Baptist Historical Society of Queensland


No.4 March 1986

  • Free to members
  • Membership $5. per annum

President: Dr. David Parker
Secretary: Mrs. E. Chataway

News and Notes

Thanks to all those who have responded to our recent circular which gave an up-date on developments in the work of the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland during the latter part of last yeam Us have received some subscriptions, which means we can still continue to function, but more are needed. lf you intend to send yours in, may a we invite you to do so right away?

The programme as indicated elsewhere in this newsletter is not as extensive as it could be, but it should prove effective in its own way. Organised activities of the Society are entirely dependant on the support they receive from members and friends. If you know of suitable projects, please let us know so that we can include them in our planning.

By now there are Historical Societies operating in several other states. The BHSQ receives the regular newsletter of the NSU society. Some jottings from that publication are included in this edition for members’ interest.

Finally, lt would be good to mount a display at the 1986 Baptist Union assembly. This is a useful way of bringing the Society to the attention of people. There is plenty of historical interest in the churches if the occasional comments of people are any guide. If youtca: help in planning, sitting up and covering the display, please contact us as soon as possible.


This is Newsletter No 4. It contains jottings of various kinds out in particular, a summary of the presentation made by Rev. Peter Van Donge at our last public meeting on the life of Nr E.S. Jones There was a good crowd present to hear the story. lf you are particularly interested in further details of this widely respected servant of God, then contact Peter. He will be delighted to help.

Check the back page for announcements of future plans. Use this small publication to promote the work of the BHSQ

From presentation by Rev. Peter Van Donge on Eric Stanley Jones

Eric S. Jones, FCIS, AASA, FISM, was leading and highly influential figure amongst Baptists in Oueensland for half a century up until his death on 23 September, 1973. He also made an important contribution to his employers, Nest1e’s, whom he served as a clerk and then as Accountant from the time when he began work on 10/- a week in January 1916 till his retirement in December 1965.

Eric Jones was born at the family home at Kangaroo Poing Brisbane on 7 April, 1901 and was educated locally. He studied briefly at the Central Technical College before taking up his employment with Nestle’s, a company which had only established itself in Australia in

  1. In that same year, it opened its first Ouensland branch with a factory at Toogoolawah. Being a progressive company, Nestle’s soon began to expand and Eric Jones shared in its prosperity by sucessive promotions until his appointment to management as Accountant in 1934 He did not seem to seek promotion beyond this as it would mean leaving Queensland unless he were to move into the sales area. He undertook further study in accountancy and gained membership in several important Associations. Upon a company restructuring, he was made Assistant Manager in 1961. He was widely respected by his efficiency, hard work and personal example. Even after his retirement, he was invited by the company to assist in consultancy and advisory work.

During his youth, the Jones family moved to the Annerley area where they became fully involved with the Fairfield (now Annerleyl Baptist Church which was located near the railway station. lt was an outreach of the Vulture St (South Brisbane) church, and its pastor was Rev. R. Horn. The family later moved to Salisbury to live and cut · their connection with the Fairfield church, but Eric commuted each Sunday to maintain his links.

As well as being fully involved in the Sunday School, the Young Pe¤ple’s Society of Christian Endeavour and the Band of Hope, Eric took up his first office on the church‘s Mission Board in 1918. Soon after, when the pastoral situation was difficult, he undertook studies at the Queensland Baptist College with a view to joining the ministry. Lectures were held in the evenings, and Eric attended for three years before concluding that he had no call to the full-time ministry. He was frequently in the pulpit over succeeding years so his training was put to good effect.

The church soon saw his qualities and made him a deacon in 1922 an office which he held for 51 years. At was during this time that he formed a close and helpful association with the pastor, Rev. Ralph Sayce, later Baptist Union secretary.

Eric married Ruby Matthews on 1O May 1924, a musically talented office worker who attended his church. They settled at Gilmore SL Ekibin and continued to worship at Annerley. There were four children: ` Keith, Mavis, Esme and Stan. Ruby pre-deceased Eric on 21 October 1970 from a stroke. Eric was a devoted family man, despite the busy life he lived, setting a strong lead in the home. He was well known in the local community for his loving interest and responsible involvement.

In the year of his marriage, he was appointed secretary of the Annerley church. Although only young, he soon proved his ability in ‘ this work as well as in his employment with Nestle’s. He set a vigorous lead in developing the church’s work amongst youth and children and outreach into the community. By 1931 he was also caring for the ·church’s books. The location of the church had become , ` untenable by this time, and Eric, along with others, worked hard to l re-site it to its present location in Annerley Road. This was completed T early in 1935. He compiled a history of the church for the occasion.

