together with the business for discussion the Lord's Day previous. The meeting then adjourned.
A careful reading of these minutes appears to reveal that tensions are beginning to creep in, with the elaborate clarifying of business procedures regarding "matters of importance", and the careful allocation of the pulpit roster.

13th September
- Fornication in our midst. - Church meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson St September 13th. Bro Martin in the chair.
    The meeting had been convened for the purpose of considering the case of Sr Erunston (Annie Johnson) against whom the sin of fornication was apparent having given birth to a child four months after marriage. Bro Martin informed the brethren present that immediately upon the facts of the case coming to his knowledge he had called a meeting of the officers of the church and laid it before them. Brethren Bardwell and Reid were appointed to visit her, and they again deputed Sisters Wright and Martin to enquire into the circumstances of the case, which they did and reported according!y to their husbands.
    Bro Martin laid before the brethren the result of the visit which was most Unsatisfactory, the lady in question being entirely wanting in an thing approaching to contrition for the sin of which she had been guilty. (Sister Erunston told them to shove off and mind their own #@*+-§a business).
    The case was then considered by the brethren and after considerable discussion it was - Proposed by Bro Long Seconded by Bro Cardogan that Sr Erunston be excluded from the fellowship of the church for the sin of which she had been proved guilty until repentance be manifested. Carried unanimously.
    It was suggested by Bro Davey that Sr Erunston be made acquainted with the decision of the church by letter first, laying before her the enormity of her guilt with the intent of bringing her to repentance and then the decision of the church upon the matter. Bro Martin was asked to write the letter and consented.
    (I guess as we read these words on this matter we re-act to them according to our own thoughts and feelings and prejudices. Our sympathies are probably with Sr Erunston, and we re-act against the harshness of the "Christian" viewpoint which would condemn her and "excommunicate" her, when she probably needed support and help. The thought of "fornication” wouldn't really enter our head, and in our more liberal times we wouldn't think of it as a "sin", let alone a "grave" one. But things were different in those days. And I guess if you fell pregnant prior to marriage- well - you were caught out fair and square (or was it plump and round".))
    Discussion then followed upon the cases of Srs Cocks and Steel who had not attended at the meetings of the Church as might have been expected. Visitors were appointed to Srs Cocks and Steel and the meeting then adjourned. (Srs Cocks and Steel should know that it doesn't pay to miss meetings.)
4th October - Church meeting held in the meeting house Dawson St 4th October. Bro Picton in the chair. Present 14 Brethren 8 Sisters.
    A report was given by Bro Martin on the state of the finances. He stated the total cost of the building to have been £664/4/10 , the entire sum raised by contribution £130 leaving a balance as debt of £535/11/8. He also stated that the primary object for calling the meeting was a pressing demand upon the church for the sum of £50 to refund a loan that had been made by a sister towards the building fund.
    Some discussion then arose upon the best means for raising the required sum within the period named (one month) which ended in a subscription list being opened and brethren present contributing. Bro Reid volunteered to wait upon the brethren not then present and solicit subscrip­tions.
    Bro Martin as one of the visitors in the case of Sr Cocks stated that the result of their visit had been the attendance of the sister since that time.
18th October - Church meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson Street. Bro Martin in the chair. Present 17 Brethren 3 Sisters.
    A notice of motion that had been laid before the Church by Bro Jenkins on the 26th July was now proposed by Bro Jenkins and Seconded by Bro Long, viz. That all matters of importance brought before the Church for decision be carried by a majority of two thirds of those present before being acted upon. Carried.
    The arrangement entered into for the preaching being near a close it was Proposed by Bro Reid Seconded by Bro Cassidy that the arrangement be continued for the next three months. Carried.
12th November -
On Lord's Day 12th November Mrs Cassidy confessing Christ was immersed by Bro Picton into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. William Freeman confessing Christ was immersed by Bro Picton into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
    Towards the end of the year, a small report appeared in the "Harbinger" -
After a considerable period of fruitless labor in connection with the cause at this place, our hearts have been once more refreshed by five confessing Christ, and being buried with him by baptism into his death. Others amongst us are not far from the kingdom."
                                                            T. Wright.
At the end of the year Dawson Street had a membership of 70. The biggest church in Victoria was Lygon Street, Carlton, with a membership of 264, followed by Bulleen with 77, and Dawson Street and Melbourne next with 70 each. They had a Sunday School numbering 35 scholars.

At the School
- 150 on the roll, 113 average attendance. Much the same as the previous year. I do not know how many teachers there were at this time - but undoubtedly the teaching load would be as heavy as ever.

To Louisa and James Crump in Castlemaine - a son - Walter Herbert. (7th child - 6 surviv­ing)


During this year, now that the building has been erected, the work of the church can proceed. A number of matters which had been shelved in previous years were now able to be continued. Such as -
- A Library of reformation literature was commenced.
- Tea meetings for evangelism were held.
- Arguments continued about who should preach at Gospel meetings.
- They still wanted a local evangelist or preacher, but couldn't afford one - An annual conference was held in Melbourne - the first of the Church of Christ Conferences. Charles was the delegate.
- Small congregations had been or were being established around Ballarat Mt Clear, Sebastopol, Scarsdale, Smeaton, Durham Lead, Buninyong (Mt Clear being the only one of which survives today).

