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"I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you..."    Philemon 3:4-7  NKJV

   IHS-WA.net       Section 2 - A History of the Christian Brethren in Western Australia

 

* PLEASE NOTE that EXTRA details have been and will be added to the internet pages of this Western Australian Christian Brethren History. These additions will be shown in GREEN TYPE, with author noted unless added in by this websites editor.  The blue type in this section is the contribution by Mr Ern West.

 

For the beginning of this West Australian Christian Brethren History - click HERE

 


 

SECTION 2 - HISTORY OF MORE RECENT ASSEMBLIES - STILL CURRENTLY OPERATING  

 

1. BALCATTA  [PREVIOUSLY TUART HILL]

2. BEDFORD  [PREVIOUSLY NORWOOD - SECTION 3]

3. DUNCRAIG

4. KARDINYA  (post 1993, this is a new Assembly)

5.       LYNWOOD

6. NORTH BALGA

7. SAWYERS VALLEY

8.       SWAN

9.       VICTORIA PARK

10.     WILSON

 


 

1.  BALCATTA  [previously TUART HILL]   (at 1993)

 

In 1948, Mr Laurie Fogarty of the Perth Assembly became very concerned about the children living in the proximity of his home in Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill. As a result of this exercise he started a Sunday School in his own home. This continued for several years under the name of Gilead Sunday School and numbers attending rapidly increased ultimately making it necessary to move to larger premises. The local District Hall was available and this came to be known affectionately as the “tin hall!”  Eighty children were attending regularly and a further exercise developed to branch out and to establish an Assembly in the area. This exercise had the full fellowship of the Perth and West Perth Assemblies and steps were taken to establish a fund for this purpose which was handled by the Perth Assembly. Land was purchased in Collier Avenue, Tuart Hill and plans were prepared and approved and the work commenced in 1951 on a self-help basis. For many months before the foundations were laid in April 1952, several brethren regularly met to make cement blocks for the walls. By May 1953 the walls had reached roof height, and in January 1954 the roof was on but the work had slowed down to such an extent that a special appeal was made in the “In His Service” newsletter for more men to come and help.

 

This appeal only brought one response, but the “regulars” were encouraged and eventually the Hall was sufficiently completed to be opened with a Thanksgiving service on Monday July 5th, 1954. The Sunday School Anniversary was held on the following Saturday and the first Breaking of Bread meeting was held on Sunday, 11th July, 1954. In a few months the Sunday School increased to over 100 and quite a number of local people were attending the Gospel meetings. The Assembly started with only 4 families but within 5 years the membership had increased to some 60 members. The Sunday School reached its peak in 1962 when 250 children were attending. Over the years further developments took place with the commencement of a Youth Club, Ladies Meetings, and the Every Boy's and Every Girl's Rallies. Door to door visitation has been regularly undertaken and on one occasion a special Gospel Literature Outreach effort was carried out. Further exercise over the years has prompted the commencement of other efforts at Wanneroo, North Balga, Girrawheen and Duncraig. In 1993 there were approximately 80 in fellowship.

 


  

2.  BEDFORD GOSPEL CHAPEL  (at 1993)

 

In August, 1955, the Norwood Assembly had to move from their rented premises in Lord Street, Norwood. They were able to find temporary accommodation in the Sea Scouts Hall at Mt Lawley. At the same time it was decided to purchase a block of land in Coode Street, Bedford, for approximately £500 (pounds). There was some opposition to this decision because of the fact that the block was surrounded to a large degree by swamp land and Coode Street at that time was not fully made through to Walter Road. Despite this opposition, as the area was zoned ‘residential’ the elders decided to go ahead with the purchase. Time has proved the correctness of their decision to purchase this land in February, 1956. In October, 1956, plans for the Chapel were submitted to the local Road Board and the concrete foundations were poured in May 1957. The actual building work was carried out under the supervision of Mr Graeme Michie and Mr Albert Phoenix and whilst this was going on in 1958 a second Sunday School was commenced in the Police Boys' Club building with 36 children present on the first day.

