St Andrew's Presbyterian Church

Coleraine on Bryan Creek, S-W Victoria, Australia

The first Presbyterian preaching in south-west Victoria was carried out by the Rev. Alexander LAURIE who settled in Portland in 1842. He made a missionary tour inland and preached at many of the stations in the Glenelg & Wannon area in 1843.

His successor the Rev. Thomas RICHARDSON (1848-1851) made some trips into the interior, visting stations on the Wannon and Glenelg.

In 1857 the Rev. R SUTHERLAND [MA], arrived at Merino and conducted services at Merino, Coleraine, Casterton, Hotspur and Digby during his short stay.

1861 : Committee

The first committee formed in 1861 to establish a new Charge of Coleraine, Casterton, Merino, Digby, Branxholme was composed of the following members:

  • William ROBERTSON, "Gringegalgona" near Coleraine
  • George CARMICHAEL, "Retreat" near Casterton
  • William SWAN, "Konongwootong" near Coleraine
  • William McPHERSON, "Nangeela" near Casterton
  • John McKINNON, "Koroite" Coleraine
  • Donald SWAN, "Spring Vale" Nareen, north of Coleraine
  • Alexander DAVIDSON, "Satimer" Wando Vale, near Casterton
  • Robert RALSTON, "Roseneath" near Casterton
  • Adam TURNBULL (Jnr), "Winninburn" between Coleraine and Tahara

1862 : Signatures

The request to the Presbytery in 1862, to establish a new Charge of Coleraine, Casterton, Merino, Digby, Branxholme was signed by the following:

  • William SWAN
  • Adam TURNBULL (Jnr)
  • Donald SWAN
  • John Hunter KERR
  • James McLEAN
  • Murdoch McCASKILL
  • Malcolm McKINNON
  • Duncan CRAWFORD
  • Wishart ESOLS
  • Miles FLETCHER
  • James DOUGLAS
  • Hugh McCALLUM
  • John BAIRD
  • G. W. SINCLAIR
  • Donald ANNEAR
  • James FERRIER
  • A. ROBERTSON
  • J. W. OSMOND
  • A. C. CAMERON
  • Elizabeth GILLIES

1862 : Rev. William GRAHAM

Rev. William GRAHAM became to first minister of St. Andrew's and was inducted 23rd November 1862. Little is known of his origins or his fate after his resignation in December 1866.

1865 : Foundation Stone for St Andrew's Church, Coleraine was laid

"The Hamilton Spectator" (Vic.) Saturday, 28th January 1865.
COLERAINE.
On Wednesday last our usually quiet town was the scenes of an interesting ceremony, which attracted a goodly number of visitors, and excited generally a good deal of interest. It was the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the Presbyterian Church, which may be regarded as the first church in this township, and also in this part of the Western district. The church, when completed, will cost about 1000, the present contracts being for a little over 900. It is to be of brick, and is designed, and will be superintended in its building bv Mr. J. S Jenkins, of Hamilton. The neatness and appropriateness of the plan adopted, its suitableness for the purpose, and the accommodation obtained for the amount of the outlay all speak highly for the ability of Mr. Jenkins as a clever and practical architect. The style of the building is gothic, and it is placed a little to the west of the present habited portion of the town, on the site granted by the Government.
It will appear strange to an ordinary member that so small a community as this should be enabled thus early to build to build so pretentious and expensive a church as the one now ..... I can only explain the reason by alluding to the constant and ready liberality which characterises so many of our settlers in this neighbourhood. Anything they take up, they take up heartily ; anything they give to, they give liberally. "They let not their left hand know to what their right hand giveth." They give in good cause heartily and unostentatiosly, and to this commendable spirit it is that we are able to point to the fact, that in all townships of the Western District, churches of different denominations are springing up and ministers are handsomely supported. In the present case, it would be invidious to allude to any individuals as having been more prominent in liberal donations than others as all have been so liberal, but I should not be doing justice did I not allude to the services Mr. Adam Turnbull has rendered in the good cause. He has acted as hon. secretary and treasurer. He has taken a leading interest in the whole affair, and beyond all doubt to his exertions in no small degree is attributable the final success of the undertaking.
Among the persons present on the interesting occasion may I mention the Rev. Mr Graham, the present Minister of the Church, and the Rev. A. Macdonald, of Hamilton, J. M'Roberts, of Branxholme, and T. Henderson of Balmoral. Mr. Turnbull had been selected to perform the ceremony of laying the stone, and a handsome silver trowel was presented to him on the occasion, bearing the following inscription :-- "Presented to Adam Turnbull, Esq., J.P., on the occasion of laying the foundation-stone of St. Andrew's Church, Coleraine." The trowel was presented by the Rev. W. Graham, who after commencing the proceedings by reading a portion of Scripture and prayer, made a few feeling and appropriate remarks.
Mr. Turnbull replied in a suitable manner, expressing himself as much gratified by the kind expressions which had fallen from Mr. Graham. He then read the inscription on the parchment prepared for depositing beneath the stone as follows :--
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
COLERAINE,
County of Dundas, colony of Victoria.
This Stone
was laid by
Adam Turnbull, Esq., J.P., of Winninburn,
on Wednesday, 25th day of January, 1865, and the 28th year of the rein of Her Most Gracious Majesty,
VICTORIA,
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.
SIR CHARLES H. DARLING, K.C.B.,
being at the time Governor of the Colony and Vice Admiral of the same.
The Church, of which this is the foundation stone is to be erected in connection with the Presbyterian Church of the colony of Victoria, partly by voluntary contributions, and partly by funds granted by the Crown, and built on land granted for the purpose by the Government.
The following are the names of the officers in conection with the Church at the time of its bein built, and also of those engaged in its erection.
Trustees--Adam Turnbull, Jun., Esq., J.P., of Winninburn ; William Swan. Esq., of Konongwootong ; Donald Swan, Esq., of Spring Vale ; William Learmonth, Esq., Tahara ; John McKinnon, Esq., Koroite ; John Ferrier, Esq., Saltpans Creek. Minister--Rev. William Graham.
Treasurer and Secretary--Adam Turnbull, Esq.
Architect--John S. Jenkins, of Hamilton.
Masons and bricklayers--Richard and William Hoare, of Hamilton.
Carpenter and slater--Alex. Manson, Hamilton.
Plasterer--John Thomas, Hamilton.
Plumber, painter and glazier--F. Friend, Hamilton.
In commencing this edifice, designed for Divine worship, the projectors earnestly and humbly beseach the blessing of the Almighty on their endeavoura, and trust that their efforts in the cause of religion may be crowned with prosperity and success.

