Shannon Methodist Church
|Type of organisation:|| Religious
|Street name:||Corner of Calomba Road and Rowe Road|
|Town or locality:||Calomba|
|Established by:||Primitive Methodists|
|Business or purpose:||Religious services|
The foundation stone of the Shannon Methodist Chapel was blessed by Mr. Joshua Marshman of Mallala on 8th October 1872.
The Shannon Methodist Chapel was officially opened on 17th July 1873 on land donated by Messrs Wright Bros. The builders were Messrs Porter and J. Smith. The original trustees were Messrs G.N. Johnson, N.J.W. Lindsay, J. David, S. Davis, J.P. Sutton, R. Cooper and C. Carslake.
The South Australian Advertiser August 6. 1873 reports: The opening of the new Primitive Methodist Chapel at Shannon's, Hundred of Dublin, was celebrated on Sunday and Monday, August 3 and 4. The chapel is calculated to accommodate from 120 to 140 persons, is a neat structure, substantially built of stone, and covered with slates, and has six Gothic windows and a porch. Sermons were preached by the Rev. S.J. Nicolls, of North Adelaide, to large congregations, a considerable number being unable to gain admittance. On Monday a still larger company were assembled, and did ample justice to the abundant spread of good things provided by the ladies and bachelors. The public meeting which followed, was presided over by Mr. E. Temby, J.P., and the report read by Mr. J.N.Lindsay. Vigorous speeches were delivered by Mr. Geo.. Marshman and the Revs.J.S.Wayland, A.W.Wellington, and S.J.Nicolls, congratulating the settlers on the erection of a religious sanctuary, and urging them to seek the presence of the great Spirit as an earnest of their future prosperity. The financial appeal was made by Mr. Nicolls, and was heartily responded to, £61/16s/10d being the total proceeds of the two days' services, leaving something less than £150 debt upon the building.
An official program printed for the Jubilee of the Shannon Methodist Church held on July 15th 1923 and over a several day period includes the following article written by the circuit minister Rev. F.G. Rogers:
"If it be true that we live in deeds, not years, then the men who pioneered the mallee lands of Dublin (known as the 30 mile scrub) must surely deserve honour. Fifty years ago these fertile plains, now the envy of the agriculturist, securely fenced and subdivided, dotted here and there with comfortable homesteads, many of which have electric light and all modern conveniences, were covered with dense mallee scrub. The adventure proved the acid test of character, and of some it must be said "weighed in the balance and found wanting" but some endured to the winning of success.
Of the enduring few there were some who, while keen on the conquering of the mallee and the growing of wheat, believed that "man shall not live on bread alone" and believed in the communion of saints - saints who countered for something on the business end of a grub axe in the biting cold of winter and the scorching heat of summer, who could make bread and sew in a pine and pug one-roomed hut and wear a smile seven days a week.
But the temple of God made by hands was not as yet built, there was no lofty spire bidding man to look upward to higher things, no sweet music to charm him from the rough conditions of his daily enviroment, but there was something within him that compelled , like Israel's sweet singer to cry: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee o God."
Men with hearts big enough to face a mallee allotment are not likely to want something very much for long. We expect them to act, "Act in the living present, heart within and God overhead', and these men acted with the result - Shannon Church.
The real church - a body of men and women who seek to follow their Lord was "born again" (not built) some time previous to building operations starting, and Divine services were held in the homes of disciples.
The homes of Messrs Baker and G.N.Johnson were ever open for the assembling together of saints (and possibly a sprinkling of sinners) with the late Rev. S. Gray being the minister. The growing cause soon demanded a home of its own, and the Rev. S. Gray and Mr. N.Lindsay set forth to spy out the land, and after many inspections decided on the present site.
The ground was donated by the Messrs Wright Bros., but the present trust has quite recently purchased at a nominal figure from Mr Rowe, the fine V-shaped block in front of the church.
