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The Great War

1914 was the beginning of World War I. Newspapers of the time recorded that people sang and danced in the streets when the outbreak of war was announced. It is not recorded what Chermside did. Europe was a long way off. People thought the war would be over quickly and it would not affect the local area very much. They were wrong, very wrong as one can see by glancing at the Kedron Shire Memorial Gates erected in 1922 at the entrance of Marchant Park.

Just about every family in the local area was affected by the war, since either one of their members was serving overseas, or they knew someone ‘over there’. Of the 284 young men from Kedron Shire who went overseas, 231 returned home and half of them had been wounded. All of them were changed, some radically, by their experiences.

The Church Chronicle has regular reports on the war, often aimed at maintaining morale and encouraging the readers to make the sacrifices necessary to win. There are also reports of Church activities supporting the men at the front and helping those who were repatriated due to wounds.

Effects of WW1 on the Church

In his 1915 speech (Inaugural Address) to Synod, Archbishop The Most Rev St Clair Donaldson used one third of the address on the role of the Church in the war.

It was a very patriotic speech and urged an all out effort by the people. He urged volunteers to enlist and the clergy to help with recruiting. He contrasted the British Ideal with that of the Germans, to their detriment. He saw Britain as the great liberator of the Dominions. “And England reaped her reward when in the day of her danger four free nations sprang to arms at her side.”

A regular column in the wartime issues of the Church Chronicle headed “Our Soldier Boys” used the slogan “Nothing is too good for our Soldiers” and reported the work being done by the Church.

A society, possibly named the Anzac Club or Anzac Home, was set up to care for returned soldiers who were still convalescing, or were homeless, or were studying at Technical College, or just travelling, etc. The society operated the following centres:

  • Anzac Club, Charlotte St Brisbane 1915;

  • Toowoomba Rest Rooms opened 1915;

  • Coolangatta Rest House opened 1917;

  • Anzac Club Home opened 1919.

Staffed by voluntary workers, the centres provided shelter, meals, accommodation, counselling on pensions, employment, medical help, etc. It is reasonably certain that parishioners from All Saints’ were involved in this work.

Marchant Park, or Murphy’s Paddock, as it was then known was the site of a remount centre for the Australian Light Horse for much of the war. Recruits came from all over Queensland to train. Remounts were brought in to be broken for riders and trained before being shipped overseas to the Middle East.

In the August Edition of the Church Chronicle 1915 the following note appears:

The Vicar (of Nundah Rev Canon Micklem) has been asked by Canon Garland, resident Chaplain to the troops in camp, both to help in taking the services at the Camp for Light Horse at Chermside, and also to arrange as far as possible for entertainments to be held there, and for visits and special comforts for the sick. The Vicar hopes to enlist the help of parishioners in this work especially those in the neighbourhood at Chermside, and Zillmere, and would be glad if any who can give their services will communicate with him.
The following month, September, another report appeared in the Church Chronicle:
The Vicar (Canon Micklem) now holds parade service at the Chermside Camp for Light Horse on the first and third Sunday mornings of each month. The students of the College, with the help of some friends, gave a concert at the Camp on Monday, August 9th. Mrs Williams, of the State School, Chermside, kindly played the accompaniments; among the songs most appreciated were those sung by Master Willie Curran, of Nundah.

1956: Altar Server Phil Stewart
1956: Altar Server Phil Stewart (later Fr).

During the years of World War I the people in the Nundah, Zillmere and Chermside areas were ministered to by priests from St Francis’ College Nundah. Fr Phil Stewart recalls:

My mother (Joyce Stewart, nee Sneyd) telling me that when she was a teenager there was no resident priest in Chermside, so the Principal of the Anglican Theological College (St Francis’ College) at Nundah would drive over to Chermside on a Sunday morning in his buggy, together with some theological students, to celebrate Holy Communion in All Saints’ church. They would then go to the Sneyd’s residence in Latham Street for lunch, followed by games of tennis on the lawn court next to the house, before returning to Nundah in the afternoon to be in time for evensong.
This could have been in the early years of WWI when Mrs Sneyd was active with the GFS and All Saints’ had been built. The Principal at that time was Canon Micklam.

In 1918 the Nundah parish was divided and the parish of Zillmere set up with E.C. Ganley as Vicar who had the responsibility for Chermside, Bald Hills, Caboolture, Lawnton and Terrors Creek (Dayboro). The news was enthusiastically greeted by the Church Chronicle:

Great changes have occurred this month …………………. A second priest has long been an urgent need, and we cannot but be thankful that it has been supplied by (Rev) Mr Ganly taking charge of Chermside and Zillmere. We wish his ministry every blessing.

