Drik Drik Church 1866-1978

Drik Drik (near Dartmoor), South-West Victoria, Australia



Early History of Drik Drik

by Mrs J. K. BROWN (nee Fay MULLEN), 1968

Many years ago a small band of pioneers came from overseas to settle in the wilds of this small place called Drik Drik (an Aboriginal word for "Stoney Stoney").

These people decided they would like to hold services, and these were held under some gum trees near where the Methodist Church now stands. The Rev. W. LIGHTBODY, Methodist Minister, came from Portland on horseback to conduct the first service. Later on he drove a buggy which was used as a pulpit.

About 1866 the first Church was built, with slab walls, stringy bark roof, and seats of slabs with legs, and to this Church came men in moleskin trousers and hob-nailed boots accompanied by their dogs. Unfortunately, there was no photograph of this building.

Some years later, in 1885, when the means became available, they built the stone Church which still stands near the position of the original building. The Presbyterians helped to cart the stone, which was quarried on nearby properties.

By this time, the Presbyterians were holding their own services in the home of the late Mr. David McLELLAN, a fine Scotsman, who had called his home "Admella" after the ship which was wrecked in Dicovery Bay. Services were held there until a little sawn timber Church was built and used until 1903, when the present Church was built on the same site.

It is possible the first Minister was Mr. WERNE, a little Welshman, who used to ride a big dappled grey horse called Duncan, which was arrayed with all the gear that was used then, and one could hear the jingle before he came into view.
[NOTE: William Williams WERNE, aged 74 died at Dartmoor in 1898, son of William WERNE and Rachel GRIFITH]

Mr. WERNE was here for many years until his death, and he was buried in the Dartmoor Cemetery. It is thought that Mr. McGOWAN followed him. The Rev. LIGHTBODY continued to take services in the Methodist Church for some time until ministers were more plentiful. When the Rev. LIGHTBODY moved away, the Ministers from Portland continued to come until 1886, when Heywood included Drik Drik in their Circuit of many scattered preaching places of Kentbruck, Mt. Richmond, Bridgewater, as well as Drumborg. The Ministers came once a month, but there were local preachers, Mr. R. A. LIGHTBODY, son of Rev. LIGHTBODY, Mr. I. CLARKE, and Mr. W. MULLEN, nephew of the Rev. LIGHTBODY, who took the services when the Ministers did not come up, also taking services at Mt. Richmond, Kentbruck, Drumborg and Heywood when required. Two local preachers also came up from Heywood.

Methodist Church was held every Sunday, one afternoon and three evening services a month. The Presbyterians met twice a month, one service in the morning and one in the evening. At all the services the Church was always full, as there were big families, and the singing was beautiful as everybody sang with great gusto. There was a combined choir which sang at either Church.

Three years ago, 1965, the two Churches combined, and the Charge is now known as the "Presbyterian-Methodist" Charge, the services being held in the Presbyterian Church, and the Methodist Church being used as a Sanday School.

Source: Booklet - "Drik Drik Church 1866-1978".


Jubilee of Drik Drik Presbyterian Church 1903-1953

Original Committee

John SINEL, M. KENNEDY, Jas. LIGHTBODY, Jnr., James KERR, Thos. EMERSON, Willie SWAIN, M. TUNNOCK, Arch. McPHEE, John KENNEDY, Edwin JONES, Donald McPHEE, A. McLEAN, David McLELLAN, Snr.,
Rev. McGOWAN (Resident Minister)
Wm. LIGHTBODY (Hon. Sec.)

At a Congregational Meeting held in the Drik Drik Presbyterian Church in 1953, and presided over by the Rev. W. M. CONSTABLE, it was decided that as this year marked the 50th Anniversary of our present Church we should hold a Jubilee Service. A Special Committee was set up to make arrangements for this service, and to gather together data in order that a History of the Church might be compiled.

We would take this opportunity to thank sincerely all those who in any way assisted in the building and maintenance of the Church and Services, and those who have assisted in our Worship by presiding at the organ.

