Kingscote Methodist Church

The first Methodist worship in South Australia was held before the colony was proclaimed. It was led by Samuel East, a Wesleyan local preacher, on Kangaroo Island on 13 November 1836.  

- David Hilliard , Methodism in Early South Australia and its Impact on the Young Colony Address given to the Pioneers Association of South Australia, 4 August 2016

Associated with Samuel East in Christian work on Kangaroo Island was John Boots [c.1810-1875] [wife Charlotte nee CATT]. Many years ago I read the life of the Rev. Thomas Collins, in his day a noted Methodist preacher. In that life there is a reference to John Boots; little did I think at that time that I should meet him again in the early history of South Australia. He came to Kangaroo Island by the Coromandel, in 1837, bringing his English credentials, as a local preacher, with him. Removing from the island, he took up his residence near Tapley's Hill, opened his house for religious services, ministering himself where opportunity offered.  - Rev. John Blacket.

THE METHODIST CHURCH. (1924, February 23). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 6. 

1905  . . . It is only about three months since the Rev. J. Pearce visited this place, and again, about a month ago, that the Rev. G. W. [George Willis] Kendrew [1860-1949] was here. Both times the services were well attended . . . 

J. H. Usher in a letter to Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940), Friday 21 July 1905, page 5
Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 2 November 1907, page 5

New Methodist Church.


At a recent meeting of the trustees of the Kingscote Methodist Church tenders were dealt with in connection with the erection of the new building near the site of the old one, Murray street, the successful tenderers being Messrs Emery and Sons. The laying of the foundation stone will be celebrated in various ways. On Saturday evening, November 9th., a grand concert will be given in the Council Hall. On Monday (Sports Day) the foundation stone will be laid (possibly by Sir Frederick Holder) at 11 am sharp. Dinner will be provided in the Council Hall at 12.30 a.m., and a grand concert will follow in the evening. The secretary (Mr G. W. Davidge) notifies elsewhere that the functions of the stone-laying are being held early to give the sports committee a fair show, and expresses the hope that all who can will attend sports as well as concert.

New Methodist Church. (1907, November 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. 

HISTORY OF ITS DEVELOPMENT. Following is the history of the progress of the Kingscote Methodist Church, as read by Mr J. Davidge at the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new church on Monday, November 11, and placed in a bottle along with a copy of the "Australian Christian Commonwealth" and first issue of the Kangaroo Island Courier.

The small church adjacent was originally erected at Cygnet River, on land presented to the Methodist Conference by the late Mr Thomas Northcote, during the pastorate of Mr Bennett in the year 1885 and cost in erection about £37. The following were the Cygnet River trustees : — Mr Bennett (Pastor) and Messrs Matthew Hart, George Dunkley, Thomas Northcote, Charles W. Northcote and Thomas Williams.

Eleven years afterwards (1896) Kingscote showing signs of advancement, the church was removed to its present site at a cost of about £8. Shortly after the church was brought to Kingscote the township went back and the Wesleyan Conference were unable to sustain the cause. For some years the church was closed, and not re-opened till 1935, when the Conference appointed Mr. J. M. Gabb to take charge of the Kangaroo Island Mission. Mr Gabb worked indefatigably, and good work was done.

He was followed by Mr Clatworthy and he in turn by our present earnest worker (Mr. T. Ray Caust). [b.1881-d.1909]. Under the able administration of these missionaries the cause has grown, so much so that during the winter months many have been turned away for lack of accommodation, and it was seen that a larger building was absolutely necessary. Energetically the matter was taken up, a new trusteeship formed, plans and specifications were prepared by Rev. Mr White, and tenders were invited, the successful tenderers being Messrs Emery & Sons, Kingscote. The building is to be 45 feet long and 28 feet wide, and to be built on site of the present structure. The trustees of the old Kingscote were Mr Hunter (Pastor) and Messrs Arthur Frost, William Cassidy, John Maley, George Dunkley and Matthew Hart. 'The newly elected trustees are Mr. T. Ray Caust (Pastor), and Messrs Edward Potter, Herbert Wright, G. I. Buick, Herbert Hemer, Harold Hemer, John Emery, John E. Emery, Gerald W. Davidge, and James Davidge.

A church properly constituted has been recently formed of 17 members and a Bible Class in flourishing condition under the presidency of Mr Caust, with Mr J. Emery as assistant. The Methodist Conference are in possession of blocks of land for church works as follows:—1 half acre block at Cygnet River, presented by Mr. T Northcote, 2 at Kingscote, township blocks Nos. 91 and 92, excellent sites, each measuring 90 x 175 feet (on one the new church is being erected), and a half acre block two miles outside the township, presented by Mr W. Jones, on which block it was proposed to build a church. A trust was formed for this purpose, called the Parachilla Trust, money was collected, but the scheme fell through and the money divided between the Cygnet River and Hog Bay church. This Trust consisted of Mr Gange (Pastor), John Wickham Daw, Arthur W. Daw, John Maley William Jones, and Arthur Frost.

Kingscote Methodist Church. (1907, November 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. also  Kingscote Methodist Church Forward Movement. (1907, November 16). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. also New Methodist Church. (1907, November 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.  from

DELAHANTY, [DELEHANTY] James, missionary, called home July 8, 1920, aged 66; 50 years a preacher of the gospel. 

