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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Hamilton Church History Newcastle NSW

Hamilton Church History on the 22nd December 1898 a camp meeting in Gregson Park Hamilton in Newcastle opened in a tent. It was Thursday, and people were expecting about 200 people from the local areas to come, as well as a few from Sydney and Cooranbong to hear Ellen White speak. To their surprise, 1,000 people attended, and continued to attend even though a howling gale made speaking difficult. Ellen White spoke on Sabbath afternoon, and when she could not be heard because of the gale, the people sang songs. People continued to come in spite of the weather, and up to 3,000 people on weekends enjoyed the meetings and the health talks. Our church is supported by Northern NSW Conference Centre.

For several months before, Herbert Lacey had been holding evangelistic meetings in the city. Reading matter had been circulated freely, and the place had been well canvassed with books by Mrs M A Gregg, William R Carswell , and others. Ellen White reasoned that a small camp could be held in December between the Brisbane camp in November and the Melbourne camp in January, 1899. So a new tent was hired for £15.00 with the option to buy if money could be raised to meet the price. It was the largest tent Ellen White had ever spoken in to that time and “proved to be the most substantial we have ever seen”.

The working force of the conference thought this camp meeting would be “the smallest of the season held in the Australian colony; just a little one tucked in between the Queensland and Victorian camps”. They expected to get about 100 Seventh Day Adventists from Cooranbong and a few from Sydney and a modest attendance from the city, and there was a wonderful group of 1,000 to 3,000 attending!

Towards the end of the meetings a health club was formed, and continued for several months.

When the meetings finally closed, public meetings in a smaller tent were held, and Ellen White continued to support these every weekend. By the end of April, 35 people had decided to “ keep the Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”, and were baptised.

June 11 1899 Elders Starr and Irwin organised a membership of 22 people, and they decided to call the church by the name of the local Post Office, hence the name “Hamilton in Newcastle Seventh Day Adventist Church”

Of the 22 members organised into the church, 17 came in by baptism and 5 by vote. These are the names;

Bro J Miller, Sister Miller, Bro F Palmer, Sister Palmer, Sister  Garbet, Sister F Smith,  Sister  M Smith, Bro. W Smith, Bro. L J  Imrie, Bro R A Nattrass, Sister M A Anthony, Sister B Bowles, Sister S Glover, Sister M Barnes, Sister I Brown, Sister E A Gilpin, Sister M Osborne, Sister R Hard, Sister Robertson, Sister M Wollard, Bro A H Piper, and Sister H Piper.

Hamilton Church History Newcastle ; Seventh Day Adventist Church Election of Officers

After the organisation, a committee consisting of Brethren Starr, Nattrass and Smith were appointed to nominate officers for the rest of the year; the same to bring their report forward on the following Tuesday evening June 13th 1899. This evening being wet, the church was not fully represented, so the report was heard and left for further consideration.

Very early after the camp Ellen White urged the erecting of a church building at Hamilton in Newcastle, and by May 1899, the Union Conference Record announced that land had been bought. Plans were made and sketches were published encouraging members to subscribe to the building which was estimated to cost £465.00.

Avondale church set apart three special Sabbath Offerings to help the project. Construction of the building which was 59 feet long and 50 feet wide [18m x 19m] was supervised by Metcalf Hare from Cooranbong, and was dedicated on September 2 1899. Ellen White preached the dedicatory sermon.

A long-term loan by John Miller, a new church member financed the building.

Hamilton Church History Ellen White Dedicated the Hamilton SDA Church open in 1899

Ellen White Dedicated the Hamilton SDA Church open in 1899

One of the first projects in Newcastle was the opening of the Treatment Rooms in Denison Street in 1899. While this was not a project of the Hamilton in Newcastle church, because of its proximity the members no doubt found great interest in watching its development. It was well equipped and operated under the supervision of Dr. Rand and Nurses Louis Currow and his wife [Nee Lizzie Hubbard].

It featured a weekly health club, and patients were given the water treatments and massage as offered by other Seventh Day Adventist clinics of the day.

The First Hamilton in Newcastle Seventh Day Adventist School

Another early project was the opening of a small school at the rear of the church. The teacher was A T Jessop, who commenced classes in 1900. In his report to the Union Conference Session in 1901 he said, “I had eleven pupils to begin with and the fluctuating attendance reached twenty-six”. However, it was closed before mid 1903 because of financial problems. All a part of the Hamilton Church history.

