9 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town


THEY CAME WITH FAITH For many early settlers the Christian faith was an important part of their lives. At first there were no churches so whenever possible services were held in their homes, a practice common to all denominations. From the earliest times FitzGerald hosted Church of England services at “The Springs” and from 1858 a service was held there each week by Percy Cox, FitzGerald’s partner, who managed the run during the latter’s absence in England. In that year Presbyterians William and Mary Tod began a school, including a Sunday school, at their farm on the outskirts of the future Lincoln which was used until the first church was built several years later. At about the same time Patrick Henley, a devout Roman Catholic, settled at New Headford, his farm on Shands Track, and made his home available for Mass whenever a priest was in the neighbourhood. The Methodists (Wesleyans) and the Baptists too, were early in the district and like other denominations held services in their homes until churches could be built. The first Methodist service held near Lincoln was at The Springs homestead in April 1864 following its purchase by J. Roberts. A year later, in July 1865, a church was built at Prebbleton. The Springs preaching station and evening services held at Harmony Villa, W. Lawry’s home at Springston, continued until the first Methodist church opened a year later. 36. The Springs Homestead - location of the first Methodist service held in April 1864. 102

The Church of England The first church in the district was the Anglican Church of All Saints built in 1864 on land donated by Richard Bethell from his farm near Burnham and now part of Lincoln University’s Ashley Dene farm. Mr. Bethell also donated land for a cemetery adjacent to the church and although not now used it is kept in a reasonably tidy state by grazing stock. 1 The church, designed by Bishop Harper, was built when the parochial district of Burnham, including Burnham, Springston, Lincoln, Greenpark, Selwyn, Dunsandel, Courtenay and Greendale, was separated from the Mission District of the Southern Station. The church was built to accommodate 90 people, but more than 100 from the still sparsely populated district crowded in for the first service; they would have been proud that now there was a permanent home for worship. 37. St. Stephen’s Anglican Church corner of James Street and Fitz Place. The following year a vicarage, built adjacent to the church, was occupied until 1875 when the incumbent curate, the Revd. Harry Stocker, was advised to leave because of his wife’s health. The need to relocate the Stockers resulted in the decision to rent a house in Lincoln from Mr Pyne who was not only agreeable to let it for a year, but was also willing to paint it and to build a stable and 103

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