 

By September, 1959, the building of the Chapel was completed and was ready for the official opening. The opening of the Chapel was advertised in the September issue of I.H.S. [the combined Assemblies newsletter] and a full page diagram gave information to readers as to how to negotiate the swamp land. About this time the Government announced a $500,000 lake drainage system and this work was completed by September 1960 and Coode Street was extended right through from Walter Road to Beaufort Street. In the meantime the Chapel was officially opened on 19th September, 1959 and on the afternoon of that day some 200 people gathered outside the building. After the singing of “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow,” Mrs G.S. Michie turned the key and officially opened the building and the gathered crowd were able to enter for the opening service. Mr George Michie chaired the occasion and Dr C.V. Jumeaux was invited to give an opening prayer following which Mr Malcolm Johnston gave a resume of the events leading up to the opening of the Chapel. Tea was served and then in the evening, ministry was given by Mr Geoff Hiam and Mr Ern West.

 

On the following day, 57 children attended Sunday School in the Chapel for the first time. The first wedding conducted in the Chapel was that of Bob and Val Adair on 19th December, 1959. In April, 1960, a Happy Hour programme was held for one week after school and over 300 children attended. In January, 1961, the Sunday School which had been maintained in Mt Lawley was combined with the Bedford Sunday School. In May of that same year a Boys and Girls Club was commenced by Les Gunn, Bill Grosser, Graeme Michie and Ivor Jumeaux, and this continued until 1969 when the Every Boy's and Every Girl's Rallies were established. On May 15th, 1960, the first baptism in the Chapel was carried out, those being baptised were Graham Taylor, Ian Duggan and John Bristow, the first fruits of the Sunday School work.

 

 

In 1964 some of the ladies gathered together and commenced a sewing bee with the object of helping the work at the Kurrawang Aboriginal Christian Centre by the provision of new clothing as well as repairing second-hand garments which had been donated for this purpose. At this time, Kurrawang was caring for some 70-80 children. As the Assembly grew to over 60 members and the activities had increased it was necessary to consider enlarging the building. The first extensions were carried out in May 1966 when the foyer, kindergarten, small youth hall and toilets were added. At this time there were 90 children in the Kindergarten, 60 in the Intermediate School and 30 in the Teen School. During 1966 Bill and Joan Grosser were exercised about missionary work in India with Gospel Literature Outreach and were duly commended by the Assembly as their first missionaries, finally leaving for India on August 26th. Other full-time workers have also been commended in subsequent years and their names will be found in the list in Section 8.  

 

Some of the Bedford Youth Group in 1972.

 

By 1971 the small original youth hall was found to be much too small and it was decided to replace it with a new youth hall providing double the space which proved invaluable for the Rally and Youth work with which Bedford is still involved in 1993. Due to the large number of young people attending the Youth Club, Graham Taylor was appointed as the first full-time youth pastor in 1977. Many of these young people were unemployed and, together with Graham, commenced Bedford Workforce in 1983, the aim of which was to assist young people in finding employment. Workforce is co-sponsored by the State Government and a full-time coordinator was appointed. Bedford Chapel is still involved in this community outreach which celebrated 10 years service in 1993. On 21st February, 1988, 7 couples from Bedford were commended to commence a new church in Beechboro, known as the Carramar Christian Community. The Lord has blessed and is continuing to bless the work at Bedford as His servants seek to honour, worship and serve Him in their local community.

 


  

3.  DUNCRAIG CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP  (at 1993)

 

The new fellowship at Duncraig commenced in February, 1984 with a Family Service in the morning and the Breaking of Bread and Ministry meeting in the evening. The Assembly was comprised of 10 folk commended from the Tuart Hill Assembly and Mr and Mrs Pat Sullivan who had undertaken to help for twelve months. The meetings are held in the Duncraig Recreation Centre. In the first months, the attendance on an average was thirty adults and fifteen children and young people.

