Issue: Special Centenary Edition

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The Beak Speaks: Editorial

In this Centenary issue of The Beak we have attempted to capture something of St Paul’s past as well as the present. The recollections of those parishioners, who, though still with us, recall a youth spent at St Paul’s, make poignant reading: while the soundings of those for whom St Paul’s is a more recent spiritual home remind us of just how diverse a congregation we are and how varied our journeys.

Andrew’s reflection on the Honour Board, reminiscent of the recent Remembrance service, reminds us that our present is built upon the sacrifices and dedication of those who preceded us.

We salute those, both present and past, who made St Paul’s a place of refuge and the embodiment of Christ’s presence amongst us.

David Hawks
For the editorial committee

Garielle Dean
Kath Jordan
Susan Grace
Anna Weldon

design and layout by Joan Oakland
front cover graphics by Liam Oakland Sandford

September 2005

Steps on the Journey, Steps to St Paul's

Peter Humphris
Peter traces his first steps to St Paul’s to the birth and baptism of his son, Christian. ‘To shine as a light in the world to the glory of God’, from the Baptism service in the Book of Common Prayer, seemed an ideal worth striving for. A few months later on an evening walk along South Perth foreshore, the thought came to him: “My purpose in life is to be a priest.” For someone who, as he says, was a ‘typical yuppie’ with a successful business and little history of reflection, this was quite a moment. Peter says he still remembers looking up to the vast sky and its expanse of stars. Although it was to be some years before he even began to put things in place for his new journey, the experience was the turning point that led him to the ministry and eventually to St Paul’s.

Following his ordination, Peter served part of his curacy in a team of three priests who conducted services at St John’s, Fremantle, St Paul’s and St Peter’s and St Mark’s, Palmyra. Although he moved into the rectory in 1995, he found the time spent on the road between services made a sense of community difficult, but St Paul’s was eventually made a parish and Peter appointed its curate. The congregation of St Paul’s knew he was the Chosen One when they beheld the white smoke billowing out of the rectory, an affirmation which continues to this day!

An early impression of the church and ninety year old hall was of a great deal of work. As he described his vision for developing the site, one parishioner commented, ‘You’ve come with big ideas, haven’t you?’ However, the community banded together to restore the Hall, repair the church and develop the garden.

But ‘community’ is much more than buildings and grounds, and Peter feels he has learnt a great deal as part of the spiritual community of St Paul’s. He believes the relationship involves an exchange of energy and that his engagement with the diversity of the congregation helps him to nurture previously underdeveloped aspects of his own ‘internal landscape’, such as social justice issues - and this, in turn, contributes to the shaping of the whole. This dialectic forms an evolving organism that is in Peter’s words, ‘pregnant with possibilities’.

Peter also appreciates the openness to other sources of wisdom in the search for meaning: “I don’t think I ever went through a stage of seeing God as the answer”, Peter says, “and one of the things I like about St Paul’s is that none of us claims to have answers.”

Paul Roberts
Paul was baptised in the Roman Catholic faith, attended Marist Brothers’ schools and has been coming to St Paul’s for about four years. His son, Oscar, baptised in 2004 at St Paul’s, is a well-known parishioner, who occasionally contributes to the service and sometimes even upstages the priest.

Amongst the aspects Paul appreciates at St Paul’s are the time and thought put into the aesthetics and decoration of the church. He finds the Easter mandala, the use of fire, music and dance particularly powerful ways of enhancing his spiritual encounter and deepening his understanding of the liturgy.

Paul also learns a great deal from the Sunday sermons that contextualise the weekly readings and challenge him personally. Contemplation of questions like, ‘Who am I, what am I called to be, and how am I to be that calling?’, supported by the openness he finds in the community, has helped him to look more deeply into what it can mean to be the Body of Christ.

Paul also finds the community a place of warmth and informality, where smiles and touch and greetings are integral to the relationships. He has a deep love of people and enjoys the diversity of the group he meets at St Paul’s.

Christabel Chamarette
Christabel reports her first impression of St Paul’s, in 1981, was of ‘quirkiness and hospitality’. Elsa MacRae and Wendy and Bill Castleden were at the service, and the Casteldens invited Christabel and her husband home for coffee. Christabel worshipped at St Paul’s for about four years, then at St John’s for ten years. On her return in about 1995, although some of the faces had changed, she was delighted to find the presence of the Holy Spirit was still strong.

Christabel was baptised an Anglican and felt nurtured in the Anglican church while growing up. Her background also includes involvement in the Church of Christ for twelve years and a period in Bangladesh as a missionary.

Important aspects of the St Paul’s community for Christabel are its diversity and imperfection; she believes this reflects the Gospel’s message of inclusivity and the need to bring our ‘brokenness’ to God. Christabel seeks to live, work and worship in an integrated way and feels blessed to have found a place where others are on a similar journey.

As Christabel recalled her experiences at St Paul’s, she explored some ideas of community, which she believes to involve a ‘living exchange’: giving and bringing ourselves fully. However, she doesn’t believe the relationship is transactional, ‘getting’ something back in return for giving. She remembers a ‘conversation with God’ in which she realised her task was to recognise what He wanted her to give and where He wanted her give it.

