Parish of All Saints', Chermside

In June 1954, the Parochial District of Chermside was raised to the status of Parish. This was possible because the local church with 190 Communicants on the Roll was now able to pay a full stipend to the priest. Rev L W (Chum) Grayson became the first Rector. Previously he had been the Vicar and was appointed by the Bishop who could also move him. A Rector was paid by the Parish and had tenure. He could apply for other positions and move on when he desired.

Now that the parish was able to pay a Rector it had a say in appointing any new ones. This was the job of the Parochial Nominators who were elected by the Parishioners. Mr Harris, B. Fallis and Ken Pollard were the first to be elected Nominators.

The house and land adjoining All Saints’ (495-499 Hamilton Road) was purchased in August 1954 for ₤2000 ($46,400 in 2001 values). It was used as an office for the first “planned giving program”, the Wells Scheme in 1956. Later, because of its deteriorating condition, it was demolished and the site earmarked for the future church hall. The existing hall behind the church already needed many structural repairs but it was not replaced till 1977.

In January 1955, a vacant block of land (36 perches) was purchased at 4 Watcombe Street, Wavell Heights. This was the site of the daughter church, St Thomas’. This drain on the finances of All Saints’ was necessary at the time because most people still walked to church. The automobile age was just beginning in Australia. The money spent would be recouped when St Thomas’ was sold.

Wells Scheme Planned Giving

In 1956 the parish started on one of its most ambitious projects, to raise the sum of ₤20,000 ($436,000 in 2001 values) over three years. To do this the Wells Organisation was hired and they organised teams to visit all the parishioners and obtain pledges to donate fixed amounts of money. Previously, there had been at least two such appeals. The first was in 1951 when Fr Grayson arrived. It was the Weekly Freewill Offering (WFO) and in the first Pew Bulletin it is recorded that by June there were 66 subscribers. The second raised ₤100 in 1953 ($4,600 in 2001 values). However, the 1956 scheme was a much larger effort and was being organised by outsiders and the amount pledged was ₤21,000. In the 11 months between 13/5/1956 and 31/3/1957, ₤6,319 had been raised ($134,800 in 2001 values).

The scheme was looking good and the brochure for the next Planned Giving Program, to begin on the 24 December 1961, gave the following details. Since April 1956 income was ₤37,417 while expenditure was ₤40,929. So the 1956 Campaign continued successfully for five and a half years.

These Planned Giving Programs were the first of many which continue to be held regularly. They have become a permanent feature of All Saints’ life. Although some people did not like the scheme, most saw that it was necessary in order to raise the large sums of money needed by the modern church. This method of fund raising enabled forward planning to take place. It depended heavily on lay participation and thus increased the lay involvement in parish life. This in turn increased lay responsibility for the welfare of the church. Hopefully, it would release the priest from a lot of the day to day problems of running the parish.

All Saints' in 1956

The Canvass Brochure 1956 gives a snapshot picture of the parish at the time.

The daughter churches of Bald Hills, Zillmere, Geebung, Aspley and of East Chermside (or Wavell Heights) were a continual, but necessary, drain on parish finances.

There were 600 families in Chermside (about 3,000 people) while the church could only seat 70 people. The challenge was to reach those who never came to services. There were three services, two morning and one night, each Sunday at All Saints’.

1954: CEYMS
1954: CEYMS. Ken Pollard and Fr Grayson.

Sunday School had 220 scholars on the roll. Youth were catered for by CEBS – boys from 9 to 14 years; CEYMS for the older males from 16 to 25; GFS for girls over 14; Junior & Intermediate GFS for the younger girls; Ladies’ Guild and the Mothers’ Union for the older women. There was no CEMS for the men but it was hoped that “a branch will commence later this year”. Ken Pollard notes that it was founded in 1957.

Children were baptized and their names placed on the Cradle Roll; later they attended Sunday School. On reaching the age of discretion they were instructed in the Church Catechism by the Rector and brought before the Bishop for Confirmation. Then the child became a communicant “member of the Church and took his/her place at the Altar to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.”

1956: First Dinner Giving invitation
1956: Invitation to first Direct Giving Dinner

Ken Pollard comments that the 1956 Direct Giving brought many people back to the practice of their faith. The men of the parish walked miles and knocked on hundreds of doors and obtained pledges from many people. He thinks this awakened in many the desire to become active again. The dramatic rise in the number of communicants from 190 in 1954 to 400 in 1960 would have been partly caused by the Pledging. Another important factor would have been the growth in local area population in the post WWII period. This was a time when whole streets of houses were being built by the Housing Commission, War Service Homes and private builders. The local primary school, Chermside State, had 529 pupils in 1950 and 897 in 1959. Chermside was indeed growing.

