St. Andrew's Church - Clifton

ST Andrew's Church - Clifton & Allora

[This article was first published as a booklet to mark the 75th anniversary of the building of the Presbyterian church at Clifton.]


It is often a worry for people in the Church as to what will happen in the future. The younger generation always seems to show so little interest in the things of God. How often did those who founded the Presbyterian Church at Clifton despair of the future.

However, each generation has risen to the challenge and maintained the church fellowship. Sometimes this is done more strongly than at other times, but God has his faithful people in each generation.

It is good to remember the past. Let it challenge us in the present to go on strongly in the Church. Let us all look to the future with confidence and know that future generations will look back at us also and thank God for his faithful people.

Rev. John S. Thompson
The Manse
32 Cranley Street

28th February 1984


8 Hampshire Street
February 1984

There are a number of people I wish to thank for their help in the production of this booklet. They are:

  • My wife for typing of both rough draft and final copy;
  • Rev. & Mrs. J.S. Thompson for the use of their Electric Typewriter;
  • Mr. John Stewart for taking many excellent photographs;
  • Mr. Greg. Saville, Session Clerk, Clifton Church for very willing co-operation;
  • Mrs. May Grimes for helpful advice and loan of material;
  • Mrs. D. Bishop for the loan of material and other assistance;
  • Mr. Jack Hinz for the loan of material;
  • Mr. Joseph Tee, Home Missionary, Clifton;
  • Rev. Joan Johansen, Uniting Church, Allora;
  • Mrs. Sue Mann and Mrs. Elly Bulmer, Archives Department, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education;
  • Mr. Roy Wright for art work on the cover
  • Rev. John Gillanders, whose Centenary Booklet of the Allora and District Presbyterian Charge (1973) was referred to almost constantly.

John Clements


The reason for the publication of this fine book of a past era of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Clifton is the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of our church building. Yes! 75 years this fine building has stood as a witness of our Presbyterian faith in Clifton.

Although our Presbyterian Church was established earlier than this in Clifton the building was inadequate in size, so our present church was built in the foresight of our earlier members.

It has continued throughout the years and with the faith and guidance of Elder Mr. W. Bishop continued as a Presbyterian Church at the time of union with renewed faith.

This book has been printed to re-live and keep forever some of the trials and achievements of previous relatives, Ministers and former Presbyterians in the Clifton District.

I sincerely thank Mr. John Clements for many hours of sorting through piles of materials, Minute Books, newspaper clippings etc. to compile this worthy history book; also to Mr. John Stewart for his eagerness in taking photos of the buildings, people, Sunday School classes and photos from old photographs. I thank you both for your generous efforts. Without your help this book would not be possible.

Thank you to the congregation, friends for information and photos and if we have missed any information please tell us so we can record it for our Centennial year.

Thanks can only go to our Heavenly Father for the faith that He has bestowed upon us all.



Joseph King and Charles Sibley were the first settlers in the Clifton area. They settled on the banks of King's Creek in November 1840, probably close to where King's Creek Railway Station was placed.

King and Sibley sold the station, called King's Creek then, in 1841 to Sir Francis Forbes, Australia's Chief Justice. He sold it to John March, a cousin, in 1842. March renamed the holding 'Clifton Station' in honour of his birthplace. In addition to March, owners of the station between 1842 and 1853 were Phillip Pinnock, Cambell and George Gammie.

In 1853, on the death of Gammie, W.B. Tooth bought the 89,600 acre station. Tooth replaced the 10,000 head of cattle running on the station with sheep. Clifton had the reputation of grazing the largest number of sheep on any property on the Downs 150,000 head were shorn on the station for many years. Clifton Station was owned by Tooth until his death in 1876. At this time he was 90,000 pound sterling in debt to the Bank of New South Wales. The bank owned the station from 1876 to 1889.

The railway line, which was surveyed in 1866, divided Clifton Station into two. The Government resumed the land to the east of the proposed line.

Clifton township started when the railway line was opened in 1869 by G.T. Weale of Toowoomba. In that year James Mowen built a store and hotel alongside the railway line. The township was surveyed in 1875. In 1876 Clifton was basically a railway hamlet with a population of 48. By 1891 Clif ton, with a population of 278, was the fifth largest town on the Darling Downs. The town had three stores, three hotels, a bank branch, four churches, a State School, Post Office, School of Arts and 14 tradesmen in 1893. The town takes its name from Clifton Station.


Clifton Township


Rev. Gillanders states in his book that the Gammie brothers, very early settlers on Clifton Station. were the first Scots Presbyterians in the area.

Rev. Thomas Kingsford, born in Portsmouth, England and a United Presbyterian Church Minister, arrived in Moreton Bay on board Dr. John Dunmore Lang's second migrant ship the "Chaseley" in 1849. He took up his first charge at Ipswich, but in 1851 was appointed first minister at Warwick.

In those early days, Thomas Kingsford tended to move his base from place to place - to Clifton Station (probably in 1851), back to Warwick, then to Toolburra while his house was being built at Warwick.

