A HISTORY OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S CHURCH
Written by Anthony Laube, September, 1985
On the 8th March 1870, the small, newly built Church of St. Augustine's was consecrated by the Bishop of Adelaide, Dr. Augustus Short, just seven years after the beginnings of the little town of Victor Harbor. It was a proud day for the many who had worked so hard and given so freely for the establishment of an Anglican Church in the township.
In the Beginning
The first meeting of members of the Anglican Church on the South Coast took place at Port Elliot in January 1854, soon after that town was founded. It was a further nine years however, before the town of Victor Harbor was founded, and for the first sixty years it remained part of the parish of Port Elliot.
At a public meeting at Port Elliot on 27th January 1854, it was decided to build a Church in that place and subscription lists (the usual method in those days of securing donations) were started. Thus the Church of St. Jude's was built and the Rev. John Watson of Kensington secured as Incumbent. Previous to this, services were held twice a month in private homes at Port Elliot and Goolwa.
From 1863 Victor Harbor, or Port Victor, as it was then known, began rapidly developing ' as a town with its port facilities. A number of families moved to the district, but at this time members of the Anglican Church had either to trek to St. Jude's for lay services (Rev. J. Watson had left for Victoria in 1861) or attend the Congregational Church at Encounter Bay. In the year 1865 however, two men arrived on the South Coast through whose efforts St. Augustine's Church was begun. They were the Rev. Edward Tucker Howell and Mr. John Henderson.
Mr. Henderson came to Port Victor as first manager of a branch of the South Australian Bank. With little outside help, he began holding services in the small bank premises opposite the Railway Station, (now the home of Miss P.M. Davies) and also started a Sunday School. Mr. Henderson played his own French harmonium, which was later carried to wherever services were being held. Possessed also of a fine singing voice, a contemporary noted that he was an important member of the first Church choir; and he was also in demand at local concerts.
Through John Henderson's initiative and enthusiasm, and with some help from John Hindmarsh, son of the State's first Governor, the congregation grew quickly, and larger premises had to be found. Services were then moved across the street to G.S. Read's woolstores (now the R.S.L. Hall). More helpers gradually came forward, including: William Hope Ross (Mr. Henderson's clerk), and Messrs. Grimble, Jefferis, Williams, and Reid. Rev. E. Howell took an occasional Friday evening service, but no Communion service was held. On 8th September 1867, morning and evening services were held for the first time. Just a year later, on 1st August 1868, Rev. E. Howell led the first celebration of Holy Communion at Port Victor, and by then was visiting the town monthly. So the early Church went ahead by leaps and bounds.
However, it received a setback in 1869 when, just as Mr. Henderson had been successful in organising the building of a Church, he was transferred to Robe. This man, rightly called the 'father' of St. Augustine's, was all his life an active member of the Anglican Church. He was the first licensed lay reader of St. Augustine's, being followed by William Hope Ross, Arthur Fydell Lindsay, John Hindmarsh and Henry Hodgson. All played a vital role in the early years, when Rev. E. Howell took the service himself only every few weeks.
During 1869 the possibility of building a Church at Port Victor was discussed. Mr. Arthur F. Lindsay, one of the area's oldest residents, and for many years a generous benefactor to the Church, donated a piece of land on 10th August. (He had also given the land for the Wesleyan and Congregational Churches in the town.)
On Thursday evening, 19th August, a meeting was held in the 'Port Victor Hotel' at 7.00 p.m., for all those interested in establishing a Church. Chairman was Rev. E. Howell, and the outcome was a decision to erect a Church large enough to seat 50 persons, at a cost of not more than £150, of which £80 had already been subscribed. A General Committee was elected, as well as a Building Committee of four men.
Mrs. C. Lindsay wrote letters asking for donations, and the response, considering that the givers were by no means well off, was very good. The largest donation was from the Jagger and Depledge families of Encounter Bay, who gave £50 "a very handsome sum for that time and place" wrote A.F. Lindsay's daughter (who married the Sunday School teacher, W.H. Ross.) Rev. E. Howell's stipend was only £200 a year.
Other donations included £20 (and £2.8s. for seats) from John Hindmarsh of 'Mootaparinga House' (on the site of Adare). Further donations were received from James Jolly the local teacher, Dr. Motherall, and early names such as Lloyd, Prosser, Lawson, Mooney, Addison and Jenkins; and not all were Anglicans.
