The Beginning of Methodism in Boonah

In 1880 there were two Methodist denominations in Queensland, the Wesleyan and the Primitive Methodists. In 1880 Mr Fuller, a Primitive Methodist Evangelist, visited the Fassifern going as far as Maroon. The next year he made a second visit and in September, Dugandan and Fassifern were placed on a preaching plan of the Primitive Methodist Church of Ipswich. The Rev. William Powel came from Ipswich in November 1881, to take the first services. On the same Sunday he conducted worship at the homes of Mrs J Betts, Dugandan and Mr E Horton, Engelsburg. At Dugandan there were 24 persons present and the offering was £1.40. This marked the new beginning of Methodism in Boonah. The services were continued quarterly and before long Coochin was added to the preaching plan and those services were held at the home of Mr & Mrs Beverley.

After some months the Dugandan services were moved to the old school building.

On October 7th, 1882, Rev I Castlehow took up his appointment at Dugandan. Thus he was the first resident Minister of the Uniting Church heritage in this place. Within five weeks if his arrival he started, on November 11th, a Blue Ribbon Temperance Society in Blumbergville (as Boonah was then known).

The first Church was erected in 1883 on a site given by Mr J Hardcastle and opened on November 4th. It was 22 feet by 14 feet and was located on Old Mt Alford Road near the site of the old Dugandan Bridge. Sankey’s Hymn Books were used in the Services and a weekly prayer meeting was held.

Mr Fuller continued to make visits to the district. Having been set free for revival work by the Connection, he travelled round in his bush wagon, made possible to a large extent, by the generosity of Messrs Crib and Foote (Ipswich). He paid yearly visits to the Circuit. Mr Fuller was a vigorous Preacher in the cottage at night and during the day, retired hours in his van to pray and meditate, refusing to be disturbed by anyone. Clad in a tall black hat, long-tailed coat and a white tie, he was well known in the district. He described himself as the “shepherd’s dog” to round up the scattered and faraway sheep. His soul stirring ministry was the means of new-birth to many.

The revivals conducted in Boonah in August, 1905 were remarkable. They were led by Mr & Mrs J Cumming. Commencing in the Church they prospered from the first. The building was soon too small and meetings had to be transferred to the more commodious School of Arts. Packed audiences greeted the missioners each night and town and district  were much moved. An impetus was given to the work of God and many were the decisions recorded. Mr & Mrs Cumming returned to the circuit several times in the years following.

Also in 1905 was the establishing of the Bush Mission. Mr J Moorhouse travelled to many places including Boonah, on occasions with a fully equipped wagon. “By visiting the homes of the settlers, distributing literature, evangelistic preaching and gathering together the children of the bush, the good seeds of the Kingdom was sown.”

The Rev. J.H. Heaton earned the accolade “The Church Builder” as, during his ministry, several Churches were built throughout the Circuit. Most important though, was the building of the new Church in Boonah in 1907 and the opening on the 10th of November of that year, 24 years after the original building. The 1907 Church still stands, and was used as a church until Union and a new building was built.

The old one was moved to Kalbar and considerably renovated. It also is still in use today.