History

History of the Buildings

Enoggera Presbyterian Church Building

 

The Congregation had its roots in a Branch Sunday School which met in a shop at Petrie Terrace. In 1882 the Sunday School moved to the Red Hill School of Arts (Waterworks Rd). Around this time of a team of visionaries canvassed the district finacial sponsors to purchase four allotments in Enoggera Terrace and proceed with the building of a Church. On the first Sunday of December 1885, the church was opened. Thus began the Enoggera Terrace Presbyterian Church, 78 Enoggera Terrace, Paddington.

After 1929, the building was used for the ministry of the Sunday School. The children would walk from the new church at 100 Enoggera Terrace. For a number of reasons, this practice came to an end in 1981 when the building was sold for $40,000 (approx $450,000 in 2010 figures).

Boys’ Brigade Hall

In 1913, the 1st Brisbane Boys’ Brigade company commenced. They later built the hall on the church property at 80 Enoggera Terrace. The original building still stands today, having been maintained over the years by the efforts of the company itself.

Ithaca Presbyterian Church Building

In 1919, Rev James Gibson persuaded the Presbyterian Church of Queensland to purchase the land at 100 Enoggera Terrace, Paddington. In 1922 a New Building Fund Committee was formed. Within three years, £4000 was collected and the estimated cost for a new building was £6000. Work on a new church building commenced on this site in 1927 and the actual cost expanded to £8000 (about one million dollars in 2010 figures). The building was opened and dedicated on Saturday February 9, 1929.

From the outside, the building reflects an early Gothic style with a bell tower. Some locals today call it the Bat Castle. The bell was donated to the church by the Hendley family. They owned a large bell but had nowhere to place it. The family kept the bell for 40 years before the opportunity presented itself with the new building. Mr Hendley joyfully exclaimed, “There’s a home for my bell”.

From the inside, a beautiful timber interior celebrates the ascetic style of the 1920s architecture. The furnishing of the church was completed in 1933 with the installation of a new organ. This organ remains in the church today, although it was greatly overhauled in 1985 as a centenary project, with further major repairs occurring in 1999.

Several leadlight windows commemorate various aspects of the life of the church. At the back of the church, one leadlight display shows a mother stork nesting her three chicks. The donor gave these leadlight windows in memory of the sons she lost in the great war. A roll of honour from the first world war still exists on the left side of the church. The leadlight windows on the right commemorates the work of those who laboured with the Sunday School and children’s ministries, reminding the congregation of Jesus’ call – “Let the little children come unto me”. On the left, another leadlight window was donated by the 1st Brisbane Boys’ Brigade, remembering their founder George Orr. The words under the picture of the Apostle Paul read, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, Behold I die, but God be with you”.

Since 1996, the church building has accommodated the changing times and been equipped with a sound system, a data projector, a comfortably furnished family room with a video link. In 2009, the front wall was re-rendered restoring its orginal appearance.

Church Hall

The first church hall stood behind the BB Hall and was used for Sunday School and other functions until 1959, when parts of the building suffered extensive fire damage. The present church hall was dedicated in 1983. In recent years, the bottom of the hall has been enclosed for the use of "Kidzchurch". 

Manses

The house on the site of 100 Enoggera Terrace was moved nearer to View Street and became the manse (minister's accommodation) for the Ithaca Presbyterian Church. A new manse was built in 1959. In 1996, the church could not afford to renovate this manse, and it was demolished, and the land was leased to the Paddington Child Care Centre. This left the church without a manse, but by a great act of God’s provision, Hazel Reilly bequeathed her house in View Street, Paddington to the church. Because the house was in need of expensive renovations, the Committee of Management recommended that the congregation sell this property and purchase another house. In 1996, the congregation agreed to purchase a new house on Parkside Crescent, The Gap.

 

History of the People

Sunday School and Brigades

In 1880, students from the Divinity Hall in Wickham Terrace commenced a Sunday School in Petrie Terrace. This attracted about 400 children. AS the population spread West, the church established itself in the working-class area of Paddington/Red Hill. The Sunday School continued to attract over 300 children from the years 1885 until the 1920s. To supervise this number, the Sunday School had about 40 teachers.

