No. 90 - Rosevale - Former All Saints Anglican Church - A Cathedral and Memorial

At first glance the All Saints Anglican church in the hamlet of Rosevale seems a typically secluded rural church serving a sparsely populated region. But its isolation was no protection from the calamities of the 20th century. The story of 'All Saint's', like all churches, are ultimately a human story, of birth, life and death. But first, something about the church itself before reflecting on one individual, whose life and death remains bound up with its story.

The Examiner reported the opening of the church in May 1924:

“On Thursday afternoon the new Anglican Church was opened by the Bishop in the presence of a large congregation. Ten motor-cars conveyed a number of visitors from the surrounding districts… The Bishop said that it was as much an effort for the small community to find the money to build the church as it was for the people of a city to build a cathedral, but it would meet the requirements of these people, who would be as well able to worship God in a building ten times its size”. (1)

The report went on describe the church:

“The new church is 30 by 20ft, not including the chancel and vestry, and is hued inside with polished oak…. The walls are of weatherboard and the roof of corrugated iron, and painted in a light slate colour”.(2)

The church closed in 1998 and was sold in 1999.

                                          ******

When photographing the church, the first thing I noticed was a memorial plaque on the gate (see photograph below). It is in memory of Private E.C. Hodgetts of the 2/12 Australian Infantry Battalion who was killed in action on January 12th 1943. It had been presented by the Country Women’s Association and Friends. As there is no cemetery or other memorials around the church I thought this was unusual, although it would be obvious that the Hodgett’s family must have had a strong connection with the church.

My online search for information about Private Hodgetts threw up more than I expected. One of the first items I came across was a copy of a postcard on the Photo website Flickr. A caption accompanying the postcard read:

“My mother was a State Registered Nurse during the 2nd World War working in Scotland. The 18th Brigade of 2/12 Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, arrived in Scotland at Gourock in June 1940. Pretty rapidly they were relocated to England then, in December 1940, sent abroad. So this photo may have been taken probably in June or July 1940, possibly at Robroyston Hospital. He must have been a patient in for some minor problem and gave this photo to my mother, as he maybe did to other nurses too, as a mark of respect. The message on the reverse is almost certainly in his own handwriting. Two or three other soldiers also gave her their photos, which have survived, as this one has, in my family's records”. (3)

Private Everett Charles Hodgetts was killed in action on the 12th of January 1943 in Papua New Guinea amongst the swamps of Sanananda, a part of the Kokoda Track Campaign. The press clipping I found on Trove describing his send-off from the Rosevale Hall and his memorial notices in the Examiner add even more poignancy to the human tragedy of war.

There are many references to the Hodgetts family and their connection to Rosevale ‘All Saints’ Church; including Colin Hodgetts who was on the building committee or Miss Lydia Hodgetts who tragically passed away and who was the “only help of her aged mother”.  Although the church has long closed, these individuals, now all passed away, are reminders of the once intimate connection between communities, families and church and that these old buildings still stand as monuments to these people and times.

A note on the 2/12 Battalion in Papua New Guinea

The 2/12th's next battleground was Milne Bay in Papua, where it arrived on 17 August 1942 and mounted a successful counter-attack against Japanese invasion forces between 31 August and 4 September. It occupied Goodenough Island between 22 October and 28 December and then returned to Papua for its most bitter and costly battles of the war - Buna and Sanananda. At Buna it delivered the coup de gras to the Japanese at Giropa Point on 1 January, but suffered 63 killed and 122 wounded in the process. The battalion's efforts, between 9 and 21 January to clear the Japanese from the torturous swamp country around Sanananda cost another 61 lives. The 2/12th returned home on 10 March 1943.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U56055 

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Postcard/photograph courtesy of 'Phineas Redux'

Detail from postcard - courtesy of 'Phineas Redux'


Examiner Thursday 14 March 1940 


Memorial notice on the first anniversary of Everett Hodgetts - Examiner Wednesday  12 January 1944 

Sources:

(1) Examiner Wednesday 28 May 1924
(2) Examiner Wednesday 28 May 1924
(3) From Flickr 'Phineas Redux'  - permission of author and holder of the postcard has been given to be reproduced in this blog.

Also:

Examiner Saturday 12 April 1924
Examiner Saturday 22 June 1929




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