Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New
First Missions
South Australia
Revised February 22, 2019

ROBERT DOECKE
HISTORY of S. AUSTRALIA
Theodore, 1998

South Australia has three Conventions. Australia itself has 23. NZ has seven. Fifty miles north of Adelaide, is Kapunda. Just over the hill is where my grandparents and the people of the convention grounds heard the gospel in 1910. It was Sam Jones' first mission with fruit.

Some of the workers had come to Sydney in 1904. A few had come out to Australia in 1905, 1908 and 1907. I have Sam's original Bible. In 1907, as he was departing to leave for Australia, he had written in it. (Ps. 27:13) "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord."

Sometime during the early years, Sam wrote on the back of one of his photos something that gives a picture of his struggles:

The Spirit to continue with Him in His temptations:
This is the Grace and Virtue that I crave.
So much would draw me backward-
So much would pull me downward
And hinder me from being strong and brave.

In Melbourne, before there were friends there, workers would be walking along the road where produce came in from the market gardens. When fruit fell off the vendors' carts, they would count it as the Lord's for them.

In 1908, it was the Gold Rush in W. Australia. It was a rough time. Sam was not well. His companion didn't continue. Sam lay down in a dry creek bed. Gypsies found him and nursed him to health. It was then he wrote, 345. "I Cannot Now Go Back".

Laura Faulkner and Aggie Hughes went to the gold fields. There they found Syd Maynard digging for gold. He was some of the best gold that was found! He pioneered the work In India, and in Australia, stories of his work are legion.

An old man in his 90's, Jim Sweetman, identified Aggie Hughes in one of my old photos. In 1908, this old man had been helping to put the railroad through. Convicts from the jail were also helping. In the evenings there would be discussions led by a chairman. One time it was about religion. Everyone was speaking against churches and pastors. A rough Norwegian jumped up. "All those religions may be wrong, but there's ONE (?) that's right." He told about having heard Laura Faulkner and Aggie Hughes preaching on the Main St. of Kallgorlie! Later when Jimmy heard the Gospel, he remembered what had been said around the campfire that night.

In 1909, at Gladstone, about 50 miles north of my grand­parents, Sam wrote 241, "The Truth of God So Precious." Remember, he didn't have much to encourage. It makes those phrases "anointed eyes see always Jesus ahead" and "'twas life I got, not theory" seem so real.

One time, they were walking down the line, preaching in each little town, camping in haystacks. They were directed to Bethel, five miles away. There were two churches there that had amalgamated, but they still had "feelings". The workers found Mr. Geue raking straw. He was the leader and band-master. He said to go and see Mr. Schmidt. If he didn't give them a hall, they should come back to him. They came back and started meetings in Mr. Geue's home. The preacher got really mad and spoke out against them. Twenty-four of his congregation walked out on him because they had heard more from Sam than from him

Twenty years ago, I talked to an old man in that town that could tell me about the history of the church that Mr. Geue and my grandparents and oth ers had come out of. He said that in the 1880's there was a break in the church. Later there was another breaking out. He said, "Out on Clare Road there was a man called Hermann Geue. He was the leader of our congregation and the bandmaster, and with other elders and members, do you know what happened?" I said "What?" He said, "Two men just came walking along the road, and they believed them!" Mr. Geue lost his reputation as a church leader. He was put out. In 1914, Sam Jones wrote 408, "No Reputation" while staying with Geue's. Mr. Geue set the music to the words.

Adam Hutchison wrote to Jimmy Vallence in New Zealand in 1908 to join him. Jimmy said he couldn't preach, but he could hand out hymnbooks and bring in firewood. But before he went back to NZ as a senior worker, 70-80 people had professed in his missions!

Adam and Jimmy came to a fork in the road. They wondered which way to go. They saw a little paper. A little girl was offering a posy to the minister. They thought that this must be a God-fearing area if she had that respect for a minister and they turned in that direction. Every morning Jimmy borrowed the wood barrow from this girl's mother. And every time he returned it, he thanked her, and reminded her of the meetings. She wearied of this and said he didn't need to thank her every time. One day she told him he didn't need to go gathering scrub. A tree had fallen in the churchyard and he could take the limbs off. The preacher said, "See, they are not only sheep stealers, but wood stealers!" She was indignant. She told him that HE wouldn't have cleaned it up! She was so upset, she decided to go to Jimmy's meetings. She professed and so did her daughter. That mission was in Woodside.