 

This included the McGregors, Budges [Ray], and the Shaves who had all transferred from Tuart Hill. The Lord was pleased to bless the efforts put forward and on 17th November, 1984, 14 brothers and sisters were baptised at Mettams Pool at North Beach. In January, 1988, they reverted to an 11 a.m. Worship service after the 9.30 a.m. Family Service. This change worked well and attendances were good. Present attendances [1993] average about 60 adults and 25 children. Baptisms in the sea and at nearby Assemblies continue. There is hope of an imminent grant of land for the construction of a hall.

 


 

4.  KARDINYA  (post 1993, this is a new Assembly)

 

Details coming soon.

 


  

5.  LYNWOOD  (at 1993)

 

In 1967, an exercise arose within the Wilson Assembly about commencing a work in the Lynwood district. A Sunday School was commenced by Mr Alf Staer and others in November, 1967 in the Lynwood Kindergarten Room. This was soon followed by all other normal Assembly activities. By December, 1968, the Sunday School had an attendance of 80-90 children. Unsaved were attending the Gospel services and the Youth Club attendances were encouraging. Bearing in mind the need for more permanent premises, land was purchased adjoining the Ferndale Primary School. Plans were drawn up and a building was commenced and completed in early 1969. The initial premises consisted of a Chapel, small hall, supper room, kitchen, two small rooms, and associated facilities. At this time membership comprised 8 families and 2 single sisters. The first meetings in the new Chapel were held on Sunday, 20th April, 1969 and on the very eve of the opening, news was received from the Kindergarten authorities that their premises were no longer available for any outside organisations involving children. Alternative buildings were still not available and if the new Chapel had not been ready for use, the children's work would have been temporarily curtailed.

 

A Teen Club was started on 22nd June, 1969 with about 70 young people present. In September 1969, a mid-week "round up" was conducted after school for one week with an average of over 200 children attending each afternoon and contact was made with many parents. Every 3-4 months an attempt was made to visit every home in the growing area and as each new home was occupied it was visited. By 1977 there were about 80 in fellowship and the youth activities had outgrown the facilities. A house behind the church was also being used. Extensions of a large youth hall and 3 small rooms were planned and completed in 1978. A part-time youth pastor was appointed in 1980, and Mr Bob Pitman as the first full-time worker in 1985, followed by Mr Graham Malthouse in 1988. Continued growth in numbers saw the original Chapel inadequate and in 1990 the larger hall was extended and converted into an acceptable Chapel able to seat 250 comfortably. In 1991, 6 families were exercised by the Lord to start a new work at Wungong-Armadale. A wide range of activities continues under the leadership of 2 full-time workers and an active group of members.

 

 


 

 

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The Veracity Project on Vimeo.

 

 


  

6.  NORTH BALGA  (at 1993)

 

In June 1970, five families of the Tuart Hill Assembly were commended to start a work at North Balga some 5 kilometres away. It was then a new housing area, and on Sunday 29th June, 1970 the first meeting was held in the new home of Mr and Mrs Stan Coffey. Thirteen Christians broke bread that morning, whilst on the previous Thursday, 86 children gathered in Mr Coffey's garage for an after-school rally. This was all carried out in full fellowship with the Tuart Hill Assembly. Whilst this was going on, plans were being prepared for the erection of suitable buildings on the block adjoining the Coffey's house.

 

A Sunday School was commenced in the North Balga School but a problem was encountered when they had to close down for 10 weeks during the summer holidays due to the particular policy of the school principal who required access to the school to be withdrawn during the holidays. However, despite this interruption they were soon able to rebuild the numbers in the Sunday School to about 70. A Tuesday night club was held in Mr and Mrs Coffey's garage which on these occasions was "bursting at the seams" with about 45 children in attendance. Other meetings were held in the home and the first Gospel service was held in April 1971 with Mr Tom Ball as the speaker.

 

Mr Ball also concentrated on continuing Scripture classes in various schools in the North Balga area as well as the visitation of new homes in the district. At this stage the building of a hall had been commenced on land at the corner of Fieldgate Square and Ledbury Street, North Balga. The Assembly members had rallied well and cleared the site and also undertook the painting of the hall which was ready by October 1971. The official opening of the Hall took place on Sunday, 7th November, 1971. The Every Boy's and Every Girl's Rallies started in February 1972 and very soon 60 children were attending but this work has been discontinued in more recent years. In the late 1980's, full-time workers were appointed and this has added new depth to the local outreach. Much personal counselling has been undertaken amongst local residents and good results are being seen.