Two more reports about a school at Hamilton in Newcastle show that classes were held for short periods about 1913 and again in 1918. Both these efforts were short-lived. It was not till 1933 that the school in Hamilton in Newcastle began its permanent existence under Hector Sampson.

In the years that followed, Hamilton in Newcastle church became the sponsor of other churches that grew up in the Hunter Region. Some developed following camp meetings as did the Hamilton in Newcastle church. Other examples were the Wallsend, Maitland and Lambton churches. Years later the Charlestown and Stockton churches branched from Hamilton in Newcastle as membership grew. With the establishment of the Conference Office and the Sanitarium depot close by, the Hamilton in Newcastle church became a significant witness to the Advent message in the region. Hamilton in Newcastle became the venue for the churches in the region for conventions and for baptisms as other places did not have baptismal fonts.

Hamilton in Newcastle members gave support to evangelistic campaigns in the city of Newcastle and it was to Hamilton in Newcastle that church leaders looked for the development of the main school in the Newcastle region-first for Primary then secondary classes.

Over the years the members of the Hamilton in Newcastle church renovated and improved their building.

Prior to the time the building at the corner of Lindsay and Lawson Streets was sold, it was observed that the church had three different baptisteries in the building, indicating the number of changes that had occurred in the more than seventy years the building had been used. One of those renovations was in 1955.

£3,000 was spent repainting and adding two new classrooms divided by a sliding door so they could be used for an overflow congregation and as a “cry room” for babies.

A modern sound system was installed along with new lighting and an electric organ. Pastor Francis G Clifford, the Division President was the principal speaker at the re-dedication service. Others present were Sisters A Roberts, and A V McLean and Brother Tyler who were members before the turn of the century.

A New Seventh Day Adventist Church Needed

Time and church growth however, demanded that more space be found. Rather than try to remodel the existing building once again, it was decided, during the time of Paster C T [Les] Parkinson was the paster in the early 1970’s to move.

A good site was found along Lindsay Street, on the corner of Steel Street and right opposite Gregson Park where the first camp meeting was held back in December 1898. Plans were made to raise funds and building plans were prepared by Neville Clouten. It was realised that when the existing church was sold some money would be available for the new building so the old church was put up for sale. In March 1973 the Newcastle Youth Theatre group bought the building and the church congregation moved to a temporary place in the Uniting Church at Broadmeadow.

Building construction was commenced on March 14 1973 and the building was ready for the official opening and Dedication on Sunday 17 March 1974 at 2:30pm.

It was given the name of Hamilton in Newcastle SDA Peace Memorial Church as Government regulations of the day allowed tax deductibility for donations to memorial buildings, a part of Hamilton Church History.

It is noted here that on September 23 1995 the old timber building that had been home to the Hamilton in Newcastle Church since September 1899 was destroyed by fire. While there was a touch of sadness, Hamilton in Newcastle was able to share memories of the dedication so long ago by donating the pulpit that had been used by Ellen White to preach the dedicatory sermon to the Stockton church across the Hunter River, as the members there were struggling to set up their place of worship.

Thus was saved an important object from the beginnings of the Adventist presence in Newcastle.

Outreach by the members of Hamilton in Newcastle has included support for the many city-wide evangelistic meetings down the years; a strong Pathfinder Club, Vacation Bible Schools in other Centres, a strong Dorcas and Welfare program, and Fly and Build programs to the Pacific Islands – Fiji and Papua New Guinea; Happy Holiday Hours, Drop-in Cuppa and programs with churches of other denominations.

Some of those who have ministered to the members of the Hamilton in Newcastle Church include Albert H Piper, Henry Mitchell, Leslie J Imre, Sydney Watson, Robert A Salton, Frank E Lyndon, J Lamont Smith, Edwin P Jewson [Barrington] David A Ferris, William D Smith, Kennith J Wooller, Don A Whittaker, Les Pascoe, Arthur P Dyason, C T [Les] Parkinson, Alwyn K Gersbach,Lindsay J Laws, Len H Barnard, Glen Wear, Don P McClure, Laurie C McMurtry, Warren Price, Anthony Cox, Keith R Jackson, Warren Fedorow, a part of Hamilton Church history.

Jim Hoysted & Glynn Litster

Elder Jim Hoysted

Elder Jim Hoysted

If you have more information about Hamilton in Newcastle Seventh Day Adventist Church history, or photos that you would like to share, about our place of worship, you may contact us by filling in the form below.

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