The second mission in South Australia was in Forest Range, twenty miles out of Adelaide. There are now four churches. A girl from there is just starting in the work this year, Helen Mason. Her uncle and aunt, Trevor and Beverley Loechel are in the work in S. America.

Sometimes when Jimmy was preaching, he would get stumped and couldn't say any more. Sam would say, "We'll just sing another hymn while he gathers his thoughts!" Mr.
Geue said that it was Jimmy's sincerity, sweating and struggling that helped him the most.

Mr. Schmidt had remained very crusty. But his daughter, Frieda, was drawn. Otto Schmidt, her cousin, would come back from meetings and tell her all he had heard. She remained captive at home another two years. A few years later she went in the work. There was so much animosity in Frieda's family that they wouldn't even shake hands with her. Later they softened.

It is told that during convention, my Grandma would get up at 4 o'clock each morning to go into the valley and invite all the relatives every year. Frieda's first companion was Olga Hastings (aunt of Clem Geue) in 1920. Olga's brother died from lightning; another in a buggy crash. Her father too, had been opposed, but now saw the hand of God and relented. Olga and Frieda went to Germany in 1924 and didn't return to S. Australia to stay till 1978.

Otto Schmidt and Alf Vogt got a message after convention clear-up that Sam and Adam wanted to se them. Sam was writing at his desk; Adam was standing in the bay window. Adam said to Sam, "Which of these boys are you going to have this year?' That's how they started in the work!

My mother's side was Zion Apostolic. They moved 350 miles away to a dry, dry fruit farm, away from their religious relatives. Grandmother prayed and prayed. Jack Annand (who wrote many beautiful hymns) invited them to meetings. Grandmother was expecting at the time and couldn't go. Later, Fred Quick (who preached in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece) and Harry Morgan (his first year, later went to Sri Lanka) came. Grandmother and others professed. She thought her relatives would love this. But they were involved with Zion City near Chicago, USA. Many had gone there from Australia and Kangaroo Island but were bitterly disappointed and had come back to Kangaroo Island. The gospel went to that Island in 1913. The workers invited a Mr. Bell to meetings. He told them,"I will never follow man again". They said, "We just encourage you to follow Jesus". One of Mr. Bell's great grandsons just went in the work a few years ago.

Mr. Partridge, a lay preacher in Zion City, was devastated. He had lost everything he had. He had put everything into "Zion dollars". He hadn't been invited to gospel meetings but had heard about them. At the same time he was listening to a Mr. Buick in another direction. He was confused. He prayed that if Mr. Buick was wrong, he wouldn't be able to say anything the next night. Mr. Buick stood up and said, "I don't know what's wrong but I don't have anything to say tonight." Mr. Partridge came to the workers and said, I want to surrender the rest of my wasted life." Mr. Partridge's daughter married a Mr. Morgue in California. Two of their daughters, Thyra and Nita, went in the work.

In Kangaroo Island there were 150 friends within a popula­tion of 3500. It is such a high concentration of friends that it is rumored that that is where the Truth started! But there are only about 70 there now, as many young folks have moved away for job reasons. One year the Premier came with his contingent and asked the elders about their faith. Once, a film crew from Italy came to Kangaroo Island. They wanted to do a special part on this unique group and their ways!

There is a place called Amen Corner. This is how it got its name. Mail came only once a week to this area. George then took advantage of the captive audiences to preach to them. When finally the horse came with the mail, they would all say, "AMEN George, AMEN!" Many of our young folk have professed in the Amen Corner Hall.

A little history about some other hymns:
Once Sam Jones was walking along the road, his feet bleeding. It prompted 179, "Thy bleeding feet, Lord Jesus I will follow."
John Martin wrote 147 hymns. His last one, 37, was written during his last ten days. He was so weak he could not raise his hands to write. He dictated this hymn "Nothing matters but salvation" to Joe Ames. On his headstone is written, "Nothing matters but salvation, was his final exhortation." He also wrote 251. He and another young man professed the same time. The other did not continue. Not long after, he died. At the graveside, John couldn't stand the sorrow. He went to the other end of the cemetery, sat on a tombstone and wrote these words, "Don't Be Led Captive from Zion to Roam".

