10 The Hallowed Touch: A Reflection on the Assembly of God Church, North Queensland, 1924-1949.

Barry Chant, , Tabor College




Barry Chant

Florrie Mortomore (1890-1927) was a daughter of prayer. In her short life, she demonstrated the grace of Christ and the Spirit-filled life in a way that left many people changed forever. She poured out her soul for the One she trusted as her Saviour. She was ‘a living sacrifice’. She showed daring and enterprise by exercising a ministry which was normally felt to be the province of men.

By comparison, the first woman member of the clergy in a recognised Australian denomination, Reverend Winifred Kiek, was not ordained till 1927, the year of Mortomore’s death.[1] In the 1920s, the role of women in churches was strictly limited. They were often permitted to preach to Aborigines or to the heathen in other lands, but not to occupy the pulpit at home. Florrie Mortomore seems to have cared little for this. If there was a door of opportunity to witness for Christ, she would go through it. For her, it was sufficient ordination to be anointed by the Spirit of God and to have the Good News to preach. Armed with her Bible, with a deep sense of compassion for the lost and needy, with a strong faith in the miracle-working power of God and with an earnest desire to see Christians filled with the Holy Spirit, she travelled far and wide as an ‘ambassador for Christ’.

In human terms, she will never be famous. When it comes to visible success, others have achieved far more. But in spite of a frail constitution and many privations, she did establish—or help to establish—seven congregations. Her ministry resulted in missionaries going to the field, and scores of men and women would claim they owed their eternal destiny to her.

Born in 1890, she was the eldest child of Charles and Caroline Mortomore of Lilydale, Victoria. She had three younger brothers—Albert (b.1892), Leonard (b.1894) and Cyril (b.1902).[2] The Mortomores also adopted three children, Maizie, Dorothy and Mavis. Conscious of her own inadequacies both as a Christian and as a mother, Caroline Mortomore spent many hours in prayer for her family. Years later she wrote—

As time went on, I felt I was not doing enough for the One I loved so much, and as my children were growing up, I felt more responsibility, realizing that I could not train them as he would have me do, because I myself was not living near enough to Him. Ofttimes, while they slept, I would sit up in bed and pray that God would lead each child to Himself.[3]

The effectiveness of her prayers for two of her children is known only to God. Albert was killed in World War I. Leonard never became involved church life. But for Florrie and Cyril, the outcome was evident. Caroline had good reason to be satisfied with the work of God in Florrie’s life. Although she died at the young age of 37, she achieved more for the kingdom of God than most people manage to do in twice the time.

Cyril early devoted himself to God’s work and eventually became a pastor, serving churches in several places in New South Wales, including Orange, Cessnock, Newcastle and Newtown. In 1924, he married Beatrice Kajewski, a woman he met as a result of Florrie’s ministry. Twenty five years later, their son Robert began work among Aborigines at La Perouse and not long after that, their daughter Coral, and her husband were actively involved with Cyril in founding a Sunday School and church at Greenacre, a Sydney suburb. This later grew into the prominent Foursquare church, Calvary Chapel.

In 1928, a young man attended a meeting at Cyril Mortomore’s home. Although an active witness for Christ, Sunday School teacher and Christian Endeavourer, he still felt a great hunger for more of God’s presence in his life. He began to examine the Scriptures to understand more about the fullness of the Spirit. He later testified—

Will I ever forget that night? Oh, beloved, it was beautiful. The Divine Power of God surged through my whole being so that as I praised and magnified God my whole soul seemed to be on fire.

A greater hunger than ever was created in my being so that I could not miss a single meeting. Oh the hunger, not for food, not for sleep, but for God...

Hallelujah. While tarrying I felt the consciousness of God. His divine life flowed into my being.

Then I knew that God was filling me... Today I am rejoicing in the fullness of the Spirit.[4]

Cyril Mortomore’s ministry, too, was not ineffective.