Plans and specifications of the original building were prepared by the Rev. J.S.Wayland. The stone work was carried out by Mr. Jonathon Porter, the wood work by Mr. Joseph Smith, and Mr. Uffindale made the furniture.
Messrs G.N.Johnson., N.Lindsay, J.Davis, Stephen Davis, J.T. Sutton, R.Cooper and C.Carslake were on the first trust. The present trust is composed as follows: Messrs G.N. and A.H.Johnson, N.W.Rowe, E.Johnson, H.G.Clark, H.F.Johnson, E.Young, C.W.Burnard and F.Pritchard..
Opening services were arranged for July 17, 1873. The building (although incomplete) was dedicated to the glory of God, and then on the completion of the work, these Israelites (in whom there couldn't possibly be any guile) did it all over again. The opening services were conducted by the Reverends J.S.Wayland and S.J.Nicholls and proved wonderfully successful.
In 1908 and addition to the rear of the church was built to accommodate Sunday School activities. Under the supervision of Mr J. Burton the western wall of the church was dismantled and a T shaped extension added. Mr John Jenkin and son Mr Roy Jenkin carted all the stone for the addition.
What a record. This is the year of the jubillee - fifty years of the unfailing goodness of God!
Who but the Divine Statist can tabulate the results?
A mere human could possibly detail the number of services held, the names on the church roll, the sums of money raised and spent. What are these compared with the number of hearts comforted, or to the wayward feet who have been lovingly directed in the paths of peace, to that holy joy that filled the spirits of the men and women made jubilant by a conscious linking up with him who set the joy bells ringing in every soul trusting in him?
Yes the year of jubilee has come, and some who were in the church when it was first formed are here today.
Surely that beautiful poetry of the psalmist, "Lord Thou has been our dwelling place in all generations; before the mountains were brought forth, or even Thou had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God", must be living in their thought. Some have passed on to their reward, but of us who remain, what shall be said?
Is it our resolve to "carry on" in the name of the King, in his almightiness and gentleness, believing that the things unseen are the things that count?"
This concludes the article written for the Shannon Methodist Church Jubilee service by Rev.F.G.Rogers.
After 84 years as a place for worship and social gatherings the Shannon Methodist Church closed in 1957 and the building was demolished in 1966.
The inscription on the plaque mounted on a limestone cairn reads as follows: "To the Glory of God this cairn was raised to recall that on this site stood the Shannon Methodist Church from 1873 to 1966"
In 1966 Mr Ira Jenkin was in charge of the demolition of the church building assisted by Messrs Mervyn and Neville Jenkin. A belief was held by various people in the district that a time capsule in the form of a bottle with information and papers in it had been built into the wall of the original chapel in 1872.
Those in charge of demolition proceeded cautiously and eventually uncovered the bottle. It contained early history of the Shannon district and Methodist Church, an Advertiser dated October 8th 1872 and a Methodist Recorder containing the circuit preaching plan.
Prior to the demolition of the building a petition signed by the residents of the Shannon area requested that the District Council of Mallala take over the jurisdiction of the Shannon Methodist Church grounds and adjoining Shannon Cemetery - to which council agreed.
In 2013 the Shannon Cemetery is a well kept and tidy public burial ground surrounded by native trees. Alan Parker, as a member of the Mallala District Council Greening Committee,organised the planting of trees and bushes.
- Shannon Methodist Church Jubilee Souvenir 1873 - 1923
- Records at the Mallala Museum
- Mrs Maureen Parker nee Baker
Memories of Shannon Methodist Church
Rev.F.G. Rogers was circuit minister and lived in the Methodist Manse at Mallala 1922 - 1926. The preacher for the above jubilee celebrations at the Shannon Methodist Church was Rev.A.W.Wellington of Pt.Pirie who had been the first resident minister at Mallala 50 years previously. Rev. Wellington had also preached at an opening service of the Shannon Church on July 23rd 1873.
Mr Wesley Johnson placed a time capsule in the new cairn during the celebration to officially recognize that the Shannon Methodist Church was once located on the site.