Rev. Kingsford and Parson B. Glennie of the Anglican Church, were two great pioneers who travelled the Downs and beyond. They travelled by horse and by foot when necessary. They counselled, encouraged, baptised, married and buried on their way through the countryside. Rev. Kingsford resigned the Warwick Charge because of ill health on 3rd January 1866. He was placed in the less onerous Charge of Allora and remained there until 1873 or l878. He died in Warwick on 2nd October 1882.


Rev. James B. Morrow


Rev. James B. Morrow was appointed to the Allora Charge in 1888. During his ministry great emphasis was placed on the outer centres of the Charge. A newspaper report in March l89u stated "The recent land sale was a fair success considering the weather. Nearly all were local buyers. The Presbyterians were very fortunate to secure an allotment at the upset price, and rumour says they are going to build on it very shortly."


First Clifton Church built 1890

Despite extensive searches of newspapers and other records it has not been possible to find a record of the exact date of the opening of the church - which was located in Gammie Street, Clifton. The Charge suffered a great loss when Rev. Morrow died aged 37 years of age on 8th December 1893. A newspaper report at the time said that Rev. Morrow had died at Goodna.

Abou t three weeks prior to his death the progress of brain disease unhinged his mind. He was sent to the hospital, where he died. Rev. Morrow was described as a "brother beloved, an efficient co-Presbyter and a faithful and successful minister."

"The congregation, with other friends in the town and district, erected a memorial headstone on his grave in the Allora Cemetery at a clost of 49 pounds 9 shillings and ninepence. There is no record of any financial assistance being given to his family.

Rev. Richard Bardon says in his book that the Clifton Church opened in 1890. Rev. Gillanders also said that a Church was opened free of debt in 1890. The church held one Sunday Service per month and was expected to contribute 30 pound sterling towards the stipend of the Allora Charge Minister.

Rev. Watson came from Goondiwindi to Allora in 1894. As Goondiwindi could not pay his arrears of stipend he brought their horse and buggy with him! The Allora Charge deteriorated rapidly financially, spirit¬ually and in numbers. In 1896 Presbytery rebuked all parties, including the minister. Mr. Watson offered to resign after being paid his arrears of stipend, which was finally paid when a church was mortgaged!

By 1897 there was no organised congregation at Clifton. Rev. Watson then left for Victoria or America in August 1897.

Rev. Smiley was inducted in January 1898 and married in 1899. The Allora Charge financial situation improved, but the situation was still not ideal. He travelled widely in the Charge - preaching centres were opened at Nobby and Cambooya and re-organised at Back Plains and Clifton.

Rev. Smiley was described as an ardent prophet who called on people to repent with tears streaming down his own cheeks and scarcely a dry eye in the congregation! He resigned the Charge in November 1904.

The first available admission register for St.Andrew's gives the following names as being admitted before 1900 No.l Jas.T. Provan, Bookseller, Admitted August 1898 Mrs. provan, August 1898; Robert White - Farmer, August 1899; Maas H. Hinz, Retired Farmer – August 1898; Mrs. Hinz, August 1898 and Mrs. R.C.Bishop, March 1898.

Rev. McLennan was a man of vision who inspired his people to "attempt big things for God, expect big things from God" (William Carey) He was inducted into the Allora Charge in 1905. Giving, increased threefold under Rev. McLennan's guidance.

Clifton sold the church site (1906?) in Gammie Street for 45 pounds and bought an acre in a better area for 100 pounds. The church was moved from its site in Gammie Street to the present site by a team of sixteen horses. Mr. W. Bishop (Senior), present at the 1959 Jubilee Celebrations, remembered the occasion quite well. He also recalled holding a lantern for the carpenter, so that the damage caused in the church move could be repaired in time for Sunday Services.


The tiny church moved from Gammie Street was proving too small for the numbers attending church.
A new church was therefore built on the same site.

The successful contractor was Mr. Stay of Allora. The floor has a vestry 'raised to 6 feet. A noticeable feature of the building is its great height compared to its size. This ensures breathing space and ventilation. The church proper, which seats 300, was built on 4 feet piles with the session house and slope from the main entrance to the back, which ensures a full view from every seat. A small round tower on the front part of the roof gives the building a striking appearance.


Mr. H.W. Stay - builder of church


Church being built in 1909

The building was opened on Wednesday, 3rd March 1909 by the Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, the Rt. Rev. Peter Robertson. The attendance exceeded 300, the majority of whom were ladies. Among the visitors were Mr. F.Crayson, M.L.A., Ald. Shilliday, Mayor of Warwick and Ald. McMillan, Mayor of Allora.

The Moderator dedicated the church then unlocked the doors to music from Miss Adie (Organist) and Messrs. A.Cunningham and H.H.Dean (Violins). The Opening Service was then held with the Moderator being assisted by Rev.D. McLennan. The Choir, under H.H.Dean sang suitable anthems and Mr. R. Phillips gave a sacred solo. The Rt. Rev. Robertson addressed the congregation, taking for his text Colossians Chapter 1, verse 28 'that men should make themselves perfect by strictly following the teachings and example of the Saviour.'