Mr. T. Jones of Goolwa designed the building, and a local contractor, James Bowley, was employed to build, assisted by George Weymouth. On 23rd September 1869, it must have been with some pleasure that John Henderson was able to record in his Diary that stone had been carted to the building site that day. This was shell grit lime-stone obtained from sandhills behind the present hospital, of a variety now seen only in the oldest buildings in the town. The site was a piece of land set well back from what was then called the Port Elliot Road (Torrens Street), to which it was connected by a private avenue, and backing on to a track surveyed as Burke Street.
By 28th October, work had progressed and the door frame was fixed in place. In November the Southern Argus reported that "the contractor is proceeding vigorously", and finally, just before Christmas, on 11th December 1869, the flooring and slate roofing were completed, and the Church stood ready for use.
Augustus Short, first Bishop of Adelaide, journeyed down to the South early in 1870. At Strathalbyn he laid the foundation stone for Christ Church, then came on to Goolwa where he consecrated the Church of the Holy Evangelists. At Port Elliot he consecrated St. Jude's cemetery. On the evening of 7th March the Bishop gave a lecture on Shakespeare at the Port Elliot Courthouse, in aid of the Parsonage fund, and on the next day, Tuesday, 8th March, he arrived at Port Victor to consecrate St. Augustine's.
The ceremony had been deferred until such time as John Henderson could be present. Mr. William Depledge drove the Bishop and Canon Dove to the Church by Bullock dray, and they were assisted in the ceremony by Rev. Charles Morse of Yankalilla, and Rev. E. Howell. There was a large attendance, and the collection, in aid of the building fund, amounted to Lll.17s.The total cost of the Church had been £219, of which there was still a debt of £ 90.
The little Church dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430A.D.) stood chapel-like, on the edge of scrub land. It was 30 feet by 20 feet in measurement, with a door on the western end, and an early worshipper recalled that inside there were about four pews on each side of the aisle. The first trustees of the Church were stated to have been John Hindmarsh, H.B. Welch and the Lord Bishop. Early parishioners included many names still known in the district, and others who have left their mark. These included: the Lindsay and Leworthy families, Mr. and Mrs. F.S. Field, J.P. Cakebread and family, the Jagger and Depledge families, Gill and Draper families, Captain Evan Jenkins and family, and John Hindmarsh and family. Later also: Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Dyke, the Taylor family and E.H.G. Henderson and family.
The first years of St. Augustine's Church were busy ones. The first couple married in the Church were John Arkell Henderson and Elizabeth Orr Clark in October 1870, and they were presented by Rev. E. Howell with a Bible in honour of the occasion. The first Baptism in the records is that of Edward Hindmarsh, probably at home, on 23rd January 1870. This little child died soon after however, closely followed by his mother. The first Baptism actually held in the Church was on 2nd March 1873, at which eight children were christened, being the children of Jesse Missen, George Bennet and Evan Jenkins, ages ranging from eight years down. The first candidates for Confirmation were confirmed with others, by Bishop Augustus Short, at St. Jude's in May 1871. They were: Helen Cakebread, Charlotte Stimson and Elizabeth Jenkins. The latter wrote:
There were several confirmees from Victor Harbor , who with their parents and friends went up in a special truck, as we called the conveyance in those days.
The first major fund raising event was a Bazaar held on 2nd January 1871, in the Port Victor Institute, in aid of the building fund. An advertisement in the Southern Argus announced that it was to commence at 2.00 p.m. with "useful and fancy articles" for sale. The entrance fee was sixpence (five cents). Croquet was played outside, while a pianist provided music inside. Refreshments were available "at moderate charges" and at eight o'clock a Christmas tree was lit up. The ladies of the Church worked hard, and some £40 was raised, which was commented on being "exceedingly good considering the state of the district", for the crops that year had been full of rust and money was scarce. Indeed, an application for government aid to. the district destitute had been made.
The year 1880 saw the first Church concert. "A capital evening's entertainment" given by "lady and gentleman amateurs", the local press reported, was had on Friday, 16th January, in the new Institute, in aid of a fencing fund for St. Augustine's. Brothers James and William Reid performed in a farce, and a son of Rev. C. Hodge of the Congregational Church, recited. Mr. F.S. Field was able to report at the Easter Vestry meeting that £26 had been collected for the fencing and improvements.