The fullness of the Spirit

Charles and Caroline attended the Baptist church at Lilydale, where Charles was a lay preacher. Caroline’s faith in the power of prayer revealed itself in every aspect of her life. On one occasion, one of the boys suffered from a painful knee, the result of some disease affecting the hip. His leg was strapped in irons and he could only walk with the aid of crutches. For many weeks, there was no sign of improvement. Finally, in desperation, Caroline sought help from God—

I poured out my soul to God, begging Him to heal the child and not let him be a cripple all his life. Whilst I prayed God gave me the glorious revelation that he was healed. I rose from my knees with a light heart, thanking God for answering my prayer.[5]

Subsequent medical examination affirmed that the boy had recovered.

Some time after this, Caroline met two women who talked to her at different times about her need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result she attended some meetings at Good News Hall, headquarters of what was then known as the Pentecostal Mission, Australia’s first Pentecostal assembly, led by Mrs Sarah Jane (‘Mother’) Lancaster.[6] Here she began to pray earnestly that God would baptize her in the Holy Spirit. The answer did not come quickly—

After thirteen months of waiting He lovingly poured out His Holy Spirit upon me with the Bible evidence of speaking in tongues and magnifying God. So wonderful an experience! The joy was indescribable, and the Lord was so near. It was something beautiful. I cannot put all this precious experience into words... I now know more of my Lord and have a more intense love for Christ, with a greater desire to serve Him.

It is beautiful to live in God’s presence and to feel His Power in my life. May God still lead me on till I am accounted worthy to meet the dear Lord in the air.[7]

The Mission proudly advertised that Good News Hall was ‘ALWAYS open to Christians, for waiting on God’ and that hospitality was free (although friends coming would ‘add to their comfort by bringing a cushion and rug’). Around 1910, the twenty-year-old Florrie availed herself of this invitation, and stayed for a weekend. During this time, she was baptised in the Spirit with ‘such a mighty anointing’ that Lancaster feared her family would not understand what had happened to her when she returned home. So they encouraged her to stay until the following Wednesday.[8]

‘Like an angel’

When Florrie arrived home, she found a small prayer meeting in progress. Brimming with new-found zeal, she began to pray for those present one by one. There were some dramatic results. A lady ‘who had not walked without sticks for years, walked home without them.’ The women in the group were enchanted. ‘She is like an angel,’ they said. Well might they think so, agreed Mother Lancaster. ‘With her delicate, ivory skin, surmounted by a wealth of flaxen hair, added to the deep spirituality of her words and actions,’ she did seem angelic.

A few days later, her father, a Baptist lay preacher, who had been away at the time, was met by anxious friends who were concerned about this unexpected change in his daughter. They urged him to go to the North Melbourne mission and investigate what was going on there. This he did, and to the dismay of his friends, concluded that what had happened to his only daughter was from God. ‘I wish I had what Florrie has got,’ he said.

Some time in 1913, he fell from a ladder and sprained his ankle. ‘I could get no relief from the agony,’ he wrote, ‘I never remember such pain. I tried every position to get relief without avail.’ Florrie came in, spoke in tongues and interpreted what she said as: ‘The lame man shall leap as an hart.’ Next day, Charles ‘could run up and down the ladder without the slightest pain.’[9]

‘All on the altar’

In 1911, Nathan Todd and Athelstan Lancaster, second son of Alfred and Sarah Jane Lancaster, had journeyed to South India. Because of the pressure of work, they wrote to Good News Hall requesting help. They particularly wanted a married couple, so that they could minister more effectively to women and girls ‘for instruction in the things of Jesus Christ, and for help in time of sickness’ as there was no woman missionary to deal with them.

No married couple was forthcoming, but two young women offered themselves.

But two dear sisters laid their all upon the altar—their homes, their loved ones, their lives, and if necessary their reputations, for the love of Christ constrained them, and they went out willing victims for the women and girls of South India.[10]

One of these young women was Florrie Mortomore. She took the long sea journey to this new land, committing herself to it for the rest of her life, if need be. As it happened, she was to stay only a short time. Even so, her endeavour was well rewarded. Lancaster later claimed that ‘God did a wonderful work through her amongst college students and others.’ Although she had gone to minister to women, she led many young men to Christ—men who demonstrated a ‘stoical fidelity’ to the Saviour, in spite of severe persecution.[11]