Christabel sees St Paul’s still offering quirkiness and hospitality, as well as the opportunities it gives to be part of a Spirit-led community.

Kath Jordan
Kath’s first visit to St Paul’s completely overturned her expectations. She recalls that from the outside the church looked like a stern, solid stone, nineteenth century edifice and she expected a community that reflected that image. So, as she says, “I was absolutely stunned to find the priest was a good looking, youngish man with shoulder length hair!” Surely the place could not be too hidebound if they had a priest with long hair, she thought.

For over fifteen years Kath had been a member of a small, close group who met for a Communion Service every week. In 1999, however, in the Jubilee Year, when St James’ Saint day falls on a Sunday, she travelled on the Camino pilgrim route to San Diego in northern Spain. Altogether she was away for over two months and on her return she found that her small group had gone into recession for about six months, so she decided to look for somewhere else to worship. Since she lived about midway between St John’s and St Paul’s, she had to decide between the two. One day in August 1999, she turned up at St Paul’s and sat towards the back.

After her initial surprise over Peter’s flowing locks, she found the service to be warm, thoughtful and reverent, and she has continued to appreciate this warmth in the encountering of the sacred at St Paul’s. She was particularly impressed by the children who joined the service after Sunday School and were welcomed at the communion rail with special words from the priest.

Kath was sitting next to Sheila Devenish, a server at that time who has since left. As usual, Peter invited new members to come for coffee in the Hall, and this was repeated by Sheila. Kath found ‘Coffee in the Hall’ a ‘wonderful induction into a loving community’, which she now regards as her family, and has been a regular member of St Paul’s ever since.

On reflection, Kath feels the rightness of the timing was a special gift from the Camino pilgrimage.

Theo Mackaay & Alison Powell

Theo’s renowned ability to make the best coffee in the world (even when he’s not at church!) is only one aspect of his and Alison’s place at St Paul’s. Theo and Alison trained together to become ministers in the Churches of Christ and shared responsibility for the parish of Dianella before taking up a post in Christchurch NZ. They began to attend St Paul’s in 1995, at about the same time that Peter Humphris became the curate. Friends, Lynn Eastoe and Peter and Jan Newman, had children the same age with whom their own children could play, (even though their twelve year old son once cycled all the way to their old church in Wembley Downs).

Contact with the Anglican Church came as a result of their participation in the Movement for the Ordination of Women and Theo’s work for the Anglican Social responsibilities Commission (of which Peter Newman and Christabel Chamarette were also members). However, they became increasingly drawn to the richness of the Anglican Eucharist, with its sense of being part of a community, in communion with each other and Christ. Theo says that he likes to think of the same words, the same symbolic partaking in the meal, as a wave going around the world, as each group of people across the time zones come together ‘to share in the one bread’.

An important reason for staying at St Paul’s is the fact that, as Theo and Alison say, St Paul’s makes no claims to have the answers. “In fact, most of us are still trying to work out the questions!” they commented. This gives them the chance to explore their own beliefs and provides a place that holds them in times of questioning.

Anna Weldon
One Sunday morning in 1998, during breakfast at Crumpets on South Terrace, Anna picked up an issue of The Beak. Intrigued by its content, particularly the references to creative imagination in spirituality, she attended a few services at St Paul’s. But, she says, instead of an instant, lovely homecoming there followed instead a time of profound journeys and inner confusion. “I revisited my Roman Catholic roots in Malta, stayed at the Indian ashram of my meditation teacher and, finally, found myself in a spiritual wilderness.” After several years and by now almost convinced that she didn’t fit any tradition, she remembered St Paul’s - because its spirit of place and community had seemed so embracing of diversity. Returning she saw that what she had been searching for was right here, and so she stayed.

Christopher Williams
Christopher is a Christian by conversion and an Anglican by default. Essentially he sees himself as a Radical Evangelical Christianarchist; more at home in a Quaker meeting than trapped in a liturgical timewarp. He is committed to the prophetic role of the Church and the implications of the Gospel for the big issues -- peace, social justice and the environment. He sees community as basic to a sustainable future and likes what he sees at St Paul’s -- as far as it goes. While in his first career (construction), Christopher developed an interest in community development via CAA (Oxfam), Murdoch studies and a parish church involved in the Charismatic Renewal. He appreciates the role of his former wife, Wendy, and their three daughters in challenging his materialistic and rationalistic values which were profoundly shaken by conversion. He then went into DCD as a Welfare Officer in the Wheatbelt, particularly enjoying community development with a Nyoongar community. He then opted to study law at UWA and in turn worked in private practice, Legal Aid and a Community Legal Centre, the latter change precipitated by his pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain, one of several spiritual milestones in his life. His latest venture has been to establish his own practice in Fremantle, very much a matter of Guidance and discernment from the St Paul’s community. Christopher’s granddaughter Lillith continues to bring him along to church each Sunday morning; he feels encouraged by this and other support.

