St Columba Presbyterian Church. The first church at the site was a "Union Church" with the idea coming from Rev. George Barclay. The organising committee chairman was Donald McLean of 'Stathconan' with Stephen Gillingham, Allan McLean, H. Welsh and W. Close as members and the church was opened March 1879 by Rev's Barlcay and Preston. In 1891 Fairlie became part of the Parish of Tengawai. Rev. Stanley Hinson served for 31 years from Dec. 1892. In 1894 it was decided the Presbyterians buy out the Anglicans share.
Star 1 July 1878, Page 3
The township of Fairlie Creek is getting quite populous. We have already an hotel, blacksmith's shop, and general store. Tenders are invited for another store on a large scale. There is also a church being built by the united efforts of the Presbyterians and Episcopalians. Although the population is not very numerous as yet, the most of the funds is already subscribed. The contract price is �395. The walls are of concrete with ornamental buttresses, the interior being lighted by three Gothic windows on each side.
An example of early concrete domestic construction in concrete is the Donald McLean's homestead Strathconan near Fairlie (Record No. 1970, Category II historic place), commenced in 1871 was not completed until 1877. In 1874 some of the best land north towards Fairlie was freeholded off the Albury estate by Donald McLean to become the start of Strathconan and by Stephen Gillingham to become Lambrook.
Evening Post, 12 February 1891, Page 3
Presbyterian General Assembly.
Reference was made to a gift of 20 acres for a manse in the Mackenzie Country, by Mr. David M'Lean [sic], of Strath Conan.
Down the Main Street of Fairlie on the left if heading north towards Kimbell stands the large modern St Columba Church dedicated in 1972 with a large oak tree in the grounds. Today 2001 the St Columba and St. Stephens churches are still used on alternate Sundays and services at Tekapo monthly but sometimes fortnightly. The parish is now known as the Cooperating Parish of Fairlie and the Mackenzie.
To the Glory of God - This Church was dedicated by the moderator of Presbytery Robert S. France
17th December 1972 to replace the original church erected 1879
13 Nov. 2011
Dedicated to the Memory of Rev. George Barclay, Presbyterian Minister who founded this congregation.
Erected by the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles in memory of their comrades Trooper Alexander H. McKay (6th N.Z.M.R.)
and Sergt. Francis A. baron (Brabant' Horse) who died serving their Country in South Africa 1902.
In 2009 church services are jointly Anglican & Presbyterian.
1st Sunday 8 am St Stephens
2nd & 4th Sunday St Stephens
1st, 3rd & 5th 9: 30 am St Columba
Vicar: The Rev. Michael Kerr
11 Kirke St. ph 685-8369
2011 Lay preachers
Many children on the area will remember the annual Fairlie Spring Flower Show thoroughly supported by the local schools and was a successful fund raiser. Here children exhibited their art work, hobbies, flower arrangement, bakery and of course the vegetable animals - a potato with tooth picks for the legs and neck with a carrot for the nose etc., in the Presbyterian Sunday School and Aorangi Hall next door. Cups were awarded for narcissi and cooking. The Aorangi Hall was used for many events including indoor bowls, tug a war completions, drama productions and dances. Demolished in 1985 and replaced in 1986 by the Mackenzie Community Centre as the County Centennial Project and used for similar activities including the annual ANZAC day service, concerts, meeting etc.
The Gillingham Memorial
Pedestal type headstones were very popular because information could be recorded on the four sides of a pedestal. During the Christchurch earthquakes many pedestal type headstones toppled. Photo courtesy of Bruce Comfort taken in April 2011 with the Main St. of Fairlie and in the background an a beautiful memorial oak on the Peace Avenue. This is a memorial not a headstone. Remember not all the names listed in a headstone inscription may be buried in the plot. Servicemen may have a memorial stone or a drowning victim. Three other Gillingham names (infants) are on the other three sides. St. Columba Church Grounds, Fairlie, memorial. Erected in Memory of Stephen England Gillingham. Born Nov. 22nd 1843 and lost in the S.S. Tararua, April 28th 1881. His body was not recovered. "My God, she's ashore!" said the Captain and he at once gave orders to call all on board and clear away the boats. Gillingham, one of the passengers by the Tararua who was drowned, is S. E. Gillingham, brother-in-law of Mr S. D. Glyde, J.P., of Adelaide. He was on his way to England to look after property recently inherited by his father, Stephen Gillingham, and he leaves a widow and three children. NOTE that the memorial also has three other Gillingham names (infants) on the other three sides. The family was still in the North Island when the children died :
Francis Robert Gillingham 7/7/1849 - 28/2/1852
Arthur Gillingham 1/9/1860 - 7/5/1864
Alfred Gillingham 27/11/1862 -1/8/1865
Birth: GILLINGHAM - On June 12th, 1881 at Gordon St, Christchurch East, the wife of the late Stephen England Gillingham, of a son.