As a missionary, Florrie Mortomore was both gifted and faithful, but the climate was harsh and her health began to suffer. Finally, and reluctantly, she yielded to her parents’ urging to return to Australia, where she settled in Brisbane, Queensland, although her heart remained in India. Brisbane was a city of less than 100 000 people. In 1917, W.A.Buchanan, Lancaster’s son in law, had put in three months’ pioneering ministry there and as a result there was a small group of believers meeting together. Here she began to minister the gospel and to teach the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Florrie was assisted in the first twelve months by Miss E.Field (later Mrs E.Close), who spoke highly of her devotion and fidelity.[12]

Initially, not everyone agreed with Florrie’s teaching. Aspley Redsell recalled—

When in 1920 I head of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit from Sister F.Mortomore, I resisted the message greatly, saying that the ‘evidence,’ as she called ‘the speaking in other tongues,’ was only given in apostolic days to reach the various foreigners who were there on the Day of Pentecost.

By this means I was able to make myself feel I had victory over the teaching of the sister.[13]

Twelve months later, however, Redsell heard a similar message from a Methodist minister preaching on Acts 1:8, and then began to attend a few Pentecostal house meetings. Eventually, on 9 November 1921, as he and his wife knelt for a brief evening prayer, the Spirit fell on him in biblical fashion.[14] It was a high point in his life. Two years later he wrote—

Oh, the fullness of His love!... I wanted at once to ride four miles to tell the dear ones, who would, I know, rejoice with me, but decided to go to bed, and rise early, and call as I went to work... The glories of that moment never faded. Jesus is so real... these two years have far eclipsed all the others as I let the Holy Spirit show me Jesus and His treasures.

Redsell was later to become a pastor, whose ministry was characterised by frequent and impressive exercise of spiritual gifts such as prophesying, glossolalia and interpretation.[15]

‘Gospel torch’

Not only did Florrie Mortomre minister in Brisbane, but she began a widespread work of evangelism in many parts of Queensland. ‘She carried her Gospel torch,’ said Lancaster, ‘until many lights were kindled which shall never be put out.’ In a day when travel was difficult and accommodation often spartan, Mortomore showed courage, persistence and strength in covering large distances in a large State ‘now up the north coast, now down the south coast, or anon along the main railway line.’ Although there were questions about some aspects of the doctrine expressed at Good News Hall,[16] there is no evidence that Florrie preached anything other than the plain, straight-forward gospel of Christ. She was clearly Pentecostal, and placed strong emphasis on both healing and the fullness of the Spirit. She believed in the gifts and power of the Spirit. One of the few surviving written articles of hers is a brief Bible Study on dreams and visions.[17] For her, these beliefs simply amplified and validated the evangelical message of salvation she preached.

In Mackay, a small town of some 10 000 people, one thousand kilometres north of Brisbane, she met a young lady named Bessie Couldrey (1891-1958). Of Brethren background, Bessie had been born in England, migrated to Canada and thence to Australia.[18] The two teamed up and travelled together till the end of 1923, when Bessie settled in Cairns. In Mackay, Florrie also led to the Lord a woman named Annie Dennis, who herself was to become an effective minister.[19]

In Toowoomba, with a population of around 20 000, in 1921, Florrie and Bessie preached the Gospel and spoke of the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They held weekly meetings in the O’Brien home where many spoke in tongues for the first time. This provoked a predictable reaction and accusations began to emerge that they were Spiritualists. One woman who decided to check the two visitors for herself recalled—

I could see they had something that I didn’t have and I got really hungry in my heart and asked the Lord to give it to me. We waited till 11 p.m. and I received the Baptism... I went to meetings at Sister Swenson’s and had wonderful times.[20]

Many of the members of the Churches of Christ congregation at Meringandan, an outreach from the church in Toowoomba, had a charismatic experience, including, eventually, an evangelist named George Burns, who was later to pioneer a new church in Mackay.[21] Initially, Burns had been disturbed about Florrie’s ministry, fearing that she was bringing division and harm. He did not hide his displeasure and challenged Florrie and Bessie one night in their home about their approach. However, he was ultimately disarmed by a kindly letter from Florrie telling him they were praying for him to be led into the fullness of the Spirit. Burns was ‘half amused and half annoyed’ at the suggestion that he was not already Spirit-filled, but ultimately humbled himself and cried out to God for an outpouring of the Spirit in his own life.