1 ln 1939 he took over leadership of the Sunday School, retaining 1 the position of superintendent until 1952; he was in the position T again briefly 1954-6. The war created problems for the church with a I loss of workers and ultimately; even the pastor was called up for ` chaplaincy service. This threw heavier responsibility onto Mr Jones , and the other deacons. Eric was frequently involved in preaching and ‘ other pastoral duties. In particular, he was diligent in his concern \ for church members on active duty and wrote lengthy letters to them ; all, a practice he also maintained for his Nestle’s employees in a l similar position.

Post—war development in the area saw the church branch out i to establish new centres at Fairfield, Tarragindi and Salisbury. Eric , Jones was in the forefront of these moves and took more than his fair ~ share of the load. But there was a cost involved, because it meant ` depletion of the home church’s reserves and many growing pains. Ultimately, it seemed advisable for Nr Jones to step down from some of ` his onerous duties and make way for others. His role at the church l changed into a more supportive one, although he exercised a direct and j active ministry as leader of the Adult Sunday School Department for 14 years, where he made an invaluable contribution to the lives of these i more senior class members.

His main area of ministry during these years was increasingly with the denominational administration. He had been active in youth work since before the war. For example, he participated in the inspection of the site of the Currumbin Youth Camp with its original owner, Ken Lethem, who later made it available to the Baptist Uniom Mr Jones served on the Sunday School Committee from 1939 and was treasurer until 1950. He saw the development of youth and children’s work in association with two other highly influential laymen, Roy Lockhart and Monty Jones. Two important developments were the appointment of Rev. John Knights as the first director and the creation of the Baptist Book Store as a resource centre for the denomination. In addition, Mr Jones worked tirelessly in the various programmes such as Sunday School demonstrations and Scripture exams. But when this work seemed to be progressing well, Nr Jones turned to the area of financial administration. He was appointed General Treasurer in 194é, succeeding Mr A.E. Bickmore in the post. His most important contribution was in the creation of a Budget System but it took ten years of labour and then another thirteen before a fully subscribed budget was possible. He was also involved in moves for improvements in pastoral stipends, care for senior and retired pastors and the general administration of Union finances. As part of this work, he participated in major Union developments such as the acquisition of Baptist House in Ann St, ‘Resthaven’ aged persons’ home at Brookfield and the re-location of the Baptist College. His contributions were always characterised by wisdom, understanding, a grasp of detail. His labour was honoured by appointment to the _denomination’s highest office, the presidency, in 1958, and the granting of Life Membership of the Union upon his retirement in 1972.

Tributes offered on that occasion showed the great esteem in which he was held. It seemed fitting that when his homecall came, H took place in the middle of the Baptist Assembly. His successor as treasurer had presented his first report earlier in the proceedings and his son in law had been appointed to a Union position. But on the Sunday evening, he took sick at his home and died later in hospital Assembly arrangements were interrupted on the following Tuesday for _the funeral which was held from his home church. Whatever flaws or shortcomings there may have been in his busy life, they were those of ‘ a zealous man determined to manage his affairs as a faithful steward r of Jesus Christ.

Research In Progress

One of the main purposes of the Baptist Historical Society is to foster informed interest in the story of Baptists in Queensland. This can be done in a variety of ways, including providing a forum for the presentation of research into aspects of Baptist history and life. Several examples of this have already taken place in the public meetings of the Society which have focused on the history of churches like South Brisbane and windsor Road and the life of Mr. E.S. Jones.

Other examples are also going on at present. Une is the painstaking pieting together of the life of the first principal of the Baptist Theological College of Queensland, Rev. T.C. Halyon, F.S.Sc. He held office from 1904-21. Rev. John white says of him in the official Baptist history, “He had trained in Regent’s Park College and had revealed great teaching ability. He served in pastorates in Victoria before coming to Queensland to the pasturate at Ipswich. For many years he carried the dual load, retiring from pastoral work only a few years before his death (in 1921). His was a true pioneering work in this field and Queensland Baptists will always be indebted to him for it.” (p 136)

The other project is an investigation of the nature of Baptist church buildings over the years. This is being done from the point of view of what the style and form of the buildings indicates about Baptist life and beliefs. There is quite a variety of buildings to be seen today and to have an in·depth analysis of them will prove to be interesting and should result in a clearer perception of the importance influence they can have.

A further piece of work is an investigation of the various distinctive beliefs of leading Baptists over the years as they are revealed in available documents.