Eddie Vagg
An Interview with Kath Jordan

Eddie was born in 1920 and was brought up in the family home on Hampton Road, just south of the old Post Office on the corner of Martha Street. The house numbers have been changed but the original number of the house was 262.

Eddie was born on 25th December 1920 and was the second born of a family of ten. He was baptised at St Paul’s on 13 September 1921 but did not have any contact with the church community for many years.

He attended Beaconsfield Primary and remembers very well the Head Mistress, Miss Howell and one of his own classmates Val Desson. He also remembers that he was not always an exemplary student and sometimes used to ‘wag’ school!

After primary school Eddie attended Fremantle Boys’ High School which was located just opposite the St Patrick’s Basilica. He left school at about 16 and worked for Mills and Ware, Biscuit and Cake Manufacturers, carrying trays of biscuits. He then nominated for an apprenticeship with the Municipal Tramways. At that time trams were running from Fremantle to North, East and South Fremantle and to Carrington Street, Beaconsfield. One depot was in Queen Victoria Street, on the harbour side of the road, and another at the west end of High Street in Fremantle. Eddie trained as a fitter and turner but had to break his apprenticeship when war began.

Eddie was called up for military service and was in the CMF from 16 December 1941 through 17 July 1942. He then transferred to the AIF where he served from 18 July 1942 to 12 March 1946. The CMF headquarters for anti-tank was at Point Walter where Eddie did his preliminary military training, ‘marching and messing around’ as he describes the experience. Four of the men, including Eddie, were selected to go for special training in servicing and reassembling guns at the Midland Army Workshop. The training ended with a test where the grades were 1, 2 and 3. Eddie gained a 1, which meant a few more shillings each week in his pay.

He then returned to Point Walter before being drafted to the AIF base camp in the eastern States, prior to being posted to New Guinea. In New Guinea Eddie’s unit was on the beach which he said was much preferable to working in the steamy jungle. The unit was preparing for a land invasion of Japan and Eddie said that when the news of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings was received all the men were greatly relieved at not having to go on the invasion. Eddie did attend church parade while he was enlisted and he feels that the sense of danger and the possibility of death did lead him to consider God’s presence.

Eventually Eddy did return to Australia and left the Army with a certificate stating that he was a Trade Group T.G.I Artificer and that he had served 1030 days in Australia and 408 days overseas.

Although Eddie had sufficient qualifications to get a job he decided to finish his formal apprenticeship which he did in two and a half years at Technical College.

In his early thirties Eddy married and his daughter Jennifer was born within a year. The marriage did not last very long and broke up when Jennifer was at primary school. After the separation Eddie saw a lot of good friends who regularly attended St Peter’s at East Fremantle and through their influence Eddie took up a commitment to the Anglican church and was confirmed as an adult at St Peter’s on 11 September 1956. This date, close to his baptismal date of 35 years earlier, would have been a nice coincidence. Eddie moved back to the family home on Hampton Road (the home was sold when his mother died at the age of 84 but was bought by Eddie’s brother Frank, so it still remains a Vagg house).

Eddie tells the story that his mother looked after his grandmother in her old age and the grandmother always promised her daughter an overseas trip after her death. The grandmother lived to be 104 so Eddie’s mother had to wait for her trip but she did eventually get it! While he was living at Hampton Road he started attending St Paul’s. At that time there were two services, one at 11am and Evensong.

Apparently attendance was low in the late 1950s. There were three services on Sundays, one at 7.30 am, one at 11am and Evensong, but the llam service was dropped because there were so few in the congregation. Eddy said as soon as he became a regular worshipper he was ‘shang-hai-ed’ into becoming a Vestry Committee member (now our Parish Council) and also secretary of the Men’s Club. Mr Fred Lavery, who was a sitting member of the State Legislative Council, tried to increase the membership by different campaigns.

Arthur Rawlinson, who was an old church member and Secretary of the Vestry Committee and also of the Gymnasium Club, apparently had a fit when it was suggested that one or two women be added to the number as there was a shortage of men for the traditionally male Vestry. Eventually women were elected. Mr Billy Lee started a parish paper called The Parishioner, which had its text produced on a duplicating machine with the cover printed professionally in Fremantle. When Billy Lee left Eddie inherited the job of producing the paper and when Arthur Rawlinson died he also inherited the positions of secretary to the Vestry and secretary to the Gymnasium Club.

One initiative of the Men’s Club was a project to refurbish the Parish Hall. The men voted in favour but, when the matter came up before the Vestry committee, the very same men had to vote against the project due to shortage of funds. It seems that some parish problems are ongoing.

One very significant event that occurred in Eddie’s time was the moving of the altar. In the original Sanctuary the altar had been fixed to the wall so the priest had his back to the congregation during the consecration of the Host. This was the usual practice of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic churches. As Vestry secretary it was Eddie’s job to write to the Archbishop for permission to move the altar. This move was carried out in 1981, into the position it now is, where the priest faces the congregation during the consecration. The men who helped with the project included Joe Ould, Don Graham and Arthur Chadwick .