The first person in Toowoomba to experience the fullness of the Spirit was Edie Peters. Her husband became one of the Pentecostal stalwarts in the district.[22] Members of the Kajewski family were also blessed through the ministry of the two evangelists.[23] This family was later to pioneer a new church in Cairns. Others were an accountant named Cecil Swenson (b.18 June 1906) and his wife Pearl (b.17 May 1906), whose family are still in the church.[24] Although Mortomore first awakened their interest, it was actually under the ministry of W.A.Buchanan, Lancaster’s son in law, that the Swensons were filled with the Spirit. Cecil Swenson’s son was surprised that it was his father, not his mother, who first experienced the Spirit’s anointing, as his mother was ‘a good woman’ but his father was ‘not such a good man.’ He concluded that his father needed God’s blessing more than his mother did![25]

At Maryborough, Mortomore spent months in ‘pioneering, visiting and giving out’ until an assembly was formed. Although there were only ten thousand inhabitants in the town, so many people responded that she had to call her parents to come from Melbourne to shepherd them. This they gladly did, later moving to Brisbane to help with the church there.[26]

Of eternal value

In 1922, Lancaster invited the American evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson to visit Australia. After an enthusiastic welcome in Sydney, NSW, she and her associates journeyed to Melbourne. Very soon after her arrival, she discovered that the Pentecostal Mission was an unpopular church ‘ostracised and feared by the most earnest ministers and Christian workers’ and felt that by associating with it, she ‘faced both a stone wall of resistance’ and damage to her own reputation. So she disassociated herself from Good News Hall and sought the support of leaders of mainline denominations. The result was a highly successful campaign, but one in which there was little emphasis on Pentecostal distinctives such as divine healing or baptism in the Holy Spirit.[27]

Lancaster responded to this disappointment (and considerable financial loss) with grace and dignity—

Next He (God) sent us Sister McPherson, who though she was not used in healing, yet gave a Gospel message far fuller than the people could get in the churches or barracks...

Here let us say that we are sorry Sister McPherson did not keep faith with the public of Australia by filling the appointments made by us at her request, and ratified by her own periodical... However, we must take it as one of the ‘all things’ that are working together for good to those who love God and are ‘the called’ according to His purpose.[28]

Infused with a similar spirit, and ‘to break the edge of disappointment felt in Brisbane at Mrs McPherson’s failure to keep her engagement there,’ Florrie Mortomore courageously undertook to be the campaign speaker in the Brisbane Exhibition Building. This was a task to daunt the boldest, but with humility, grit and faith in her Lord to sustain her, she forged ahead. Mother Lancaster and Winnie Andrews, the church secretary, journeyed from Melbourne to assist her. The results were not spectacular, but they were to prove of eternal value. Andrews wrote the following report on Florrie’s ministry—

Although we did not have what you would call ‘crowds,’ still quite a lot of hungry, earnest people attended the meetings and were helped and blest [sic]. We praise God that some 12 to 15 gave their hearts to the Lord and accepted Him as their own personal Saviour. The afternoon meetings were confined mostly to the teaching of the Scriptures on Divine Healing and praying for the sick, and we do praise God that He was with us, confirming His Word with signs following.[29]

Several people claimed to be healed. A woman who had been ‘stone-deaf’ for six months received ‘perfect hearing.’ A lump immediately disappeared from another woman’s side. A woman whose knees were bandaged because of injured cartileges walked normally the next day and burned the bandages. A young insomniac slept peacefully through the whole night after Florrie prayed for him, and continued to do so thereafter. Others claimed healing from neuritis and rheumatism. One woman was converted from Christian Science and baptised in the local Church of Christ the following Sunday night. Three people were baptised in the sea at Sangate and five more in a waterhole. In Brisbane, there was now a small but sound congregation of about fifty people, with three meetings every Sunday.[30]


The dedication and passion of Florrie Mortomore's faith is indicated in an address she gave in Brisbane in 1922 at the Exhibition Buildings called ‘The Dragon's Plot.’ In this study on Revelation chapter 12, she argued that the ‘woman’ represented all believers and that the ‘manchild’ signified a small body of more dedicated saints.