The Victor congregation was in fact a little more than amateurs when it came to concerts, especially the Lindsay family. In July 1869 a performance had been given at Port Elliot for the parsonage building fund, and members of the Lindsay and Leworthy families, including Mesdames Lindsay, Absalom, Anstey and Hargreaves (all sisters) performed, as well as Mr. Anstey, and Mr. Lindsay was Chairman. It must have been a unique show, for the only performers not members of this talented family were Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Payne, visiting from Strathalbyn. Concerts became a popular fund raiser, and the Miss Lindsays became a second generation of skilled musical performers in these.
The early Church people were tireless workers above all else, for the liquidation of Church debts. Bazaars and concerts were frequent events, and weekly donation lists published.
Canon E.T. Howell M.A.
The 1880's were years of expansion and growth for Port Victor, and for the Church, as shipping brought prosperity to the town.
The decade opened with the Rev. E. Howell being made a Canon by the Bishop in 1880. This was one of the old Bishop's last acts, before being succeeded by Bishop Kennion the next year. Canon E. Howell had been first made. Assistant Curate at St. Jude's early in 1865, after a meeting at Port Elliot in July 1864, at which Mr. J. Chibnall had proposed that a petition be sent to the Bishop, seeking that Mr. Howell M.A. be ordained and appointed to St. Jude's. Edward Howell was later described by Bishop Kennion as one of the "clearest thinkers and best debaters" in the Synod. He was not a man of robust health, and occasionally services had to be cancelled due to bouts of illness. Mrs. Rosetta Howell (nee McHarg) died in 1870 and was buried at St. Jude's. Rev. E. Howell never re-married, but resided at Port Elliot in a four room Parsonage beside the Church, from where he rode out in all weathers to attend to his large parish.
In 1884 a Church library was opened at Port Elliot. At Port Victor the Church was finding that in the summer holidays the building was crammed with 50 people or more, for already the town was a popular seaside resort. The necessity of extensions was therefore discussed.
Mr. Lindsay again came forward, offering a larger block of land on the main road (Torrens Street), for a new Church. A new periodical, the Southern Churchman, appeared at this time, and the first issue gave large space to the proposed plans at Port Victor. Architects, Messrs. Grainger, Naish and Worsley, were preparing working plans and estimates for a new building. However, at the Easter Vestry Meeting it was disclosed that the architects' estimate for transepts and chancel of a new Church amounted to a grand total of £1000. The meeting must almost unanimously have decided that the Church could not afford such a large undertaking. But they did decide, tentatively, to spend perhaps £200 on adding transepts large enough to accommodate 100 extra people, to the existing building, for the Church had, originally been built with possible future additions in mind.
The architects again drew up plans, and an appeal was launched for the building fund. Once more the Church members came forward with generous donations, and when these were not sufficient, many gave further amounts. In July 1884, Andrew Oliver was contracted to build for £405.5s. Already, in just a couple of months £133 had been raised and one member had offered a loan of £100 interest free, and another £150 at only 6%.
In October services were temporarily transferred to the Institute (now the town library), while building began, progressing until 21st December, when the Church, with additions, was re-opened. The Southern Churchman reported on the additions:
Air bricks and the like means of ventilation have not been used in the new building, owing to the inconvenience which arises when the frequent gales of wind are blowing in the winter, but every light of the windows has an opening at top, and the two doors being on the east side will very often be able to be left open without creating a draught. The only defect in the new building which strikes the eye is the want of height in the north and south windows. Why the architect did not carry them up another three feet it is difficult to see...
However, "the granite cross on the west side of the north gable is a very creditable piece of work". The contractor, Andrew Oliver, also managed the West Island granite quarry, from where the cross and other pieces of granite in the building were obtained.
The Church Grounds
Mr. Lindsay then consented to give an extra block of land on each side of the Church, as the additions had taken the building to the boundary of the original block. This made three feet clear on each side of the building. Mr. F.S. Field was always a willing worker for the Church, and moved the fence and collected money to purchase 100 trees from the Kapunda Nursery in 1885. Lagunareas and Pepper trees had been planted in the Church avenue years before, but had not done well, although several of the former, also called Norfolk Island Hibiscus, still stand in rows behind the Church. Mr. Henry Hodgson was chiefly responsible for planting the first garden.
For almost 90 years Mr. Field's pines were a feature of the grounds, forming quite a dense grove on the Burke Street frontage. Black cockatoos roosted in these, flying back and forth to Granite Island. The early Churchmen were great tree planters. Rev. E. Howell himself, in opening the concert held in 1880 for the fencing fund, commented on the advantages of tree planting, urging that the local townspeople become active in this area. It is unfortunate that in more recent years we have of necessity been tree-fellers.