An attempt was also made to update the Parish roll, using the Weld scheme. There was a dinner and then a meeting at the South Fremantle Yacht Club inviting people back to church and to pledge regular donations to support the church. There was also general approval for the idea of a team to go round and see parishioners to involve them on this scheme. Don Graham was involved in the project and his wife, Eddie, was the recorder who also counted the donations. Eddie recalls that the idea was not as successful as hoped!

Gradually things changed. The Rev. Ernest Dunbury discontinued The Parishioner and put out a news sheet himself. The parish amalgamated with St John’s in 1974 for financial reasons. Subsequently, St Peter’s and St Mark’s, Palmyra amalgamated as well to form the Parish of Fremantle. St Paul’s has since become a separate Parish again.

Eddie then became a sidesperson, handing out the hymn books and greeting people at the front door, which he still enjoys doing in turn with others. He was missed recently when he had eye surgery, but returned his usual cheerful, smiling self.

Kath Chadwick
An Interview with Susan Grace

SG Kath, I would like to ask you some questions about your early life at St. Paul’s. Firstly, when did you first attend St. Paul’s?

KC In October in 1925. That gives my age away doesn’t it? It has been a secret for years.

SG Don’t worry, I won’t say a word. Were you attending Sunday School?

KC Yes, Sunday School was well attended. We received ‘encouragement’ stickers and cards for attendance, learning the Catechism, the Creed, Lord’s Prayer and later Bible study. We also learned children’s hymns. Then there was the Girls’ Friendly Society; Mothers’ Union, all well attended, working tirelessly for the church. They were all good friends. My family lived across the road from the church. My Dad was a tenor in the church choir, my mother always took us to Evensong at 7.00p.m. During the sermon the lights were turned off in the church; the only light was over the pulpit. As children, we would be inclined to nod off to sleep. The sermons were so boring the church was so dark. I sang in the choir before I was married. The women wore white gowns with a pointed black collar and black mortar boards for the head gear. The men wore black cassocks and white surplisses. The organ was powered by bellows, so there was usually a young lad to pump the organ. One boy was paid 6 shillings a year, paid by a parishioner. The choir pews were each side of the original sanctuary, and the altar was fixed to the back wall.

SG Was there a strong sense of community spirit?

KC Yes, we didn’t know anything else as during the depression years people helped each other, sharing whatever they could spare.

SG Do you remember the Rector?

KC Yes, the Rev F Bowen, a bachelor. He stayed for many years. After that there were a number of rectors; some stayed longer than others, all with different styles of ministry. There were no microphones, so the Rector had to speak clearly and project his voice to be heard.

We didn’t dare move from our seats. There was no passing of the Peace to each other. One of the pews in the church has my initials there. I would have been in serious trouble if my mother had known.

SG Was there much Lay Ministry/Pastoral Assistance in the church service?

KC No, the Rector conducted all the service, though on some occasions there was an Altar Boy. The church cleaning was done with brooms and mops (no vacuum cleaners or polishers). The brass cleaning was done weekly and flowers weekly. Some people had gardens then. My parents used to grow flowers for the church.

SG Were you married in the church?

KC Yes. Married to Arthur; baptised as an infant; confirmed at the age of 12 yrs. Although I lived opposite the church, I had a taxi ride around the block to be married to Arthur.

SG Did your husband come from the congregation?

KC No. Arthur was in the country working from the age of 15 years. Then he was in the Army for 4 years. When we met, we were engaged in October and married in the following May. Arthur’s family attended St. Paul’s regularly. After we were married, Arthur was on the Vestry as Rector’s Warden for a number of years. When St. Paul’s became part of the Fremantle Parish, Arthur was a representative from St. Paul’s on the Parish Council. The church property extended further south where the two houses are now. The blocks were sold for financial reasons. That took away the open space around the church where previously there was plenty of room to move around. Also the grounds were low maintenance, easy to keep tidy.

SG How would you compare your church life then to now?

KC On a personal level, the community spirit is still alive. Somehow St. Paul’s has survived the high and low years. There was no such event as Sunday morning teas after the service. People did chat after the service before leaving on their way. To fund raise there were community concerts with talent quests, children’s plain and fancy dress balls, socials, bazaars. I began playing badmington at about 17 years. I retired when I began to slow down. I was Captain of the 1st Beaconsfield Guide Co. We used to meet at the church hall.

Other interests were the Church of England Boys’ Society, Church of England Men’s Society, Young Mothers’ Union group we had one time. Upon reflection, St. Paul’s has been part of my life for ever.

Helga Hale

Helga was born in 1918 and was soon after baptised into the Church at St. Paul’s Beaconsfield. Her father taught Sunday School at the church and was also a Vestry Man.Helga later became a member of the Girls’ Friendly Society. Her family lived in Douro Rd and they walked to church every Sunday. She says she never had any boyfriends because she was “too tied to my mother’s apron strings”. She has reamained a much loved and faithful member of St Paul’s ever since.

