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The Moggill Historical Society was formed in 2013 to provide to research, preserve and promote the history and heritage of the Moggill district including, but not restricted to, the Brisbane suburbs of Moggill, Bellbowrie, Anstead, Pullenvale and Pinjarra Hills.

History of The Moggill Uniting Church.

Presented to Moggill Historical Society meeting, 30 July 2013 by Margaret and Don Greer


In 1823, John Oxley landed at several places in an area later to be called Moggill.
In 1851, Moggill was surveyed and the land made available for settlement. Soon after, farmers, coal miners, timber getters and shop keepers became the first pioneers of the district.

The first known Church Service to be held in Moggill was conducted by a Methodist preacher in the home of Mr T. Makepeace in December 1856. For years, private homes were the venues for services. Mr J Lumsden took up land at the end of Lather Road, and some services were held in his barn. (BTW, Lather Rd was named after the Lather family, and is pronounced 'Lartha', rhyming with 'father'.) Some references to chapels have been found but we do not know their location. Visiting ministers from Brisbane faced a weekend trip of 30 miles each way up the river from Brisbane sometimes in a rowing boat! Although the new settlers belonged to a variety of denominations, they missed no opportunity to worship whenever a minister of any persuasion visited.

It took until 5 May 1868 for the Moggill Wesleyan Methodists to build and open their first Church. It formed part of the present "old" Church. Originally it was neither lined nor ceiled, and had a shingle roof and cedar window frames. It is believed that the list of foundation members of the Moggill Church included the following names: Finlay, Hallett, Heiner, Makepeace, Pook, Sexton, Shield, and Sugars, and Don is related to most of these, and his family have been associated with the church activities over many years into the 20th century. His mother (a Sugars) was Secretary to the Ladies Guild for about 25 years.

The Minute Books and Books of Account of the Committee are available from 1894 on, it being thought that the earlier ones were lost in the 1893 flood. We therefore know that in 1896 our first organ cost 15, and before that we had an harmonium. We know that the ceiling was added in 1897 for 9/14/-, and in 1904 the Church was lined, and extended, the vestry added and the shingle roof was replaced with galvanised iron. It is interesting to note that the work was financed by public subscription, and cost 87/13/-.

At the turn of the century, then, we had a building which was enlarged and improved. The Congregation always remembered the foundation of the Moggill Church, and used to have public Annual Tea Meetings around the anniversary of the opening of the church building in May 1868. Perhaps you are like me, and imagined that the food provided at such tea meetings would have been home-baked, and prepared with lots of home-churned butter and eggs. What a disillusionment to find that in 1902, for example, the food was bought, and consisted of a ham, 12 loaves of bread, 3lb butter, cakes, 1 case of apples, and a few bananas! The admission charges were 1/- for adults and 6d for children. A similar tea was still being presented in the 1920's, with admission charges risen to 1/6 and 9d. They sold any cake and fruit left over.

Even in those days, someone was paid to clean the church - from 1896 to 1916, the cost was 1 for 3 months. Until 1902, Pew Rents were paid by several families. These cost 2/6 per quarter. From 1899 to 1925, it cost about 1 annually to insure the Church for 300. The lighting until 1901 was a single kerosene lamp, then they decided to sell this and buy four new ones at no more than 1 each. It was not until 1945 that electric lights were available.

There was a time when the Trustees were definitely not overworked attending meetings. There was a normal meeting on 29 April 1907. The next Minutes, for a meeting held 30 April 1922, confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting held April 1907 (!!). I hasten to add that Books of Account were faithfully kept in the intervening period.

The records show that various maintenance jobs were attended to as required - fencing, earth closet, installation of rainwater tanks, windows, painting, repairs, to mention a few. Sometimes there were working bees, as now. And there were also fetes, often organised by the 'Ladies Church Help Society'. There was an occasion when the earth closet was somewhat damaged when someone threw a bunger into it! (This sort of activity has obviously been experienced for a long time!)

An examination of the names of the foundation members and subscribers to various building funds of the old Moggill Church shows that some of the descendants of these people are still associated with the church here - names such as Sinnamon, Sugars, Shield, Hallett, Cribb, Finlay, Mitchell, Bache, Lather, and Greer.

The beginning of the war saw a need for the Methodist Church at Moggill to expand. In 1941, plans were drawn up for an extension at the back of the church in place of a small vestry there. Following a concerted financial drive in the district, people, some without close association with the Church, contributed to a fund which raised over 467. 200 of this was contributed by Mr and Mrs J Sinnamon, in recognition of which the extension was called the Sinnamon Memorial Hall. The money was received before the work was done, so that no debt was incurred.

Ted Lather moved a motion to ensure a longer life for the hall - that kiln-dried hardwood be used for the floor. And Ernest Greer, noting that building materials were about to be requisitioned by the Government, suggested the width of the Hall be increased by 20 feet. Other improvements included a porch, new pulpit with panelling, choir rail, Communion rail with cushions, Communion table, and a new piano costing 35.

Some other newspaper reference links

Diamond Jubilee Celebration, Courier-Mail, 5 May 1928
Diamond Jubilee Celebration, Courier-Mail, 7 May 1928
New Church Hall, Courier-Mail, 8 November 1941