An Adelaide telegram in the Age says :�
"Gillingham, one of the passengers by the Tararua who was drowned, is S. E. Gillingham, brother-in-law of Mr S. D. Glyde, J.P., of this city. He was on his way to England to look after property recently inherited by his father, Stephen Gillingham, and he leaves a widow and three children."
Timaru Herald, 4 October 1892, Page 2
In the Timaru Supreme Court yesterday probate of the will of the late Mr Stephen Gillingham, late of Fairlie, was on the motion of Mr Howard Tripp granted to Mr David H. Gillingham and Mr Sandham Gillingham, by Mr Justice Denniston.
Star 18 September 1886, Page 2
Gillingham - Browne � Sept. 15, at the Church of the Holy Innocents, Amberley, by the Rev J. Sheldon, Robert, son of Stephen Gillingham, Esq., of Lambrook, Fairlie Creek, to Katherine Beatrice, daughter of Captain W.P. Kennaway Browne, late 49th (Berkshire) Regiment.
In 1856 Robert and Stephen Gillingham were settlers in Mechanics' Bay, Auckland, by 1860 he was a dealer in Parnell. Prior to September 1862 Stephen Gillingham sold freehold property in Auckland. Lambrook just south of Fairlie. Stephen Gillingham farmed Lambrook for 81 years, selling in 1955. Stephen and his wife, Hannah, age 22, arrived at New Plymouth on the Timandra in Feb. 1842. Mr. Stephen Gillingham, a cabin passenger, age 25, in a letter to his father says: "As there is a brig leaving this day (2nd March) I take the opportunity of writing to inform you of our safe arrival, after one of the most pleasant voyages ever made. We came to an anchor on February 23rd, about three miles from the shore, at 4 o'clock p.m. hoisted the English colours, and fired a salute of two six-pounders, which was answered in a few minutes from the shore.....The next morning the boats came off, and during the day all the passengers and their luggage were landed. Every one of the emigrants got employment immediately on their landing at 5/- per day, carpenters 7/6. They have taken houses at 5/- to 15/- per week. I would advise all persons coming hither to marry first, as the bachelors seem to be in want of housekeepers. The town is situated between two small rivers, both of which abound with mountain trout and eels, and their waters are as good as any I have ever tasted. It is a beautiful country, abundantly supplied with water and wood, etc. The Gillingham's had immigrated from Dorest, England, moved to Auckland, then to South Canterbury because of the Maori friction.
Francis Robert (Frank) Gillingham b. New Plymouth in 1854, married Coredila Gillingham 1881, and settled at Lambrook, south of Cricklewood. Alfred Ernest Gillingham b. 1888 was the 3rd son of F.R. Gillingham.
Marriage: GILLINGHAM - GILLINGHAM - On February 15th, 1881 at St. Mary's Church, Timaru, by the Rev. Archdeacon Harper, Francis Robert, fourth son of Stephen Gillingham, of Lambrook, to Cordelia, eldest daughter of the late Robert Gillingham, of Auckland.
Stephen Gillingham, farmer, was buried in Fairlie 12 April 1892, age 80 years.
Cordelia Gillingham was buried in Fairlie, 1st April 1900, age 45. Husband F.R. Gillingham.
1877 Gillingham Lucy Cordelia to Emily Louisa Stephen England
1879 Gillingham Hannah Mabel to Emily Louisa Stephen England
1881 Gillingham Stephen England to Emily Louisa Stephen England
Photo: Radcliffe Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ. Reference No G 5944 1/2.
In the book 'Fairlie 1866-2000' by The Fairlie Work Trust Inc. page 61 there are photos of the three churches in Fairlie including a similar photo of St Columba taken from the same angle circa 1900 with a white picket fence in the foreground and before the addition on the back was added. Frederick George Radcliffe 1863-1923. Farmer, photographer. Arrived in New Zealand in the early 1890s.
Journeying together : a brief history of St Columba Presbyterian and St Stephen's Anglican Churches, Fairlie.
Publisher : St Columba-St Stephens Centenary Committee, 1979 16 p. : ill., edited by Marjory Munro. "Published on the occasion of the centenary celebrations."
