The first in a series of four articles about the Kingscote Uniting Church, celebrating on Sunday November 5 2017, the 110th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone.
The Kingscote Church’s historical foundations stretch back to the arrival of the island’s first official European settlers when Captain Morgan, a devout Wesleyan, held a short service to give thanks for their safety.
Over the next 50 years the development of the Methodist Church followed the fluctuations of KI’s population.
In 1885 a church was erected at Cygnet River. Local preachers and single men supplied through Methodist Home Mission led services.
In 1896 the building was moved to Queenscliffe (Kingscote). However, when the township stalled, the Church closed. In 1905 when Mr Gabb was sent as Missioner the building was being used as a dwelling-house. Gabb did much of the physical work needed to get the Church ready for its reopening in May 1906.
After his departure Mr Clatworthy and then Reverend Caust came as leaders. As the congregation increased, the old Church became too small and it was decided to erect a new stone building. Reverend T White prepared plans, and Potters, local family builders undertook the building’s construction. It was designed in Gothic style to accommodate 200 people. Reverend Caust wrote 700 letters regarding the new Church and took a hands-on approach, as his diary records, ‘Got some men to go with me tonight to grub some stumps in the church block – tough work.’
The foundation stone was laid on November 11 1907 and in a spirit of enthusiasm flags were hoisted around the town. The building was officially opened on April 19 1908 by the SA President of the Methodist Church accompanied by visitors from Adelaide. Later the building was named Ray Caust Memorial Church in honour of the dedicated young Minister.
With no manse in Kingscote, early ministers lived in Penneshaw. Later the rear of the Church was partitioned off and provided basic accommodation. In 1937 a Manse was built next door. Joy Wheaton who lived there said they grew vegetables and kept chooks in the big backyard. When a new manse was purchased the old became a centre for various church and community activities.
With the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia in June 1977 the fellowship became Kingscote Uniting Church. While its name changed its mission to serve God while serving the people of KI continues. The Church invites the Community to join the celebrations on November 5. Contact Joan Cooper 0434145101 or Louise Davis 0417 862231 for more information.