During the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s the Sunday School and Boys’ Brigade ministries remained strong and they would come together once every year for an annual picnic. The picnic would commence with a long walk from the church building to Gibson’s Park (about 2 kilometres). The Boys’ Brigade band would lead the procession and the children would march behind. When the procession came to the Methodist church the parade would stop and the Superintendent would yell, “three cheers for the Methodists, hip hip hooray”. In response the Methodists would yell, “Three cheers for the Presbyterians”.

Numbers declined from the 1960s but Sunday School. In the early 1990s, the Sunday School was kept alive by mothers who took turns at leading the children. Ten years later, Michelle Haywood helps restructure the Sunday School into a "Kidzchurch" with more dynamics in teaching and activities. The annual picnic remained in the activities. In the past few years, Darren Herrgott has taken over the role of childen and youth ministries.

The 1st Brisbane Boys’ Brigade was the first company in Australia, started by George Orr in 1913, and still continues to this day. Girls’ Brigade operated during two stages of Ithaca’s history, in the 1950s-60s and then from 1991-2005 (29th company). The 1st Brisbane Boys Company has trained hundreds of boys over the years and continues to provide weekly enjoyment, character development, and comradeship for the present company. They continue to win the drill competitions and have their own marching band. Each year the boys enjoy camping, and as a special treat, the company has raised money to embark on a number of trips to New Zealand. The longest serving captain was Graeme Milliner (42 years), and in 2003, Andrew Atkinson became captain and then in 2009, Eric Pitt took over the captaincy.  

Choir

The organist who remained in the job the longest was Dulcie Perry, and more recently Marjorie Warry has been the organist for many years. Dulcie Perry and Alwyn Knott would offer organ lessons. The congregation also had a German organist at one stage. Mr Murdoch was choir master. Mr Murdoch died doing what he really loved, he had a heart attack and died when singing in the choir at the end of a Sunday worship service.

The choir had its greatest days during the 1940s and 1950s when the people would rehearse every Thursday and sing every Sunday. One choir member had a nervous dog who could not stay home alone, so the dog would come to choir practice and sit on the pew during the songs. During those days, the choir was blessed to have two outstanding soprano soloists, first Mrs Teirmann and then Leith Murdoch.

The Plays

In 1921, the Ithaca Girls Guild presented their first play “Mrs Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch”. So successful was the event that plays became an annual event over the next 30 years. The plays also incorporated mime and folk dancing – a first for Presbyterian churches. In 1929, the plays moved from the BB hall to the old church building. The keenness for the plays shows when during the second world war years, the performers even practiced under black-out.

The plays provided a pageantry for the community with hundreds attending the shows. They did not attract criticism from the church until one performance in 1951 had the minister, Rev Crowe, outraged at the immodest clothing involved with a segment called “interpretative movement”. Rev Crowe vowed to resign if such performances were left to continue. When the church elders sided with the congregational members who organized the plays, the Rev Crowe duly resigned.

In the year 2000, a children's play "Walls" was not met with any controversy, and the direction has moved towards a Community Arts Day, with paintings and music and film displays.

Sunday Worship

From 1929 right into the sixties the church held three services on Sunday, each attracting 180 people. In the evening, a person had to turn up early to get a seat. All the younger adults would go to the evening service. In the earlier years, people would pay to reserve pews, a practice that was later stopped, as it showed favoritism to the rich. The services decreased to two during the 1960s, and then one in the 1980s. In the 1990s, an evening service continued for the Boys’ Brigade and in 1991, the Cook Island service commenced. In 1998, with the ordination of Robert Herrgott, the nightchurch service commenced and in 2008, an afternoon "international church" started with home missionary Tim Kim employed to assist this work.

The church has played a significant contribution to community life in the declades 1930 until 1960. In the past 25 years, a noticeable decrease in activity is seen. Less baptisms, weddings and funerals. Still, there have been over 200 baptisms and 300 weddings in the past 25 years.

Missions

Paddington consisted of many poor families in the past decades, and the church helped support poor families. The church also made a special effort to help several Aboriginal families who lived in the area. Monies from the church have always gone towards strengthening Presbyterian world missions and theological education.
Ithaca was also responsible for starting a congregation at Bardon, later called the Carmel Presbyterian Church (now at The Gap). Ithaca also oversaw Auchenflower church. In the early 1970s, the Charge Ithaca/Auchenflower/Carmel was called the West Brisbane Charge. In 2000, the church pledged to give 10% of its offerings to support Robin Watson's work in Burkina Faso, Africa. Later, 10% of the landlease money was dedicated to Chandra Smith's work in South America. For several years 2000-2007 Ithaca undertook to support various church planting works, including Shailer Park and Kenmore. 