Kingscote Cemetery headstone

[1907]  PERSONAL.—The Rev. T. Geddes White, who is the architect to the new Methodist Church, is visiting Kingscote for a few days and is inspecting the work in progress. He reports favorably on its construction up to the present time. 

THE KANGAROO ISLAND COURIER. (1907, December 14). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

[1908] Opening the New Methodist Church.

On Sunday next the new Kingscote Methodist Church will be opened by the Rev. J. Rooney, F.R.G.S., and services will be held at 11 a.m., 3, 6.15, and 7 p.m. On Easter Monday at 5 p.m. there will be a public tea in the church, and 7.45 a public meeting.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Thursday 16 April 1908, page 4

See a detailed account at The Opening and Dedication of the Kingscote Methodist Church. (1908, April 25). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 3. 

[1909] The Rev. J. Shaw (who has been in charge of the K.I. Methodist Church for some time past) will leave for new fields next week and his impending departure is regretted by many. The Rev Prior succeeds.

VALEDICTORY. (1909, April 10). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

[1912] The Rev. R. L. Tilbrook, who has been stationed at Kingscote for the past 12 months and who has associated himself with things in general, and endeavoured to assist every good cause that has been for the welfare and advancement of the town, has been transferred to Hamley Bridge. Mr Tilbrook took an active interest in football, tennis and cricket, and was liked by all, and he leaves with the well-wishes of many friends. Mr A. S. Broadbent of the Prince Alfred College, is to take his place, and is expected to arrive here about the middle of April.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 30 March 1912, page 4

Arthur Stanley Broadbent (1884-1914) officiated as the circuit Methodist minister on KI in 1912-3.

Orange Blossom. (1912, August 31). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. 

[1913] The anniversary of the Kingscote Methodist Church will be celebrated on Easter Sunday, when the Rev. B. S. Howland, [Bertram Spencer Howland (1888-1966] who succeeds the Rev. A. S. Broadbent as circuit minister, will conduct both services.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 15 March 1913, page 4

[1915] Rev. J. G. Hutchinson, who has been in charge of the Methodist Church on Kangaroo Island, left on Monday to take up his duties at Wynarka. Rev. Gordon, his successor, arrived at Kingscote on Wednesday. 

PERSONAL. (1915, April 17). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4. 

[1918] Mr J. C. Oliver, of Alawoona, who succeeds to the charge of the Methodist Church on the Island, arrived at Kingscote on Wednesday last.

PERSONAL. (1918, April 20). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

[1919] Mr J. C. Oliver, who has been in charge of the Methodist Church on Kangaroo Island for the past ten months, was tendered a farewell social at Carnarvon House on Monday evening last, prior to his departure from the district to enter the Brighton Training College ...

VALEDICTORY. (1919, February 15). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

[1922] After a short sojourn on K.I. in charge of the Methodist Mission, Mr H. Curtis left a few weeks ago to take up duties elsewhere. ... Mr J. Palmar has been appointed to take up the work. 

VALEDICTORY. (1922, November 25). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

[1933] Lindsay Isaac CARTHEW (1905-1990) with his wife, Sister Margaret nee PRIDHAM headed the Kangaroo Island Methodist Mission in 1933. He was farewelled in 1934 but was still officiating in 1943.

Advertising (1933, March 25). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. EVENING. (1934, April 14). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

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 Islander, 11 Oct 2017,

The official opening of the Church. Inset: Church members Joy Wheaton, whose husband Ivor was Missioner (1944-46) and Jill Clarke, descendant of builders Jim, Edward and Will Potter. Photos: Supplied.


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.

Kingscote Uniting Church, Kangaroo Island, is celebrating its 110th anniversary on November 5.

Early days: Laying the Church foundation stone, 1907. Photo: from The Islander

If the people clustered around the foundation stone of the then Methodist Church could look 110 years ahead they would have been amazed at the changes to Kangaroo Island and their Church during that time. The Church previously surrounded by bush, now sits on a busy corner opposite the medical centre, pharmacy and ambulance. People wear jeans and polar fleece instead of long skirts and straw boaters. Electricity has replaced acetylene gas lighting. Ministers no longer bicycle across the island visiting parishioners nor camp out in the Church’s vestry. Men and women serve equally in Church leadership, with Louise Davis the current pastor. Children are encouraged to participate in Church services rather than remain silent. Technology enhances preaching, teaching and communication.  While aspects of Church life have changed, members haven’t changed in their desire to serve God and assist people to find meaning and purpose, acceptance, encouragement and companionship. The Church holds weekly Sunday services and is open for prayer each Tuesday 10am–1pm. On Wednesday December 13 a special service will be held for people who find Christmas painful because they’re separated from loved ones whether due to death, distance, or other circumstances. For those seeking friendship, men’s and women’s breakfast groups are held monthly on Saturday mornings and are open to any who would like to share a leisurely breakfast while listening to a guest speaker.  ‘Open Door’ in the Church hall on Tuesdays 1–3pm operates as a drop-in centre for those wishing to browse the library, have a cuppa or stay for a chat. Women’s Fellowship meets over afternoon tea on the third Wednesday each month and undertakes outings and activities. Polar fleece and jeans may go the way of long skirts and boaters, but the Church’s desire to serve God and serve the community will never date! The need for a permanent Church building was evident in 1907, but the Uniting Church today seeks to move outside of the building into the community. One way it seeks to build connections is by hosting a monthly free community barbecue in Bernie Davis Park at Sunday lunchtime. As the Church building enters its next decade, members continue to explore new ways of being ‘Church’ on KI.

