Land For The Church
In 1864 Capt. Adam Robertson gave a site for a Church on the north‑west corner of Section 5458 within a stone’s throw of the school and public cemetery.The building committee consisted of Messrs. J.Smart, Charles Smart, Robert Smyth Snr., J. Robertson, Peter Little, David Dow, Eli Gate, John Byers and Robert McEwin.
Laying of The Foundation Stone
Rev. Ralph Drummond laid the foundation stone on 24th July, 1865.
The document deposited under the foundation stone reads :–
“This document is deposited under the corner‑stone of a new edifice to be erected for the use of the Presbyterian Church, Golden Grove, to the praise and honour of the one only God, ever blessed Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. The stone is laid by the Rev. Ralph Drummond on this 24th day of July, 1865 being the 29th year of the reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, and the 29th year from the foundation of the Colony, and the fourth year of the Governorship of Sir Dominic Daly. Trustees are J. Robertson, Robert Smart, James Dow, Robert McEwin, Robert Smyth Snr., John Byers and Peter Little. John Johnson (Contractor), E. Walters (Builder), W.B.Coston (Secretary).”
“Arise ye and build the sanctuary of the Lord. Other foundations can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. Let the beauty of the Lord our.God be upon us, and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea the work of our hands establish Thou it.”
The Church dimensions were ” length 40′ in the clear by 28′ in width, height of walls from the ground 15′, two rooms to be built at the end for a vestry and sitting room”.
The building cost £550.
All internal fittings were made and fixed by Mr. Joseph Blake, of Smithfield
The Church was insured for £100; Furniture and fittings £70, and Organ £30
After the opening service £200 was owing, which was cleared the following year.
A record in Roman numerals on a stone above the entrance porch testifies to the opening date being 24th June, 1866.
Rev. John Gardener conducted the Opening Services. The Trustees were Messrs. R. Smart, J. Dow, J. Robertson, R. Smyth, P. Little and R. Kirk.
Properties to Presbytery
At a November meeting of Presbytery in 1875, Mr. J. Robertson reported that he had set aside some land (17 acres) for a Glebe, and asked for advice as to whom this land and the site for a church, previously given, should be conveyed.
In 1894 the Golden Grove Church properties were conveyed to Presbytery.
The erection of the manse began in 1854. Stone was raised and carted to the site by free labour.
Building was done as funds were available and it was eventually completed in 1876. The Rev. R. Ferguson, then resigned his Salisbury charge and took up residence in the new manse.
From 1885 to 1892 Mr. Henry J. Congreve, editor of the Gawler “Bunyip” combined Golden Grove with his Smithfield pastorate. He drove to Golden Grove for the morning service, and on the return afternoon trip held a Church Service at Smithfield. For these services he received £1weekly.
There was a growing need for a resident minister in the Golden Grove district. A letter forwarded to Presbytery asked for a minister to be established at the Manse at £100 a year.
In 1894 Mr. James Anderson, a student, was appointed by the Home Mission Committee to take charge of the work.
In January 1904 he transferred to Monarto-Murray Bridge district and Mr. Henry J. White, a home missionary, was put in charge.
New members were added to the Church, and a mid‑week Bible Class was established as well as a preaching place at Yatala Vale.
To meet the growing demands of the district a galvanised iron hall was purchased, erected and refitted. From 1946 to 1975 it served as a meeting place for church activities.
A capacity congregation filled the church and overflowed into an annexe in the grounds to mark the centenary of the Church on June 24th, 1966.
The Rev. David Hodges, Minister of Scots Church, Adelaide, conducted the service, at which the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Australia, the Right Rev.E.E. Gowers, preached the sermon. Elders from Scots Church, Adelaide Sir Lyell McEwin and Senator Gordon Davidson extended greetings to the congregation, many of whom were descendants of early pioneer families.
Children present at the 100th anniversary were presented with centenary tokens by Mrs. S. Champion of St. Peters congregation.
A Memorial Garden was laid out to mark this historic occasion.
In 1972 a Cross of enamelled copper metal, with timber surround was made by the Youth Club and placed on the sanctuary wall.
The Church Bell given by the Gawler Presbyterian Church is used to herald the commencement of worship services.
In 1973 a Memorial Lectern and Bible were placed in the Church in memory of Mr. Grove S. Tilley, who for many years had been an active elder and had rendered stirling service to the Church.
In the winter of 1974 four gas heaters were installed – two in the church, one in the hall and the other in the creche. The same year, velvet curtains, a Communion Table and carpeting for entrance and aisles further enhanced the church interior.
In 1976 a Baptismal Font in similar design and wood to the Memorial Lectern was.placed in the Church and a Conn Electronic Organ replaced the pedal organ, which had faithfully served the Church for many years. A Display Cabinet in memory of Mrs. Eva Isabel Crouch is in the entrance to the Church Hall and the original Bible used in the early days can be seen on display.
A Communion TableFontal was dedicated in memory of Cath McKechnie’s father, in 1983.Blue Cushions to match existing furnishings were a gift in 1985 and these have added greatly to the decor of the Church and congregational comfort.
New Church Hall
The army hut which had given many years of useful service had become inadequate. At a congregational meeting in April, 1974 plans were approved for the erection of a Hall attached to the church. This included the Minister’s Vestry, Creche and Kitchen. In order to achieve this, Scots Church granted a loan of $20,000. Both skilled and unskilled labour offered in a voluntary capacity helped to keep the cost of the project within the limits of the loan.
A Service of Dedication was held on the 7th December, 1974 at which the Rev. Ian B. Tanner and the Rev. Rod Jepsen officiated. A wall plaque commemorating the occasion, was unveiled.
INAUGURATION OF THE UNITING CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA
The culmination of many years of discussion and planning within the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Australia came to fruition in June 1977. The birth of the Uniting Church in Australia was ushered in on the 22nd June through a T.V. Service from Sydney Town Hall
Thus this church became ‘Golden Grove Uniting Church’
New Sunday School Hall
Building of a new Sunday School Hall commenced in 1983 and it was fitting that the Rev. Brian Ball conduct the service for the opening of the building on Sunday, 12th February 1984. The hall was dedicated by the Rev. Michael Sawyer, Moderator of the S.A. Synod of Uniting Church.