 


  

7.  SAWYERS VALLEY  [previously Mt Helena]   (at 1993 plus additions)

 

In 1979 two families from the Swan Assembly, Ken and Rhonda Clark and Barry and Pearl Knowles, were commended to work in the Mount Helena area. As the work flourished, an Assembly was commenced in full fellowship with the Swan Assembly, and meetings were held in the small Mt Helena C.W.A. Hall. With growth in numbers it became necessary to move to the Community Centre Hall in 1985. Land at Sawyers Valley (originally set aside by the Government for 'Church' purposes and now given over to SVCF's use) had been secured early in 1983, and the purchase and erection of transportable buildings followed over the next three years.

 

The roof was finally in place by July, 1986, but there was still a lot of finishing touches to be added. The opening ceremony was eventually held on 25th April, 1987 with Mr Bill Forward as the guest speaker. A large crowd of friends from various Assemblies were present to share in the occasion. Simultaneously with the opening, the name of the Assembly was changed from Mt Helena Christian Fellowship to the Sawyers Valley Christian Fellowship. At this time there were about 40 in fellowship and also a similar number of children. Whilst the meeting place is located in Sawyers Valley it meets the need of Christians in the area of Eastern Hills which is on the eastern border of the Perth metropolitan area. Other persons involved with this Assembly over the years have been: Mr & Mrs Taylor (Senior); Peter & Adrianne Taylor; John & Jean Wearne; Kim & Rosemary Tester; Bruce & Wendy Blanchard; Brian & Maxine Fernie; Max & Ann Jefferies.

 


  

8.  SWAN CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP  (at 1993 plus additions)

 

As mentioned under MIDVALE [Section 3] the name of the Assembly in early 1979 was changed to SWAN CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP. During that year the time of the morning service was advanced to 9.30 a.m. and quite a number of people were welcomed into the Fellowship. In addition to the normal activities, other areas of outreach were undertaken in various community helps, in particular, encouraging Christians and others at the Blind Institute, visiting the local 'C' Class Hospitals, teaching in schools and Youth Clubs. November, 1982 saw the formation of cell groups in four homes throughout the area and two ladies' Bible Study Groups were also organised. Two couples from the hills area commenced home Bible Studies and eventually formed Mt Helena Fellowship later to become Sawyers Valley Fellowship.

 

Early in 1983 a decision was made to sell the church building [referred to in the Midvale notes, Section 3], because the hall was too small. The money received was used to assist in the commencement of the Swan Christian Education Association for initiation of their Christian School programme. Meetings were then transferred to the Swan Recreational Centre in Morrison Road, Midvale. Subsequent to this decision many doors were opened and the membership increased quite considerably. In October, 1987 with funds returning from the Swan Christian Education Association the purchase of two 2 hectare lots in Orchard Avenue, Midvale was made. Due to the increased use of the Recreation Centre by the public on Sundays, it became unsuitable for the meetings and the move was made to the Midland Christian Primary School Hall on Sunday, June 25th, 1989. Early in 1993 one of the 2 hectare lots in Orchard Avenue was sold and the Assembly is now planning to construct a suitable building.

 

Swan Christian Fellowship have now purchased an old church hall (The Church of the Good Shepherd) in Clayton Street, Bellevue. Other persons involved with this Assembly over the years have been: Mr & Mrs Stan Coffee; Bill & Joan Grosser; Mr & Mrs Rowcliffe (Senior); Arthur & Elaine Rowcliffe; Malcolm & Joan Rowcliffe; Peter & Nadine Whitcombe; Allan & Val Campbell.

