1864-1866 Dawson St Church Built
Charles Martin's home page
- 1864 Land Purchased for the Church.
- 13th January - Sister
- 9th March - A member is
unhappy with the rigid beliefs of the church
- 16th March - First
signs of tension between Martin and Picton?
- Sir Divers in Trouble
- The Church Growing
- Other Membership Troubles -
- Zeal for Outreach and
Evangelism - and to form a library.
- Payment by Results
- 1865. A Big Year - The
Church Building Erected.
- January 18th - An
Important Meeting to organise arrangements for the
church building (after dealing with the repentant
- A New Church Building
at Mount Clear.
- 28th June, 1865. New
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".
Then a month later the minutes record -
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."
17th November - Bro Martin reported that the allotment of
land in Dawson St had been purchased on behalf of the
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.
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."
But throughout the year, as
well as discussing the purchasing of land, the general work of the church had to proceed.
13th January - Sister
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
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
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.
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,
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."
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
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
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 -
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.
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".
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.
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. "
"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."
- 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.
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
- Bro Divers feels that he should resign - presumably because of
the behaviour of his wife.
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.
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
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".
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- Another report of the church submitted to the "British
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
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.
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
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).
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."
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
A New Church
Building at Mount Clear.
"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
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
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
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.)
F.Baker (Whole tender)
J.Buley (Whole Tender)
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.
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
Elizabeth's is identical, except that she
was only in the "Second Division of
the Second Class".
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
at Melbourne this fourth day of April 1865.
By order of the Board of Education."
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
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
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" -
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.
Bro. Earl also recorded the events from his perspective
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. "
Picture of the Church Church
19th July - Church meeting held in the meeting house
Dawson St. Bro Martin in the chair. Present 14 Brethren and 3
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
(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.)
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.
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).
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
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.
amendment was proposed by Bro Jenkins Seconded by Bro Divers
that he supply in that way
for three months.
amendment was proposed by Bro Barrett Seconded by Bro Davey
that the matter be left in
the hands of the officers of the church.
considerable discussion on the matter it was proposed by Bro
Divers seconded by Bro
Earthroll that Bro Picton supply every other Lord's day
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
(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".))
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.
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.)
October - Church meeting held in the meeting house Dawson
St 4th October. Bro Picton in the chair. Present 14 Brethren 8
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.
18th October - Church meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson
Street. Bro Martin in the chair. Present 17 Brethren 3 Sisters.
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
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.
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.
12th November -
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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.
28th February - Church meeting held February 28th 1866.
Yours in the one hope, T. Wright.
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.
"Report in the Millennial Harbinger".
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.
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".
- 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
16th May - Church meeting held at the Meeting House Dawson
Street. Bro Picton in the chair. Present 21 Brethren and 8
Bro Divers moved and Bro Long seconded that Bro
Picton be requested to deliver lectures on the last
Wednesday of each month.
26th September - Church meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson
Street, September 26th. Bro Picton in the chair. 29 members
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.
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
amendment it was proposed by Bro Evans and seconded by Bro
Divers that Bro Jenkins
apply to the Secretary for the information. The amendment
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 -
Bro Long Seconded by Bro Renton that the arrangement remain as at before.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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