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"These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labour, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent."    Revelation 2:1-5  NKJV

   IHS-WA.net       Section 6 - 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














10.     R.S.L. HOMES








In March, 1944 the ladies of the Perth Assembly, assisted by individual ladies from other Assemblies, commenced a monthly outreach to the Aged Women's Retreat which was at that time conducted at the old Governor Stirling Home at Guildford. These monthly visits were greatly appreciated. Following the closure of the home these visits were transferred to the Mount Henry Hospital at Mount Henry, where they still continue up to the present time.



2.  BRAILLE SOCIETY  (at 1993)


For some years, the Victoria Park Assembly, with assistance at times from individuals from other Assemblies, have regularly visited the Braille Society Home at Victoria Park. Messages in song and by word have been appreciated by the residents.


3.  BUSSELTON YOUTH CAMP  (at 1993 plus additions)


The campsite was officially opened in November, 1980 and Ray and Audrey Dowell took up the position of Managers in July, 1987. As this work is essentially tied up with the Busselton Assembly outreach - please see the notes under BUSSELTON in the Country Assemblies - section 4.


View the full photo album of the

Busselton Christian Brethren campsite here.


A brief history of the Busselton Christian Brethren Campsite - It was all hands on deck in 1970. A local farmer rattled in from 20 miles away on his trusty tractor and ploughed a track through the undergrowth to make a driveway into the newly leased bush block. A site was cleared and the old Osmington School building was eased through the Peppy trees and onto the stumps. Then began the Saturday tradition, where local and visiting brothers & sisters in Christ would roll up their sleeves and just get on with it! The building was repaired and painted and prettied up. BBQs and picnics were the only option for keeping the gang fed, but everyone loved that, especially all the kids ...a big feed then a swim, what more could you ask for. Cement bricks were hand made, then used to build the ablution block. A well, 2 metres square x 4 metres deep was hand dug and boarded to supply fresh water, and a home for enormous frogs that sent children screaming when they dropped from their hiding spot under the toilet seat!


During the cooler months, when the burning season began, there would be little fires blazing away that needed regular stoking. As we all know a deadline is a wonderful motivator to getting tasks finished, and what better motivation could there be than a wedding!. In February 1971 Shirley Smith was married to Les Saxey in the very hall that they and others had so diligently worked on. What a grand occasion with which to christen the little chapel. From this time on more buildings were acquired and transported onto site by jinker, made possible by the generous hand of Len Ravenscroft, owner of Leonards Jinker Service, who gifted machinery, tools and workers to make this possible. The Dining Room/Kitchen was formerly a Dental Clinic on the MHAS Leeuwin Barracks, Perth. The first dormitory was from the Railway Siding in Tutunup, and the second dormitory building came from the Immigration Centre in Bicton. A new bore was drilled. A few years later a generous gift to the campsite enabled the acquisition of a caretakers home, and the construction of a second ablution block. And so it has continued for the last 40 or so years, willing hands and generous hearts have enabled the campsite to offer a quiet retreat by the beach in one of WA’s most desirable destinations.



4.  CHRISTIAN YOUTH CAMPS  (at 1993 plus additions)


The value of camps in providing opportunities for teaching young people the truths of the Gospel and other basic Christian principles had been suspected for some time. However, it was not until Easter, 1947 that this new enterprise was put to the test and a Boys' Camp was first held on the property of Mr and Mrs Horlock at Furnissdale, near Mandurah. Those responsible for these first camps were Mr Alf Brown, Mr Stan Coffey, Mr Sydney Adams [Junior] and Mr Malcolm McKay. From this point on, the camp work progressed quickly. Camps were held at Easter and Christmas at Furnissdale, Watermans Bay, and Coogee. By 1951, a campsite had been set up at the property of Mr and Mrs Harold Scott [Senior] at Mandurah. Camps continued to be held at this latter site until 1962. By 1962, the value of these camps was well established. A Committee had been formed under the name of Christian Youth Camps [W.A.] Inc. and under the leadership of Mr Alf Brown, land was procured at Lake Cooloongup, Baldivis.


