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Background of St Andrew's Church, Euroa.
The congregations at St Andrew’s have been gathering together in the name of Jesus the Christ for 150 years. It had its beginnings as a presbyterian congregation.
In 1865 the first Presbyterian church service was held in the old Euroa school house which was later incorporated into the Church of England rectory. This service was conducted by Rev. Andrew Graham, the first minister settled at Longwood which had become the centre of a large squatting district. Rev Graham was a member of the Established Church of Scotland before the union of the Presbyterian churches of Victoria in 1859.
The first Methodist service in Euroa was held on May 8, 1874 in Mr. Elliott’s home.
In 1911, the Euroa Presbyterian Church adopted the name St Andrew's at the opening of the church hall.
Records show that a common thread runs through each generation of worshippers. That thread is the practical demonstration of the love of God by contributing to the welfare of the whole community. It comes through in many ways: (examples are by no means comprehensive)
the number of positions of leadership in local organisations to which members are prepared to commit e.g service clubs and organisations – Red Cross, Rotary, CWA; youth movement leaders; recreation groups – Probus, golf, bowls, tennis.
making property available for community use (e.g. use of the hall for the newly formed scout troop in the 1920’s and the Burton’s shop office and home for early girl guide meetings; Euroa Christian Fellowship Christmas dinners; community lunches and dinners);
initiating or supporting community events (e.g. the annual Strawberry Festival at the showgrounds, first held in 1909; Caledonian debutante balls, Euroa Agricultural Show catering; Wool Week Festival parades.)
participation in social welfare (e.g. positions on governing boards – kindergarten, hospital, welfare agencies; members of supporting committees/auxiliaries; supporting the primary school breakfast program – initially begun by St Paul’s Anglican Church; fundraising & financial support for appeals.)
supporting elderly residents (e.g. providing opportunities for those looking for companionship – Wescare which was a weekly structured program in the 1990’s, Chat Café which is an informal monthly morning tea; participation in Meals-on-Wheels and other shire services; conducting monthly church services at the aged care facilities and joining in their weekly programs.)
advocacy (e.g. making a visible stand against introducing local poker machines in 2013-4)
Throughout the last 150 years, Euroa has welcomed clergy from Scotland, Canada, Wales, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and Australia. The congregations have likewise reflected a wide range of backgrounds and cultures which have enriched worship and witness. Choirs have been an important part of this tradition as has music and St Andrew’s has been richly blessed in this area. When the hall was built, the congregation officially adopted the name St Andrews. Life within the church included many sections. Sunday school was the earliest, being held in the church until a hall was built. PWMU began in 1901 ( its cookbook is still being published). A successful tennis club existed from 1931-1941. Several youth groups were formed, the earliest being PFA in 1948. People continue to work hard to keep the church a vital part of the Euroa community.
The first Presbyterian church was erected in 1881 in Foy Street. The current church in Kirkland Avenue, was built in 1889 by Gordon and Duncan and cost £600 while the Sunday School hall was erected in 1911 by James O’Neill. The architect was F.H. Parsons. The Foundation stone was laid by the Moderator of the Presbytery in March 1911 (Rev Ewan Thomson became the first Moderator of the Presbytery of Goulburn Valley, formerly Seymour in 1892; Rev. John Mathew was elected Victorian Moderator by the 1911 Victorian Assembly) and opened by Rev J A Crockett on June 16, 1911
In 1927, following the sale of the original manse in Foy Street built in 1879, land next to the church was bought for 425 pounds and the current brick house was built for 1090 pounds by Mr Harry Jacka.
A new building erected between the hall and church on the northern side of the block became the kindergarten section of the Sunday School, and was opened in 1957 free of debt.
Vast alterations were made to the church buildings and a hexagonal addition on the north side of the church were built in 1961-2 at a cost of 5,000 pounds. Maurice Davidson was one of the builders.
In 1977 the Euroa Presbyterian and Methodist congregations joined the Uniting Church in Australia. St Andrew’s church was chosen as the place of worship. The Methodist church was sold and became a funeral chapel. However Wesley Hall remained the property of St Andrew’s congregation until it was sold in 2008 to the Shire of Strathbogie (Euroa) from whom it was bought for $10 per lineal foot in 1948. It sold for $230,000 and is again listed for sale.
The vacant triangular block of land on the Kirkland Avenue – Templeton Street corner, which had previously been bought by St Andrew’s church, was put up for sale in December 2000. It was sold in 2002 for $18,700. Work then began on a plan to link the church and hall buildings. In 2003 plans were approved and building commenced. The church and the main hall were joined by means of a foyer. The architect was Alby Richardson and the builder, Laurie and Marilyn Davidson. The task was challenging as the floors were different heights. A stained glass window on the church’s south-east wall was relocated to the foyer to make way for a doorway. The floor slopes gently down towards the hall. The extensions were dedicated by Rev Sue Gormann, Moderator of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania on 20th March 2005.
Due to the costs of maintaining both St Andrew’s complex and Wesley Hall to safe standards, it was with great sadness that the decision was taken to put Wesley Hall up for sale. On May 18, 2008 the congregation held their Sunday service in Wesley Hall to mark the end of an era.
Following the sale of Wesley Hall in Bury Street, necessary renovations were made to St Andrew’s Hall to make it community friendly. The rooms on the south-east side of the hall building were redesigned to provide indoor toilets, a small office and a well-designed kitchen. The architect was Bruce Mactier and the builder was Matt Tricarico. The renovations were dedicated on March 22, 2009 by Mr Dan Wootton, Synod Property Officer.
With the aid of generous bequests (Ivo Ellis and Doug Trotman) a sound system and air conditioning have been installed, making the complex a comfortable and practical space.
1865 - 1868 Rev Andrew Graham conducted occasional
services till his death. Buried in Euroa cemetery.
1868 - 1870 # Rev Peter Mercer: various supply ministers including Rev Manby who declined a call.
1870 - # Rev Cameron
1870 - 1872 Rev J Archibold
1876 #Rev A.F. Knox
1876 - 1891 Rev . J Weir
1891 - 1894 Rev Ewan Thomson
1895 - 1896 Rev Dr W G Black
1898 - 1909 Rev F. Robinson
1909 - 1918 Rev J. Garde
1918 - 1924 Rev W. Rowlands
1925 - 1928 Rev W.J. Yongston
1929 - 1937 Rev F. Lyall Hume
1938 - 1941 Rev David Drennan
1942 - 1947 Rev A.R.C. Jamieson
1947 - 1959 Rev R.F. Peirce
1961 - 1964 Rev H.A. Robinson
1964 - 1973 Rev Arthur Thomas
1974 - 1979 Rev Geoff Goode
1979 - 1986 Rev Stan Fishley
1987 - 1989 Rev Joe Wilson
1990 - 1999 Rev Janet Polkinghorne
2000 - 2005 Rev M. Rajakulendran
2005 - 2012 Pastor Fred Jungwirth
2013 - Rev Glenys Gill
# presbytery representatives assisting with a call to a minister.
References: St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Euroa 1865 - 1965 compiled by Messers Noel Allen and Don Chambers
100 years of Local Government 1880 - 1980 researched and written by C. W. Halsall