Who then can this child represent but the little body of overcomers; the little flock to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom? These are indeed causing pain to the larger body of Christians, who think they go `too far' or are `too religious;' to those who want to have the world in the Church, and to have their tennis clubs and football matches, moving pictures and boxing contests, teas and socials etc., all mixed up with the preaching of the priceless gospel.[31]

This company were those who had ‘set their whole hearts on purifying themselves, and are calling others to do the same, that their Bridegroom may find them ready when He comes, and receive them with joy.’ Was it against ‘respectable churchgoers’ that the Dragon was plotting?

Or is it against those who are willing to go without the camp into the streets and lanes, highways and hedges, searching for souls for the Master, bearing His reproach? Yea, it is against those who are boldly standing for His truths, lifting up the Christ, preaching the Word and magnifying the Blood, that Satan is so madly fighting...

She concluded with a plea that Christians would honour ‘Him who loves us so, and for His dear sake, yield wholly to Him, from this very hour pressing toward the mark for the prize of our high calling of God in Jesus Christ.’ While the validity of her exegesis might be questioned, the intensity of the application can only be admired. Plainly, Florrie Mortomore practised what she preached.

‘Precious jewels’

One couple who heard Florrie preach during this time were Herb and Thera Smith. Challenged by her message of total commitment, they began seeking the fullness of the Spirit in their lives, finally receiving the experience in early 1925. They wanted to serve the Lord in their home city of Brisbane, but they began to feel the call of God to go to Japan. Herb later described two visions he experienced, in one of which he heard the words, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,’ and in the other, the refrain, ‘Christ the blessed One, gives to all, wonderful words of life.’ Thera ‘certainly did not want to go to Japan,’ but felt convicted that people were still untouched by the Gospel because people just like her were not willing to sacrifice for them. ‘There seemed a big cost to count,’ she recalled, ‘and I hoped that my husband would not see the message as I had.’ Ultimately, they both yielded to the Lord’s will and on 31 October 1925, were welcomed to Osaka.[32]

In December 1923, Florrie was back in Melbourne where she was one of several speakers at a special Christmas luncheon provided by the Mission for over a hundred ‘poor and needy’ people. ‘In no millionaire’s home was a Christmas dinner enjoyed more,’ reported the Mission’s periodical Good News.[33]

In 1924, Florrie was on the move again. In Maryborough she enjoyed ‘sweet fellowship’ with the believers. One of the women of the church joined her[34] and they travelled on to Rockhampton, where she held tent meetings for most of June, with gatherings almost every night of the week. They unearthed some ‘precious jewels’ and three people ‘followed the Lord in the waters of baptism,’ one of them ‘so mightily under the power of God’ that he could hardly make it back to the tent. Florrie wrote, ‘Oh! May I ever be an emptied, cleansed channel to be used as He wills.’[35]

In Townsville, they were able to share the Word with a number of Aboriginal people. The young Enticknap brothers, who had been called to the ministry through the work of Annie Dennis, herself a product of Florrie’s labours, had begun evangelising there.[36] They two women continued to Mackay where they were greeted warmly and then went on to Cairns, where, on 9 December 1923, Bessie Couldrey had married widower Carl Lewis (Charles) Kajewski (1891-1976). Kajewski came originally from the old family homestead at Goombungee, near Toowoomba, where he was one of seven boys and seven girls. The Kajewski family had been among those filled with the Spirit when the two evangelists visited there in 1922.[37] It was probably in Toowoomba that Charles and Bessie first met. Charles had settled in Cairns ‘with the sole object of glorifying God by implanting the precious seed in a district so badly in need of holy influences and teaching.’ There were four children from this marriage—John, Jean Frances, Ivan and Ruth.[38]

With a horse and spring cart, Charles had a small carrying business. Later he worked at Cairns Timber Limited supervising the treating and laminating of timber.[39] The family built a house at 274 Sheridan St where they lived till around 1946. It was at this address that the first Pentecostal meetings were held in Cairns.[40] One of the Kajewski children remembers that there was often a lot of noise in the Sheridan Street meetings as people sought to be filled with the Holy Spirit.[41]