A Short History of the Presbyterian Church, Drik Drik 1903-1953

In the year 1901 the Committee of the Drik Drik Presbyterian Church considered that their present building was too small for their needs and that a new building must be erected. Their Home Missionary, Mr. McGOWAN, and together with the Secretary, Mr. Wm. LIGHTBODY, set about organising the district for this task. Money was most difficult to come by, as Banks did not offer credit as they do now, pond notes had not yet made their appearance, and when one went to a distant town to make a purchase it was necessary to take a bag of sovereigns.

The Committee knew full well the difficulties that lay ahead of them, but they were not discouragd by such obstacles. In 1902 their Secretary married and shifted to Bridgewater, and Mr. Thos. EMERSON was appointed in his stead. Plans and specifications were prepared by Mr. C. P. WILSON, the Shire Engineer at Portland, for a stone building measuring 35 feet by 21 feet. It was considered that if the quarrying and carting were done by the free labour of the residents, the Church could be erected at the cost of 450. But at that time, 450 represented a lot of money, so first of all a personal appeal was made and each one gave according to his means. It is noted with appreciation that people away from Drik Drik were interested in the erection of a new Church, because amongst the donors were the names of John PRATT and Donald McLENNAN of Mumbannar, and Alexander DONALD and John PHILLIPS of Dartmoor, who each gave the sum of 5.

However, still more money was required, so each member of the Committee loaned 10 free of interest, and it gives us great satisfaction to know that this loan money was repaid within two years.

Local Stone used in Church Building.

There was an outcrop of good white stone on the Moleside Creek, so blocks containing about ywo yards each were sawn by working bees. The late Mr. James KERR then dragged the blocks from the pit with bullocks, and after getting them over a creek bank, loaded them onto his wagon by dragging the blocks up two skids that he placed aginst the side of his vehicle. As the roads were as yet unmade and very sandy, only two blocks could be carted at a time, so we can see what a big task it was.

The Committee next set about quarrying bluestone on MINOGUE's and JONES' properties. This stone was carted in drays by Mr. Thos. EMERSON and Mr. James LIGHTBODY, Jnr., and it took two weeks of hard work. It is agreed that these two gentlemen gave the greatest share of free labour.

A good quantity of lime was now required for mortar so a pile of logs was heaped together, hard limestone was carted and placed on top, and the logs were fired and kept alight for several days and nights until the rocks became burnt lime which was put into bags.

The old Church building was sold for removal for 15 to Mr. John SINEL, and the new building was commenced. Mr. Jim HARDY, with Mr. Bob KENT as his labourer, undertook the stonework. Both these men lived in Portland, and did a fine piece of work. Mr. James LIGHTBODY, Snr., was entrusted with the carpentry work, and he had with him Mr. Dave EVANS of Mt. Gambier. Although Mr. LIGHTBODY did not belong to our Church, he supplied the timber and built the steps leading to the pulpit as a donation. His action was exemplary of all the members of the Methodist Chrurch at Drik Drik. For fity years these good people have regularly attended our Church Services and have helped greatly in many ways. We might well tell our children of their neighbourliness.

Mr. McGOWAN Inducted as Minister

About this period Mr. McGOWAN was inducted as Minister, and it must have given him much pleasure to lay the Foundation Stone in June, 1903. We suffered loss when Mr. Thos. EMERSON, our Secretary, left the district to live at Myamyn, and Mr. TYLER was appointed to that position in his place.

That same year, when the finished Church was opened by the Rev. CALDWELL, a bazaar was held and was an outstanding success. One novel means of raising the sum of 30 was a patchwork quilt made from three inch coloured squares of cloth on which for the sum of five shillings a person could have his name crocheted. After display, the quilt was disposed of at a shooting gallery, the winner being Mr. Andrew LYNN of Nelson.

During the first year the stools from the old building were used and then sold for 5/-. New pews were built to the order of Mr. WILSON by Mr. J. SEDWICK of Portland for the princely sum of 1 each. To look at their workmanship to-day would make one wonder a little.

Our first Baptism was that of Lloyd McLEAN, but strangely enough we did not have a wedding for about six years, when Clementine McLEAN was married. Pine trees were planted along the fence in front of the Church, but these grew to a great height and their roots were a menace to the foundations of the Church, and they were felled and milled. In recent years a smaller type of tree has been planted, and these have added greatly to the beauty of our Place of Worship.