It is hoped that when these projects are completed, they will form the basis for a public presentation. Useful information relating to either of them is welcome


Have you seen the Queensland Baptist lately? Almost each month recently there has appeared a short paragraph headed, ‘A voice from the past.“ lt features a few paragraphs taken from the pages of the QB’s predecessor ”The Queensland Freeman’ of just 100 years earlier. Some of the material in that paper makes fascinating reading - whether it be news of Baptist activity, personal notes or advertising. It is hoped that the QB editor will continue to be kind enough to make space available for the series to continue.

The ‘Freeman’ is housed in the Baptist Union archives, but owing to the fragile state of the volumes, it is not generally accessible for public use, but now that it has been microfilmed by the John Oxley Library, it will be more readily available

Church Anniversaries

This year Warwick Church celebrates 75 years as a constituted church, while Cairns reaches its 50 years. There are no centenaries, but next year Rosewood will reach that milestone. Best wishes are expressed to these churches.

Book Review

The English Baptists of the 17th Century, by B.R. White.
(London, Baptist Historical Society, 1983)

  • This 138 page book by the principal of Regent’s Park College, Oxford uncovers a lot of new information about the very earliest days of the Baptist denomination. For example, one of the two groups, the General Baptists, taught that there were three orders of ministry - the familiar deacons and pastors lor elders as they were usually called) and ‘messengers“ who had a wider ministry than the local church and cohcentrated on church planting , but also exercised a superintendency function and liased with other churches.

The General Baptist pastors were also involved in contacts with other churches and seemed to have more independent influence than those of Particular Baptists. But the churches of the latter group were convinced from the earliest times of the necessity of fellowship and mutual consultation on various issues between the churches. The Associations which were formed as a result of this conviction were an important part of the process of developing official statements of faith for which the Particular Baptists were well known. Material on the evolution of some of these documents is one of the most helpful features of Dr Uhite’s book.

Another interesting part of the book deals with some of the early evangelists. They were quite notorious for their ”lively and chaotic’ meetings which attracted quite a few members of “other more staid congregations’ to share the ‘excitement of the preaching and doctrinal debates.’ Dne novel procedure which might not be worth copying these days was to have several speakers on the platform and to let the congregation ”shout out their preferences among the preachers on offer’! Questions and interjections were permitted during and after the sermons.

The 17th Century was a time of great social and political turmoil in England and many Baptists were in the thick of it. Dr white portrays these difficult days clearly, with ample quotations from contemporary documents. There is a great deal of similarity with conditions in parts of the modern world and it is instructive to see how our Baptist forefathers coped with the difficult problems such as attitudes towards state authorities, the established Church and doctrinal controversy. Often times the sacrifice for loyalty to the gospel was costly in the extreme.

The book is divided into separate chapters on the General Baptists and the Particular Baptists up to the decisive events of the year 1660 when the English monarchy was restored after the Revolution and the Cromwellian Protectorate. This ushered in a period of great persecution until 1688 during which Baptists and other dissenters suffered under repressive legislation which denied them many civil and religious rights. The final chapter of the book deals with this difficult period. Unite also has some useful material in the opening chapter on the nature of Baptist history which will interest all students of the subject, as will other sections which give sketches of prominent leaders and the gradual emergence of recognizable denominational structures and procedures.

All in all, this is a worthy volume to initiate a new series on Baptists in each of the early centuries edited by the author. It is anticipated that other volumes will also follow the pattern of this first one by taking a fresh approach rather than staying within the tradition of existing histories and by working with original and in many cases, previously unpublished sources. The review copy, was made available by the Baptist Foundation of N.S.W.

The Baptist Quarterly is the journal of the Baptist ` Historical Society of Great Britain. The October 1985 issue carries an article called, ‘Jireh Particular Baptist, Brisbane: Calvinism in an Australian Conte4t.“ It was written by the president of the BHSO, Dr David Parker, and tells the story of founding and early life of Jireh Church which met in the building in Gipps St, Valley. (This building is not in Baptist hands now.) The special emphasis of the article is the beliefs and practices of the church as an example of the Calvinist itheology held by its founders. The “Particular Baptists’ were an important section of the Baptist movement from the middle of the 17th Century.

New South Wales Notes

The Baptist Historical Society of NSW recently conducted an essay competition which invited submission of original work on some historical theme. (see BHSQ Newsletter No 21 A total of 7 entries was received covering Baptist work in 3 states, but none from Queensland! The essays featured the stories of individual churches, a Baptist Union. and an individual. The churches were Undercliffe and Riverstone·5chofields in NSW and Moonee Ponds and Kyneton in Victoria; an account of church extension work in South Australia focused on the Baptist Union there and Rev Alan Webb a promoter of the formation of Union in NSW was the subject of another.