On Sunday November 5 [2017], 120 people celebrated the 110th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Kingscote Uniting Church. The Church was packed with people of all ages who enjoyed the colour, music, reminiscences and humour of the service. Young hosts Oscar and Sam interviewed Church members about their past and present experiences.The kid’s choir had fun assembling the ‘body’, and Pastor Louise Davis provided a stimulating and challenging message on the future Church.After the service, the glorious spring day encouraged people to sit outside. The intoxicating smells from the BBQ whetted appetites for the delicious lunch to follow. Dianne Hoffman’s cake rendered the Church’s history in a masterpiece of chocolate and cream! It was ceremonially cut by the youngest and oldest members present. Louise then thanked all those who, under the leadership of Joan Cooper, had contributed to the success of the day.Here’s to the next 110 years of Church community and worship.

Penneshaw Methodist Church est 1883

Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940), Friday 20 May 1932, page 6;


By Rev. A. D. Bennett.

The Wesleyan Methodist Kangaroo Island Mission was inaugurated at Penneshaw as the result of the remarkable conversion, first of "Steve Buick," as he was familiarly known on Kangaroo Island. There was no church on the Island, but Anglican services, at very irregular intervals, were conducted by the late Canon Morse, of Yankalilla, who usually crossed the Backstairs Passage in a sailing boat when weather permitted. The Government teacher (a Mr. Trigg) conducted a religious meeting in the Penneshaw Government Schoolroom, which consisted of singing Sankey's hymns and reading a Scripture lesson on Sunday evenings. These meetings were frequently interrupted by stones thrown on the roof by a few of the the "lads of the village," of whom "Steve Buick" was the ring-leader. One Sunday evening, shortly after the "lads" started their "fun" and during the singing of one of Sankey's hymns, "Steve Buick" startled his companions as he shouted, "Stop it boys," I'm going home. "Steve Buick" went home, a very miserable young man, arrested by the singing of the hymn, and for three or four days and nights he could neither sleep, eat, nor work. It was a case of powerful conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, and night and days he pleaded and wrestled in prayer to God for mercy. Deliverance came, and "Steve Buick" was a changed man. He forthwith discontinued his farm duties and, with the Bible under his arm, walked from house to house, from Cape Willoughby to Cape Borda, and read and prayed with the Island residents and urged them to give themselves to God. 

Amongst other conversions, a striking case occurred at Antechamber Bay. "Bill Clark," as he was usually named, one of the early settlers and a very powerful man in more ways than one, was out in his paddock one day when he was approached by "Steve Buick," whom he had known from boyhood. Steve at once appealed to the very much older man to give his heart to God, and very soon "Bill Clark" was on his knees in the paddock, and "Steve Buick" was pleading with God on his behalf with great earnestness and in the power of the Holy Spirit, with the result that "Bill Clark," said to have been an old whaler and a "strong character," yielded himself to God there and then and became a changed man. 

The Buick Brothers, James and Steve, and another, went to Melbourne to see the Exhibition. James, on their return journey, became seriously ill, and instead of returning to the Island with his brothers was taken to the home of his wife's father, the late Mr. John Dorman, at Brighton. During his illness he was visited by the Rev. Thomas Lloyd, whose ministrations led to James Buick's acceptance of Christ as his Saviour, and in the full consciousness of that acceptance resolved to live and work for God. 

Shortly after his return to the Island he engaged the Government schoolroom for Sunday evening services, which were conducted by "James and Steve." The President of the Conference was communicated with and a request preferred that a missionary be sent down to the Island. Subsequently, at the request of the President, the Rev. John Watts, of Yankalilla, visited Penneshaw to arrange for a home for a home missionary. 

"James Buick" and his wife, who were both keenly desirous that a home missionary should be sent, agreed to place one of their three rooms at the disposal of a missionary, who was soon appointed in the person of the late Mr. John Broadbent, a very earnest local preacher from Cherry Gardens. After working with much success for several months he was instrumental in making arrangements for the erection of the present church at Penneshaw—the first erected on the Island—but was unable to supervise its erection owing to acute opthalmia causing him to discontinue his work. 

The Rev. W. A. Potts, having just arrived from England, was sent down to the Island to continue the work so successfully started by Mr. Broadbent, and after a few weeks witnessed the completion of the church, which was opened free of debt in October, 1883, at a cost of £180, which was made possible by "Mr. Jas. Buick's" generous contribution of £60, necessitating the postponement of two front rooms to his cottage, which he did not live to erect. The Rev. W. A. Potts continued the work until the following April (1884), when he was appointed to a circuit on the mainland.

See also Home and Inland Missions. (1932, May 27). Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940), p. 6.  