Nine-tenths of a Century (1969) Elaine M. Grundy. This poem was written in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the St. Columba Presbyterian Church Bliss Pamphlets - Hocken Lib YOB/G. Mrs Grundy was very active in the community, Dr. George Grundy's wife, a long time conductor of the Fairlie Choral Society and a writer.
"Who'd marry a doctor?" : a Chatham Islands casebook / Elaine Grundy. Publisher : Christchurch : Whitcombe and Tombs, 1968. 144p
Nine-tenths of a Century
They called a public meeting to be held at Fairlie creek,
'Twas time they had a building where parishioners could meet.
The trouble was on top of all the Presbyterian crew,
Mackenzie had its Anglicans who wanted a building too.
The reverend Mr. Barclay sat firmly in his chair
And refereed the meeting to see that things were fair.
And when they'd totted up their dough and talked for half the night,
They finished up the meeting quite decided to unite.
Astounding though it may seem now, the county in those days
could boast it had an engineer who gained the highest praise
When plans he drew for a Union church and didn't charge a cent;
The people said, �Thanks very much, and to the builders went.
These fellows soon got down to work and laid a good foundation
to seat a hundred derrieres in church's congregation.
Three hundred pounds and ninety-five was needed for the bill
So people robbed their piggy-banks this target to fulfil.
On the thirtieth day of march in 1879
George Barclay and James Preston gave their shoes an extra shine.
That day they had a job to do as everyone could tell
of opening up the Union Church �and my! They did it well.
Now things progressed quite cosily for the following six years,
Till Church of England bishop sends a message which declares,
�T �Tis time you broke the party up and moved along the street;
You'd best begin to build a church where C of E's can meet.�
The poor old Presbyterian shook their piggy-banks again
And bought the Church of England out � They owned the whole works then.
They held another meeting to decide upon a name
And blotted out the �Union,� � St. Columba they became.
They'd just re-lined their pockets, when were asked to start again,
And build a brand new Sunday school to keep their off-spring in.
When this job was accomplished they hollered "please-no -more!"
And settled back in wooden pews till 1924.
Then a serious situation had arisen it transpired,
And seats for fifty extra were urgently required.
They cut a hole in the right wall and added on a chunk,
Then shoved the choir round corner where acoustics were just punk.
For forty years and over the building stayed the same,
Till people got that hectic urge to raise some dough again.
"We need a bigger church," they said. "We're busting at the seams!
we'll build a whopping job this time and realise our dreams."
The aisle will be full six feet wide.
Pews will hold three hundred at a squeeze.
Just the setting for a pretty bride to float up at her ease.
And think how simple it will be to carry coffins in
And hold them at a full arm's length, instead of under chin.
The choir can come out of their hole and sit in line of vision,
And stand to sing the anthem without their usual collision
With over-flow from Sunday School and people late arriving
Conductor will get out in front without through masses diving.
Yes! Seems we have good reasons to carry this scheme through,
And build the biggest Church in town! A lesser one won't do.
So make the most of this week-end,
To the old church say good-bye,
She won't be here for her hundredth year;
Her doom is looming high.
She started as a Union church; and if one could foresee,
Before ere long in building new, a repeat of history
May bring them back together, forever then to stand,
The Presbys and the C of E's in on united band.
So Anglicans, prepare yourselves to buy back your half share
ring your piggy-banks! The treasurer will await you gladly here.
By Elaine Grundy
Written in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the St. Columba Presbyterian Church, 1969
Proceeds to the new church building fund.
Dr Grundy always sang and Mrs Grundy played
the piano in the musicals that were held in the Fairlie High School auditorium.
I remember attending Gilbert and Sullivan light operas H.M.S. Pinafore, The
Pirates of Penzance, Mikado and Trail by Jury. The
shows were wonderful and the auditorium packed every night. Dr Grundy was highly
regarded by many including me as he saved my life when I was about 14. We were
lucky he was in Fairlie otherwise it would have meant a fast trip to Timaru. His
surgery waiting room was part of the house, 11 Sloane St, near the kitchen and had wallpaper of
an English hunting scene.
Here is a story mum told me. On the farm on Sherwood we had turkeys and they would roost on the verandah instead of in the pine trees so and they were making a mess. Mum wanted to get rid of them. So Dad made inquires in Fairlie and found takers for the 20 odd turkeys including Mrs Grundy, she wanted two. So one Friday afternoon with the car trailer loaded with the turkeys Mum and Dad went around Fairlie delivering them. Dad walks into Mrs. Grundy's kitchen and hands her over the two live turkeys. She was absolutely shocked they were still alive. Dad was not planning to pluck any of them.