Among the parishioners who took an active part in the proceedings were Messrs. R. Bishop, A. Duncan, W. McKee, T. Graham, R.T. White and D. Gunn.

A social evening was held that night with numerous speeches and musical items being provided. During the evening the Rev. McLennan presented Mr. J.T. Provan with a photo of himself in recognition of the services he had rendered - not only in connection with the new church, but also as secretary of the church.

First Wedding in New Church

Mr. & Mrs. W. Bishop (Snr.) were the first couple married in the new church. They were married on 7th April 1909 and were presented with a Bible by Mr. Provan on behalf of St.Andrew's to mark the occasion. On June 21st 1911 Rev. McLennan called a meeting of members and adherents. He explained that he had been in the Charge over six years. He had been asked by the Clifton Elders, in the event of a separation, which charge he would choose to serve as minister.


Mr. & Mrs. Bishop (Snr.) on their Wedding Day


Church recently completed.

The Clifton Church progressed rapidly within the next two years.

In June 1911 some 55 Clifton families asked Presbytery to proclaim them a separate charge with right to call their own minister. Their income was about 210 pounds sterling per year and they would provide a house for the minister. Allora offered no objection to Clifton disjoining from the Allora Charge.

Rev.McLennan was given his choice between the two charges. He liked to face difficulties and had indicated that, if presbytery gave him a choice, he would accept Clifton. Clifton had no manse, a debt of 100 pounds on the property and with a smaller number of church members. Allora had a manse and no debt. He thought that from a sense of duty he might do more effective work in the new parish. Several Allora Charge Leaders spoke of the esteem in which Rev. & Mrs. McLennan were held.


Rev. McLennan, with the approval of Presbytery, was inducted into his new Charge in August 1911. A manse was rented for 30 pounds per annum in Spring Creek Road.. It is understood that the manse was later bought by the church then sold for 100 pounds about sixty years ago to Mr.& Mrs. N. Telford of Spring Creek. The house was moved by two traction engines.

Clifton Charge was declared to be the Parish of Stephens, Elphinstone, Table Top, Clifton and Tooth with the exception of those portions north of Mount Kent Road. One of Mr. McLennan's duties during 1911 was to farewell two energetic members of the congregation, Mr. & Mrs, A.H. Smith. A social evening was held where Rev. McLennan, on his own behalf, presented Mr. Smith with several volumes of Dr. Lang's History of Australia. Mr. Provan and Mr. Harkiss also spoke with regret at the departure of Mr. & Mrs.Smith.


The church debt was 180 pounds at the end of 1912.
There were six elders and twelve managers.
Fifty people con¬tributed to the sustentation fund.

As well as women's and temperance groups, a literary and debating society was in existence. Services were held at Clifton, Back Plains, Pilton and Spring Creek.

Average attendances were: Morning 80, Afternoon 25, Evening 70
Sixty people were on the Communion Roll, with 65 ¬
The Sunday School had 5 teachers with 58 children on the ro11.
The return for 1913 added that additional property in the Charge included land at Pilton for church purposes.

Rev. Donald McLennan continued to minister in Clifton until early 1914 when he moved interstate. He had been Clerk of the Presbytery of Toowoomba and was Queensland Moderator in 1910.
In February 1914, presbytery recorded a lengthy minute of appreciation of his work.


Rev. McLennan recorded his first baptisms at Clifton on 3rd December 1911.
Muriel Adeline, daughter of Karl and May Hoffman was baptised, as well as Amanda Claudia, daughter of W.H. Schwitzer.

The register's last entry is 13th July 1917. Most baptisms at that time were performed in the parents's home.


Rev. Sinclair was ordained in 1914 and was appointed minister of the charge in May of that year. No information has been discovered about his time in the charge, except that from statistical returns it appears that numbers attending church services were down when compared with 1912. The returns also indicated that the number of Presbyterian families in the Clifton - Pilton - Back Plains area was insufficient to meet the financial committments (including payments still owing on the church building). Mr. Sinclair resigned the charge in February 1916. In 1929 he was appointed State Moderator for a term. He died on 7th July 1951


For most of 1916 and part of 1917 spasmodic services were held in the church.
Services were taken by supply ministers obtained from other places. Early in March 1917, arrangements were made with Rev. J.Elphinstone Moffatt for supply. Session stated how pleased they were with Rev. Moffatt's work after 12 months supply. He was a faithful worker and sacrificed himself in many ways to make his work a success. Session also noted an improvement in attendance at Communion Services.


Interior of church including part of wooden ceiling.

Services were conducted at Clifton on both Sunday Morning and Evenings.

The Afternoon Service at Lower Pilton was discontinued because a house was not available.

Back Plains was given the extra service with services held fortnightly at Back Plains and Upper Plains.

The 1917 Report also expressed deepest sympathy to the relatives of Robert McConnell Stephen and H. Morris, who were killed on active service.