Mr W. H. Forth conducted his farewell service in the Kingscote Methodist Church on Sunday evening last, March 26th. Several members of the Church assisted in the services. Mr Forth took as the subject of his discourse, the " Parable of the Sower". At the conclusion of the service, Mr E. Wheaton one of the Circuit Stewards requested the congregation to remain for a few minutes. Mr Wheaton explained that Mr Forth was relinquishing church work and returning to his home in New Zealand. Mr Wheaton said that he felt sure that the congregation would agree with him, that Mr Forth had carved out his work as missioner in a sincere manner, and on behalf of the congregation he wished Mr and Mrs Forth God speed on their journey and a successful future, and with the good wishes of the people he asked Mr Forth to accept a gift of a sum of money, which Mr Forth might expend in purchasing something as a momento of his work on Kangaroo Island. Mr and Mrs Forth left by the s.s. Karatta on Monday morning. Church members will carry on the Service until the arrival of Mr Gunthorpe.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Friday 31 March 1939, page 3

Kangaroo Island's first Church to celebrate its Jubilee.

At the mention of "Jubilee" the mind instinctively peers into history of fifty years ago. This month the Penneshaw Methodist Church will review half a century of Christian Labour. Previous to the building of this place of worship, there was no church on the island, but Anglican services were conducted at irregular intervals by the late Archdeacon Morse of Yankalilla, who usually crossed Backstairs Passage in a sailing boat when weather permitted. 

The Government teacher, (a Mr Trigg) conducted religious services on Sunday evening in the School room, the services consisting of singing Sankey's hymns and reading a Scripture lesson. Through the guidance of these meetings, two brothers, (James and Steve) of the Buick family, became intensely interested in the Work and on their return from a trip to Melbourne, the Government Schoolroom was engaged for regular Sunday meetings which they conducted. 

The President of the Conference was communicated with, and a request made that a missionary be sent to the Island. Subsequently, at the request of the President, the Rev. John Watts of Yankalilla visited Penneshaw to arrange for a home for the missionary. Mr James Buick and his wife, who were both keenly desirous that a man be sent agreed to place one of their three rooms at his disposal. 

Mr John Broadbent, a very earnest local preacher from Cherry Gardens, was appointed as Home Missionary. After several months successful work, he was instrumental in making arrangements for the building of the present Church at Penneshaw, (which was the first church to be erected on the Island), but owing to acute ophthalmia he was unable to supervise its erection. 

The Rev. W. A. Potts (William Andrew POTTS 1860-1939), having just arrived from England, was sent down to the Island to continue the work started by Mr Broadbent and after a few weeks witnessed the completion of the Church, which was opened free of debt in October, 1883. This was made possible mainly by Mr James Buick's generous contribution of £60, necessitating the postponement of the building on of two front rooms to his cottage, which he did not live to erect. 

The Rev. W. A. Potts continued the work until the following April (1884), when he was appointed to a circuit on the mainland, being succeeded by the Rev. A. D. Bennett. The Penneshaw officials are fortunate indeed in having Mr Bennett return to the Island to conduct the 50th Anniversary Service. He will speak from wealth of experience at 1 1 a.m. and 7 p.m., on November 26th., in the Church and also at the Social gathering in the Institute on Saturday evening, the 25th.

Kangaroo Island s first Church to celebrate its Jubilee. (1933, November 18). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

A few weeks since a neat little chapel was erected by the Wesleyans and opened for divine worship, which at present is the only chapel on the Island. Hitherto service has occasionally been conducted in a small schoolroom, an original looking structure, erected by the Government, also used for a day school, at which an average attendance of seven or eight is registered whilst there are about 22 names on the roll. 

NOTES ON KANGAROO ISLAND. (1884, May 2). Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1878 - 1922), p. 3.

The Islanders have been favored with a visit from Rev J Young Simpson, secretary of the Wesleyan Conference, who preached three times on Sunday, 28th September, in the Wesleyan Church at Penneshaw. On the following day a public tea was held which was very largely attended. Some even coming from a distance of 18 or 20 miles. The spread would have done credit to the Moonta people, even though they take the pre-eminence for magnificent teas. After the tea the Rev J Young Simpson delivered his popular lecture on "Scotch Characteristics " the home missionary taking the chair. On the following Wednesday, the foundation stone of a Wesleyan Church was laid by Rev J Y Simpson at Cygnet River, 30 miles distant from Penneshaw, after which, a public tea was held, patronised by representatives from almost every part of the western side of the Island. Here let it be said that the spread surpassed anything that the writer has ever seen on the Peninsula—though held in a barn. In the evening the Rev Mr Simpson lectured on " Old fashioned gateways," to a very attentive and appreciative audience. For years prior to the Wesleyan denomination sending a representative to the island, the inhabitants were visited by an Anglican clergyman about twice or three times a year, but since the appearance of the Wesleyan missionary matters have taken quite a new turn, and the Anglicans have already commenced the erection of another place of worship—the first at Queencliffe being opened some time since —the present one being built at Penneshaw. Competition— not opposition— even in religious movements is better than an absolute absence of facilities for divine worship, although the erection of a second church at Penneshaw is premature at present.

NOTES ON KANGAROO ISLAND. (1884, October 21). Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1878 - 1922), p. 3.

The following notes were prepared by Mr B. Bates of Penneshaw, for the Penneshaw Uniting Church Centenary in 1985. Notes from research by Jean Nunn.

See This Southern Land - A Social History of Kangaroo Island by Jean M Nunn

The Bible at Penneshaw Church

Image "The Bible" B-39647 courtesy of State Library South Australia (glass slide). 