Towards the turn of the century the Church must have looked very much like an English village Church with its ivy covered walls and slate roof, half hidden among English trees, with brick bordered gardens, and wrought iron gates.
The 1880's saw regular choir practices on Thursday nights. In 1877 Mrs. Lindsay had collected money to purchase a cabinet organ to replace the old harmonium. This lady, and later her daughters, were organists. In 1887 at the Easter Vestry Meeting, it was noted that the offertory at Port Victor showed an increase on last years, "chiefly due, no doubt, to the improvement in the musical part of the services". Another early organist was Miss Jessey Whyte, in whose memory a Hymn Board was appropriately given on her death in 1920.
In 1886 Canon E. Howell was holding week night studies of Church worship and services, and conducting Sunday School on Thursday afternoons, as well as religious lessons in the Public School. His area of incumbency, traversed on horseback and later in pony and trap, included services at Hindmarsh Island and Currency Creek, besides Port Elliot, Goolwa and Port Victor.
The forerunner of Sunday School picnics was the annual 'Children's Treat' in February. After a short service, the children were taken to Mr. Lindsay's paddock on a rise above the Inman River. In 1886 games and picnic were rounded off by an exhibition of Magic Lantern slides in Lanseers wool store, kindly lent for the occasion. In 1887 a Floral Society was formed in the Sunday School aimed at "promoting the love of flowers among children and thus providing them with a wholesome occupation for their idle hours...".
Canon E. Howell placed great importance, like many of his time, in Bible reading in the schools, which was being discontinued under the new Education Act. He also believed that "whatever may be the differences between the various forms of Christianity they were all built upon a common basis, and that all of them could agree, on great and vital principles, compared with which the superficial differences that divided them were but as nothing", (as he stated at a meeting at Goolwa in 1882). One of his parishioners at least agreed with this, and took it further. When he died in 1876, Mr. Matthew Jagger left £50 to each of the local Churches Congregational, Wesleyan and Anglican.
In the early years the Church also looked abroad to mission work. In the 1880's the South Coast parish was sponsoring a boy named Peter Wakiri on a Norfolk Island Mission, at£10 a year. In 1877 £2.15s. 6d was given to the Indian Famine Relief Fund, quite an issue at the time. Christmas day collection was always for the poor.
The number of communicants, on the average, was 15 in 1886, and about 30 at Christmas. When the Archdeacon, Charles Morse, paid a visit of inspection to the South in 1889 he noted St. Augustine's was "in excellent condition and well cared for".
Departure of Canon E. Howell
However, in that year Canon E. Howell was forced to request twelve months leave of absence due to ill health. For more than a quarter of a century he had "braved the rigours of storm and tempest". Canon E. Howell travelled to Wellington, New Zealand, for a rest in a cooler climate. He returned on Christmas day, 1890, but briefly, resigning as of 31st January 1891. His farewell sermons were preached to sorrowful congregations on the second Sunday after Epiphany. When first leaving, and unsure of whether he would return, Canon E. Howell had said in his sermon at St. Augustine's:
...how thankful I am that the monotony of life and the thinness of our numbers have not led you to think it of little account whether you continued to come to the altar here or not. ...zeal for the worship of the church does too often decline when things become socially and commercially quiet and dull.
... I thank God then for the certainty that... that great Church to which we belong has laid its foundations so strongly here that they can never be thrown down, and that her services will go on generation after generation, when you and I, and all our neighbours have been laid in the dust.
Canon E. Howell returned to New Zealand where he spent some years, and it seems his health improved. In 1896 he was appointed to the Cathedral of Hobart, and he died in Newton, Tasmania in 1912, when a marble tablet to his memory was erected by his old parishioners, in the sanctuary of the Church.
Rev. T.M. Boyer, B.A.
The Rev. Thomas Morrison Boyer B.A., was inducted as the next minister of the parish on 19th August 1891, by Archdeacon C. Morse, at St. Jude's. The new minister was a tall Irishman sporting a black moustache and a bowler hat when he first came to the south from Koolunga, with his wife Gertrude. He had been educated at Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge, and Heidelberg University, before being ordained at York Cathedral, and coming to South Australia under the influence of Bishop Kennion.