Members of Session in 1917 were the Ministers, Messrs. R.T. White; E.C. Bradbury; A. Duncan; G.H. Wright and J.T. Provan (Session Clerk).

During 1918 the Session Report regretted the fact that a number of families have left the district, many of them being good workers. They particularly regretted the loss of the late Treasurer, Mr. J.R. Harkiss, who had been closely connected with the church for many years and was a tower of strength in financial matters. It is not known exactly when or why Rev. Elphinstone Moffatt left the Charge, but perhaps financial problems in the Charge may have been a factor.


In October 1920 the Clifton congregation asked to be united again with Allora because there was no possibility of calling an ordained minister (financial reasons?). After much deliberation it was agreed that Clifton become part of the Allora Charge again - as from 1st January 1923 (?)
Clifton undertook to raise 100 pounds or more to assist with the minister's stipend. Also a motor vehicle was to be purchased by the Charge because of extra travelling involved.

Rev. G Cameron-Wood therefore became Minister with oversight of Clifton as well as Allora - he was inducted into the Allora Charge on 30th November 1920. He was a respected minister of the charge which prospered under his guidance.

Rev. Cameron-Wood left the charge to go interstate in late 1923. ¬His departure was a sad occasion for all his congregation.


The relationship between Allora and Clifton, as from 1st January 1923 was never officially recognised by Presbytery and Assembly.

After Allora made a call to Rev. Alfred Hadden in 1924 they heard that Clifton intended withdrawing from the Allora Charge. A special meeting involving presbytery was called at Allora.

Clifton remained as it had existed legally a separate Home Mission Station, yet for practical purposes it functioned as part of Allora. From time to time in the next ten years, dissatisfaction was expressed in Presbytery Meetings that Clifton had no Committee or Session. However, no satisfactory solution was ever reached.


Mrs. E.M. Linnett first attended the Clifton Church in 1928. Rev. Hadden persuaded her to open the Sunday School in the tiny old church. Mrs. Linnett later left the district then returned when she married Stan Linnett. She taught Sunday School again until family demands made it impossible to do so


Rev. Hadden was born in Co. Tyrone, Ireland in 1888. He was a Minister in Northern Ireland before migrating to the United States, where he served in a Colarado Church.


Rev. A. Hadden

In 1923 Rev. Hadden came to Australia. He supplied briefly in the Charters Towers Charge, before becoming Minister of the Allora Charge in 1924. He remained in the charge until his retirement in 1956. While Minister he served as State Moderator in 1940 and as Moderator of the newly-formed Warwick Presbytery in 1950. When Rev. Hadden died in 1967, the Rev. Richard Bardon said, in part: Mr. Hadden was Minister of the Church in Allora for more than thirty years, and the congregation soon became aware that a man of God had come amongst them. All the desire of his heart was to fulfil the commission of His Lord 'Feed my Lambs' - 'Feed My Sheep.' He fed his flock with the finest of wheat and with honey out of the rock… . ."

Mr. Hadden's most eloquent speech was his life. From Allora he went regularly to the Presbyterian Girls's College in Warwick, and has left a fragrant memory in the hearts of the girls who were enriched by his gracious commendation of the Word of God.

Rev. Hadden's ashes were placed under the bell tower of what was then the Allora Presbyterian Church in July 1968.


Many books for this period are believed to have been burned in a house fire. A Committee Meeting on 13th May 1936 recorded with regret the death of Mr. D. Imhoff, a church member. At the same meeting a letter was written requesting a Home Missionary at Clifton or alternatively a reorganisation of services with Allora.

For the visit of the State Moderator in July 1936, Miss Provan consented to form and lead a Junior Choir About the same time a quote was accepted for installation of electric light in the Church and Hall:

4 lights in Church: 11 pounds 10 shillings
2 lights in hall: 3 pounds 10 shillings
Monthly minimum charge of 3shillings

Mr. & Mrs. Drummond were thanked in April 1937 by the Committee of Management and Guild respectively for their good work on both organisations.

Rev. Hadden was presented with a wallet of notes by his parishioners in April 1938. The presentation was made on the eve of his departure for a seven months holiday overseas. His health had never been good (Tuberculosis) and reports indicate that for many years he lived with less than one lung in operation.

Prior to their departure from C1ifton in April 1938 Mr. & Mrs. Jas. T. Provan were entertained at St.Andrew's. Rev. Hadden, on behalf of the members, paid a tribute to them, and made particular mention of their church work over many years. He wished them both good health and happiness in the eventide of their lives.

As with Mr. & Mrs. Drummond, Mr. & Mrs. Nichol were thanked by letter in September 1938, for their help to the Church. The financial statement to June 1939 reveals some interesting accounts:

The Electric Light Bill for period Jan-May - 15 shillings
Shire Rates - 2 pounds 6 shillings and tenpence

The Ladies's Guild made 2 shillings and 1 penny from a Street Stall and 1 pound ten shillings and 6 pence from the sale of fancy-work.

Some members at this time donated items such as turkeys, wheat and barley for sale on behalf of the church.

