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Something passed us by in October, it has just been brought to my attention
90 years ago today (24th October 1925) the Foundation stone was laid at St George's Church on the corner of Coachwood and Oak Roads in Matcham. The Church was built on an acre of land that was gifted by the Heyne Family in Matcham. Captain Heyne gifted the land as a memorial of the "falllen heroes" of World War 1. The Dean of Newcastle laid the Foundation stone with a solemn wish that the Church stand as a reminder of the sacrifice that was made in that War and that all communities in Australia ought to follow this example of a Community coming together to build a Church to honour those that had given their lives in that War (60,000 Australians and 10 million total who fell in that War). It is sad that Terrigal Anglican Church has forgotten this little piece of land and its history at a time when Australia as a whole is remembering what happened 100 years ago ..... so if you are passing the wee kirk perhaps stop, have a read of the foundation stone and remember. I've included below the full text of the newspaper article from October 29 1925 recording the event below.
Saturday 24th October 1925 (reported in The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate Thursday 29th October 1925)
In Remembrance of Heroes.
MATCHAM AND HOLGATE MEMORIAL CHURCH OF ENGLAND. FOUNDATION STONE LAID.
On Saturday afternoon, the Very Rev. Dr. H. Crotty, Dean of Newcastle, laid the foundation stone of a Church of England at Matcham, which is to stand as the district's Memorial to its soldiers who fell in the Great War. The weather was ideal, and there was a large attendance of parishioners and residents of the district, with some visitors from other centres. A number of district returned soldiers, many in uniform and wearing decorations, were present.
History of the Movement.
At the beginning of the present year, Mr. G. A. F. Heyne having expressed his willingness to give a piece of his land for the erection of a Church, the matter was considered at the annual meeting in February. The project was strongly supported by the Rector of Terrigal parish (which includes Matcham and Holgate) and others; and at a largely attended public meeting held on March 3rd, it was decided to gratefully accept half an acre of land from Mr. Heyne, and commence a building fund. The Church Guild, by a special effort in May, raised £24; smaller fixtures realised £5 6s; and donations £20 10s 9d brought the amount in hand up to £49 16s 9d. In addition, about £20 more had been promised; and a collection taken, up on Saturday added £6 14s 8d. In all these activities, the Rector had the invaluable assistance of Mrs. E. Waterman (Hon. Secretary of the Church as well as of the Building Committee), with a Committee which included as workers Mr. J. Heath (People's Warden), Mr. G. Klumpp (Rector's Warden), Mr. Les. Klumpp (Treasury Warden), Mr. G.A. F. Heyne and Mr J. Waterman (Parochial Councillors), Mr. P. Cannon, Mr and Mrs J. Cardwell, Miss Cardwell, Mr J. Coughlan, Mrs Davis., Mrs S. Ansell, Mr and Mrs Ray Smalley, Mr Sid Martin, Mr J. Miles, Mrs L. Klumpp, Mrs H. Mills, Mr. A. Caldwell, Mr and Mrs W. Pollard, Mr and Mrs E. Brown, and Mr and Mrs W. R. Johnston. Mr. L. A. Bannister gave his services in the surveying of the land, and Mr. C. K. Adrian undertook the transfer formalities.
The site chosen is a prettily situated one near the junction of Coachwood and Oak Roads, Matcham. The clearing has been done by voluntary labour of the parishioners, and was by no means light work; the locality is heavily timbered, and the felling and removal of one giant of the forest alone was a big undertaking. The piles had been set in, and the floor joists placed upon them. On these, a number of flooring boards were laid to serve as a platform. The building will be a weatherboard one of 16 x 34 feet; it is estimated to cost £100 for the shell only, and will be erected by voluntary labour.
The platform was decorated with flags for the ceremony, Australian and British flags on poles at either side flanking a large Union Jack in the centre. The foundation stone rested, ready for placing in position, on a con rete block prepared by Mr. A. E. Waterman; and Mr. A. Caldwell, Mr. J. Waterman and others had mortar, trowel, and deft assistance ready. The stone was presented by Mr. R. W. Dumbrell, of Gosford, and was brought out by Mr. Patterson, who with Messrs Pollard and P. Cannon gave the services of motor vehicles.