Jan 25th - Report to the "Millennial Harbinger" -
"It gives us great pleasure to communicate the joyful news that a measure of success is still attending our efforts to advance the cause of our dear Redeemer. We have had the satisfaction of again witnessing the surrender of five to the Prince Emmanuel by immersion into his death, and our prospects are now more cheering and promising than they have been for months past, and the force of those words, given by inspiration, are now being verified in our experience, "Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not". We have enquirers still in our midst, asking for the good old way , whom we expect will shortly follow in the footsteps of Christ. ` T. Wright.
February - Report to the "Harbinger" -
Dear Brethren, we have much pleasure in again forwarding the welcome news that sinners are seeking and finding a refuge in the one and only Saviour. Last Lord's day, two males and three females were immersed; the Lord's day previous, one was received from the Baptists; and on Feb. 4, two males were buried with the Lord by immersion into his death. There is evidently a spirit of enquiry manifesting itself, and there are many halting who are not far from the kingdom. May the number increase and the cause of the Lord prosper m our hands and his name shall have the praise.
                                                    Yours in the one hope, T. Wright.
28th February - Church meeting held February 28th 1866.
    This meeting has been called to consider a letter received from the Melb­ourne churches informing that it was the intention of the brethren there, to hold an annual meeting, that this year it would be held on Monday 2nd April, and asking this church to forward statistics and representatives to the conference.
    Resolved on the motion of Bro Bardwell, seconded by Bro Long that the Pas­tors and Bro Divers be requested to act as delegates.
A conversation ensued on the last question in the schedule from Melb­ourne "What are the hindrances to further progress?" The result was a free expression of opinion by various brethren, as in "What doth hinder?" and among others "lack of personal effort" and "a failure to exhibit a Christian life" were mentioned as hindrances".
    The meeting was then closed by prayer.
March 24th "Report in the Millennial Harbinger".
The seed sown in this town has not been in vain. Since the commencement of the year we have had the pleasure of witnessing six males and four females acknowledge Christ as their lord, and profess their willingness to submit to him as their teacher and guide for time and eternity. We have also received one from the Baptists. Thus, notwithstanding slander, of which we are the objects, God has blessed us, and we trust that He may still continue to do so, and pray that he may continue to give wisdom to those of our brethren who from time to time endeavour to make known "The Old Path".
                    C. Martin.
2nd April - First Annual Victorian Conference.
    On Monday, 2nd April, the Victorian Churches of Christ held their first ever conference in Melbourne. Charles was a delegate from Dawson Street.
    For the remainder of this year, it becomes obvious from the minutes that tensions are beginning to creep in, and that two "camps" are beginning to take shape. The careful wording of motions, and the frequent amendments betray the fact that there is quite an amount of feeling and emotion behind much of what is happening.

16th May - Church meeting held at the Meeting House Dawson Street. Bro Picton in the chair. Present 21 Brethren and 8 Sisters.
    Bro Divers moved and Bro Long seconded that Bro Picton be requested to deliver lectures on the last Wednesday of each month.
    As an amendment it was proposed by Bro Davey and seconded by Bra Cadogan that they be delivered instead on the evenings of the Lord's Day. The motion was carried.
    Bro Jenkins then asked some questions on matters pertaining to the history of the Church, information upon which was contained in the Minute Book. To reply to which it was proposed by Bro Renton and seconded by Bro Cassidy that the book be placed in his hands in order that he might obtain the information.
    As an amendment it was proposed by Bro Evans and seconded by Bro Divers that Bro Jenkins apply to the Secretary for the information. The amendment was carried.
    Bro Picton then mentioned that Bro Wright was not satisfied with the long intervals that elapsed between his being called upon to proclaim the Gospel and his wish for an alteration in the plan. Bro Wright stated his reasons when the following motions were made -
    Proposed by Bro Long Seconded by Bro Renton that the arrangement remain as at before.
    As an amendment it was proposed by Bro Cadogan and seconded by Bro Neish that Bro Picton be requested to occupy every Lord's Day evening. The amendment was lost and the motion carried.
    The meeting was then closed by prayer.
26th September - Church meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson Street, September 26th. Bro Picton in the chair. 29 members present.
    Bro Jenkins proposed the following resolution which was seconded by Bro Barrett, "That this church deeply regrets that anything should have occurred to so deeply wound the feelings of Bro Neish, so as to have provoked the withdrawal of his services in connection with the proclamation of the Gospel in this place, and that this church earnestly and unanimously request that he will reconsider his determination in the matter and preach the Gospel in this place in conjunction with the brethren as heretofore.
    Notice of motion by Bro Jenkins "that there be a monthly preachers meet­ing" The Pastors were requested to convey the resolution to Bro Neish and the meeting was then closed.
At School.
    Average 104. This is marginally down from the previous year. The big discrepancy in the number of boys as against girls continues - 81 compared to 23. School was only held for 226 days this year. (Only !!!)

Charles and Elizabeth now have a family of four - Charles junior is 11,
Charlotte is 9, Leonard 4 and Albert 2. Charles is 39 years of age and Elizabeth is 30.
31st October - To Hannah and Thomas Farr in Ballarat - a daughter - Edith (8th child - 7 surviving).
To William and Mary - Edwin Clay in Ballarat - a son - approx May (he lived for only 12 months).

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