Val Hawker, Narrandera Argus
The historic Barellan Methodist Church (now Uniting) will be closing soon and to the mark the occasion they will be holding a service of closure at 10am on Sunday December 19 at 10am.
The land on which the church now stands was purchased by public auction in Narrandera in August 1909. The purchaser was Carl Reinhold Bauer a farmer of Barellan and the purchase price was eleven pounds ten shillings.
Later the land was transferred to the trustees of the Methodist Church in October 1920. It is not known if any money accompanied the transfer.
The trustees were Messrs James James, Frederick William Ziebarth, John Alexander Mcleod and Samuel Charles. Mr Ziebarth is a great uncle to the late Peter Findlay.
Mr Mcleod built one of the first houses in Barellan. It is said to be the oldest house still standing in Wilga St and is owned by Peter and Christine Clark.
In 1918 Mr Mousedale is believed to have set about raising money to build the Church. It was built by Mr Percy Henry at the cost price 236 pounds and the trustees helped with the organising of the timber for the building.
It is understood the Church was opened in the summer months and services were well attended. The Church was a meeting place for other denominations, but erected using Methodist Church loan funds.
Used in the early days by the Masonic Lodge, shutters were erected over the windows for privacy.
The building was completed – lined and otherwise improved by Barellan builder Mr Tyson in 1928, making the Church much more comfortable. The ladies of the Church undertook to pay for seats for the new Church and for fencing.
On the 20th anniversary of the Church more furnishings were dedicated and a communion rail was installed.
The fellowship, another newly formed group, had donated the christening bowl stand and a prophet chair was donated by Mrs Stan Taylor.
The Barellan Church obviously invested in a parsonage for the resident minister, but there is no record of it ever happening.
A standing school under the division of Mrs Mousedale and her daughters Mrs Howes and Mrs Gandy of Binya gave assistance to the young people of Barellan.
At the time of the 20th anniversary of the Church both Mrs Mousedale and Mrs Howes were spoken of as ‘the late’, and so far residents have not been able to cover the story of the early pioneers.
In 1928 Barellan Services were conducted at 7.30pm on third and fifth Sundays of the month. Services were also conducted at Sandy Creek, Moombooldool, Nestoreville, Binya and The Peak.
In 1928 the Methodist and Presbyterians in Barellan were working with a joint preaching plan with United Services at Barellan -place name on the preaching plan included Birdwood, Buralyang, Aowery, Emmaville, Erigolia, Euratha, Tallimba, the Bluff and The Wilgas.
Services were usually in local hall or a private home.
Baptisms were conducted in the area before that and would be registered at Ardlethan. The first baptism was Elsie Elizbeth – daughter of Barellan farmer Frank Tomlinson and his wife Levina.
The marriage register began earlier than the baptisms, the first marriage record in the Barellan area was 13th March 1918 – celebrated at ‘Lindwood’, between John Harris Eken, a 35yr old farmer and his bride was 23yr old Hilda Vivian Oldham, originally from Horsham Vic.
The first marriage in the new Church was between Laura Margaret McCarron and Albert George Trembath in February 1921.
Ministers were Home Missionaries, Lay Pastors and Students. They found it very hard in the area – many riding push bikes – some horse and sulky (but not many) and also early motor bikes.
The Barellan Church built “Batchelor” quarters at the back of the church to provide suitable accommodation for the young student fellows, who really worked very hard in the area, before the church began to get ministers appointed to the area.
Over the years, from late 1990’s populations decreased in the area and with better roads and bigger towns more accessible, local groups and organisations, including the Church, noticed the decline in population.
Today the Church has a regular attendance of six and sometimes eight or nine but not often therefore it became financially very difficult to continue fundraising and maintaining everything with a congregation almost all being 80’s and over.
A very active Sunday School began in the 1950’s under the guidance of Mrs Vonda Sutton and her helpers. A very interested and active group of children attended regularly 10am Sunday morning. It was also a get together of the local fathers (taking children to and from Sunday School).
When Mrs Sutton moved away in the late 60’s Mrs Wyn Williams, the local community health person, continued the Sunday School. Also helping to continue the Sunday School success until the late 1970’s was Glenys and Don Sheath and Cheryl Mayberry also helped.
Organists who have served the Church include Mrs Joyce Irvin, Mr Gwen Davis, Mrs Yvonne Bennett and Graham Grant.
Following the departure of Pastor Bob Anderson in 2005(?) regular services were conducted by Graham Grant, Judy Finlay and congregation members and Nedra and Alan Davis of Leeton. Most of the responsibility for regular services of recent times were very carefully and successfully undertaken by Mrs Judy Findlay.
Sadly, the little Church at 54 Mulga St will be holding its closing service on Sunday December 19 2021 at 10am followed by a ‘Bring and Share’ Morning Tea due to unknown numbers who will be attending.
The Church has served the community well, being erected in 1918 by a local builder on land transferred to the Methodist Church after being purchased by Carl Reinhold Bauer a Barellan farmer at Narrandera Auction.
Blessings to everyone, you will all be thought of in our prayers – wishing a successful and happy future.
This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 2 December 2021.