A special meeting was held in 1942 to advise members that, owing to blackout regulations, services would be held in the afternoon and that slit trenches were to be dug in church grounds

A letter of sympathy was sent to Rev. Hadden in April 1943 regarding his prolonged illness. The Rev. W. Milne of the Church of England was thanked for performing the burial of a Presbyterian Church adherent whilst Mr. Hadden was ill.

The 1943 Annual Meeting was told that Clifton owed much to Mrs. O. Laughlin and Mrs. Sobbe for their interest - church attendances had increased from 7 to about 40 and there was now a good guild and growing fellowship.

Clinnock Benson was killed as a result of a shooting accid¬ent in August 1944. The Committee of Management noted his death with regret.

A P.F.A. Choir was formed to provide music for the 1944

Special Services.
These services were a feature over many years. They were very successful in raising much needed funds for the running of the church. Rev. A.M. Martin of St. Andrew's, Toowoomba took the morning special service in 1944 whilst Chaplain Falconer of the Army led the afternoon service.

Before repairs and painting of the church could be carried out in 1944/45, permission was required from the Department of War Organisation of Industry. The local Policeman was the Agent for this Department.

The Superintendent of the Sunday school, Mrs. F.J. Sobbe tendered her resignation to the Committee in December 1944. The Special Service for 1945 was taken by the State Moderator, Rt. Rev. H.S.R. Innes.

The special collection raised 56 pounds 15 shillings and seven pence.

The Women's Guild thanked Mrs. Cain for her help to the Guild she advised in May 1945 that her family were leaving the district.

The President's Report for 1945 noted: "The coming of Peace in August brought joy and relief to the hearts of us all and we gave thanks to Almighty God and pray that the political and industrial unrest which is the aftermath of war may soon be over and forgotten."

The Allora-Clifton P.F.A. was congratulated by the Guild for winning the Sports Shield at Easter Camp, Murphy's Creek in 1946. They were also the first fellowship to hold a Street Stall. Vice-President of the Women's Guild, Mrs. Mengel, was offered sympathy in December 1946, on the loss of her husband, who was accidentally killed.

Extensive renovations were carried out to the church in 1947 - the contract price was 305 pounds l0 shillings. New stumps were added, new steps were constructed and painting completed.

At the same meeting as the contract was accepted, it was moved that Mr. A. Vickery be advised in writing to keep his goats from grazing on church property in future!

Five pounds was donated to the Food for Britain Appeal on Princess Elizabeth's 21st birthday in 1947. The Guild supported this appeal on many occasions.

Rev. Leckenby of Greenmount, preached at the 1947 Special Services. A basket luncheon was enjoyed after the morning service. St.Stephen's Choir sang at the afternoon service.

The Lutheran congregation was given permission in early 1948 to use the church and sunday school on the first Sunday afternoon in every month.

In September 1948 Mrs. Sobbe, President of the Women's Guild presented a gift to Miss Vera Wright in view of her impending marriage. Mrs. Sobbe praised Miss Wright's work with the Guild and other church activities.

Mrs. Sobbe gave notice of her resignation as President of the Guild in December 1949. All members expressed sadness at her departure after eight years as President. During that time the Guild had forged ahead. Regret was also expressed at the impending departure of Miss Doreen Sobbe.

The Guild donated a crystal communion plate, doyley and cover to the church in April 1951.

Women's Guild President, Mrs. F.A. Hamilton was congratulated in January 1953 by Rev. Hadden on completion of 3 years service as President of the Guild. Miss Muriel Wright was also congratulated in October of the same year for her 20 years as a collector - Each collection that Miss Wright made was higher than the last! The Guild raised a total of 118 pounds two shillings in 1953

The Communion Table in the Church was dedicated to the memory of William John and Hannah Colwell McKee on 9th May 1954. The Table was presented by Essie,Jack, Torn and Winifred.

The Sunday School reported 33 children on the roll for They had a picnic at Heifer Creek and also the Annual Christmas Tree.

The Charge in 1954 consisted of Allora, Clifton, Goomburra and Back Plains There were 202 members from 127 families. Also 12 deaths 5 baptisms and three marriages occurred.

The Guild placed on record the splendid work of Mrs. Buhot as President. Mrs. Buhot was President for 2 years, but resigned due to ill health in October 1955. Mrs. O'Loughlin was thanked by the Guild on many occasions for her long period as Secretary/Treasurer of the Guild.

Rev. Hadden was sick for a considerable portion of 1955. Rev. W.A. Walker, a teacher at the Scots College, supplied during this time. Rev. Hadden resigned from the ministry finally in July 1956.


Rev. McLennan, a grandson of the former Minister from 1905 to 1914, took up duties in the Charge in September 1956. According to Rev. Gillanders - "Allora and Clifton Charge reached a new high peak of vigour and prosperity."