Phyllis Marchant
An Interview with Kath Jordan

Phyllis was born in Beaconsfield on 5 September 1912 and has lived in the area all her life. Her family lived at 61 Swanbourne Street and she was the oldest of five children, the only girl among four brothers. She was baptised a year or so later by the Rev. Fred Bowen at St Paul’s and in due course was confirmed by Archbishop Riley when she was about 12. Phyllis, like all the other girls, wore white dresses and veils for the confirmation ceremony.

She remembers very vivdly four precepts her father taught her as secrets for a successsful life. 1. Be honest. 2. Be hardworking. 3 Be reliable. 4. Be humble. Phyllis says she has never forgotten these rules and has always tried to live by them.

Phyllis also remembers her 21st birthday party which was celebrated at St Paul’s church hall. She remembers it being one of the wildest storms for years on that night and she and her family getting absolutely drenched as they walked to the party. Phyllis wore a white crimplene dress trimmed with white swansdown which were completely drenched by the time she arrived. There was a buffet supper to which everyone had brought a ‘plate’, speeches, singing and musical items from guests and dancing, with old fashioned dances like the Canadian Barn dance and waltzes.

After school Phyllis worked as a secretary at Bradshaw’s in Fremantle for a couple of years but her father thought that there were a lot more opportunities in hair-dressing and he arranged for Con Miraglotta to interview Phyllis at Bradshaw’s. Phyllis remembers that Con asked insistently where her father was; Phyllis knew but thought it was no business of Con’s and said that she did not know where he was. Apparently this was a trick question to test Phyllis’s discretion as it was very important in the hair-dressing business that things disclosed by clients during their hair appointments were not divulged or gossiped about. Phyllis said this was very important in those days as there was a famous (or infamous) Over 30s Club which was full of scandal! She also had to treat all clients impartially as, for instance, at one time both the lady mayoress and a notorious prostitute were regular clients of the salon where she was employed, on the corner of High Street opposite the Newcastle Club Hotel.

One anecdote Phyllis recalls from this period is meeting the well known prostitute on the street and greeting her warmly by name. The prostitute was horrified by the harm Phyllis might do to her reputation by this public exchange but Phyllis said she had been taught to treat everyone equally and she would not desist from speaking to her client. Phyllis stayed at this salon for ten years, finishing her apprenticeship and eventually buying the business and running it herself. She sold it to an employee when she got married. In those days married women did not work but stayed home.

Phyllis was married to Fred Oliver Marchant by the Rev Gundry on a beautiful day in October 1940. Because there were so many guests at the wedding, it did not take place at St Paul’s but at St John’s and the reception was held in the Victoria Hall. Phyllis wore a white lace dress and carried a bouquet of frangipani. Her three bridesmaids (now deceased) were Lil Myer, May Caddy and Mary Bampton. Fred was a milk vendor and his business and house were on South Street near the corner of Carrington St. Phyllis and her husband lived there for forty years. After the milk business closed the shop was taken over by a German butchery. The store was only very recently bulldozed. Phyllis and Fred had three children, Barry, Helen and Graeme, and Phyllis remembers that when it came time for their confirmation Barry refused because he said that he was not ready as he did not understand the teachings. Barry became an engineer and now lives in Melbourne. Only in his sixties did he turn back to the church and is now a leading member of St John’s in Melbourne.

Phyllis has very vivid memories of the spiritual and social life of St Paul’s. In the early days it was the only hall in the area and very few people had cars (although Phyllis remembers Mr. Porter senior coming to church in a horse and trap) so it became a centre for the people of Beaconsfield. Parish life was truly a family affair. The whole family, together with their children, came to church regularly and the children were brought to Sunday School by their parents. Phyllis remembers some of the little ones being wheeled in their prams to the 3.30 Sunday school services which was attended by at least 30-50 children. Eunice Sweetman ran the Sunday School program and each Sunday the children would be given a card with a text on it (see page opposite).

St Paul’s was the centre of social life in Beaconsfield. One very popular function was the Parish tea, where the young people were taught to dance. Phyllis remembers being reprimanded when she was twelve by her mother because she did not want to dance with the twelve year old boys! Friendships were formed at these gatherings which lasted right through to adulthood.

Other popular activities at St Paul’s included the Gymnasium Club and the Football Cub. The Gymnasium Club was run by Clem Langley who trained about 30 boys (no girls allowed in those days of course!). Tom Booth and Shem Flindell with his wife Rhona, still come to the Elders Morning Tea. Phyllis remembers when Shem’s sister Bessie was married to Jackeroo at St Paul’s, Mrs Flindell senior was on the steps of the church saying, “You be good to my girl”!

There was a Girls Friendly Society for the girls, a Badminton Club in the hall and a tennis court and basket ball court at the back of the church shaded by an enormous Norfolk pine, which unfortunately became dangerous and had to be cut down. The hard surface of this court is still lying under the sand of the parking area and the steel poles which held the flood lights are still standing outside the hall near the children’s play area.