Several of the names are barely legible. J. M. Gabb, Aug 12, 1905- June 15,1906; H. I. Clatworthy, June 15 1906-1907; T. Ray Caust, April 1907-1908; John Shaw, April 1908-April 8, 1909; Edgar T. Pryor, April 1909-April 29, 1910;  Arthur I. Anson, April 16 1910-1911; R. Louis H. Tilbrook, April 14 1911-1912; Bertram S. Howland, April 20, 1913-1914; Edgar Miller, from April to Sept 1914; G. Charles Hutchinson, Nov 8, 1914-15; G. V. Gordon, Apr 11 1915-1916; Frank J. Barnes, April 1916-17; Percy J. Wilkinson, April 1917-18; N. Wright, from Dec 23 1917 to Mar 31 1918; J. Charles Oliver, Apr 1918 - Feb 1919; George N. White, Jan 27 1919 - Feb 16 1920; Leslie G. Hunt, Aug 1920 - Apr 1921;  Heber Watson. Aug-Oct 1924; W. H. Coady Nov 1925-Jan 1926; Alfred S. Reynolds, April 17 1927-1929; S. J. Longstaff, 1929 to 2-9-1931.

Subsequent clergy (courtesy Malcolm Boxall): F. Phillips, 1931-1932; Gordon H. Bottrill 1932-33; L. Carthew, 1933-34; S. Keith Wiseman, 1934-36; W. Rex Brooks, 1936-1937; Robert C. Guthberlet, 1937-1938; Walter H. Forth, 1938; N. C. Gunthorpe, 1938-41; C. V. Wiseman, 1941-42; Mr. Stewart, 1942-43; L. Carthew, 1943-44; Ivan S. Davis, 1944-46; Clarence F. Hore, 1946-48;Robert D. Vawser, 1947-48; David F. Cornish, 1948-52;Gowan Armstrong, 1948-49; W. R. Llewellyn, 1952-55; D. J. Gibson, 1955-59; B. G. Tossell, 1959-63; M. V. Norman, 1963-67; Elaine Bird1963; Joan Hamdorf, 1964; Fay Gregurke, 1965-66; Thelma Holmes, 1967-68; W. R. Dow, 1968-72; T. J. O'Brien, 1973-75; Ian Clarkson, 1976; J. Desmond Ivens1977-1981; Matt J. Curnow, 1982-85;Eric M. Grabb, 1986; Graham J. Hunt, 1987; David A. Cramond, 1987-1990; Garry Watters, 1988-94; Trevor G. Klar, 1991-1995; R. M. (Bob) Hutchinson,  1996-99; John H. Magor, 2000-2004; Louise Davis, 2003-13; Brian H. Scott, 2005-07; Heather Willmott2008-May 27,2012; Robert Tann, 2013-

American River

In the early days, church services were held in private homes. On the completion of the school building in 1922, services were held therein, later transferring to the hall where all denominations held services. In 1966 the Methodist Church was built.

"Birth of American River 1802 and events to 1978" compiled by Charles A. Thomas, p. 40.

Early missionaries

As the population grew, churches paid more attention to Kangaroo Island. No Methodist home missionary had visited the island for many years until in 1882 Matthew Burnett was appointed to do so. He travelled from Glenelg on the steamer Dolphin. Paris, the telegraph master, and Partridge, a settler from Wisanger, met him at Kingscote.  Partridge had been conducting regular services in his home for those settlers who lived near him. . Burnett, reported to have been a reformed alcoholic, conducted a series of temperance meetings at Wisanger, Cygnet River, and Hog Bay. Henry Octavius Thompson presided over the meeting at Wisanger, where Harry Smith, who had lived at Smith's Bay for nearly 60 years, was among those who attended. At a similar meeting at Hog Bay 34 people, including George Bates, the oldest resident on the island, signed the pledge. ...

Many settlers placed rooms in their homes at missionary Burnett's disposal as he travelled over rough roads to visit the islanders. He reported that there were 18 families at Hog Bay in 1883, and 150 people attended his service there. There were four families at North Cape, six along the north coast, four at Cape Borda and several at stations along the south coast. During a seven day visit to the island Burnett travelled 120 miles, chiefly on horseback, and delivered 12 addresses.

When the Methodist home missionary, J. Broadbent, arrived at Hog Bay in 1883 it was necessary for passengers to go ashore from the steamer in a small rowboat. There was no hotel and the only lodging house was a cramped cottage. Broadbent's horse was lowered into the sea and swam ashore. During Sunday men fished in Hog Bay from the steamer to supply Monday's market in Adelaide. 

After Broadbent had preached at Cygnet River, Dr Shaw, a presbyterian doctor stationed on the Island, gave him a donation for the Methodist mission. In Kingscote, Broadbent stayed with J. DeCoque, a Roman Catholic, who was about to open a store in Kingscote. DeCoque promised to donate 5 pounds to the Methodist Church when the foundation stone of a building for that purpose was laid. Support from people of other denominations indicated the island's community spirit. A doctor on the island and a store about to be opened suggested that social progress was taking place.  

- Jean Nunn, This Southern Land, pp.168-170

1882  Hog Bay, Kangaroo Island, has been favored by a visit from the Rev. Mr. Watts, Wesleyan minister, Yankalilla, who conducted divine service, and preached an earnest and interesting sermon to a large congregation, the place being over crowded. Another visit will be anticipated with great delight by the people of Hog Bay. 