[[= image McLennanCharge.jpg]]

L-R Back: E Ruh1e T. McKee Rev.McLennan R. Hamilton

L-R Front: J. Bailey Mrs. McLennan w. Bishop Ian McLennan

[Presented to the Church by Mrs. T. McKee Nov.1963]


The Church Paper was started in early 1957. Subscription was 4/- per annum

Miss Laurel Hamilton presented the Sunday School Report for 1957. Forty seven children were on the roll with average attendance of 20. The Thanksgiving Service for 1958 was held at Clifton on 19th October. Guest speaker was Mr. R.S. Byrnes, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland.

Mr. Harold Swan of Toowoomba arranged for a group from Toowoomba to assist with praise during the service. The Charge expressed gratitude to Mr. Swan for his help on a number of occasions. Afternoon tea was provided after the service.

A Stewardship Campaign was commenced in 1958. Two hundred and eighty five families were visited in the charge comprising Allora 126; Clifton 95; Pilton 27; Back Plains 22 and Goomburra 17. As a result of the calls 23 additional families were added to the rolls. The financial aspect of the campaign disclosed: ¬
o Estimated income from pledges 65 pounds/week
o Estimated income from donations 7 pounds/week
o Estimated income from freewill offerings 5 pounds/week


On Sunday 8th March 1959 a special service, followed by luncheon marked the Golden Jubilee of the present church building of St.Andrew's. The Moderator, Rev. Stanley Ballinger, was to have been present, but owing to illness was unable to attend. Rev. Principal L.G. Douglas of Emmanuel College, Brisbane, deputised for the Moderator and preached a fine and inspiring address for the occasion.

Excerpt from Clifton Courier of Friday 13th March, 1959… "Historic Gathering at Clifton”

The Rev. A. Hadden, B.D. who was the Minister of the church for 32 years, took part in the service, as also did the present minister, Rev. D.K. McLennan (grandson of the late Rev.Donald McLennan who was the minister at the same time the building was erected and opened). The church was filled to overflowing.

Mr. Harold Swan, of Toowoomba presided at the organ, and solos were rendered by Mrs. W.H. Cochrane ('Beside Still Waters'), Miss Nancy Gegg ('Love Triumphant') and Mr. J. McComb ('Rock of Ages').

After the service, the congregation attended a luncheon in All Saints' Hall, which had been tastefully prepared by the women of the congreg¬ation with the assistance of the men's committee. Rev. McLennan acted as chairman. Those present who had attended the opening and dedication of the church on 3rd March, 1909, were asked to stand and were given a grand ovation by the assembled company.

Those who responded to the call were: Mr. & Mrs. F. May (nee Agnes Hoey), Mr. Jack Hoey (who added after his name 'in sulky and horse'), Mrs. J. Gillam (nee Helena Sobbe), Mrs. W. Sprott (nee Essie McKee), Mr. J.W. McKee, Mrs. W.J. Abernethy and Mrs. A. Gilmore. The chairman warmly welcomed these folk and congratulated them on being present. He also extended a welcome to all other visitors, many of whom had come long distances to attend the celebrations.

The Session Clerk, Mr. M.C. Lester, on behalf of the Session, joined in the welcome, and especially thanked Rev. Douglas and his wife and daughter for coming to Clifton for the Jubilee. He also thanked the party from Toowoomba who so ably led the praise in the service.

Rev. A. Hadden with many a touch of humour told the story of the church at Clifton as he remembered it over 32 years of which he was minister.

Mr. Harold Swan thanked the Session Clerk for his welcome on behalf of those who had come from Toowoomba and added his good wishes and those of St.Stephen's Church, Toowoomba to the Clifton people, with the prayer that the next half century may be a period of further success and advancement.

Mr. R.A. Hamilton, speaking on behalf of Kirk Session of the Clifton Church, made reference to the future with its great possibilities ¬if the Presbyterian people give their support to the church through their interest and personal attendance.

The occasion will be long remembered, as it provided an opportunity for many old friends to meet, and served as a reminder to the younger generation of the sacrifice and service of those, who over the years, have faithfully served their church."



Huge interest developed in this Crusade, which took place in 1959. Buses travelled from Allora and Clifton to the Rally in Brisbane in May of that year. Land line relay services were arranged in the various churches for those unable to attend the crusade.

A congregational meeting was called on 6th July 1959 to express dismay at the call of Rev. McLennan to Warwick. All thought Rev. McLennan was doing excellent work in the Allora -Clifton charge and should remain there.

Session decided to discontinue evening services at Clifton from November 1959 due to lack of interest. It was felt unfair to continue the combined service with the Methodists when so few presbyter¬ians were present. It was hoped that Clifton folk who wished to go to a service would attend the Allora church.

Teachers in 1960 were Roy Wright, Agnes Skinner and Miss L. Hamilton. The Committee passed a minute of appreciation to Miss Hami1ton.

The Sunday school had for many years used the first Clifton Church as its base. However, it had been felt for many years that additional space was needed for the school. The Committee was informed by Rev. McLennan that a hall maybe available for removal in the Killarney area. On 31st May 1961 he Committee decided to make an offer for the hall (the Orange Lodge Hall) of 125 pounds at Killarney - built 1885.