A later Rector, Rev. W.C.S. Johnson, said of Rev. T. Boyer:
There was much behind this tall, observant, slightly retiring polite man. He would take off his hat, even to boys passing through the avenue by the Church. This grave act stifled the ribald comment. It died on the lips, scared off by a dignity which subtly rubbed off on the recipients of such courtesy. Seeing him enter the Church door one day back in 1923, I was left with a long lasting impression - stand still, Abraham Lincoln passes by.
Arthur Fydell Lindsay
Mr. A.F. Lindsay of 'Edzell House' worked long and hard for the Church, being for over 20 years a lay reader. He had arrived in South Australia with the State's first Governor, in the Buffalo, in 1836. When Mr. Lindsay died suddenly in 1895, aged 78 years, a grateful Vestry erected a marble tablet to his memory, and his daughter later gave the sanctuary lamp. His wife, Charlotte Lindsay was an equally generous worker for the Church.
Church Improvements in the 1890's
In 1893 Mr. J.S. Thorley, (companion to George Barr-Smith) gave an iron kerosene lit chandelier. This was a large, ornate appliance in bronze, with gold adornment and glass shades. A year later the same man also gave an outside lamp. This was probably the large square lamp which stood halfway down the Church avenue on an iron arch. When the Church later purchased a gas lighting system, gas wall brackets were also fitted. Mr. Thorley also gave the first altar rails in 1894, which were replaced by the present ones in 1936.
A bell fund was begun in 1895, and the bell, when eventually purchased, was hung in a small arch, still atop the northern gable. (In 1904 Percy Field was paid £1 ($2) a year to ring it). On the death of Alexander Hay M.L.C., of 'Mount Breckan' in 1898, Mrs. Hay gave a beautiful three light window of the Purification, depicting Simeon and the infant Christ, with text from the Song of Simeon. This was placed over the altar, replacing the first stained window, erected in 1886, depicting St. John. At the time there had been hopes of also obtaining Saints Matthew, Mark and Luke in glass too.
Activities during these years were many and varied. Fund raising included an operetta of "Little Red Riding Hood" arranged by Mrs. Boyer in 1892, and bazaars, a Christmas Fair in 1902, and a large fair at 'Adare', home of Mr. and Mrs. D.H. Cudmore, in 1906, and again in 1912. It was also here in 1915 that the Bishop Nutter Thomas was guest at a reception at which parishioners were formally introduced to him and Mrs. Thomas. In 1903 a Girl's Cricket Club was formed among the (female) members of the Sunday School, Captain being Miss Dora Beresford.
Votes for Women
Indeed in 1904 a motion was put forward at the Vestry Meeting that ladies be allowed to vote at meetings. It was defeated, but raised again in 1907 by Mr. Field, and passed. However, no further action seems to have been taken, although the motion was passed and put into practice at St. Jude's. In 1911 the issue again came up, and in 1913 Mr. Chillingworth presented a petition for Rector and Wardens to sign. Finally, in March 1914, the ladies were able, triumphantly, to vote at the Vestry Meeting.
The Church Hall
As early as 1901 discussion centred around building a hall. Another block of land was secured adjoining the Church, from Mrs. Lindsay, and renewed fund raising began. A novel fund raiser was a ping pong tournament in January 1902, arranged by Collier Cudmore and Allan Gale. Later in the year when the Congregational Church adopted the same idea to raise money, the local correspondent for the Southern Argus was attacked for declaring that, "Games and churches are so mixed up nowadays that it is hard to say where one begins and the other ends. We have everything now but the bookmaker and I suppose he will come along in good time". Fortunately for the reporter, nobody knew his identity, but his remarks prompted many indignant letters to the editor.
In July 1907, a start was made towards the erection of the hall. A Sunday School room, it was felt, was badly needed, there being 46 children on the roll. It was completed by November when Bishop Thomas and Archdeacon Bussell opened the new hall on the 20th. Prior to building, £300 had been raised, but the final cost was about £100 more than expected. The ceremony was followed by a public tea, and in the evening a concert was given by the Public School children, under their teacher Miss Isobel White. In 1921 a kitchen was added to the hall at a cost of £256. The hall became regularly used for all kinds of functions, euchre games, dances, music lessons and meetings.
At this time the Vestry was an oval weatherboard structure just adjacent to the Church, about where the barbecue now stands. Further back, against the fence were stables. Beams from these were in recent times used as garden seats between the hall and Church.
An unfortunate incident occurred in 1910. More than £50 had been raised for a new organ, but was duly spent by the organ fund treasurer, and unfortunately it seemed that Mr. Boyer would have to repay the money himself from his own stipend. However, Mrs. T.L. Browne generously came forward and donated the new organ.
