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90 Years 90 Stories

Journalist Hayley Hunkin (Arvo Church) and I are hoping to publish an anniversary booklet in time for visit of Archbishop Davies in October and in time for Christmas presents!  Our aim is not a dry history but a testimony to how God has worked in and through his people here. We want stories of God’s working in your lives & this church’s history.  If you have a story, please let us know.  Photos would also be very appreciated.

We all now know thanks to Jean Robinson’s research, that he first church service was held at Gymea Bay on Sunday 16th January 1927 close to the present shops in Casuarina Road. Mr & Mrs Jarvis moved there in 1921 and ran a small shop especially patronised by people visiting “The Bay” for fishing weekends. They had a horse and cart to get supplies from Sutherland and for some time a Mr Harding drove a horse coach from Sutherland. When the steam tram ran along The Kingsway (1911–1931) people walked from there and sometimes from Sutherland.

The first service, a small gathering of women and children, was arranged by Mrs Jarvis on their land, led by the minister from Sutherland (Rev AR Shaw), packing cases provided a rustic lectern and seating. After the service the children and some teachers had Sunday School inMrs Swift’s home (near the Old School Park in Gymea Bay Road). Sunday School then continued weekly.  Several more outdoor services were held, then continued monthly at the Swift’s home. Land  was purchased for £50 at 276a Gymea Bay Road. Mr Swift organised a team of voluntary workers, and a church hall was built and opened, free of debt in March 1929. From 1931 services were held weekly on Sunday mornings. Evening services were also introduced, the preachers coming from Sutherland.

Much of the area was just bush with a few scattered farmlets. There was no electricity until 1926 and water reticulation only came after the completion of Woronora Dam in 1930.  I thank God

for  the sacrifice & commitment of these Christian pioneers. The railway line from Sutherland to Cronulla opened in December 1939, which meant the area was much more accessible and the population increased.

The original Gymea Bay Public School (at Old School Park) was officially opened in August 1935 to accommodate 65 pupils.                                     Cottages  in Ellesmere Rd. Photo: 1920s “


FRACTURED FAMILIES – Understanding the Issues at the Cathedral

On 24 February, 10am to 1.30pm, Mothers Union Sydney is sponsoring a FREE seminar to be held in the Cathedral Chapter House. The speakers are Rob and Claire Smith, and Dominic Steele. A Bible Talk will be given by Archdeacon Kara Hartley, from Sutherland.  This seminar aims to:

  1. Help people cope when it all becomes too much.
  2. Consider how to respond when someone we love chooses a different lifestyle.
  3. Will suggest where forgiveness fits.

Registration is essential.  For further details contact Mothers’ Union office 8030-8970 or email office@musydney.org.au.   I have attended a number of these Mothers Union events in the past and found them enormously valuable and accessible.

 Your  brother in Christ, Graham