The Hall was finally purchased and moved. It was attached to the back of the Sunday School in 1962. After renovations, the extensions were finally opened on 21st April 1963 Mr. Jim Bradfield was presented with a gift in recognition of his services towards renovating the hall.


Old church and Sunday school combined with Killarney hall for new Sunday school.

Guild attendance averaged six during 1962.

Mr. Pat Ryan was granted use of church land at Logan Road in 1961 for a further five years. for 40 pounds in August 1965. He eventually purchased the land

Windows in the church and hall were damaged by hail in December 1962.

Rev.McLennan was called to Ashgrove in 1963. A congreg¬ational meeting advised they had no objection to the call. A large crowd farewelled the family on 14th October.


Rev. Alan Renton was called to the Charge at a meeting held on 12th November, 1963.


Mr. K. Gillam sought permission of Session to form the youth group under his supervision. Permission was granted and the first meeting was held on 20th March 1964

In December 1964 a font was dedicated to the memory of Anna Elina Bishop in The font was presented by Bill, Daph, Max and Jeanette. A Minister's Chair was dedicated at the same time to William Bishop.

In 1964. Mr. Wright announced his resignation from the Sunday School Mr. Ken Gillam joined the teaching staff in the same year.

Stewardship Canvass
A further campaign was held in March 1965. During that time a booklet was issued giving details of the campaign.

A presentation was made to Miss McKee on 23rd February 1966 in recognition of more than 12 years service as church organist.

In April 1967, Mr. K.P. Gillam was appointed Superintendent of the Sunday School.

Mr. & Mrs. McKee were farewelled by the Clifton congregation in September 1967. They were presented with a Bible and a hymn Book. Session Clerk, Mr. John Bailey spoke of the tremendous strength the McKee's had been to the congregation. Mr. Bill Bishop recalled the days when the church was very small - a congregation of less than 10 and how the McKee's had been faithful attenders. Mr. McKee was born in Clifton, attended Clifton Sunday School and was a member of the Committee and Session for many years. He recalled the days when Clifton had its own minister and they had to cut firewood for sale to try and make ends meet

Sunday school 1984

Mrs. McKee (nee Nan Sprott), settled in the parish after migrating from Scotland as a girl. She was always a tower of strength in the women's work


Mr. E. Gustafson was appointed Adult Adviser to the P.F.A. in November 1967.

In March 1968 the church paper reported further co-operation with the Methodist Church in Allora and Clifton. The ministers had co-operated for some years in connection with religious education. Session reported that the Junior Fellowship in both centres were also to be co-ordinated On 3rd November 1969 the possibility of a joint parish with the Methodists was discussed at the annual meeting. This was followed by a session meeting on 4th May 1970 which was approved a co-operative ministry with the Methodist Church.

Mr. Gillam was given permission to form a combined choir in May 1970.

The Session Meeting of 31st January 1972 recorded with regret the closure of the Goomburra Church. The building itself was 91 years old, being the original Allora church which was moved to Goomburra in 1913. The congregation merged with Allora.


Goomburra Church

Rev.A.R. Renton was called to Proserpine and took up duties' there in January 1973.


Rev. Gillanders, formerly a Hospital Chaplain, was called to Clifton and started services there in February 1973.

Rev. Gillanders

The Session meeting of 30th May 1977 received a letter from Rev. A.W. Lawrie advising that Presbyterian Church prop¬erty in Clifton was to remain the property of the continuing Presbyterian Church. Also the money in the Back Plains Church Account was to be transferred to the Clifton Presbyterian church.

Mr. Gillanders took long service leave in 1974 after 15 years as a Home Missionary (from 1955) and an ordained minister (from 1959). He was relieved by Rev. A. Law, who lived in Warwick before being
ordained in 1958.

He served in Alderley (1958-60), Guyra-Wadsworth (60-64), Walcha (1964-68), North Ipswich (1968-73). Mr. Law retired at the end of October 1973.


The Rev. & Mrs. A. Law

The Clifton Church became part of the Warwick Charge after Union. The Charge consisted of Clifton - Yangan – Warwick Stanthorpe and Allora. In 1979 Rev. Donald Smith was minister and services were conducted at Clifton 2 to 3 times per month. It was noted that Deaconess Margaret Lawson also took services at Clifton at that time. Rev. George Stewart was Interim Moderator.

Presbytery declared Clifton a Home Mission Charge on 6th June 1980. They also declared the existing Session remain with five elders as they were.

Mr. G. Saville was appointed Session Clerk. Rev. Don Smith was appointed Moderator. He resigned in March 1981 and Rev. J.S. Thompson of East Toowoomba was appointed in his place.

Forty people took communion at the church on 14th September, 1980 and nine took part at home. Mr. Steve Nicholson was appointed for three months as student minister in late 1980. Session praised his work in February 1981.

A Bible was presented to the congregation by Mr J.W. McKee, Leila and Esme on 6th April 1981. They had previously been given the Bible, but wished the Bible to remain in the church.
The other Bible in use in the church has the inscription "First used Sunday 25-11-1956."