In 1962 a modern electric organ was given to the Church in memory of Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Connell of 'Mount Breckan'. This was replaced by the same donor with a pipe organ of 353 pipes, dedicated on Whitsunday 1978.
Frederick Septimus Field
In 1908 Mr. F.S. Field, after 32 years, stated he was unable to continue as people's warden due to ill health. He died later that year. Mr. Field had also been treasurer and collector of pew rents. These were a fee of approximately one Guinea ($2.10) for a whole pew, or less for single sittings, payable by regular occupiers, and entitling them to having a name card on the pew. Up until the 1930's this provided a regular income for the Church.
In 1911, through Mrs. Agnes Gosse, the beautiful brash lectern was given by her and other relations, in memory of Agnes Grant Hay of 'Mount Breckan' and her daughter Helen Gosse Hay. Both were tragically lost at sea aboard the steamer Waratah in 1909. Before her death Mrs. Hay had- spoken of giving a lectern to the Church. At first the idea of a brass lectern was rejected as it was thought there would be no one to clean it. Dr. F. Douglas's young daughters dreaded then task of weekly polishing.
Suggestion of a Separate Parish
A deputation waited on St. Jude's Vestry Meeting in with the suggestion of obtaining a curate to live at Victor Harbor and aid Rev. T. Boyer. Later in the year St. Augustine's proposed that if sufficient funds could be raised, Victor Harbor become a separate parish, Mr. Paul Cudmore and Dr. Douglas being particularly enthusiastic in this area. However, these plans were shelved with the beginning of the Great War in 1914. Many young men from the Church wen involved in the war, and six were killed, including Lieut. Milo Cudmore, in France in 1916, and in whose memory his mother gave a block of land in 1922 for a Rectory to be built upon. Rev. T. Boyer's son Alec was seriously wounded at the front.
However, Rev. Robert Jagger was appointed assistant priest at St. Augustine's in 1921, followed in 1924 by Rev, Tom Wood, who spent each summer at St. Augustine's untill 1930.
Tower and Nave
In 1922 the Church nave and tower were built by well, known Adelaide builder F. Fricker, at a cost of £1,250. Mr. H.B. Welch had promised £50 if nine others would give the same, and £500 was quickly raised. The foundation stone for the nave was laid on 16th August 1922, by a very proud William Depledge, who had driven Bishop Short to the consecration of the Church 52 years before. After a short speech Mr. Depledge was presented with a silver trowel. Archdeacon Clampatt addressed the assembly. The new nave was opened on 21st February, 1923. Bishop Thomas led the service, in which the choir played an active part, and Mr. Percy Field sang a solo. That year Mr. Depledge's grandson, Geoff, was the first child to be christened in the new font,
The overall harmonious design of the Church is largely due to plans laid out by Mrs. Mary Stewart Leishman, sister of Dr. F.J. Douglas. Although a cripple for whom even writing was a great effort, Mrs. Leishman worked untiringly in this area. Later Mrs. Paul Cudmore planted the Virginia creeper which for many years was a feature of the Church.
By the early 1920's Rev. T. Boyer was visiting St. Augustine's once a month for communion and an evening service, a pattern that had been established 50 years before. The two Miss Webbs - Juliet and Lucy, alternately played the organ, and Miss Florence Field was the sole member of the choir. The ladies - Miss Goodwin, Miss Wright, and Miss Barrett, paid minute attention to the Church linen and brass. The wardens, Messrs. Paul Cudmore and Percy Field had quite a responsibility in running the Church affairs, and the Lay readers' role was an essential one.
Percy Field, Harold M. Hardy and Harry Pearsons were among the more prominent at the time. Other lay readers had included such men as: Frederick H. Taylor (18 years’ service), O.B. Hutchinson, T. Chillingworth (17 years), John Whitmore, W.H. Butchart, J.S. Kelly, F.A. Clarke, and James Chibnall.
Harry Pearsons was a dedicated churchman, and from 1919 until 1945, a very regular lay reader, even after St. Augustine's became a separate parish with its own minister. Mr. H.M. Hardy was the local chemist, and Superintendent of the Sunday School. Mr. Charlie Abell, the postmaster, was a lay reader from 1924. He was also bass in the choir at the time, and Choirmaster. His successor at the Post Office, Mr. C.R. Spicer, also did some lay reading, as well as Mr. A.B. Hales in the 1940's, who with his wife (an organist) were Synod Representatives.