Phyllis particularly remembers the warm friendly, family atmosphere of St Paul’s and the strong emphasis on family life. The Mothers Union was a very strong group, as is recounted in Val Pearson’s memories. Parish dinners were held every month or so and were humble affairs but very friendlty and held in the supper room (the smaller room off the main hall), which had its own kitchen. Afternoon teas were also held there during the Annual Fairs (called Bazaars) and were an enormously popular event. They went from Friday evening to Saturday and were opened by a political figure. People would write letters asking for donations, including vegetables from the Slav families who had the market gardens in Spearwood. Phyllis ran the Op Shop and said these Bazaar days were great fun.

The overall impression from Phyllis’ memories is of a very family oriented community who not only worshipped together but also played and socialised together.

Joan Matthews

From 1946, I was involved in the Sunday School as Superintendant and over 100 children attended. Classes were held in the Hall, but on special days the children attended church with their parents. In those days Communion was only celebrated once a month. On the other Sundays we had Morning Prayer and Evensong was also held weekly. We had many picnics which were very well attended.

St Paul’s also ran a Girls’ Friendly Society (GFS) and a Church of England Boys’ Society (CEBS). I was leader for twenty senior girls in the GFS and Joan Kossi was leader for the Junior girls. Tennis and Basket Ball were played on a court at the side of the hall.

The Mothers Union met once a month and an event that became the ‘Talk of the Town’ was the annual Luncheon for over one hundred women from all denominations in Fremantle. The food was lovingly prepared by St Paul’s members.

Val Pearson
An Interview with Kath Jordan

Val and her family have had a long and continuous association with St Paul’s. Her mother (Le Boydre) and father were married there in 1923. She is the youngest of their four children, Marjorie, Kathleen, William and Valerie. Val also had two older step-sisters, Winifred and Doris Gilbert both of whom were choir members. Val was born on 31 January 1930 and baptised 2nd March of that year.

She was also confirmed at St Paul’s on 7th November 1947 when she was 17. Val explained that this was a little older than the usual age but at that time some confirmations were held at St John’s and she had two very strong reasons for waiting until St Paul’s had its own confirmation service: one was that she had a close friend who was a few years younger and she wanted to wait for her and the other was that she definitely wanted St Paul’s. Val obviously had strong opinions, even as a teenager. At that time it was customary for the girl candidates to wear white dresses and veils. Val remembers that someone they called Auntie Eunie (Eunice Sweetman) always made sure that all the girls were dressed correctly and that their veils were covering their hair. For her confirmation present from her mother she was given a white leather prayer book which she still has today.

These years were quite busy as Val had commenced employment at the Adelaide Steamship Company. She also taught at Sunday School, was a member of the GFS (Girls’ Friendly Society), formed a Youth Fellowship Group, joined the Badminton Club and collected ABM (Australian Board of Missions) movies.

The Badminton Club was a very important part of the social fabric of St Paul’s. It opened in 1945 but Val did not join until 1948 as she was studying for her Junior exam and wanted to concentrate on her studies. The numbers of the Badminton Club were restricted to 22 (although membership was not restricted to church members) as there was only one court. They competed with many other clubs around Perth and also in the country and were a very successful winning club. Apart from playing 2 or 3 times a week at St Paul’s or other local clubs they also had wonderful social weekends away, from the 1940s through to the 1980s, where they stayed with host families, played badminton and had picnics and parties.

Val met her future husband, Bob Pearson, at the St Paul’s Badminton Club when she was eighteen. Bob proposed within five weeks and they became engaged in 1949 but did not marry until 1951. Val says now that such a long engagement was not easy but when they did marry they had a long and loving relationship until Bob’s death in 1997.

Val and Bob were married on 29 September 1951 in a quiet ceremony. Bob’s family was very small, whereas Val’s was virtually a tribe on its own so they decided to keep the occasion very low key. For five years early in their married life Val and Bob lived at Jandakot and did not worship regularly at St Paul’s but even during these years Val kept in close touch with the community through her association with the Badminton Club.

The appearance of the congregation in the 1950s was very conservative. People tended to be rather formal and it was customary for the men to wear suits and the women to wear hats and gloves. The service followed the Anglican ritual and the hymns were traditional ones. There was a very strong choir. Val’s father, Fred Gilbert, was the tenor and Cyril Hale (Helga Hale’s uncle) the baritone. The organists included Lorraine Hale, who died recently in May 2005. The choir wore mortar boards and surplices in the 1950s. By the 1960s they had dropped the mortar boards for a small hat but they still wore the surplices.

The church between the 1930s and 1980s was very family oriented and the congregation included all ranges of age from the young to the very old. St Paul’s had some families who maintained very strong links with the church. These included the Gilbert, Flindell, Rawlinson, Bellamy, Mills, MacRae and Hale families.

One very strong feature of St Paul’s was the Mothers Union (see photo page 9). The Union was formed during the 19th century in England in order to support young families and to bring children into the love and faith of the church. It was not a fund raising group but had a very serious spiritual and moral basis. Each meeting began with a short service in the church, followed by the Mothers Union prayer and reading of the statement of their aim and purpose. They were very forthright and dedicated ladies but very caring. Not only did they look after their own members but were responsible for visiting any parishioner who was sick or needed help. Some baptisms were carried out during the MU service.