NEWS OF THE CHURCHES. (1882, January 13). Christian Colonist (SA : 1878 - 1894), p. 3. 
Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940), Friday 19 June 1908, page 13


By the Rev. T. RAY CAUST.


...  Nearly sixty weeks ago I first set foot on that island which is as "a precious stone set in the silver sea." As yet, it is but a rough diamond, but when the dross is cleared away its worth will be manifested. At first I almost trembled at the thought of my responsibility. The extensive sea and landscape seemed to suggest that my parish was almost a world to itself; but I was determined, by God's help, to visit those who needed me most, if I could not visit all. My first congregation at Hog Bay numbered 33, but the average for the year was 40. Here were the headquarters of our mission for many years, and I made it so for the first few months; but the abounding developments of Kingscote, both populous and commercial, eventually demanded the greater attention. At Hog Bay we have a comfortable church, free of debt, and capable of seating 130 people, and I had the pleasure of seeing it full on two anniversary occasions. Soon after Mr. Gabb took charge of the mission he built for himself a one-roomed "manse" ; but Mr. Clatworthy, his successor, extended building operations, and, pulling the old place down, out of practically the same material built a two-roomed home, attached to the end of the church. Apparently there had not been enough material for completion, and the edifice was not very inviting for my residence. However, there was plenty of fresh air inside as well as out, and I resolved not to be outdone by my predecessors, so determined to batch. "All went merry as a marriage-bell" until the novelty wore off. Even the proverbial church mice—my only company by night—got rolling fat, but eventually they as well as myself, found it more congenial to get meals elsewhere. We had a good Bible Class and Mutual Improvement Society at Hog Bay, which met with unprecedented success. There were no definite decisions for the Master, but several young people learned to search the Scriptures and wrote thoughtful papers, while, on the other hand, good speakers were discovered, and much latent talent was aroused, and one young man launched out to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, rendering appreciable service to the Church in my absence. Hog Bay has a very wild and rugged coast. It certainly is picturesque, especially when the surging billows dash against the rocks, forcing the snow-white flakes of spray many feet into the air; but nevertheless, it is often inconvenient. The miniature jetty at Hog Bay, in the absence of a breakwater, is absolutely futile in rough weather, and the steamer passes on to Kingscote without calling. Unfortunately, the very first time I wanted to go to Kingscote the weather was unpropitious, as above described, and I was stranded at Hog Bay. Knowing that the Kingscote people were anxiously awaiting my arrival, I attempted the overland route—a distance of 45 miles—on my bicycle, when the rain had cleared on the Sunday. I was informed there were several miles of dense sand en route; but an experienced bush missionary was not to be so easily daunted. However before mv destination was reached I regretted not having accepted the pressing invitations to remain at Hog Bay. The fine weather broke before I had proceeded far, and I got wet through three times; and out of the 46 miles I had to walk about twenty through sand, mud, and water, at, times having to carry the bike. After all, I arrived in Kingscote too late to conduct service. I have not undertaken that ride since; but I have no reason to regret it. It was the only opportunity I had of getting into the heart of the country, and it gave me an idea of what the country may produce under proper cultivation; and I am inclined to think that its fertility will more than compensate for its futility. The report of my rough trip soon spread, and perhaps more good was done to the cause by that ride than if I had taken my appointments in the ordinary way. 

Kingscote appealed to me straight away. Various buildings were going up there, and within a year twenty-two new buildings—some very imposing—were completed. In a thriving township like this the Methodist Church was no more than a shabby tinshed, and very small at that. It was repeatedly crowded, even during the winter. There was a move on to get a fence around our block to preserve the trees; but a higher move soon appealed to us—"Let us fence in the people and preserve our congregation." We were only a handful of Methodists, but it was obvious that the island Methodism should be represented by a more commodious and up-to-date church. A new trust was formed, the Building Committee sanctioned the undertaking, and the new church was soon started. The foundation functions, which realized over £50, were an unqualified success. At the prayer meeting, which followed the Sunday evening service, there were three decisions for Christ. What better start could any Church have? Such a sinning ought to be a good omen for the future. And it has been! Conversions have been steadily going on since, and the membership is gradually increasing. May the Holy Spirit continue to descend with all His quickening power. The interior measurements of this beautiful house of God are 45 ft. by 28 ft., and 23 ft. from the floor to the ceiling. The interior of the building is incomplete, but the ceiling is exquisite, being of fibrous plaster. The exterior of the church is complete, and wins the admiration of all who pass by, and thus reflects great credit upon the architect, the Rev. T. Geddes White, and also upon the contractors. Messrs. Emery & Sons. This church was opened on Easter Sunday, a full account of which appeared in The Australian Christian Commonwealth, of May 15. On that occasion nearly £30 was taken. The church, when complete, will cost about £580; and fortunately there is almost enough money now in hand to finish it. Of this amount we raided last year about £195 in cash and £35 in labour. We borrowed £250 at 4 per cent. interest (instalments of £25 each may be paid nff the principal at any time) and £100 from the Loan Fund. This is not a very heavy burden, and the trustees are confident they can bear it. May God abundantly bless our work in this corner of His vineyard. 