Many busy bees were held, the land was cleared, and two large Nissan huts were erected. A 56 x 36 foot chapel was erected and also a 36 bed dormitory with appropriate laundry and toilet facilities. The opening of this new campsite was officially carried out on 26th December, 1962. Since that time, additional dormitories have been erected, and a new dining room which, after few years, had to be extended further and dish-washing room has since been added. Cabin type units were also erected particularly for the benefit of the more senior campers. As far as the youth camps are concerned, it was soon decided to change boys' camps to mixed camps as the facilities available made this practicable. Adult Easter Camps have been held, Women's Conventions, Men's Conventions, and a variety of camps organised for various age groups. In the periods when the site has not been booked for Assembly purposes, it has been hired out for School Camps and to other reputable organisations.



Graham Michie.                                                                                   Ab Phoenix.



Bill Grosser.                                                                                    John Wearne.


By 1975 some of the dormitory bunks, which had been erected in a hurry, were starting to come apart and a lot of maintenance and repair work was necessary. It was realised that the campsite, having developed to such an extent, would need live-in managers and supervisors, and consequently an advertisement was published in “In His Service” for such persons. In January, 1976, Max and Ann Jefferies were appointed to this position. They remained for some 2 years and after their resignation, John and Jean L'Estrange came from Sydney to take over this important function of Camp Managers, and what a tremendous asset they have been right up until their resignation from this role in mid 1993. They are still an asset as they continue to help where possible. For a number of years, the C.Y.C. office was maintained at Bedford Gospel Chapel with Andrew Davies travelling everyday from Fremantle and Audrey Gunn assisting in the office work.


The new manager/caretakers house at CYC Lake Cooloongup campsite.


      Ann Jefferies working in the new on-site office.                    Max Jefferies digging a hole for the new entrance arch.

View the photo album of Max & Ann's time at CYC Lake Cooloongup http://www.spiritland.net/cooloongup.html


During 1992, appropriate alterations were made to the old workshop and store, transforming it into a suitable office. A lot of travelling time has been saved by this development and Andrew's wife, Kay was now able to help in the office part-time. Having the whole administration on site has proved a very real asset. C.Y.C. is managed by an elected Committee, with bi-annual retirements, with availability for re-election. This Committee has been under the Chairmanship successively of Graeme Michie, Merv Hodge, and David Shaw. Developments towards the end of 1993 involved the resignation of Drew and Kay Davies as from 3rd December as the result of stress illness. They will be greatly missed from the work. Their positions have been temporarily filled by Mervyn and Tui Barnett from New Zealand on a temporary basis. After 16 years of dedicated service as site managers, John and Jean L'Estrange have moved off site to their own home at Madora Bay. They will be still involved in the life of the campsite with Jean working in the office 3 days each week, while John will be working on new building projects and building maintenance. The new site managers are Ross and Karen Smith from Victoria.





This evangelistic outreach has been carried on for many years by a selection of brethren from various Assemblies. Visits have been made to ships in the Port of Fremantle, a printing press for Gospel literature has been operated, and for some years, a Stand was set up at the Royal Show. In 1982 a bookstall was set up in the Fremantle Markets and has been maintained ever since with many people being contacted with the Gospel. This market stall work was maintained by Mr John Poole until ill-health in 1993 forced him to retire. A small amount of work has also been done amongst Aborigines. Some of the others who have been involved in these various outreaches over the years are Mr David Green, Mr Phil Prior, and Dr Peter Rae. Currently, Phil Prior is looking after the stall.



6.  GIRLS' CAMP  (at 1993)


The first Girls' Camp was held at Greenmount with Miss Chrissie Talbot [now Mrs Solomon] as organiser and Mrs E. Cartmel as Camp Mother. In 1948 an Easter Camp was held in the local Community Hall at Jarrahdale. By 1952, numbers had to be restricted to 44 because of Health Regulations. In November 1958 some disused Air Force huts at Wembley became available and 3 of these were purchased and transported to a block of land at Jarrahdale which had been donated by Mr Tom Jubb. With many "busy bees" the buildings were transformed into bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen and meeting hall. The campsite was officially opened on 26th March, 1960, under the name of Jarrahdale Christian Holiday Camp and since then has been used regularly for Girls Camps at Easter and the September holidays. Many girls have been introduced to the Lord at these camps. In between these camps, the site is let out to various Christian groups, churches and Assemblies.