In September 1957 it was decided to establish a branch of CEMS in the parish by inviting a representative of the society to address the inaugural meeting on Monday 23/9/1957. The size of the membership is not recorded but the society found difficulty in maintaining it. The CEMS report to the April 1958 Annual Meeting commented on the poor attendance and invited all members to become active.

At the same meeting the CEYMS report “explained the reasons why the attendance had generally fallen off”. Thus both male societies were facing falling membership but no reasons were recorded in the minutes.

Finally, in October 1958 the Rector reported that the CEYMS in the parish had been disbanded and the money left over in their bank account had been used to buy a Ciborium as a memorial to the CEYMS.

Since it was a time of full employment the young men were probably buying cars and motor bikes. This gave them mobility that earlier generations never had and enabled them to widen their horizons. They could now reach distant venues of entertainment or interest and the church affiliation was suffering to some extent. Also the effect of movies, radio and to a lesser extent, television was attracting more people away from church attendance.

Land in Rossett Street, Chermside West was purchased in November 1957. In February 1959, land adjoining St Matthias’ Zillmere was purchased and a church hall was erected.

By January 1959 the parish officials approached the bank to discuss the possibility of a loan to extend the old church. They had no success and were advised to improve their account. In other words they didn’t have enough money to build a new church or portion of one.

This meant that the parish would have to raise finance internally by another canvass. This led to another problem The Rector advised that some of the old families with whom they had difficulty during previous canvasses had been included in the present canvass. This indicates that not all were happy with the canvass method of raising money.

The minutes then go on to record that a Councillor, Mr Moody, advised that he was retiring from all church activities as he could not reconcile himself with the present types of canvass “we are at present indulging in”. He wished the parish well in the future and was regretfully farewelled.

From the following it would appear that the canvass was a success and work commenced on the first extension, the front porch and nave of All Saints’ Parish Church in October 1960. The contractor was Mr Henry Clark of Aspley with the tender being ₤9,569 pounds ($186,600 in 2001 values). It was opened in April 1961.

During the time of the Rev. L.W. Grayson extensive work in the Chermside Chest Hospital (later Prince Charles Hospital) was undertaken and he became the Chaplain. Also, he was the first Chaplain of St Paul’s School, Bald Hills. He was assisted in the taking of the services and in ministry generally by retired clergy, a parish lay reader and in the latter years by an Assistant Curate. These included Reverends Les Burrows, David Anthony, Alan Gate, Maurice Hayward and F.C. Sewell. The Rev LW Grayson left on October 8, 1961 to become Rector of Maryborough.

The Curates' Cars

On the 1st August 1959 the Rev David Anthony was licensed as Assistant Curate and was paid £300 pa ($6,000 in 2001 values) plus free board and lodging. Since he had to go around the daughter churches he needed some form of transport. The following month it seemed that the problem was solved with a group of six volunteers who would transport him as needed in their cars.

1959: Fr Anthony & Bernie Smith
1959: Fr Anthony and Bernie Smith

This arrangement lasted till February 1960 when the Rector advised that a car had been obtained for the Assistant Curate Rev Anthony – an old second hand Ford Pilot. How old? No price is mentioned but the next entry in the minutes gives some idea. The Council decided to insure the car in March but mainly for the comprehensive policy to cover damage to other cars. It was clearly not worth repairing it if it was damaged.

When the Assistant Curate Rev Anthony was appointed to Texas, Qld in December the Council decided to sell the old car. It seems that it was off the road anyway. It was finally sold for ₤10 ($195 in 2001 values). The Deacon, Rev Alan Gates, who replaced Rev Anthony was to get another second hand car. In February 1961 a 1952 Holden was bought for ₤290 ($5,500 in 2001 values).

Later, the Council tried a new approach to the problem of Assistant Curate’s mobility. In March 1962 they purchased a Vespa motor scooter costing £158 ($3,000 in 2001 values) for Rev Greaves, the Assistant Curate. However, in June the Rector announced to the Parish Council that Rev Greaves had obtained his own car for parish use. (See Rev John Thompson’s account of the Vespa in the Living Parish section.)


At the September 1961 Parish Council meeting the Rector, Fr Grayson, announced that he was moving to Maryborough.

This left a period of about two and a half months till, on December 21, 1961, the Rev Jack Kruger became Rector and B J Greaves the second Assistant Curate (becoming the only Assistant Curate some weeks later when Alan Gate left).

During the interregnum Mr Roy Somerville, the Churchwarden, took the chair at the Parish Council and the life of the parish continued. They decided to proceed with the next canvass which was to be run by the Wells organisation.