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Methodist

Among the many people who came from the south at the time of the Canoona gold rush was a retired Primitive Methodist minister, Rev. Miles Moss. He held a service in 1858 under a tree in Quay Street. In 1863, at the invitation of Mr. W. Alien, Rev. W. Colley visited Rockhampton and preached in an empty store opposite the post office. This was the installation of Methodism and on October 3,1863, Mr. Colley look charge of the work.

A site was purchased on the corner of Bolsover and Fitzroy streets and a church was opened on January 17,1864, Rev. R. Hartley preaching the opening sermon. Later in the year Mr. Colley was farewelled and Mr. Hartley became the new minister. Possessed of great missionary heart, Mr. Hartley visited all the smaller settlements of the district and his name became a passport to many a home. His health gave way after 10 years and from then on a number of ministers and laymen assisted in the work of the church.

Mr. Hartley died in 1892 and all classes mourned the loss of a sympathetic friend, a fearless foe of wrong and a faithful helper of the poor. As a memorial to him the public subscribed to a memorial drinking fountain which stood at the post office corner.

In 1900 the Fitzroy street church was sold and arrangements made to move a church that had been built in Dawson Road to Archer Street. Until the new church was ready services were held in the Protestant Hall, Alma Street. Completed in 1901, the first services in the Archer Street church were conducted by Rev. G. E. James.

Several additions have been made since then. A new manse was erected and a church established at Wandal. Plans were also made to open a church at West Rockhampton.

The first Wesleyan Methodist minister to come to Rockhampton was Rev Benjamin Dickson, who held a service in a building known as Grant's timber yard. Later a church was built in Kent Street and this building still stands, now being the Gospel Hall.

In 1879 land was secured in Campbell Street and the church was dedicated and opened on July 24, 1881. The then President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference preached the opening sermon. He preached again at night and in the afternoon a service was conducted by Rev J. F. Horsley.

The Campbell street church cost £800 and a debt of £100 remained when the church was opened. On the following Tuesday the opening was celebrated with a social attended by 600. A church was built at North Rockhampton in the 1880's.


Wesleyan Methodist Church

The Bulletin, Rockhampton, Thursday, August 15, 1867. The anniversary services of the Wesleyan Church in Kent Street were held on Sunday last, the Rev W.J.K. Piddington, Chairman of the Queensland District, officiating in the morning and evening, and the Rev A.C. Smith, Presbyterian, in the afternoon. A public tea meeting came off on the following Monday evening. At the public meeting the resident minister of the church, the Rev Richard Orton presided, and speeches were delivered by the Revs. S. Savage, A.C. Smith, R. Hartley and W.J. K. Piddington. The financial report read by Mr A.W.S. Smith, was as follows;

"it is usual at our annual meeting to lay before the church and congregation a statement of our financial position with reference to our building fund or otherwise; we might have easily dispensed with it on this occasion, as, from various causes, we have but little to report.

Through the general commercial depression, and the removal of many of our church members, it has taxed our utmost efforts to meet our current expenses without endeavoring to liquidate the Building Debt on this Church.

The proceeds of the last anniversary services were barely sufficient to meet our first bill, due to the Home Mission Fund, being one third of £1 00 - £331618, and due September 12th of last year.

The second bill of this series for the same amount of £331618 and which fell due on March 15th, we were unable to meet, and it is now lying dishonoured, and an effort will have to be made to pay this by the sums raised at these services.

The last of these bills for the same amount fails due on the 15th of next month and we must endeavour also to make provisions for its due payment.

Our liabilities, in association with this fund, stand as under;

Bill due to Home Mission Fund, March 15th     £33 6 8
Ditto                                   September 15th     £33 6 8
                                                                      £66 13 4
 

Local bill due August 1I th   £25 9 6
Store Accounts                   £27 0 0
                                        £119 2 10
Arrears to Chapel Keeper       £9 0 0

Being reduced during the year by somewhat more than £20.

It is hoped that our friends will use there utmost exertions to still further reduce this amount. Some of these debts have been running for a considerable time, especially the store accounts which were contracted when this building was erected.

The Committee upon whom the responsibility of these debts rests, would earnestly ask the assistance of all the attendants of this church.

If an effort be made now, to clear off our pressing claims, the future looks comparatively clear, and we might soon hope to bring up a report showing that we were out of debt." The financial position as dwelt upon by Mr Piddington, who urged upon the meeting the desirability or rather the necessity of at once clearing off the debt of £1 30 resting on the church property. He said that three gentlemen, whose names he should for the present withhold, had offered to contribute conjointly the sum of £50, on condition that that meeting undertook to raise the remaining £60. The proceeds of the Sunday collections and the sale of tickets, amounted to about £20 - which sum deducted from the £1 30 had reduced the debt to £ 1 1 0. The conditional donation of £50 therefore gave them the opportunity of wiping off the debt completely by making up that night either by cash donations or promises to pay in one month from date, the sum of £60. He reminded the meeting that to fail in raising the entire £60 at once would be to lose their claim on the conditional offer, which he had thrown out to them. He therefore trusted the challenge would be taken up in a proper spirit. Slips of paper -'One month after date 1 promise to pay the sum of £- - -'were handed round and subsequently a collection of small change was taken up. The promise and collection together, it was subsequently announced, reached within £ 10 of the required amount, and the chairman said that as several members were absent, whose assistance could be relied on, they might consider the bargain concluded and the debt annihilated. The meeting concluded at a late hour, the financial business having occupied a large portion of the meeting.

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