20 October 1964. At the Missa Cantata special service Rev. Fr. V.
Pender celebrated and Rev. Fr. H. McGeehan, former student at the Esk
Convent School, assisted. Fr. Leo Hayes preached the sermon.43
Several new churches were opened as the prosperity of the region
increased. St Agatha's Roman Catholic Church at Toogoolawah was opened
by Archbishop Duhig in January 1928. It cost £11,000 but had a
debt of only £700 on it when it opened. Toogoolawah remained a
separate parish until 1953. On 30 August 1936 both the St Marks
Anglican and StJoseph's Roman Catholic Churches in Somerset Dam were
dedicated. StJoseph's was a stained weatherboards building with pine
facings and the timber was donated by parishioners, Conroy, McManus,
St Brendan's Roman Catholic church at Lowood catered for the European
Catholic tradition rather than the Irish tradition celebrated at Esk,
Toogoolawah, and surrounding districts. St Brendan's congregation was
established in the
1890s, after fund raising by all sorts of concert and fete activities.
In January 1926 E.C. Nunn was Master of Ceremonies at their 'Flannel
and Fuji' dance for building funds. The Show Hall was decorated with
ferns and butterflies and umbrellas hanging from the ceiling creating
an attractive artistic effect. Annual balls were held in the 1940s.45
The Baptists and Church of Christ had much smaller numbers of adherents
and a number of small churches throughout the Valley. Esk, Toogoolawah,
Murrumba, Tarampa, and Minden all had Baptist churches. The faith and
liturgies of each were slightly different, depending on the heritage of
the congregation. The Murrumba church was shifted into Esk in 1963 but
support at Esk declined and services ceased in 1971; the building was
then removed to Toogoolawah in 1973 and used as a hall. The Toogoolawah
church expanded and local tradesmen and volunteers converted another
old church into a two bedroom manse which was opened by Rev. J.D.
Tanner, Superintendent of the Baptist Union of Churches in Queensland,
in October 1983. The Tarampa Baptist congregation grew and in 1982
purchased an allotment from A.R. and D.J. Karrasch for a minister's
The Church of Christ was one of the earliest churches established at
Fernvale through their Blue Ribbon Society temperance meetings,
conducted in the German Baptist Church by Reverends Black and Bagley.
Unfortunately disagreements occurred and they were barred from the
German Baptist Church. Sixteen members, including the Arndt and
Suchting families, met at William Adermann' s house and decided to
erect their own building at Vernor's Siding on the road to Lowood.
Decorated inside with fernery it was opened on 24 May 1886 with 130
attending for a tea meeting. Another building was constructed in
Fernvale in 1925 when the Vernor one fell into disrepair; there is now
only a cemetery beside the Vernor site and the Fernvale Church of
Christ was shifted to Lowood in 1949.47
The Caboonbah Undenominational church demonstrates how the need for
economy in country areas can overcome denominational barriers. The
church was built in 1905 on land donated by Katharine Somerset,
daughter of D.C. McConnel. Henry Somerset organized water sports to
help raise money. The church was built by Lars Andersen who donated his
tradesmen's services in return for the value of the timber on the site.
The building was built on high stumps so that elderly people could
enter directly from a buggy. The church has been moved above the land
resumptions up to the Wivenhoe Dam flood heights and a plaque unveiled
in the church recognizing the contributions of the Somersets:
To the glory of God
and in remembrance of Henry Plantagenet Somerset
and his wife
Who founded this church Write me as one who loves His fellow men.48
The decline 'in church attendance since World War II was reversed in
the 1970s when new charismatic groups were established in the Valley.
Old church buildings have found new uses for community activities and
today the Esk CWA rings out with praise on Sundays.
1. Ron Edwards, The Big Book of Australian Folk Songs
(Adelaide, Rigby, 1976) p50.
2. BC 7 February 1873 quoting QT; Q 6 March 1886; QT
February 1895and 22 March 1902.
3. QT 8 May 1880 p3, 14 May 1892, 27 June and 12
1893, 6 August and 28 November 1895, 21 October
November 1898 and 9 July 1904;
4. QT 13 November 1880 p3, 1 September 1888, 29
1890, 14 February 1891, 12 and 21 October 1897, 28
1898, 2 June 1900.
5. For further biographical details of S.L. May see ADB Vol 10
pp462-463; Notes by Alma Sturgess held in Esk Shire Library Local
History Collection; QT 2 May 1903, 29 May 1912 p6, 15 June 1912 p3, 7
February 1913 p7, 13 May 1919 p6 and 27 October 1920 p6.