The Very Rev. Horus Crotty, D.D., Dean of Newcastle, was accompanied by the Rev. O. J. Vann, of Christ Church Cathedral staff, Newcastle; they were welcomed by the Rev. D. R. May, Rector of the parish, as were the other visiting clergymen, the Rev. Arthur Renwick (Gosford), and the Rev. A. S. Greville (Woy Woy).
Dean Crotty’s ''inspection” of the Guard of Honor took the form of a handshake and a genial word with each of the squad of Diggers, of whom Capt. Heyne and Sergt.-Major Cardwell were in charge.
The Rev. A. Renwick led the recital of the proper “Office for the Laying of a Foundation Stone” and prayers were made by Dean Crotty, who, in the course of the ritual anointed the stone. The order of service was continued by the Rev. O. J. Vann and the Rev. D. R. May. Appropriate hymns were heartily sung by those present. The Dean laid and solemnly blessed the stone; he made special prayer that the purpose of the building, as a house of prayer and a memorial to fallen brothers, might be blessed. The stone was inscribed:
To the Glory of God
This Stone was laid by Horace Crotty, D.D.,
Dean of Newcastle,
24th Oct., 1925.
The. Rev. A. S. Greville read the les son, .from the Book of Ezra.
The Dean's Address.
Dean Crotty said he was glad to be present that day, and be associated with a most commendable step forward by the people of the district. The erection of this Memorial Church was an example which might well be followed in many other parts of Australia, in the erecting of a sacred building as a remembrance of their loved ones who fell. It was a fine thought and a fitting thing that the house of worship and prayer should be a memorial to their heroes. A moral gesture was the only meet answer to the sacrifice made by the fallen, and such a gesture could only properly be made in the language of high earnestness, and by a religious act. He was a wise sayer who had bid us forget what we ought not to remember, and remember what we ought not to forget. There were some things in our Australian life which we ought to remember for ever, about which some of us were apparently in an indecent hurry to forget. In Australian history there were deeds of sacrifice which stood out like mountains on a plain, and these were the marking points in the heritage of our nation, and they should never be forgotten. We in Australia should rejoice in and try to live up to the glorious deeds done in our name, and keep the memories of the doers ever in honoured recollection. We as a nation had many good, qualities of courage and initiative, but we had the faults of youth as well, and sometimes forgot, in thinking of what we were now doing, the great things that had been done for us. We needed a 'past tense' in our mental grammar; and memorials such as this were needed to bring back our attention to the spiritual achievements of our history. In every town and district of Australia there should be something answering to the Cenotaph in London — a point of sacred remembrance where hats would be lifted, and where traffic would be hushed in passing. We needed a spirit of reverence in our national life, to counteract the too prevalent pre-occupation with material affairs. There was evident nowadays a great tendency to banish from thought the spiritual things which really mattered. This was a generation which had been washed in the blood of 10,000,000 fallen soldiers, 60,000 of whom were Australians. We had accepted the sacrifice of these young lives, and now enjoyed the safety and prosperity which resulted from it; that was why it was a shameful and an unworthy thing to forget the war. Some people said war memorials were useless, a nuisance, and a worry; these individuals looked with dislike upon a man in khaki — they said we should not be reminded of the war now. But not long ago these same people looked to the men in khaki to save their fat, selfish selves; and in like circumstances they would cry for help again. Australians should and must remember the war — and there was no better way of remembering it than by building such a Church as this, and there was no holier dedication than to the glory of God and remembrance of the gallant dead. They should also try to build a more beautiful world, and to realise something of the better life for which their heroes had fought. The fallen men did not bequeath this country to us to play the fool in, but to make it better for those who lived after them. To Honor their wishes and their memory was our sacred obligation. The Dean concluded with the invocation:
“May the souls of the righteous, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”.
The Rev. D. R. May expressed the thanks of the people to the Dean for coming so far to perform the ceremony. He added that he and all church people were grateful to the many helpers, including Mr. Heyne, who had given leave to the Church to select a block wherever they liked on his land, to the ladies who had helped so well, and to the workers who had cleared the ground and would put the building up by voluntary labour. It was hoped to open the Church in a few weeks, free of debt.
The service concluded, as it had opened, with the singing of God Save the King.
The visitors were entertained at afternoon tea by the ladies of the parish, who in a pleasant bower built of green boughs, and decorated with flowers, dispensed very appetising viands with a true country hospitality and cordiality.