No. 458 - The McCulloch Memorial Church at Gawler

South of Ulverstone, along the Top Gawler Road is the specularly situated and lovingly maintained McCulloch Memorial Cemetery. A memorial plaque at the entrance to the private cemetery remembers James and Rosanna McCulloch, pioneer settlers and their descendants in the Gawler area.

In 1939 the old Barrington Presbyterian church (opened in 1893) was removed to the Gawler Road cemetery where it was rededicated as the ‘McCulloch Memorial Church’. Local people, mostly members of the McCulloch family moved the church in sections and reconstructed the building on the new site. Services at the church, also known as the Gawler Road church, were regularly held serving Presbyterians of the Abbotsham and the Upper Gawler area. The church is no longer on the site.

There are several newspaper report’s describing the church’s opening and rededication in May 1939, including this one from the Launceston Examiner:

“On Sunday the recently removed Barrington Presbyterian Church was rededicated at Gawler. The ceremony was performed by Rev. A. R. Barnett, of Devonport, Interim Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in Tasmania. The church, which has just been re erected on land provided by Mr. L. McCulloch, of Gawler, is close to where several members of the McCulloch family are buried, and who were staunch Presbyterians and pioneers of the district. Because of the association of the McCulloch family with the church, it is to be called the McCulloch Memorial Church".

"The building is constructed of weatherboards, and measures 37 feet by 25 feet. Situated on the Gawler-Sprent road, the church will serve the Gawler and adjoining Abbotsham districts. Present also was Rev. L. M. Fairey, of the Ulverstone Presbyterian Church, to which the new church will be attached. Others included Mr. A. J. Campbell, of the Devonport Presbyterian Church, Mr. A. Lillico. M.L.C., Mr. J. H. Chamberlain. M.H.A., Cr. J.IT. Pearson, Warden of Leven. and visitors from various parts of the North West".

"Mr. Barnett opened the door of the church, following a brief address outside and proceeded to the pulpit to the accompaniment of the Doxology sung by the congregation and members of the Ulverstone Presbyterian choir. The address was given by Mr. Barnett, and following this Mr. Fairey intimated that services would be conducted in the church every second, third, and fourth Sunday in the month….”

Services at the Gawler Road church were being held until the 1960’s. In the early 1970's the church was sold and removed to a property at Penguin on the Ironcliffe Road.  The building subsequently fell into a state of disrepair and no longer exists.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019
The McCulloch Church in the early 1960's. Photograph kindly supplied by Christine Jennings.


Advocate, Monday 29 May 1939, page 6
Examiner, Tuesday 30 May 1939, page 3
Advocate, Thursday 1 June 1939 p 5


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