Whilst perhaps the site does not conform to the highest standards of accommodation in normal terms, a constant programme of maintenance and upgrading has been maintained over the years and it has been possible to satisfy the requirements of the Health Department and local regulations. Although it is quite impracticable to make reference to all of the many men and women who have helped in the building and establishment of the campsite, certain people were outstanding in their work contribution, such as Mr and Mrs Dougal Sleith, Mr and Mrs Ern Rogers, Mr Nelson Hetherington, Mr and Mrs Bob Gaff, Mr and Mrs Alf Gaff, with so many others. Mr Alan Nelson acted as caretakers, frequently travelling from Victoria Park. The current caretakers in 1993 are Mr and Mrs Chum Little who live in Mundijong. Many visiting groups have expressed how much they enjoy the campsite and its rugged bush setting.




Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus






Mr and Mrs W. Sharpe and their daughter Estelle, of N.S.W. arrived in Kalgoorlie in February 1948. They had both had previous experience in working amongst Aboriginal people in various places. They at first concentrated on general Gospel and outreach work in and around Kalgoorlie and this brought them into close contact with the local Aborigines. An increasing interest in the Aboriginal people came to the attention of the Native Welfare Department and in February 1952, Mr Sharpe was appointed as an honorary Protector of Aborigines. A Native Reserve was to be established some 9 miles west of Kalgoorlie at Kurrawang, a then deserted and dismantled area which many years before had been a thriving town supplying wood for the gold mines. New of the opportunities for Christian work amongst the Aboriginal people was disseminated in the various Assemblies throughout Australia. 



       Mr Will Sharpe in the office at Kurrawang 1956.                     Mrs Marjorie Sharpe mending items at Kurrawang 1956.

Sourced from http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/                                    Sourced from http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/



Mrs Marjorie Sharpe with children at Kurrawang 1956.  Sourced from http://innopac.slwa.wa.gov.au/



Mr & Mrs Sharpe during a baptismal service at Kurrawang, December 1956. Sourced from http://innopac.slwa.wa.gov.au/


Mr Ted Burns of Queensland offered his assistance in the erection of buildings, another to oversee agricultural work, and Mr and Mrs Doug Brewer were expected from Adelaide to relieve the Sharpes in Kalgoorlie itself. Mr and Mrs Stan Coffey had already been commended from the Perth Assembly for work in Kalgoorlie and Kurrawang, and Miss Peggy McKay, a triple certificated nurse was commended by the Claremont Assembly in anticipation of the establishment of a small hospital on the Reserve. A corrugated iron shed was erected as a Ration Store and in December 1952, building work was commenced with materials taken from the old disused Courthouse at Kanowna, some 25 miles east of the Reserve. Kanowna in its heyday boasted 17 hotels and many other business establishments and dwellings. When the Court-house was being dismantled, the only other building left was a derelict 2 story brick hotel. All other buildings had been dismantled and the material carted to other places as the search for gold spread far and wide.

       130017PD: Kurrawang Mission, ca. 1956 (Click to Start Zoom)

    Kurrawang Mission Shop 1954.                                                 Kurrawang Mission entrance 1956.

Sourced from http://indigenousrights.net.au/                                Sourced from http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/



Bush Sunday Meeting at Kurrawang, circa 1956. Sourced from http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/

At Kurrawang, some 50 Aboriginal people were already encamped nearby sheltering under trees and bushes and using materials of many kinds to create some kind of protection from the weather. There were signs of more people coming, having heard of the hand-outs of rations. However, it was then discovered that contrary to expectations and because of misunderstandings, it was not the intention of the Government at that stage that a full scale “mission” should be established, but only for it to be a “controlled ration centre” with a resident Superintendent. Because of this and the lack of immediate need for other workers, the commendations of Mr and Mrs Stan Coffey and Miss Peggy McKay were withdrawn. Over the next few years circumstances changed and by January, 1956, a girls' dormitory was well under construction. Open-air meetings were frequently held on Sunday mornings, and a couple of girls had taken their stand for the Lord. The Superintendent's residence, built from the Kanowna materials, had been completed and also a small engine shed, the first permanent building to be erected.