During the first ten years of the Church, seating accomodation was fully taxed because large families were the fashion and the people seemed more eager to attend Worship, despite the fact that they either had to ride or drive in a buggy.

During that period, Mr. Jim LIGHTBODY, Mr. Eric MATHESON and Mr. John SINEL each served as Secretary with good results.

World War 1 Brings Crushing Blow

World War 1 brought us a crushing blow. Every eligible man in Drik Drik offered his services, and the youth of our congregation was gone. Our 1914-1918 Honor Roll bears witness to their loyalty. During the war period Mr. J. M. EMERSON was appointed Secretary, and for twenty-six long years did a really marvellous work. Congregations were falling away and the budget was becoming hard to balance, but under the ever-watchfull eye of our Secretary we somehow were able to keep above the line. When he left us eleven years ago to live in Heywood, our finances were excellent.

Although our payments to the Central Board in 1930 amounted to only 54, that money was much harder to earn and give than the 226 raised in 1953. Of course, our Secretaries have had some very good workers, particularly amongst the ladies. We would mention particularly Miss May LIGHTBODY for fifty year's unsparing work, and Miss Rose KENNEDY who played the organ and worked hard. On her demise in 1932 she bequeathed the money for the organ which is present in the Church.

About this time a branch of the P.F.A. was formed. The late Rev. Clive COX and his sister Margaret were greatly interested in the young folk and helped to build this branch into one of the strongest outside of the Metropolitan area. The young folk from the Methodist Church joined wholeheartedly in the organisation.

On the 23rd October, 1932, we had the great pleasure of seeing two of our members ordained and inducted as Elders of our Church. They were the late Mr. C. C. BUCKNALL, and Mr. J. M. EMERSON, who is still acting in that capacity.

During 1938 a new lot of trees were planted, and a Vestry was added to the church building. It is of white stone, and was built by Mr. HAINES. The stone for the foundation was carted free by Mr. Ken KERR, and the building was paid for mainly by a gift of 40 from the Drik Drik Branch of the Orange Lodge.

Secretary to Federal Board Appointed

In 1936 one of our members, Mr Lloyd McLEAN, was appointed Secretary to the Federal Board, and for ten years served the whole Charge in that capacity. When he went to Heywood to live, his brother Keith was appointed in his stead, and for the past seven years has done equally good work.

The year 1939 saw the outbreak of World War 11, and at its close in 1946 a Commemorative Tablet was unveiled at the Church. We have also received a number of beautiful and valuable gifts from our members. These include a Communion Set donated by Mr. & Mrs. J. M. EMERSON, a Communion Table given by Graeme, Fred and Lorna BUCKNALL in memory of their parents, Agnes and Chester BUCKNALL, whilst the Congregation later purchased a Communion Chair.

On April 26th, 1942, Mr. J. S. A. McEACHERN was ordained to the Eldership, and on the 14th December 1947, Mr Keith McLEAN and Mr. Fred BUCKNALL were also elected to that position. Mr. McEACHERN now holds the position of Session Clerk.

Our Ladies Guild has always been a tower of strength. Besides cleaning the church and preparing it for Services, they have presented a number of gifts, including the carpet and the hymn books now in use. Recently they provided funds for the lining of the Vestry. The music book for the organist was presented by Mr. J. S. A. McEACHERN.

Following the resignation of his father as Secretary in 1941, Mr. Ian EMERSON assumed that responsible position, and has carried it on faithfully for eleven years.

Whilst we may look with pride at the work of our parents, we must not for a moment forget the wonderful work done by our Home Missionaries and Ministers. These good men, on a very small remuneration, gave of their best for our spirital and social welfare. It is with pride that we look forward to our Jubilee Service when the Rev. Graeme BUCKNALL, one of our own boys, will be the guest Preacher.

Source: Booklet - "Drik Drik Church 1866-1978".


Drik Drik Methodist Church History 1866-1966

The first Methodist Service was held under some big gum trees close to where the Church now stands. The Rev. LIGHTBODY came from Portland on horseback to conduct the service. Later he drove his buggy, which was used as a pulpit.