Mr. William Gallant was the only ever Verger at St. Augustine's, carrying out all the associated duties.
The last years of Rev. T. Boyer’s Ministry
The Rev. T.M. Boyer drove a Model T. Ford in his latter years, and would be seen rolling along crouched over the wheel, for he was a big man. Driving up Kleinig's Hill on his way back to Port Elliot on one occasion, travelling along at 20 miles per hour, he just got over the top when to his surprise a wheel rolled past, and in the same instant the back end of the car sat down on the road with a crash.
Before he acquired the car, it was nothing for Rev. T. Boyer to walk for miles to call upon his parishioners. He supplemented his income by giving private tutoring, and writing for the daily newspaper. His daughters Christobel and Dorothy taught music.
After 42 years’ service to the South Coast, Rev. T. Boyer retired in 1933, and left the district. He died just two years later, on 7th August 1935, aged 76.
Victor Harbor as a Separate Parish
Finally, in 1933, Victor Harbor applied for, and obtained, parochial status, becoming a parish in its own right, separate from Port Elliot, and the Rev. C.R. Whereat became first minister. The next few years were busy and innovative at St. Augustine's.
The overall harmonious design of the Church is largely due to plans laid out by Mrs. Mary Stewart Leishman, sister of Dr. F.J. Douglas. Although a cripple for whom even writing was a great effort, Mrs. Leishman worked untiringly in this area. Later Mrs. Paul Cudmore planted the Virginia creeper which for many years was a feature of the Church.
Mrs. Boyer, Mrs. Douglas and Miss Goodwin had first begun a committee to raise funds for building a Rectory some years before. A building committee consisting of Rev. C.R. Whereat, Dr. F.J. Douglas, and Messrs. P. Cudmore, P. Field, H.M. Hardy, H.E. Welch, L.J. Young was formed in 1933, and the fine brick Rectory begun. The architect was Dean Berry, and builder H.J. Were of Adelaide. The building, of cavity brick with tiled roof, jarrah floors and oregon pine woodwork, was completed in November 1934, at a cost of £6,625. The Ladies Guild in its early years worked tirelessly to repay the loan.
The Mother’s Union and Ladies Guild
The Mothers Union and Guild of St. Monica were chiefly the work of Rev. C.R. Whereat's ministry. The Guild was in existence in 1933, but renamed in honour of the mother of St. Augustine. The Mothers Union was started in 1934 and their banner, depicting the Sistine Madonna in silk and embroidery with painted highlights, was worked by an English artist, Miss M. Bristowe Hughes, who had visited the church that year. Early members of the Mothers Union were Mrs. C. Hamilton, Mrs. A. Hardy, Mrs. Brandwood, Mrs. Gowling, Mrs. Snow, Mrs. Winter, Mrs. Frost, and Mrs. Hales. Mrs. Whereat had some trouble in remembering which was which of the latter four ladies.
For the last few years the Guild has been responsible for the highly successful Spring Fairs.
Rev. C.R. Whereat
Rev. Charles Roland Whereat came to Victor Harbor from Prospect. His ministry was a busy one, with further beautification of the Church and grounds. Handsome bequests and gifts included those of the Cudmore family, Mrs. M. O'Leary, Mrs. A. Gosse, the Parsons family, Douglas family, and others.
In 1934 the Church paid £65 for a 1928 Dodge Tourer car for Rev. C.R. Whereat, which he christened 'Carrie'. In October 1935, the first 'Parish Magazine', price threepence, forerunner of the present 'Encounter' (begun by Rev. W. Johnson) appeared. A local craftsman, Harold Woods, in 1937 and 1938, was responsible for the blackwood paneling in the sanctuary, a fitting memorial to Rev. T.M. Boyer.
Again the parish was disturbed by war in 1939, and from 1941 to 1946 Rev. C.R. Whereat was away serving as an army Chaplain, while St. Augustine's was in the care of Canon A. Burton, and then temporarily re-joined with Port Elliot under Rev. G. Hadden.
The Douglas Family
Dr. Francis J. Douglas was a prominent figure in town and Church affairs from 1902, for close on 60 years. He was a moving figure in the building of the local hospital, and in obtaining an ambulance, and telephone service at Victor Harbor.
In 1933 the pulpit was given in memory of the Doctor's mother, Mary Beviss Douglas. This lady, with her floating veils and gray hair, was described as a miniature Queen Victoria in appearance. In 1966 the Douglas family designed and gave the modern three light window in the southern transept, in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Douglas.
