History of the Queanbeyan Uniting Church – it’s buildings
‘1860-2010 – Celebrating 150 years’
A year before the Golden (or Queanbeyan) Age was first published, the Queanbeyan Correspondent of the Goulburn Herald reported that on 11 November 1859, a meeting was held at the Courthouse to take steps to erect a Wesleyan Chapel. It was chaired by JJ Wright J P, later our first Mayor. Among others, Thomas Southwell senior, of Parkwood was elected to the Building Committee. A month later, they laid the foundation stone: the following May, 150 years ago, they opened this…
This is the only known image, from the 1862 map of the town by Surveyor George Briand, one of the treasures of the Queanbeyan Museum – as is the original print of this.
Since in 1867 the Methodists decided to extend their first chapel towards the street, and we start to have photographs of it.
Meanwhile, on 19 December 1861, Dr Andrew Morton called a meeting of Presbyterians to take immediate steps to build a Church. It took time: with the impetus provided by the new Secretary to the Building Committee, John Gale, St Stephen’s was opened on March 8,1874
Then there was drought and depression, but in 1898, the Methodists decided to “improve” their property. The bell came out of the fork of a tree and on to the roof; they decided to enter from the east instead of the west , and built a new porch to do it, and they added some decoration. There are better pictures, but this has the Minister’s transport in it!.
Queanbeyan boomed when Canberra was built in the 1920s; and with the stress on the need to teach growing numbers of children, in 1923 the Methodists extended their building at the back for a “school hall”.
The Presbyterians were more specific. You can still read above their door of their 1924 Lowe Street building “St Stephen’s School Hall”
But then came the depression, and the Second World War; and not much happened until Canberra boomed again. There was a new excitement and a strong emphasis on youth
. Led by Rev Merrick Webb, the Methodists (mostly with voluntary labour) opened their Memorial Youth Centre in 1953.
Helped by the generosity of John Gale’s grandson Mr Reg Fallick, a member for 80 years, the Presbyterians built a hall named in his honour in 1963.
Meanwhile, the Methodists worked over their property again: in 1957 they took away the 1898 porch and built a new one, with new vestries at each side;
and they built a new Kindergarten Hall connected to it.
We got there in 1994, but that’s another story: it is enough to say we wanted a place where people could grow together in Christian community,and we welcome you to that place today.
We also wanted to take our part in serving our wider community, – like through St Benedict’s
– or through the humble Jumble Sale
of 20 years ago which has grown to this.”The Shed”, which doubled its size last year – not just in area, but in the service and hospitality if offers to our community. In all our long series of buildings and extensions our priority has been the needs of the Church; here in the shed is our first building in which the priority is the needs of the community.
As our city grows; does this tell us something about our future?
For more information you can read an article prepared by Geoff McCubbin for the Queanbeyan Historical Society Magazine September 2010 or our Brief History brochure.