Val first joined the Mothers Union branch at Spearwood in 1960 but later she joined the St Paul’s Branch and was a secretary for many years. Over the years members gradually lost interest as many of the younger mothers were working. The last meetings at St Paul’s were held in 1985.

For many years there were concerts and socials and, of course, the Annual Bazaar. The concerts were usually held on Tuesday nights and drew very much from parish talent, with a few outsiders contributing. The Bazaar would commence at 2pm on the Friday and last until about 9pm on the Saturday. For the socials the floor would be waxed and there was some really wonderful dancing. For a few weeks afterwards, however, the Badmintonton Club was not very happy as the players would slip during play.

During World War I the Rev Fred Bowen was Rector. He was a Home Service Army Chaplain and his sad job was to receive information of the men killed in the War and tell their families. The Parish at that time extended from Beaconsfield to Rockingham and there are the names of 89 men killed during WWI on the Honour Board in St Paul’s.

Val’s two sons were both baptised at St Paul’s. John was born on 9th May 1952 and Allan on 11th June 1953. Val’s sister Margorie had a newborn daughter Dawn who was baptised in the same ceremony as Alan. They both wore the same white smocked dress bought by Val’s mother.

Altogether, Val has calculated the Gilbert family has had 12 weddings and 25 baptisms performed at St Paul’s. Val has been a lifelong dedicated member of the Parish of St Paul’s. Today she volunteers three mornings a week in the parish office, where she works helping to keep the threads of our community well knitted together.

Elsa Macrae
An Interview with Susan Grace

EM I was born on the 8 May 1908 and baptised at St Paul’s on 6 June of the same year. I still have my baptism and confirmation certificates.

SG How far back do your memories take you?

EM Back to when we went to church at 10am on Sunday and Sunday School in the afternoon at 3pm. You know where the font is? The painting on the wall there was paid for by the children of the Sunday School. They saved their money for that. It was a war memorial. The bell is also a war memorial given by a Mrs McGuire and on the bell is written “Eva McGuire gave me in memory of our valiant dead.” Not many people know that is on the bell.

SG Can you remember much detail about what the Service was like?

EM Well the Service hadn’t been changed since 1966. It was when Mr Davies was there that they started to change the Service. We went down to Rockingham for a camp on a long weekend. He tried us out with the new Service and we all went for it. It has changed a couple of times since then.

SG Many of your early years were during the Depression. Did that make much impact on your lives within the church?

EM It didn’t make much difference to people in the church. We had a fete every year. The Governor of Western Australia used to come and open the fete. When I was growing up we had Mr Bowen who was there for 23 years. We were always hard up but we always had a lot of fun. It was only when Brian McGowan came that we went in with St John’s because we were ready to close up pretty well and we were trying hard to stay open, so we joined with St John’s and that kept us going. Then when Peter came, he was very keen and that is what we wanted, somebody to get us going. If you like the Priest it makes a lot of difference. You work with them.

SG Did most of your friends come from within the church?

EM Yes. Church was where we found our entertainment. We didn’t have much money. Even if you had a job, you didn’t have much money. I belonged to GFS and Mothers’ Union. Of course we had a dance every Friday or Saturday night. Somebody played the piano and all the young ones would go. If they wanted to raise a bit of money they used to have what they called “The Popular Girl”. One of the girls would be the “Popular Girl” and they would have parties and we’d put in sixpence or a shilling or what you could afford. In my first job I only got 10 shillings a week. We had a lot of fun. It was our social centre. The mothers and fathers came to the dances too. Helga’s aunty used to sing at the concerts. She always sang the same song.

SG Did you find any boyfriends at church?

EM Yes. My first boyfriend Alan Flindal came from church. I was 17. Goodness that is 80 years ago! It seems a long time ago.

SG Did you marry any one from church?

EM No, I married a Scotsman. He lived in Mt Lawley; I lived in South Fremantle and we used to go Perth to the pictures. After we married we lived in Mt Lawley and he went into the army but when bombs started getting dropped I thought I would go home. Then when he came out of the army there was no talk of us moving so we went on living in Fremantle.

SG Have the church buildings changed much since you were young?

EM Not much. When Brian was there we decided something had to be done to the inside of the church. There was never any money to do much but we painted the inside of the church. The pews had been done in a dark green which had been there since the church was opened. They had been scratched with kids’ initials so they were all taken out and stripped back to what they are now. The Ladies’ Guild, of which I was a member, put the carpet down that is there now; fans up on the wall; the shelves where the books are kept. Generally brought it up to date and put some new windows in.

SG With the church turning 100, you at 97 would have been there almost from the beginning.

EM When my family came out from England, a hundred years ago last year, they worshipped in the hall before the church was built. But the hall was very tatty and old. It looks very beautiful now. There have been many good times had in that hall. Mr Bellamy lived at the back of the church. Mrs. Bellamy was a Sweetman. They lived next door to where Christabel lives. It was beautiful block of land but there is all sorts of stuff built on it now. Mr. Bellamy made an opening in the back fence, because they knew the neighbours so they could get in and out without having to walk all the way around.