Here Florrie was glad to help in the quest of all those who longed for ‘more of God and His righteousness.’ There were both white and ‘coloured folk’, both old and young. Of particular joy was the fact that groups of 40 to 50 Aborigines were now meeting together in and around Cairns. That these meetings were Pentecostal is evident from the fact that she praised God that a few short years previously, ‘the glorious light of the Gospel with the accompanying baptism in the Holy Spirit had scarcely touched these places’ but that now there were ‘little companies of earnest Christians shining for Jesus, earnestly pressing on themselves and earnest for the blessing of others.’ There was also a Sunday School and a work among senior citizens.

In 1926, Mother Lancaster visited Cairns. Later she wrote—

We... found ourselves warmly welcomed, being motored to Brother Charlie Kajewski's pleasantly-situated home, a few minutes from the sea front, where we met his gifted wife (Sister Bessie Kajewski) and sweet little ones for the first time. A meeting had been arranged for that night, and we had a royal time with the Lord, for, where there are hungry hearts to bless, He delights in showering down His love upon them...[42]

Lancaster reported that two Sunday services and an Apostolic Faith Sunday School were conducted regularly. After the evening service, the seekers ‘got down before the Lord’ and at midnight, one lady was baptised in the Holy Spirit. Others were encouraged by this, and ‘one after another came into the fullness of blessing.’[43]

In 1926, the various assemblies which had been established by Good News Hall agreed to unite under one banner, the Apostolic Faith Mission of Australasia. In June 1927, the Cairns assembly was formally listed for the first time as a member church.[44]

All over Queensland and beyond, Florrie Mortomore had won many hearts. Her simplicity of faith, her earnestness, her compassion, her dedication and her sweet disposition could disarm the most antagonistic.

In Late 1926, Lancaster visited Brisbane and wrote of the ‘hallowed joy’ she experienced in being reunited with Florrie Mortomore and others there. The church was both consolidating and extending God’s kingdom. People were deeply hungry for the Scriptures and thirsty for ‘the living waters of the Spirit.’ Young men and women were openly testifying in the streets ‘to the saving and keeping power of Jesus.’ She was delighted: ‘What precious times of refreshing we enjoyed from the presence of the Lord.’[45]

‘A living sacrifice’

Florrie Mortomore, only 36 years old, but again suffering ill health, returned to Brisbane where she continued to serve God in the church there. She was just as delighted with being able to give a New Testament to a small boy as she was when crowds came to her meetings.[46] However, her physical condition did not improve. No doubt a prolonged time of rest would have been beneficial but, although Pentecostal ministers were later to recognise that divine healing may not apply when there has been bodily abuse, in those pioneering days, anything other than absolute trust in God for recovery could be seen as a lack of faith.[47] A call for increased prayer was issued—

The precarious state of Sister Florrie Mortomore’s health has led her Assembly to request the saints everywhere to join them on Sunday February 20th, in a day of prayer and humiliation on her behalf, abstaining from food until sunset on that day. Those who know how our sister’s body has been presented as a living sacrifice on behalf of Queensland, and esteem her very highly in love for her work’s sake, will readily respond to this appeal.[48]

That year, although her successful ministry was openly honoured, she was not asked to serve on the Apostolic Faith Mission council. ‘Our sister's health is too valuable,’ wrote Jeannie Lancaster, ‘for the Conference to impose the strenuous duties of a Councillor upon her.’[49]

In 1927, in spite of the many prayers, she fell asleep for the last time. At the young age of 37, she had, to quote one member, ‘burned out for God and precious souls.’[50] She kept preaching right to the end. A former neighbour in Lilydale wrote—

I shall never forget the wonderful address (the last I heard her give) from Psalm 45: ‘The king's daughter is all glorious within’; the way this dear, weak sister held forth in a strong voice, her very being pulsating with love and joy, was indeed, an inspiration to all present.[51]

Although her heart's desire was to join the labourers in the world's huge harvest field, her strength finally gave out. Her mother described her falling asleep in moving terms—

Her end was sweet and peaceful; she did long for someone to continue in prayer most of the time. Saturday midday she asked for all to get down and pray for victory; it was a very busy day for most but God touched hearts and prayers ascended in real earnest. Father had a vision: ‘all the cushions and carpet were sprinkled with earth.’ I knew too well what that meant: ‘Earth to earth.’ During the evening she would have us sing hymns of victory and she joined in the singing...