Outlying Stations. Cuttlefish Bay.—This bay is about seven miles from Hog Bay. There is no township, but just three families or so that come to worship at the residence of Mr. W. Howard. Mr. Howard has a family of six boys and six girls, and all at home, so that a congregation of fourteen is nearly always assured. It is a great pity that such families are so scarce on the island, especially as this is the age of the child. There are four half and four full-time provisional schools on Kangaroo Island, and I do not think the aggregate number of names on the school-rolls would exceed 100. I shall not soon forget the generosity and hospitality of the Howard and Trethewey families. 

Antechamber Bay—six miles' from Cuttlefish—is an ideal spot. I paid several visits to the two or three families here, but held no service. The folks often drove to Willoughby or Cuttlefish. I always enjoyed the hospitality and helpful talks of the Lashmar home.

Cape Willoughby (nearly 20 miles from Hog Bay).—This is the place for the stock. There is good grazing all the year round, and several perennial springs of fresh water rise above the surface, among the rocks, in close proximity to the seacoast. Here is one of the best lighthouses in the State, and the headkeeper, Mr. Angas, also the second-keeper, Mr. G. A. Payne, have been loyal supporters of our services. Both their homes have been thrown open for Divine worship—one for Anglican, the other for Methodist. Mr. Fraser and his family are also good supporters, and their kindnesses to me I shall not soon forget. The day I left Mr. Fraser drew out a cheque for £2 for the mission, which was very gratefully accepted. Monthly services were held at the Cape, and about a dozen generally attended; but at my farewell service twenty-three assembled, and we had a good time. 

Hog Bay River (about 12 miles south-south-west of Hog Bay).—The country on either side of this river is some of the best on the island. Large gum-trees abound, and the cereal fields present a very pretty picture at harvest-time; but one thing is lacking, and that is the presence of fruit, which could be produced abundantly. Oats and barley grow in abundance; the former has produced as much as 80 bushels to the acre, while barley has yielded over 40. The three families here are Anglican, but they have always given the Methodist missionary a good reception. Mr. Gabb held services here, and this I would have been glad to do, but for the impracticability of it. Three and a half miles in the interior of Hog Bay River is a loyal family of Methodists. Five of them were members of our Church, and it was quite a pleasure to visit that God-fearing home, a privilege which I had on three occasions during mv pastorate. I was quite ignorant of the fact that these people were members of our Church until I visited them, and I had other similar experiences besides. I am afraid that some of our members get adrift through such palpable neglect. Matters would be much facilitated, especially in Home and Bush Mission Stations, where the members often get so far from their Church and minister, if members would bring with them "notes of removal," or, on the other hand, if ministers would send on a timely transference. 

Salt Lagoon (close to the American River and 12 miles along the coast from Hog Bay)—Services were held periodically, and the attendances were variable. On two or three occasions over thirty assembled; but once, on account of sickness, my congregation was only nine in number. But the collection did not suffer, for 9s. was put into the plate. The people around are mainly Methodists, and they rally up well if visited. But frequent visits to scattered families is out of the Question with only one missionary in charge of the island. 

Mr. and Mrs. McArthur's, of American Beach, was the halfway house, where I, together with mv friend and coachman, Mr. L. E. Clark, was always hospitably treated to dinner and tea. Mrs. McArthur made a proficient organist, and rendered help in other ways at our Salt Lagoon services.

Cygnet River.—This river rises about thirty miles inland from Kingscote. Along its banks precious minerals and gems have been found. Its water, though brackish, is good for stock, and has invariably been used with advantage for domestic purposes. Large gum-trees abound on either bank, and the beautiful vistas between, with their watery beds, form part of the picturesque scenery for which the island is noted. We are hoping that within a few months a new Methodist Church will be erected on a pretty and central site nine miles from Kingscote, and adjacent to both the main road and the Cygnet River. Towards this building the new iron has already been given, the timber of the old Kingscote Church is available, and most of the labour for construction has been promised, so that the church will be practically built without incurring any debt, as soon as the transference of the block of land is procured. I had a great difficulty in re-opening our cause at Cygnet River. By some mistake, or neglect, no services had been held for months prior to my arrival, and the people had got cold. They were afraid the Methodists had not come to stay. However, a different complexion was soon put upon the whole matter. After several tries to secure a room at different houses, Mr. Stratford, a recent arrival from Millicent, acceded to my request. His place was a mile from the main road, and by no means central, yet we had fair congregations at our monthly services; but I am sure that when the new church is erected our cause will be liberally supported. Cygnet River is just a nice driving distance from Kingscote, and if specials are held there during year undoubtedly superfluous cash will be raised for its own Trust, which can be devoted to the reduction of the Kingscote debts. 