They (the church) were going to build where there used to be tennis courts (now car park) out the back. They were going to build a row of little houses there for church people. I considered it and thought it would be alright for me. But then if you live too close you get all the jobs. I did the church cleaning for 40 years – the flowers, the brass.

It is good to have your friends at church. I remember the day Joan Matthews came to church when Mr Bush was there. That was 50 years ago because we celebrated our 50th anniversary then. Lots of people came back. We had a big marque on the lawn. I can remember Joan coming with her 3 children.

I watched the Gilbert kids grow up since they were born. They lived opposite. Mr Gilbert was a lovely man. He was always there with a hammer in his hand ready to do a job. He made the forms to sit on and the tables we had in those days.

SG What a wonderful history at St Paul’s.

EM Yes, we always got on. No matter what problems came up. We were that hard up. The Ladies’ Guild used to have a stall on a Saturday afternoon and the money we made we’d give away. We just seemed always to rise again after we went down. There are now lots of families that come from all over. When we had a big congregation they all lived around the church. The Gilberts lived across the road; the Bellamys lived over the back. We were like a little community. After the war the older ones moved away into smaller homes and new ones have come in who are Catholics and so don’t come to St Paul’s.

SG Was there always a good prayer life?

EM We used to have bible study at my place which Joan used to take. We had the bible study every Monday and we prayed too. We were very committed and we always had a good time together.

Honour Board Revisited
by Andrew Shack

The words that run across the bottom of the Honour Board, to our post modern 21st Century ears may sound overly pious. Nevertheless I am sure they were the very sincere wishes of a society traumatised by grief.

Who were the 89 men listed on the St Paul’s Honour Board who join us, if not in spirit but name only, each Sunday morning and every time we gather in the church? The Honour Board was commissioned by the St Paul’s community of the early 1920’s as a memorial for their men who didn’t come home after the First World War, the so called “Great War” of 1914-18.

Memorials and Honour Boards were built and installed all over Australia after World War One, from small hamlets to capital cities, varying in scale in proportion to the size of the community who commissioned them. Apart from paying honour to a man’s name, they provided a very real function. Many parents and relatives knew they would never have the opportunity to go to Gallipoli or Flanders to visit their son’s grave, if indeed he had one. Visiting a memorial and reading a name helped give closure and the possibility of some solace.

At first the allusiveness of trying to find out the exact process of how the men were nominated for the Honour Board irked me. Were they all local men who had gone to St Paul’s all their lives or were some of them relatives of parishioners, who came from other parts of Western Australia? I read through George Paynter’s notes that he compiled on the 89 men from the National War Memorial database. George’s research tells us each mans name, age, where he enlisted, his parents’ address, his rank, unit and where he is buried, if he has a known grave. Reading through the names I gradually let go and accepted that some of the process was a mystery and may always remain a mystery.

One could be certain of two things: the 89 men named on the Honour Board came from the 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War. And secondly, they had a connection with St Paul’s, Beaconsfield.

Lt-Colonel John Tick (retired), who gave the address during the Memorial Service on Anzac Eve, provided details of the 89 men, which gave us a good “snap shot” of the demographics of WWI AIF recruits and the society they came from. Fremantle’s population, like many towns in WA, reflected the Gold Rush boom of the 1890’s and subsequent decade. As a sea port and gateway town, Fremantle had a very large transitory population. Many of the men were born in the Eastern States or Britain and had come to WA as children with their families or as young men in the early 1900’s. One of the 89 was born in Canada. Some went to Beaconsfield Primary School. Some played football for South Fremantle and we know of one who was married in St Paul’s the same year he was killed in France. The descendants and relatives of some of the men still attend St Paul’s today and the majority list Fremantle addresses for their parents residences.

I recently read a very helpful essay by Joan Beaumont, Professor of History at Deakin University, comparing the effects on Australian society of the two World Wars. The essay provided good background information to put WWI and memorials into perspective. Professor Beaumont believes that, paradoxically, WWI eclipses WWII in giving Australians their national memory of war, despite the truly world wide scale of WWII.

“The first world war has dominated Australian memory of war, at least at a collective level,” Professor Beaumont writes. She believes this is the case for several reasons. First, Australia’s role in the final campaigns of 1918, where Australia’s part can be reasonably claimed to have been instrumental in Allied victory, can be compared to WWII, where Australia was directly threatened, but her role was progressively marginalised in the offensive against Japan.

Secondly, WWI gave birth to the ANZAC legend, which defined the model of the Australian soldier, with qualities that celebrate resourcefulness, laconic humour and above all mateship. The main reason she believes WWI dominates Australians’ memory of war; is the scars it left physically and socially on Australian society, which were greater than from WWII. From a country of less than 5 million people in 1914, over 330,000 Australians served overseas. Of these nearly 60,000 died and 156,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

It is not hard to see that many families suffered bereavement and anguish, leaving Australia society a young nation traumatised by grief.

Some 90 years or so later, in our St Paul’s Centenary Year, we are now starting to understand the effects and costs of the First World War. For the survivors and families, these memories were possibly just too painful and raw to come to terms with during the war years of 1914-18 and the years directly after.

End