Government approval had been given for other buildings and they had also made available for transport to the site, an old school building and teachers' quarters from Brownhill. In September, 1957 the State Housing Commission offered a block of 6 ex-army personnel flats at Melville, which were dismantled by many voluntary workers from the Assemblies, and the material transported for re-erection at Kurrawang and also Esperance where a holiday home was being established in connection with the Kurrawang work. In February, 1960, Mr Leon Kessell was commended to the work and remained there for some years, later being married to Miss Joy Jacquiery who had been commended from New Zealand. Down through the years many other workers have been commended from New Zealand, the Eastern States, Western Australia, and even from England, remaining for varying periods and all contributing in various ways to the success of the work.  


View an extensive photo album of Max & Ann Jefferies time at Kurrawang here at  www.spiritland.net/kurrawang


It is not the purpose of this brief summary of the work to detail the names of all those concerned in the development and progress of the work, their labour of love being recorded in heaven. Sufficient to say that the caring for up to 100 children in two dormitories - girls' and boys' - entailed a tremendous amount of work on the part of the dedicated staff. In May, 1963, the Minister of Native Welfare visited the Mission, which was originally known as the Kurrawang Native Mission, and was greatly impressed with the standards maintained. In July, 1966, Mr and Mrs Sercombe and family arrived from England to help with the work for a period of at least 3 years. Early in 1967, Mr and Mrs Sharpe moved to Esperance because of the effect of the Goldfields dust on Mrs Sharpe who suffered severely from asthma, and also to look after the extension work there. The managerial role was taken over by Mr Sercombe with Mr Sharpe acting as adviser and looking after the financial work from Esperance. Frequent visits were made to Kurrawang from Esperance, but this work was later relinquished.



    Grenville & Glenys Compton.                                                               Robert & Doreen Smith.    


Early in 1967 other workers came from New Zealand - Miss Elsie Smith, Mr and Mrs Grenville Compton, Mr Robert Smith [Elsie's brother] who came for a 6 months period for carpentry work and remained for 25 years. In August, 1967, Miss Doreen West came from North Perth Assembly to help in the office work and in August, 1969 married Robert Smith. In 1968, Mr Keith Kinney came from N.S.W. and married Miss Elsie Smith. At the end of 1970, Mr and Mrs Sercombe completed their promised period of 3 years' service and decided to transfer to a work amongst adults at Coolgardie, 20 kilometres west of Kurrawang. Mr Grenville Compton took over the management of the Mission and it was at this point that the children's work was changed from dormitory style to the family home system. Groups of children were transferred to the care of the available staff homes and this proved to be a worthwhile move. In June, 1974, it was decided that it would be an advantage to have a “town centre” for Kurrawang and this was opened in Burt Street, Boulder, in a home provided by the Government, and Mr and Mrs Robert Smith took over this responsibility, also having 12 children under their care.  


The Kurrawang town house that Robert & Doreen Smith move to in Burt St, Boulder.


This move proved to be very worthwhile as it provided for easier contact to be made by Aborigines who lived in Kalgoorlie and Boulder, and several Bible Study groups were established. In August, 1981, changes took place in Government attitudes towards the care of children and all were gradually withdrawn and placed in the homes of Aboriginal people. As a result of this it was decided to change direction and develop Kurrawang to help Aboriginal families to become established in the management of their own affairs and to provide homes to establish a nucleus in which a spiritual work could be carried on. Following the resignation of Mr and Mrs Compton from Kurrawang to return to New Zealand, Mr Robert Smith handled the administrative work as well as the management of the general maintenance and building work until Mr and Mrs Ab Phoenix came in 1985 when Ab, a Kurrawang Board member, relieved Robert Smith of the administrative work.


In 1991, Mr Alan Calyun, a dedicated Aboriginal Christian, took over the role of Administrator from Ab Phoenix. During 1990, Mr and Mrs Arthur Dower came from Sydney for Arthur to take up the position of Finance Director in which role he re-organised the office work and set up the financial accounts on a computer which had become available. Their promised 2 years expired in October 1992, and Mr and Mrs Graham Tucker from Melbourne have taken their place. At the beginning of 1992, Alan Calyun found the pressure too great and resigned. Because of the demands of family education, Mr and Mrs Robert Smith retired from the work after 25 years service, being the longest serving staff at Kurrawang. A suitable Administrator is being sought. Several brethren from the Perth Assemblies are involved on the Executive Committee, together with a number of Aboriginal Christians.





