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Fr Jack Kruger (1961-1973)

Fr Jack Kruger trained at St Francis’ College, Milton and was Priested in 1949. Fr Jack with his wife, Joan and family, served in many parishes of the Archdiocese. He was in Childers from 1959 until his appointment to Chermside in 1961. His tenure was till 1972 when he went to Hamilton.

Val Kerr continues:

I recall jovial Jack Kruger, a great motivator. He exposed us to a wide range of Christian teaching. It was his initiative that brought the Franciscan Brothers to lead Lenten studies and they were to have a profound impact on our spiritual direction and establish a connection with Brookfield which exists to this day (1996). It was a time of musical innovation – lively folk masses.

Prince Charles hospital was a big responsibility for Chermside and took much of Jack’s time and energy and also the time of his string of Assistant Curates, as well as providing the material for many a moving sermon. The district continued to expand in these years and the population explosion meant churches became parishes. When Jack departed Chermside he left an active, lively but geographically smaller parish.

The first six years of his ministry at Chermside were marked by a continuation of the vigorous building and establishment program started by Rev L W Grayson.

One of the first building projects was to extend the Rectory to accommodate the Rector’s large family. Meanwhile the Assistant Curates boarded with Mrs Haysler and drove their cars to the church; there were two Curates’ cars now.

New Building Boom

In 1963 at Aspley the rectory was extended and the hall was shifted, raised and built in underneath to form a Chapel;

In September 28 1963 the Foundation Stone was laid for St Mary’s Geebung. The builder, Mr Henry Clark’s tender price of ₤5938 ($112,600 in 2001 values) was accepted;

In December 1964 Council decided to go ahead with the building of a Hall at Stafford Hts (this was St Laurence’s at Chermside West) which would cost £3,000 ($55,600 in 2001 values). It was a “filling in” of the area which was expanding rapidly;
In 1964 the new St Mary’s at Geebung was dedicated, and in 1965 the new St Matthias’ was dedicated. The latter was probably paid for by the new Parochial District but All Saints’ would have bought the land.

From June 1965 the parish was split with the centres of Aspley, Bald Hills and Albany Creek forming their own Parochial District under Rev. Derek Allton. However, the new Vicar was not installed till 21st February 1966 so All Saints’ may still have had to oversee, and finance, the building going on there;

In October 1965 it was decided that Sunday School at West Chermside would be moved from the Basnett home to the newly built hall in the new year;
The Dedication of buildings at West Chermside (Stafford Hts in the minutes) and East Chermside 26th February 1966 marked their completion;

In February1966 the completed extensions to East Chermside (St Thomas’ Wavell Heights) were dedicated. A new hall was constructed behind the original church building;

The Rectory at All Saints’ was further enlarged to its present size (the Parish Centre) in 1967.

For most of Fr Jack Kruger’s ministry there were two Assistant Curates to help with the expanding parish workload of All Saints’ and three daughter churches as well as the increasing demands of the growing Chermside Hospital.

Parish Activities

The Sunday Schools in the early 1960s had over 400 scholars and the annual Picnic was a notable event. Moving these excited children to St Paul’s school at Bald Hills must have been exciting and/or exhausting for the teachers. No details were given in the Council minutes.

The branch of CEMS which was closed in 1960 was restarted on 2nd August 1967. Train travel was still widely used in the 1960s and the annual family Picnic made use of them. In July 1968 the parish travelled by train to the Woombye Showground at a cost of 50c per adult and 20c per child. We are not told how many went but on the 1967 Picnic the minutes note that all 760 seats had been taken for the Parish Train Trip. A picnic to Spring Bluff was shared with Ashgrove Parish.

A later entry in the minutes reported that the 1968 Parish Picnic was a social success but a financial failure which had to be covered by a levy on the Parish and Daughter churches. This was an unfortunate ending partly due to the low fares. That was remedied the following year and the trip was a success in every way. In June 1970 the annual train trip was to Beaudesert in June and it went well. The parish was learning by experience.

The Walkathon for 1968 had 142 starters and netted at least $885. One such walk was to the Hornibrook Bridge and back. Quite a long walk – wonder how many made the full trip?

Parish Council decided not to hold a fete for 1968 but no reasons were given. The fete was finally abandoned somewhere in the 1970s.

On a rather different note were the letters Council received from the Mothers’ Union and the Young Mothers’ Department complaining about the state of the parish hall when they arrived for their meetings. It appeared that one of the Youth Groups had been using the hall on the previous night and had not cleaned up when they finished. The Council promised to look into the matter. No doubt the youngsters got a swift reminder, or something. This complaint appeared again some time later so the Council would have been busy.

On 27/5/1968 Prince Philip was to be at the Cathedral while on a visit to Brisbane. The Rector had received 15 tickets for seats at the Cathedral and was offering them to parishioners. There is no mention about who was chosen or how. In March 1970 more tickets were available for when the Royal Family would attend evensong at the Cathedral. For many people this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

During the late 1960s change was in the air regarding Liturgy. After discussion and a trial of the proposed changes a questionnaire was circulated among the parishioners. The result showed 90% favouring the new liturgy.

In May 1970 a change was made in two related organisations when the Young Mothers’ Department was admitted to the Mothers’ Union.

By December 1971 the effects of the numerous direct giving campaigns was beginning to show when it was announced that the Church debt had been eliminated. It is not often that this happens in the life of any church but All Saints’ had done it, for the time being! However, in January 1972 Parish Council decided to build a new Parish Hall with $7,000 in a fixed deposit. Building a new hall had long been discussed in the parish as the old hall was well past its use by date and needed structural repairs. It was cheaper, in the long run, to build a new one. So much for eliminating the debt.

New Parochial District of Zillmere and Geebung

On the 21st March 1972 St Mary’s Geebung was dedicated and on 1st April 1973 the new church building of St Matthias’ Zillmere was dedicated as both were debt free. Because these churches were becoming financially viable it was decided to form the new Parochial District of Zillmere and Geebung.

This meant that All Saints’ would lose the daughter church of St Mary’s Geebung and this would, possibly, lower the expenses of All Saints’.