Other Groups

The church has had various Bible Study groups. On top of those, there have been other social groups. The church has had Women’s Guilds, Men’s Guilds, Girl’s Guilds, Men’s Youth, the Tennis Club, the Cricket Club, Indoor Bowls club, Craft group and now it has a Playgroup. It has provided a rich diversity of activity within its 125 year history. The tennis club used its own tennis courts which were behind the church building.

Ministers

In 1887 called its first minister, Rev Glasgow Crawford. He was a man of culture and refinement, ministering at Enoggera Tce for six productive years (1887-1893). The second minister was the Rev R. Henry Roberts who stayed for fifteen years and was remembered for the way he would read the Scriptures and provide deep spiritual insight (1893-1909). Then came the Rev James Walker who provided four years of continuing pulpit power (1909-1913) and during his time, the governor of Queensland Sir William MacGregor was a frequent worshipper.

In 1914, the Rev James Gibson blessed the congregation as a man of conscientiousness, unselfishness, originality and power of intellect, and promoting a great spirit of brotherhood and harmony. The Rev James Gibson would serve a second term at Ithaca (1930-33) and his grave remains at the front of the church. In between his calls, the Rev Hubert Robertson served for 7 years and saw the commencement of the new building and was remembered, among other things, for the comprehensiveness of his prayers.

The Rev Rowellyn Ramsay served from 1934 until 1942 and used his economic skills to help free the congregation from any debts. When he and his wife Joann arrived from Scotland, their luggage had been temporarily lost in transit, and so they turned up at the church in formal attire - he was wearing a kilt and she was in a pink evening gown down to her ankles.

The Rev Crowe resigned in 1951 over the controversy of “interpretative movement”. He stood up for what he believed during his 8 years as minister. After Rev Crowe, the next twenty years saw three ministers.

The first was Rev Patterson (1952-1958). On his arrival he introduced himself as the Rev Thomas Johnson Patternson and demanded that people address him using his full name and title. The next minister was Rev Egan (1959-1966). His wife was colour blind and to find her way around the kitchen she painted kitchen doors all different bright colours. Ironically, the Manse kitchen started off the sixties with a hippie flower-power look even though the hippie movement had not yet commenced.

The next minister was Rev McIntyre (1966-1973). During Bible classes, he would hand out study material for the people to work through, and as they worked on their books, he would fall asleep in his chair. Someone had to wake him when it was time to collect the books. He was remembered for being a very intellectual man.

In 1976, despite many people rallying for a Uniting Church, the Ithaca congregation voted to continue as a Presbyterian church. Times were changing and the hey-day of a strong community congregation was declining. A report from the year states,

“We move into 1976 and the future with the way uncertain, but remembering that if we remain faithful and true, God is able to do exceedingly abundantly than we can ask or even imagine”.

Through the hard work of the dedicated few, the church doors remained opened. Several suggestions of amalgamations were presented but never executed. In 1983 the congregation called the Rev Peter Gordon and during his ministry the congregation celebrated 100 years of ministry and restored the organ. After Peter Gordon, the Rev Allen Switzer attracted some new families in the early nineties. After a four year vacancy (1993-1997), the congregation called the present minister Robert Herrgott. The church began a conservative modernising process to incorporate youth ministries and start a second service in the evening. By God's grace, the congregation grew. In 2010, about being the celebrant to many marriages in the church, Robert himself took the wedding vows in the church, marrying Sandra. Over the years he has been supported by a team of loyal elders which now include John Wilson (Session Clerk), Robert Olander (treasurer), Tereva Tereva (Cook Island leader), Darren Herrgott (kidschurch leader), Bob Boyd (wise property advisor), Gavin Palk (trained counsellor), and Tom Oh (International students helper).

Ministers have never advanced the church on their own gifts and graces, but God has always raised up elders, committee managers, members and assistants. If we wrote all this information, we would have a rather large book. People have generously served in many capacities.

To God be all the glory, Amen.