Drik Drik was attached to the Portland Bush Mission, and was reported as a Preaching Place with 15 members. Very few early records have been preserved. Nothing more than a few brief references of these early years are to be found.

In 1866 a slab Church was erected with stringy bark roof, seats of slabs with legs and earthern floor. The cost was 25. The following year the building was extended, making it 24' x 16' in all, the cost for this building being 5. Rev. J. B. SMITH, a minister from Portland, conducted the opening service, and to this service came men in moleskin trousers, hob-nailed boots, and accompanied by their dogs. In 1869 the number of persons attending this Church was 40, and by 1871 numbers had increased to 60.

In 1886 Portland became a Home Mission Station and subsequently the Heywood Circuit was formed. Drik Drik became part of the Heywood Circuit, and for sixty years was the second largest place in the Circuit.

The residents decided to build a Church of reasonable size and so accomodate the numbers wishing to attend. Money was raised by holding tea-meetings and giving of donations.

On February 20th, 1885 the following notice appeared in the "Portland Mirror" -

"Tenders are invited for the building of a stone Church at Drik Drik - Rubble and quoins, stone, lime and sand supplied and carted. Water convenient. Tenders close with Mr. W. V. COCK, State School, Drik Drik."
Mr Thomas was the builder who won the contract. He was a Grandfather of Mrs E. E. BOND and Great Grandfather of Mrs. Ian EMERSON.

Presbyterians joined forces with their Methodist brethren and helped cart the stone to the spot. On March 12th, 1886 the Church was opened by Mr. KORNICK, Bush Missionary from Portland. The choir sang Sankey's Hymns and was accompanied by a harmonium. The singing was reported as being really beautiful. A Tea Meeting was held to coincide with the Church opening. Two hundred people attended. The food was prepared by Mesdames W. MULLEN, R. J. HOLMES, R. A. LIGHTBODY, E. JONES, W. COCK, JACKSON and KITTSON. There was a special table set up for bachelors, with a large damper as a centre piece. This was enjoyed by all. This table was waited on by Misses JONES and GOOCH.

After the Church was opened there was a credit balance of 6. Mr. WERNE, Presbyterian Minister, spoke and congratulated the Methodists on the fine building they had opened - free from debt. Mr. REMFRY from Heywood was the next speaker, followed by Mr. MALSEED and Mr. JACKSON.

The new building was to be called Drik Drik Methodist Wesleyan Chapel. Trustees for the new building were to be William COCK, James KITTSON, John HOLMES and Edwin JONES. R. A. LIGHTBODY, James LIGHTBODY Snr. and Isaac CLARKE were already trustees with William CONDON resigning as he was leaving the district.

In the early days the Minister came once a month, but there were local preachers who took services whenever required. Here we pay tribute to the remarkable services rendered to the Cause at Drik Drik by Mr. William MULLEN, Mr. Isaac CLARKE and Mr. Robert Arthur LIGHTBODY. Mr CLARKE served as a Local Preacher for 59 years, and a similar period of service was rendered by Mr. LIGHTBODY. Others who helped were brothers from Bridgewater - Steve and Trotter KITTSON and their cousin John KITTSON, also Mr. BRADLEY and Mr. BUTT from Heywood.

Mr. LIGHTBODY was one of the first Circuit Stewards in the Heywood Home Mission Station, and attended the first quarterley Meeting held there on July 9th, 1886. Mr. LIGHTBODY reported from this meeting that application was made to the Home Mission Committee for the amount of 7 to cover the cost of a horse for the Home Missionary.

A Band of Hope was commenced at Drik Drik in 1884. There were 88 members. Mr. J. TREDINNICK, Heywood Home Missionary, was the first Leader, followed by Messrs. JACKSON, J. KITTSON and W. COCK.

Services were held regularly in the Church until 1962, when it was decided to hold all services in the Presbyterian Church, and use the Methodist Church as a Sunday School room.

On January 23rd 1966, we saw the inauguration of the Presbyterian-Methodist Co-operation. This was marked with a special Service. Officiating Ministers were Rev. Dr. A. J. BLANKSBY, Rev. Colin JONES, rev. K. PITHER and Rev. R. ANSTEY.

Source: Booklet - "Drik Drik Church 1866-1978".

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