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Penwortham Methodist Cemetery
|Location||Penwortham, South Australia, Australia|
Lot 314 off of Main North Road (Horrocks Highway), Penwortham, SA.
The early European settlers in the Colony of South Australia brought with them much faith. Faith in a new beginning; faith in political and religious freedom; faith in a better future for their children. As still evidenced by the many churches and chapels that enhance the towns, villages and countryside of the Clare Valley they brought with them implicit faith in Christianity. This was a diverse faith as many settlers, being free to do so, followed the beliefs of their past experiences. Whilst some of the diversity has lessened, much remains and is evidenced by the variety of church buildings remaining.
1839 John Ainsworth Horrocks left his home in Lancashire England bound for South Australia. He eventually made his way north and founded this village of Penwortham. Whilst on a visit to his homeland in 1842, he and his sister raised funds for a church for the village.
The foundations for an Anglican church were laid and 1851 and eventually St. Marks was opened for services. The Wesleyans living in Penwortham occasionally attended these services, but were uncomfortable with the Anglican way of worship. Plans to build their own church were frustrated because, due to the premature death of Horrocks in 1846, land could not easily be made available. At a meeting held on 14th September 1857 at Spring Farm Chapel it was resolved to accept an offer of an acre of land from Mr. Thomas Magarey. As we can see the location was far from ideal being on the side of a steep hill and on very stony ground. However, a Chapel Trust was formed and the Chapel was opened for worship on 19th September 1858 by the Rev. William Ingram. Apparently Mr. Ingram was a colourful character and spent some years as a missionary in the West Indies.
Early Wesleyans were probably buried in St. Marks Graveyard, but the Trustees managed to procure a further plot of land on the north-west side of the Chapel for use as their own cemetery, the first burial recorded being that of Paul Roach in 1865 and many other pioneers of the district are buried in this cemetery. Now you may wonder as to how a hearse carrying a coffin could possibly make it to the top of this hill; well the road to the south of Pearson’s winery was called Chapel Street and it is therefore reasonable to assume that the cortege would travel to the chapel via this easier route. The climb was also difficult for worshipers who had to park their carriages, carts, drays and surreys at the other side of the main road in Surrey Lane north of Horrocks Cottage and make their way to the chapel on foot.
In 1878 the Trust decided to renovate the chapel for its 20th Anniversary and was prepared to pay ₤15 for the work. In 1897 a supper room was added to the southern end of the chapel and was enlarged some years later. Choir practice, agricultural meetings, Red Cross meetings, lantern slide shows and many other functions were held in this supper room. A Sunday school was also run from here almost as soon as the chapel was open, but unfortunately no records have survived. However, Miss Penna whom we have to thank for this obelisk and whose family were associated with the Chapel recalled the first Superintendent as being Mr. John Roach followed by Mr. John Trestrail both of whom are buried in this cemetery.
In 1922 corrugated iron replaced the Mintaro slate tiles and in 1958 a porch was added to celebrate the centenary of the building.
As the population of Penwortham decreased over the years, the chapel became redundant and was closed in 1968 standing forgotten, derelict and termite-ridden until sadly it was bulldozed about 1979 and this obelisk erected in 1981. Might this prompt the question was the work of our pioneers a waste of time and effort. Not so, as the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
(History information thanks to the Mount Horrocks Regional History Group and Lynne Aird at the Uniting Church, Pirie Street, Adelaide SA).
Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan. 28 August 2014. Lest we forget.