Wisanger (12 miles from Kingscote, and the road, like that to Cygnet River, is macadamized all the way).— Services are held in the "Farmers' Chapel." The original trustees of this chapel agreed that the building should be let gratis to any Protestant denomination, but collections were to be strictly prohibited. An amusing incident recently occurred, when a layman not knowing the regulations and being informed by a member of the congregation, in response to his enquiry. that the collection-box was at the door, struggled laboriously at this box till he wrenched it off. Then he went around with it, while everybody was smiling, and gathered the big sum of 3d. This coin looked infinitesimally small in the poor-box, the capacity of which was about a cubic foot. Usually the difficulty was overcome by the generous ones placing their offerings on the rostrum at the conclusion of the service. Services were held monthly at Wisanger, and sometimes thirty or forty people would attend. In my home-mission travels I have come across several provisional school teachers, who have rendered good service to our cause, and Miss Bignell, of Wisanger, is no exception. I may say that the "Farmers' Chapel" is used as a school, and Miss Bignell always has the place ready for worship and is invariably there herself. Besides this, when I last visited Wisanger. she was contemplating starting a Sunday-school, which ere now she will have accomplished. May God bless so many of our praiseworthy school teachers, who, though they have so much of this tedious work to do during the week, spare no pains to teach the children the "higher education" on the Sunday. Thus I give a brief sketch of the mission. It is not much, but I did what I could. I had fully planned to go right around the island; but, alas! it was not the will of God.

KANGAROO ISLAND MISSION. (1908, June 19). Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940), p. 13.

Mr T. Ray Caust, who has been in charge of the Kangaroo Island Methodist Mission for some time, has been appointed to the Port Lincoln district. Mr Caust will not leave for Port Lincoln until after the opening of the new Kingscote Church at Easter. He will he succeeded by Mr Shaw. 

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 14 March 1908, page 4

Kangaroo Island Courier, Saturday 2 April 1921, page 2

Methodist Church.

Mr L. G. Hunt who has been in charge of the Methodist Church on the Island, will leave on Monday, accompanied by Mrs Hunt and child, to take op his new appointment at Lucindale. His successor, Mr H. J. Beck, who was formerly in charge of the West Suburban circuit in the city, is expected to arrive on Saturday next.

METHODIST CHURCH. (1921, April 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 8 April 1922, page 2


Great surprise and regret was felt in Kingscote on Tuesday when the sad news of the death of Mr H. J.  [Heber John] Beck was received. Mr Beck, who was 66 years of age, had been in charge of the Methodist Home Mission on Kangaroo Island for the past twelve months, and left by the Karatta on Monday morning, accompanied by Mrs Beck, for a fortnights holiday in the city. He was apparently in good health, though recently had recovered from an attack of gastritis. On dis-embarking from the Karatta at Glenelg Mr Beck carried the luggage from the jetty to Victoria Place, where the North Terrace train leaves for Adelaide, and on the way to the station remarked upon the heaviness of the bags. He boarded the train, but at St. Leonards he was noticed to be in a fainting condition. Assistance was at once summoned and restoratives applied, but they were of no avail and death ensued. During his residence on the Island Mr Beck made many friends and was highly respected throughout the districts. The deepest sympathy is felt by all for Mrs Beck in her sad bereavement.

OBITUARY. (1922, April 8). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

A farewell to Mr E. H. Harrison, the Methodist Home Missioner, who leaves on Monday for Point Neill.

VALEDICTORY. (1924, April 5). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.
2006.09.07 Penneshaw Uniting Church.pdf

[1937] See report by Home Missionary Mr R. C. Guthberlet, Home and Inland Missions (1937, July 30). 

Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA : 1901 - 1940), p. 7. 

Cygnet River Chapel

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), Wednesday 2 September 1885, page 3


A large number of residents from all parts of the Hundred of Menzies assembled at Mr. T. Northcott's section, Cygnet River, to celebrate the opening of the recently erected Wesleyan Chapel there. Tea was prepared by the ladies of the immediate neighbourhood. Afterwards an entertainment, comprising songs and recitations, was given in aid of the Building Fund. The proceeds were about £8.

KANGAROO ISLAND, August 31. (1885, September 2). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 3.  

[1954] The President of the SA Methodist Conference (Rev. W. Glen Clarke) will be on Kangaroo Island tomorrow. In the morning Mr. Clarke will dedicate and open the new church at Parndana, and in the afternoon preach there. In the evening he will preach at Kingscote.

NEWS FROM THE CHURCHES (1954, February 6). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 5.

First Church Service in S.A.

" ... The first Methodist service held on Kangaroo Island was held on Sunday 13 November 1836 by Samuel East (from the Africaine), in the SA Company’s store. Samuel Stephens, the SA Co Colonial Manager (arrived on the Duke of York) was a Methodist, his father, Rev John Stephens, was a past President of the British Wesleyan Conference and his brother, Edward Stephens, (on the Coromandel) was a stalwart of the early SA Methodist Church. As Methodists did not rely on ordained ministers to form a congregation, but the Church of England did, it is most likely that this was the first Church service in SA pre-Proclamation. ... "

- Brian Stace. 

Facebook.  Coromandelians, South Australian Pioneers of the Coromandel 1837

Chris Ward comments:

The first Wesleyan Methodist services held in South Australia were held on Kangaroo Island in 1836 by Captain Robert Clark Morgan on July 27 and by Samuel East on 13 November.  Morgan as a ship’s captain probably read from the (Anglican) Book of Common Prayer even though he may have offered an extempore prayer of thanks for their safe arrival.  Rev. James Haslam in his history of Wesleyan Methodism acknowledges layman preacher East as conducting the November service.  In 1936 the now united Methodist Church celebrated the centenary of Captain Morgan’s service.

Sources:  Arnold Hunt’s This Side of Heaven and James Haslam’s Wesleyan Methodist History, as well as the Prayer Nook at Reeves Point and Dorothy Heinrich text.