Post WW1


Even as far back as 1918 far reaching changes were becoming apparent. One was the effect the moving pictures were having on church attendances. The Nundah Parish notes:

By the way, some people who grumble at being asked to come to a service on a week night when prayers for our soldiers and the parish are being offered, or some festival is being kept, have no scruple in giving over two nights a week to the cinema. We are beginning to fear also that this drain upon their purses is accountable for some of the absences from Church on Sunday evenings. Alas! the God who gives opportunities of honest work and useful labour seems to get but a miserable recognition of His great kindness.
Indeed, and motor cars were beginning to make their presence felt along with wireless sets and motor bikes. But, as yet, they were having a minimal effect on attendances and collections.

On a more positive note was the foundation of the Chermside Branch of the Mothers’ Union on 5th April 1923. Canon Campling enrolled four new members who were joined by two existing members to form the new branch. The Diocesan President, Mrs Le Fanu gave a talk of welcome to the new branch. The founding President was Mrs Campling and the Secretary/Treasurer was Mrs Sneyd. This marked the beginning of an association which is still active in the parish in 2004.

The Rev Ganley served Zillmere and Chermside till 1922 and was followed by Canon Campling 1923/25. Over the period from 1919 to 1927 one of the Wardens, John Kemp (Joyce Zelow’s Grandfather), took the Evening Service at All Saints’.

In 1926 there seems to have been an interregnum until Rev Cyril Biggins became the incumbent in March 1928. At first he lived in a rented house next to All Saints’ though he was officially Vicar of Zillmere. He then moved to Bald Hills as that was more central. Before his coming, the Church Mission headed by Canon W.P.B. Miles was looking after Bald Hills.

In November 1927 the Church Chronicle reported that a lot of activity was taking place at All Saints’, Chermside:

The Church people of Chermside have been very active lately, and a keen interest in their Church has shown itself by additions and improvements to their building.

A well designed and spacious porch has been erected at the west end, alteration and re-arrangement of the pews has made room for a central alley, which has been covered with matting; handsome electric lights have been fitted; and some beautiful pictures now adorn the walls. The outside walls of the building have been re-oiled by voluntary labour.

These improvements were dedicated to the service of God by Canon Stevenson on Sunday afternoon, October 2nd. The congregation completely filled the Church. Evensong was sung by Mr V Reynolds, a student of St Francis’ College, who is in charge of the Sunday School, and who is largely responsible for the activity which is now manifest (sic). Rev R E (Robert Esmond) Sutton, Vice Principal of Nundah (St Francis’ College) is temporarily in charge of the District of Chermside.

Chermside, Zillmere and Bald Hills have been lately formed into a Parochial District, of which Minor Canon, Walter James Park, is to the be the first Vicar.

Chermside still had no resident pastor at this date.

After Rev Cyril Biggins came Rev G.L. Peters and then in 1933 began the long ministry of Rev Robert Alexander Burnett, who was in charge of Zillmere until 1951 and served Chermside till 1945 when the parish came under the care of Lutwyche. He lived in Wallace Street, Chermside, which constituted an off site Rectory which was just off Gympie Road on the west side. He retired in 1951 but remained living at the above address. Des Lee remembers the Rev Burnett:

We called him “Blue Beard” behind his back because of his red hairy beard. He and his wife lived in Wallace Street. He drove a dark green tourer and taught Religious Education at both Chermside and Aspley Schools, and possibly, Albany Creek as well. He was the only priest to serve the parish in those years.

Lutwyche in Charge


Chermside, however, reverted to the care of Lutwyche in 1946 where the Rev. Brown-Beresford was Rector. Thus All Saints’ did not have a Parochial Council as such but moves were being made to seek greater autonomy.

The first known Parish Council meeting took place after evening service on Sunday 13th Oct 1946. The Rev A T Knox (unattached), addressed the gathering and outlined the object of the meeting, but the object was not recorded. Presumably it was to set up the Council. A letter was to be written to Mr Myers Kelso and instruct him to discontinue driving his motor vehicle through the Church grounds.

It was suggested that the Secretary write to Mr Gall, Diocesan Registrar advising him that the committee has been formed. The minutes were confirmed by a layman, B Fallis (Warden 1954-61), at the following meeting since, at that time, there was no resident clergyman.

The Council met with Archbishop Halse on Sunday 11th May 1947 to discuss the problem of a permanent clergyman. He outlined the possibility of an Assistant coming from the South but would live at Lutwyche. At a subsequent meeting in July it was announced that the Housing Commission was making a residence available for “the new priest”. It is not clear what happened after that as the minute book (an exercise book) finishes on the 13th October 1947 with a discussion about the coming fete.

Geebung services were started in 1949 in the local public hall which is now the present site of the Geebung-Zillmere RSL Club.