The pioneers often transcended denominational barriers in those early times. The first church in Fairlie was an interdenominational church, a Union Church, built in 1879 by the Anglicans and Presbyterians on land giving by D. McLean and passed over to the Presbyterian Communion in 1895. The Rev. Japer Smyth, a 'sporting parson', the first vicar appointed to the newly constituted parish of Te Ngawai in 1883. He travelled between Pleasant Point, Raincliff, Albury and Fairlie with his greyhounds and would let them chase the hares along the roadside tussock. Today Fairlie has three churches. St Stephen's.
St Patrick's the Roman Catholic Church on Gall St. was built in 1889 and enlarged in 1911 and in 1925. St. Joseph School adjoins. On March 17 2002 the Catholic parish of St Patrick, in Fairlie, will celebrate its centennial on the day of the patron saint for whom it is named to mark 100 years since Fairlie became a parish in its own right, with its own resident priest. While St Patrick's Church was more than 100-years-old, a full-time priest was not appointed to Fairlie until 1902. A history of the parish was being compiled and there would be a display of photographs and memorabilia.
Timaru Herald Monday 14 October 1889 pg2
On Thursday the Rev. Father Foley, accompanied by Mr M De H Duval the architect, went to Fairlie Creek to lay out the foundations of the Catholic Church to be built there, the contract for which has been let to Mr W. Young of Geraldine. On Sunday, 27th inst., the foundation stone will be laid by the Right Rev. Dr. Grimes, Bishop of Christchurch, with the full ceremonial used on such occasions; a large gathering may be expected. The site is a five acre section near the railway station.
Otago Witness, 17 July 1901, Page 37
Church. At last a decided move has been made in the determination to build a church for the combined Episcopalian and Presbyterian congregations, the latter not waiting for a final agreement ; and being by far the more substantial contributors � in ratio of about 5 to 1 have have let the contract for the erection of the Trails; to be of local limestone, which is of very fair building quality. I hear the English Church folk are hardly prepared to fall in with the wishes of the other party, in which case the church will be established, wholly by the Presbyterians. The total cost is estimated at �300. The Presbytery have granted oil parish the use tii a student to assist the Rev. Mr Lawrie in his labours for the spiritual wellbeing of the district � help that was greatly required, for undoubtedly the increased settlement in a large part of the parish, which is of very large area, has placed it beyond the power of one minister to attend to it adequately.
New Zealand Tablet, 20 November 1902, Page 20
November 17. His Lordship the Bishop arrived here on Sunday, the 9th int , and left for Fairlie, accompanied by the Rev. Father Tabman. At Fairlie a meeting of parishioners was called and was largely attended, several riding many miles to be present. His Lordship took the chair, and those present agreed unanimously to the proposal to have a separate parish established, with a resident priest. The parish will extend from the Cave to Mount Cook, and will be one of the largest parishes in New Zealand. Up to the present it formed a part of the Timaru parish, and was visited once a month by one of our local clergy. Father La Petit, who is curate at Timaru at present, has been appointed parish priest, and will have a busy time in such a large district, and will have over eight schools to attend to in giving religious instruction to the Catholic children. There is already a presbytery of five rooms erected at Fairlie, to which additions will shortly be made, and a suitable church, while at Albury the new church is under way, the foundation stone of which is to be laid by his Lordship at an early date in the New Year. Father La Petit will be much missed by the Timaru congregation, where he has worked so quietly and well, but being in the neighboring parish his many friends in the congregation will often have a chance of meeting him. He takes charge of the new parish about the 1st December. Father Tubman is enjoying a well-earned respite at Mount Cook, and returns to Timaru during the week.
The Catholic Club's picnic of this year was, like its predecessors, a great success. Four expresses conveyed the party, accompanied by Father Taylor, to Gordon's Bush, a romantic spot about 16 miles from Timaru. The weather was most enjoyable and the country looked at its best. After refreshments at the Bush, kindly superintended by the ladies, sports were indulged in.
Hutt News, 30 August 1928, Page 4
Mrs. Stenhouse, wife of Mr. J. Stenhouse of Owaka, South Otago, and Mrs. Wilcox, wife of the Rev. C. J. Wilcox, of Fairlie, are the guests of their brother, the Rev. J. E. Lopdell, of St. Stephens Church.
Hutt News, 14 December 1932, Page 3
The Rev. W. E. Davies, curate of St. James's Parish, has accepted the appointment of Vicar of Fairlie, South Canterbury and will take up his duties in February next.