John Sullivan went to Australia in 1906. His sister and her husband moved there too. Her husband died. She was left destitute with three or four little boys. John built her a slab hut. It was rough days for him. He thought, "Maybe I can build one for myself." At that crossroad, he wrote 46, "Lord Jesus Lead". He died in 1923.

William Carroll was on the ship between Australia and America when word came that WW2 had broken out. He went down to his cabin and wrote 70. "Send Thy Light."

I was a carpenter, joiner, cabinet maker. When I told the people I worked with that I was leaving all, they thought I was mad. The secretary told me I was a fool, burning my bridges. But it has brought me into wealthy places.

I learned something from the "schools of the air" in the vast spaces of nothingness in Australia. There are 14 of these schools in Australia. The one I was at was transmitting to students in a 1,000.000 mile area. Farms are 100 or more miles apart. Some cattle ranches are as big as England. The motto of the school is "Parted but United". Students, hundreds of miles apart, report in each morning. They hear one voice, one lesson, every morning. It is a greater school that we are in. Many of us will never meet, but we can all hear the One voice which makes us united though parted.


When did the workers first arrive? September, 1905 Wm. Irvine, Annie Smith and Fannie Carroll arrived in Adelaide aboard the S. S. Geelong. Within about a year, Annie and Fannie went to New Zealand.

Who were the first brother workers?  Adam Hutchison Woodside (from Lauder, Berwickshire, Scotland) and Jim McCreight were the first workers to come to South Australia, arriving at Port Adelaide in 1908 from New Zealand.  They held their first mission at Woodside. The hardship was too much for Jim and he left and Jim Valance took his place (NZ)  

Who were the first sister workers?  Aggie Hutchison (from Lauder, Berwickshire, Scotland) went to South Australia with her brother in October, 1910.

Who was the first to profess?  "Papa and Mama Wuttke, their sons Harry and Willie and Mrs. Correll were the first fruits unto God in South Australia."

Who was the first native to go in the work? Oscar Collins, Jack Wilson and Stella Collins in 1911; Ruby Shepherd and Florrie Thring in 1912.

When & Where was the first meeting?  In 1908, the first Fellowship Meeting held at home of Mr. & Mrs. Wuttkes at Western Branch, Woodside. First church in the suburbs of Adelaide was at Mrs Ben Wray’s home, 71 Calton Avenue, Magill. The second church in the country was at Lottie and Lily Collins, Forest Range. The third church was at Mr & Mrs Horace Collins home, Tunkilla.

In 1909 the first Christmas Meeting in SA was held at Wattle Hill, Harrogate under the Sheoak and wattle trees outside the home of David and Mary Wilson.

When & Where was the first baptism?  Information needed

When & Where was the first convention? 1909- Woodside "township."  Convention received problems from local larrikins and closed down early.  

Where have subsequent conventions been held? 

1909 March - Woodside township (this convention was broken up by the local larrikins ere it had progressed very far.)
1910 - 1926 Woodside at Wuttke's farm (with exception of 1918 & 1919)  
1918 - Islington  
1918 - 1920 Bethel  
1919 - 1951 Strathalbyn ( Blackwood Park)  
1919 - Willie John's farm, West Coast of SA. (December)  
1920 - Milton Payne's farm West Coast SA  
1928 - Willie John's, West Coast.
1930 - Milton Payne's, West Coast.
1935 - Kapunda. H. Geue (Oak Lodge)  
1952 - Wilmington    

Where is the convention currently held?  Kapunda 1 & 2

Who have the Overseers been?  Adam Hutchison 1907-1922; Willie Hughes 1922-1941-44?; John Baartz 1944-1964; Robert Barbour 1964-

See also Bethel Mission, South Australia

Additional or corrected information on this country will be welcome. 



TTT Editor's Note: In the absence of a written account, the above information has been compiled by the TTT Editor from various sources. Corrections or additions are most welcome; as well as other historical accounts for this country Email TTT

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