For many years prior to his homecall, Mr Malcolm McKay had made regular visits to the Bunbury Prison. Many Emmaus Courses were distributed there as well as other Christian literature. Together with his wife Phyll, he also visited Nursing Homes in Bunbury, and later extended this to Nursing Homes in the metropolitan area. In Perth he was assisted by several brethren and sisters in seeking to encourage Christians, and also present the Gospel. Since our brother's homecall, the organisation of this work has been in the hands of Mr and Mrs Owen Jones who also have the support of several other believers.





In the early 1940's, Mr C.H. Lloyd of the Victoria Park Assembly conceived the idea of displaying texts in the tram-cars which at that time operated in the Perth metropolitan area and so the Tram Text Mission came into existence. A Committee was formed and by June 1943, 49 texts were on display. By 1944, the number had increased to 76, but over the next 2 years the display had advanced to 115 trams and 76 motor buses and because of this, the name was changed to The Perth Tram and Bus Text Mission. In the course of time, the authorities discontinued the use of trams and changes in the display of texts became necessary and because of this the name was again changed to The Perth Scripture Text Mission.


Various means of display were considered and by 1967 texts were displayed on the back of a few trolley buses and on 50 metropolitan railway stations. Increasing costs and a reduction in financial support gradually brought about a cessation of the display in 1974. Currently in 1993, efforts are being made to revive the outreach but very little interest has been shown and the cost of displays has almost reached prohibitive proportions. Two excellent texts are on display, one at the round-a-bout at the beach end of Scarborough Beach Road, and the other near the junction of Leach Highway and Manning Road. Subject to finance being available, it is hoped to establish more texts in strategic places, the screen printing being done by a brother in the Assemblies free of any cost. Anyone desirous of assisting can receive more information by contacting the writer of these notes.


10.  R.S.L. HOMES  (at 1993)


Early in 1991, opportunity was given to 3 Assemblies - Duncraig, Balcatta and North Perth to share in a Gospel outreach at the R.S.L. Homes, Coolbinia. A Sunday afternoon informal Church service has been conducted by other people for some years but the persons involved found it difficult to maintain the continuity and invited the above Assemblies to share on a monthly basis, twice each year. The number of local residents vary from 6 to 10, but those who do attend seem to enjoy the programme arranged, and Assembly members appreciate the contact.





It would seem that for the first time, a South West Conference was held in Bunbury in 1959. These Conferences have continued without very much interruption down to the present time. Conferences have been held in various places, including Bridgetown, Busselton and Bunbury. Whilst the Bunbury Assembly was operating the meetings were held in the Gospel Hall; at Busselton at the campsite; and at Bridgetown in the Town Hall. The Conferences have been conducted on a part "Open Ministry" and part "selected speakers" basis.





In January, 1944, it was decided to prepare, on a monthly basis, a newsletter to forward to Assembly members in the various arms of the fighting forces for the remainder of the Second World War. The purpose, of course, was to keep the servicemen and women in touch with what was going on in the Assemblies “back home”. It was found that the newsletter actually served a dual purpose in that it also kept the folk back home in touch with what was happening to our service personnel. This newsletter was prepared and issued by the same Committee that published the children's magazine "The Searcher" [see under that heading in Section 7]. The newsletter continued until June 1946 when most of our service personnel had been discharged from the forces. After seeking opinions from the various Assemblies, it was decided to continue the newsletter but under the different name of “I.H.S.” standing for “In His Service,” which still continues to the present time and is in its 48th year of publication in 1993.





In March 1984, Mr and Mrs Phill Brewster were exercised about work amongst Aborigines in the Derby area. Having been fellowshipping at Kurrawang for some time, the Kurrawang Assembly commended them to the work at Derby. Arising from this, Western Gospel Ministries came into being and work has been greatly developed in and around Derby. Extensive forays have been made in to the back country for several hundred kilometres where many Aboriginal groups reside. This has, of course, involved many thousands of kilometres of travel often over difficult roads. In June, 1988, the Balga, Duncraig, Tuart Hill and Wilson Assemblies also combined to extend commendation to encourage greater prayer and practical support. In 1990, Mr and Mrs Craig Siggins who had been working at the C.A.P.S. school in Coolgardie prior to Craig studying at Bible College, were also commended to the work at Derby, but have since transferred to missionary work elsewhere.







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