The winner of the $150 prize for the competition was John Walker whose work was on South Australian church extension. The competition was judged a success and will be repeated on a two yearly basis.

The October newsletter of the BHS of NSW features a summary of the lecture given to the Society by Rev. Michael Chavura titled, “Hyper-Calvinism in the Strict and Particular Baptist Churches of Australia.” Pastor Chavura is undertaking detailed research on this topic which should throw a great deal of light on this important but often neglected section of Baptist witness. Other articles in the newsletter deal with interesting aspects of transferring of members from one church to another at the turn of the century and outreach to Asian immigrants during the 19th century.

Some back issues of ”The Recorder“ are housed in the Oueensland Baptist archives. For correspondence with the NSW Society, write, c/- hurling College, l20 Herring Rd, Eastwood. NSU. 2122. Their next meeting features the presentation, “Looking towards the 150th Anniversary of the Central Church (Sydneyl’ and will be their annual meeting.

Baptist Archives, Queensland

The Baptist Union Archives is gradually collecting a considerable quantity of valuable material. The Archives exists primarily to house the records of the Union itself, rather than the records of the churches, but where there is no other way of saving important material, the Archives may be able to help with storage. However, space is severely limited.

To help churches care for their own records, the honorary archivist~ recently sent to all churches a copy of a form called “lnventory of Historical Records for Local Churches.” It contains spaces to list the various records owned by the church with a brief description of their coverage and state of repair. The lower part of the form has space for information about the accessibility and control of the records. It is suggested that copies of the completed form should be lodged with responsible people in the church so that information about the records and their use is available to aH concerned. It would also help greatly if a copy were sent to the Archivist and ‘BHSQ because there are often requests for details of churches and families. If the BHSSI knows what records exists and whether or not they are accessible, the process of answering these enquiries would be facilitated.

The Baptist Archives collection is now listed in the “Register of Church Archives’ which is published by the Church Archivists’ Society. This valuable book contains details of the contents and accessibility of collections of historical materials from all over Australia. lt is a most useful production for researchers. Copies may be obtained from the honorary secretary, PD Box 756, Toowoomba, 4350 The Baptist Archives also possesses a copy.

Some churches have produced historical booklets about their churches. The Archives possesses several of these, but not necessarily all of them. The ‘lnventory’ also invites churches to donate a copy of their official history as this can also be of great assistance when answering questions about churches.

For the convenience of readers, the following is a list of churches whose histories are in the Archives:
Albion (40yrs), Annerley (to 1945 & 1965), Bundaberg (1970),
City Tabernacle {1955), Enoggera (19/2), Geebung (1973),
Greenslopes (1970), Ipswich (1909), Jireh (1961), Kalbar
(1925), Laidley (1982), Margate (1961), Maryborough-Fort St.
(1933), Moore Fark (1962), Nambour (1960), Nundah (1923),
Peace Memorial, Petrie Terrace (1970), Rosalie (1984)
Sandgate (1932,1972), South Brisbane (1997,1972), Taringa
(1939), (Toowong (1930), Toowoomba (1975), Wavell Heights
(1985}, Wynnun (1964)

A number of theological college students have prepared church histories for their graduation theses.

City Tabernacle, Gernam Baptist Churches, Lanefield-Rosewood, Maryborough, Rosalie, South Brisbane, Taringa, Tent Hill.

Coming Events

Celebration of German Baptist Witness

28 June l9B6 at Laidley Baptist Church

Many churches in the Lockyer district were first established by German settlers during the middle of the 19th Century and later. They formed a virile Conference of German Baptist Churches which operate until about l930 when they merged fully with the life of the Baptist Union. The influence of these churches has been felt far beyond their own area. This has been a most significant part of the Queensland Baptist story which is becoming better understood with access to documents which have only recently become available and with better knowledge of some that have been known of before.

A celebration of the German Baptist work is being planned by the BHSQ in conjunction with the churches of the area for June 28th, 1986. It will be held at Laidley Church and will commence about mid-afternoon and continue into the evening. Features will include music, displays presentations and the launching of a written document summarising important aspects of the work.

Plan now to be involved. More details will be announced when ` they become available.

Display At Annual Assembly

The BHSQ plans to mount a display at the l98b Annual “ Assembly of the Baptist Union. But help is needed to plan and mount the display. Please contact the President now if you can help with ideas, manpower and time.


Individuals, churches and other groups are invited to support the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland by becoming members. Membership subscriptions are the only regular source of finances. Members receive the BHSG Newsletter, and are able to join in the Society’s activities and have a good opportunity to contribute to its historical work.