This, being placed in a bottle, was depisted together with several current coins of the realm in the cavity prepared for the purpose, then, with the usual formality, the stone was declared by Mr. Turnbull to be well and truly laid. After this Mr. Tumbull addressed the meeting. He was glad that the time had at length come when their own district was to have the advantages of a church. When he had first become a resident in that neighbourhood some years ago there was not a church within ... miles of him, and it had been a common saying that "there was no Sunday on that side of the Hopkins." He was gratified with the part he had been called upon to perform, and he was also surprised, as he was obtaining a trowell to present to Mr. Graham, who, however, had forestalled him. He should treasure the trowell which had been presented him as a souvenir of the present gratifying occasion.
Several other speeches and addresses followed and the whole proceedings were conducted and terminated in the most agreeable manner.

1868 : Rev. William John GILLESPIE

Rev. William John GILLESPIE, minister at St. Andrew's, Coleraine from 1868 to 1902, was inducted to the Coleraine and Casterton Presbyterian Charge, at Coleraine on 20th May 1868.

"The Hamilton Spectator" (Vic.) Saturday, 23rd May 1868.
COLERAINE, May 22nd.--A ceremony, most interesting to a great majority of the residents in this neighbourhood, took place here on Wednesday and that was the installation and induction of the Rev. Mr. Gillespie as the Presbyterian Minister of the united parishes of Coleraine and Casterton. The Presbyterians have now been for nearly for eighteen months without a settled pastor, and it must be highly satisfying to them to have a gentleman so highly recommended as is the Rev. Mr. Gillespie settled among them. The Rev. Mr. Caldwell, of Mount Gambier, the Rev. Mr. Kelso, of Portland, and the Rev. Mr M'Roberts, of Branxholme, assisted at the installation, Mr. Caldwell preaching a most eloquent sermon, and Mr. Kelso delivering the usual address of advice to the incoming pastor. The sad death of your late minister in that church--Mr. M'Donald--was touchingly referred to by both speakers. After this ceremony, the induction dinner took place at Nickoll's Hotel, when about twenty-five gentlemen sat down, Mr. Adam Turnbull, of Winninburn, occupying the chair, with Mr. Gillespie on his right, Mr. Caldwell on his left, and Mr. William Moodie filling the vice-chair, supported by Mr. Kelso and Mr. McRoberts. Dinner over, Mr. Tumbull, on behalf of the congregation gave a hearty welcome to Mr. Gillespie, which was warmly responded to by that gentleman. I hope the connection so auspiciously commenced may prove to be a lasting one, and of great benefit to all concerned.

Sources:

  • "St Andrew's Presbyterian Church Coleraine, A Historical Sketch 1962-1862"
  • - Mr Punshon & Mr Templeton
  • "Scott's Church Casterton, A Historical Sketch 1862-1962"
  • - Kathleen Munro [BA]
  • "The Hamilton Spectator"

Links to Pioneer Names at...

Carapook & Muntham : Casterton : Dartmoor : Digby : Hotspur : Merino & Henty : Sandford : Strathdownie : Wando Vale


Daryl Povey

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