 


 

9.  VICTORIA PARK  (at 1993)

 

In 1923, Mr C.H. Lloyd arrived from England and fellowshipped at first at the Claremont Assembly. He was very interested in Young People's work and started a children's work in the Hubert Street Baptist Church. This continued for some time and then in 1925 for a short period, a Breaking of Bread meeting was conducted in the home of the Lloyds at 25a McMillan Street, Victoria Park. This soon proved too small and a move was made to a converted shop in Albany Highway. It was here that a Sunday School and Gospel meeting were commenced and continued until a Gospel Hall was built in Ashburton Street, Victoria Park in 1935. Other foundation members of the Assembly were Mr Albury, grandfather of Miss Jill Albury, Mr A.E. Nelson and Mr Tregellis. A block of land in Kent Street had been first purchased, but it had to be sold again as the Council had zoned it as a brick  area and the Christians could not, at that time, afford to build a brick hall. That block of ground is now a bowling green.

 

Another block was found in Ashburton Street and in 1935 a weather-board building was erected where the Assembly worshipped for 35 years. Although the Assembly moved in 1970, the original building still stands and for some years has been used by others for the training of young Aboriginal Christians. On 29th September, 1989, this property was sold to the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship who, after carrying out extensive renovations, opened the premises as the A.E.F. Bible College of W.A. on 17th June, 1990. In the early days of the Assembly the Sunday School became very large and at Anniversary and Prize-giving time, the hall was so packed that it was eventually decided to rent the Victoria Park Town Hall for these occasions. The writer of this history recalls standing with a few others on boxes outside the windows to catch a glimpse of the proceedings inside. In those days, Sunday School Anniversaries were a great attraction and were well attended by many from other Assemblies. Whilst there was a certain amount of competition to see who could put on the best programme, the Gospel was faithfully proclaimed in many interesting and novel ways.

 

In the late 1950's an outreach was commenced in the Wilson area as a result of the large numbers of children being brought to the Sunday School from that area [see under WILSON]. By 1970 the Ashburton Street hall was obviously far too small to cope with the Assembly's needs and a block of land at the corner of Berwick and Rathay Streets, Victoria Park was purchased. Under the guidance of Mr John Sinclair and Mr A.E. Nelson, a very attractive and serviceable building was erected. In the following years, the Assembly grew considerably and such was the keenness of the believers, that the cost of the buildings was paid off so quickly that the lender cancelled the interest on the loans. During the 1980's special outreach activities were commenced with regular visits to the Braille Home for the Blind. From 1986-1991 a radio outreach was conducted over Radio 6NR, through which the Lord has been pleased to bless many people. The Assembly continues to be a living testimony to the Lord's grace and faithfulness.

 


  

10.  WILSON  (at 1993)

 

In 1958/59, as a result of increased attendances at Victoria Park Sunday School of children from outlying areas, brethren, led by Mr Alf Staer, became exercised to commence a Sunday School in the Bentley-Wilson area. This work commenced at the Bentley Primary School under the superintendency of Mr Staer, and with transport provided by a brother and active recruitment in the area rapidly increased Sunday School attendance to over 100 children, plus 50 in the Kindergarten. With growth, the desire to establish a new Assembly work became more urgent, and consequently land was purchased at  the corner of Bungaree and Andrews Roads, Wilson. Foundations for a Chapel were laid in June 1960, and the building completed in November, 1960 with the first meetings on Sunday, 6th of that month. At the official opening, tribute was paid to the untiring efforts of Mr Staer, the work of Sunday School teachers and particularly to the brother who provided the bus transport.

 

Among the foundation members of the new Assembly were - Mr and Mrs R. Annett-Stuart, Mr and Mrs J. Bain, Mr and  Mrs A. Staer, Mr and Mrs E. Trotter, and Mr and Mrs S. Vessey. In succeeding years, growth has required the enlargement of the Chapel complex on three occasions. More recently, in the early 1990's, the Lord has blessed the work which includes Assembly membership in excess of 100; an Arab fellowship under Mr B. Abouhadain meeting weekly. There is a Sunday School and a strong youth outreach, with three youth groups. The Assembly has commended two workers overseas, and two within this State.

 


 

 

 

 

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