Presbytery advised in May 1981 that Allora would not join with Clifton until someone was appointed to Clifton permanently. On 16th November 1981 Session agreed in principle to Allora joining the charge. Allora was welcomed to the Joint Charge on 16th June 1982.

Mr. Joseph Tee, Home MIssionary was appointed to Clifton in late 1981. A service of dedication and induction was held on 24th January 1982. Mr. Tee occupied a manse purchased for $27,000 at 13 George Street, Clifton. A congregational meeting held on 29th June 1980 approved the pur¬chase of the manse.


Mr. Joseph Tee taking the service, February 1984

[[= image Manse1984.jpg]]

Manse 1984

Session wrote a letter of thanks to Mr. Bishop on 24th February 1983 for his fine work as treasurer over a number of years.

Permission was granted to Peter Bialy to start a youth group at Clifton.

A prayer meeting, commencing about May 1983, is held every Monday morning at the church.

Mr. Tee was inducted as an elder and M. Ruhle and B. Carey ordained and inducted as elders on 29th May 1983.

The Rt. Rev. Hugh Ga11agher visited Clifton on 31st August He will again visit Clifton for the 75th Anniversary Service on 11th March, 1984


Congregation 1984



Meivyn Ruhle
Bruce Carey
Jack Hinz (former Back Plains Elder)
Morris Lach
Joseph Tee (Home Missionary)
G. Carey
G. Saville
Mrs. Marion Withnall
George Withnall
Mrs. Thelma Geitz
James Bradfield (former Goomburra)

COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT (Joint Allora/Clifton as from 23rd Feb.1984)

Barrie Geitz
Mrs. Mandy McMillan
Graham Hinz
Malcom Feichtner
Mrs. May Grimes
Edgar Gwynne
Colin Black
Mrs. Daph. Feichtner


Peter Bialy
Jillian Bialy

(Brief Information)

The first service was held in a private residence in Ground was donated by Maas Hinz for a church to be erected.

There were two weddings in the church:¬ Leila Levinia Hinz to Alfred Lach on 31st July, 1935 Marus Evelyn Hinz to Victor Denton on 26th June, 1940 Both marriage services were conducted by Rev. A. Hadden. The only recorded funeral was that of Mrs. Lach Senior.

There were numerous baptisms held at the church. The first being Mervyn Jack Hinz in 1916 and the last was Sandra Margaret Hinz on 26th July 1970.

The last service was held on 26th March, 1972.
Session approved sale of the church for $300 to Mr. G. Rickett on 1-7-74. The church has since been removed.


Back Plains Church



In 1967, Mr. John Hall, 91 years old gave Rev. Alan Renton his recollections of early Pilton services.

Mr. Hall said that he was Anglican, but when he was a boy in Pilton there was only the
Presbyterian service and so he had attended. He remembered well Rev. Richard Kerr who was Allora's fourth minister (1882-7).

About 1884 Mr. Hall was old enough to walk to the service (8 miles away) at Pilton Head Station. His people were of modest means and unable to afford horses. Originally Mr. Kennedy drove Rev. Kerr in a buggy when when the service was monthly instead of bi monthly, Mr. Kerr rode out on a horse on Saturday night.

Prominent church people of the time were the McCullaghs and the McKinstry's. Mr. Hall's mother came to Clifton as a single girl when she was 15 years old.


Pilton Place of Worship


Pilton Sunday School 1965



Admission Register - C1ifton Presbyterian Church, August 1898 to February 1916 (7)
Baptismal Register - Cl if ton Presbyterian Church, 3/12/1911 to 24/11/1917
Bardon, Richard. The Centenary History of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, Smith & Paterson, Brisbane 1949
Cash Book, Clifton Presbyterian Church 1959 1942; 1979 1952
C1ifton Courier and Cunningham Advertiser copies held in Archives, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education.
French, Maurice. A Bibliography for the History of the Darling Downs (2nd. Ed.), Darling Downs Institute Press, Toowoomba 1979
Gillanders, Rev. John E., Centenary Souvenir - Allora and District Presbyterian Church 1873 - 1973
Minutes of Annual Congregational Meetings - Allora/Clifton Charge:23rd. Feb. 1942 to 13th March 1972
Minutes of Committee of Management Meetings - 31st November 1928 to 25th June 1947
Minutes of Committee of Management - C1ifton Presbyterian Church 29th July 1956 to 30th March 1967
Minutes of Meetings Presbyterian Women's Guild, C1ifton 16/5/1945 to February 1948
Minutes of1 Meetings - Presbyterian Women's Guild, C1ifton – March 1948 to October 1955
Minutes of Allora - Clifton Session Meetings 6/9/1965 to 30/5/1977
Shire Handbook – Clifton, Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Record of Attendances
A Venture of Faith 1917 - 1919, Clifton Presbyterian Church Booklet for fund raising, 1965
Hay, Dr. A. Presbyterian Church of Queensland 1849 – 1899 Jubilee Memorial.

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