The Douglas's were also responsible for raising money for the window 'Christ and the Children', in memory of Miss Lucy Webb. A most appropriate memorial to a lady who really did love children.
The Cudmore Family
On the death of Mrs. Martha Cudmore, widow of Daniel Cudmore, of 'Adare' in 1938, the three light Ascension window in the northern transept, was erected. Since 1893 the Cudmores have been generous benefactors to the Church. Paul Cudmore was for over 30 years People's Warden, and his wife Ella Cudmore was responsible for the bequest for the upkeep of the garden. Their son married Rev. C.R. Whereat's daughter.
For many years the Church porch had been planned before it was finally built in 1962, during Rev. Cameron's ministry. Gifts for this included bequests from Miss Ethel Wright, Mrs. O'Leary, and others.
St. Thomas’ Inman Valley
St. Thomas' Church became part of the parish in 1934, being transferred from Yankalilla Parish. This is a small iron Church opened in 1885 on land given by the pioneer, Thomas Parsons. (This, it is said, influenced the dedication to St. Thomas). Until 1927 St. Thomas' was used on week days as a school for the children of the lower Inman. At the time there was only one teacher to serve this school as well as one in the Congregational Church, so she taught at each, fortnight about.
At the present time (1985), in this Church's centenary year, St. Thomas' holds some unique records. The oldest parishioner is Mr. Wilfred Roads, aged 97. The Warden, Mr. Roy Martin, has held his position for 43 years, and the organist, Mrs. Myrtle Cutten, recently retired after playing for close upon 46 years.
Mrs. H.M. Parsons and Mr. W. Roads have been loyal workers and donors at St. Thomas'.
St. Christopher’s, Mount Compass
During Rev. John Bond's ministry, Mount Compass, previously a mission district of Willunga, became part of the parish, in 1954. Services were first held monthly at the Post Office, run by Max Giles, and in the R.S.L. Hall. On 17th January 1954, Archdeacon Gooden chaired a meeting to discuss building a Church hall, and Mr. Basil St. John Proctor offered two blocks of land. However, another property was secured and a Women's Guild formed. From 1955 Communion was celebrated twice monthly at Mount Compass, and Evensong conducted by lay readers, including Messrs. M. Meyer, H.E. Dibbon, and L. Hokin.
In 1959 enough funds were in hand for plans to be drawn up by the architect Selby Chinnery, and approved the following year by the Bishop, T.T. Reed. In January 1961 the foundation stone was laid by the Ven. Archdeacon J.L. Bond, and Mr. Max Williams, with a band of very willing helpers began building. St. Christopher's, a modern church building, was completed on a rise above the main Adelaide road at a cost of £5,000. All but a .£2,000 loan was raised locally by the very dedicated Church men and women. The Church was dedicated on 17th December 1961, and consecrated in 1969 by Bishop T. T. Reed.
St. Francis’ Back Valley
About 1946, St. Francis' Church at Back Valley was opened in an ex-army hut, on land given by the Town Clerk, Mr. A.H. Warland. This was used until 1954, when the need for a Church in that place no longer existed. The proceeds of the sale of that Church were initially used in a somewhat unusual venture for the Church, of cattle raising.
As 1970 approached, the Church members, under the guidance of Rev. Bill Johnson, became involved in preparations for the centenary celebrations. By this time the creeper covered Church stood complete, facing Burke Street, flanked on one side by the Rectory, on the other by the hall, with a background of rich greenery from the old trees, and surrounded by the lantana hedge.
The centenary was marked by many functions. A thanksgiving service was conducted by Bishop T.T. Reed on 8th March, followed by a luncheon, and spirited singing and poetry recitations in the afternoon, on the lawns between the Church and hall. An historical exhibition was held in the hall, and a booklet dealing with the Church history was written by Rev. W. Johnson, always a man of a literary turn. A Debutante's Ball held in the Town Hall in May saw Rev. Johnson thereby lose a daughter, for there she met her future husband.
A lasting memorial however, was dedicated in the shape of a cloistered walkway leading from the Church to the hall and including toilet facilities. The stone, of the same type as the other buildings, was procured from the demolition of 'Summerlea', a building built for an early Church member, W.S. Reid. The walkway enclosed a memorial garden, for "Some there be who have no memorial". It was a fitting tribute to the many, from all walks of life who have gone before, worshipping God in this place, and pointing others toward Him for over 100 years.