When we said, ‘Jesus,’ she would repeat it. We think she had a vision once; her face lit up, she smiled so sweetly and said: ‘Blessed Jesus.’ She died with ‘Jesus’ on her lips. Nurse Green said she never saw such a peaceful death—no struggling, just a simple falling asleep.[52]

A photo published at the time of her death shows here looking much older than her 37 years. But there is a serenity and an intensity in her gaze that reflects both her peace with God and her determination to serve Him unswervingly.

After her death, Lancaster found a poem written in her handwriting. It is not clear whether Florrie wrote the verses herself, or whether she copied them from the work of another. However, as Lancaster put it, ‘most certainly they express her inmost feelings and desires.’ They are the words of a living sacrifice.

Laid on Thine altar, O my Lord divine,
Accept this gift to-day for Jesus’ sake.
I have no jewels to adorn Thy shrine,
Nor any world-famed sacrifice to make;
But, here, I bring within my tremblng hand
This will of mine—a thing that seemeth small,
And Thou, O Lord, alone canst understand
How, when I yield Thee this, I yield mine all.

Hidden therein Thy searching gaze canst see
Struggles of passions, visions of delight;
All that I have, or am, or fain would be.
Deep loves, fond hopes, and longings infinite,
It hath been wet with tears, dimmed with sighs;
Clenched in my grasp till beauty hath it none,
Now, at Thy footstool, where it vanquished lies,
The prayer ascendeth: ‘May Thy will be done.’

Take it, O Father, ere my courage fail,
And merge it so in Thine own will that I
May never wish to take it back;
When heart and courage fail, to Thee I’ll fly;
So change, so purify, so like Thine own
Make Thou my will, so graced by love divine
I may not know or feel it as mine own,
But recognise my will as one with Thine.[53]

Frederick Van Eyk

In the same year, the Kajewskis, having ‘faithfully tithed their money,’[54] invited the South African evangelist F.B.Van Eyk (1895-1939) to visit Cairns. He had arrived in Australia in 1926, and was already stirring churches in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane with his dynamic preaching and dramatic healing ministry.

Van Eyk arrived, together with Hines Retchford, of Adelaide, as his song leader. On the opening night, 8 January, in the Palace Theatre, in Lake Street, one thousand people turned up![55] This represented around ten percent of the population. Van Eyk preached on ‘The Continuous Progressive Revelation of God to Man’ or the ‘Evolution of Divine Healing.’ The 15 cm, two column notice in the Cairns Post announced, ‘This is your opportunity, come and hear the message, and be Healed [sic], why suffer longer?’[56]

The local newspaper described the evangelist's methods as ‘original’ and his exposition ‘unorthodox’, but the outline of his message indicates a systematic and consistent approach to Scripture. Perhaps the ‘originality’ lay in the fact that Van Eyk boldly informed his large congregation that he had come to Cairns to demonstrate that ‘God was still the living God’ and that before a week was out, there would be verifiable cases of divine healing in Cairns.

The evangelist's commitment to the Scripture was clear and plain. It was God's Word and he believed it. Those nations which had cast it aside, like France and Russia, had plunged into dissipation and depravity. Britain, on the other hand, by honouring the Scripture, was ‘the highest amongst the respected countries of the world.’ Divine healing was revealed in the Bible from the days of the Exodus through to the New Testament. The healing covenant was ‘perfected in the vicarious death of Jesus Christ on Calvary's Cross: and subsequently placed in the church as a perpetual gift by the Holy Spirit.’

He challenged any minister to prove from the Scriptures that healing gifts had been withdrawn. Why wasn't the Church still ministering healing to the sick and needy? A girl in Adelaide had been healed of ‘apoplectic fits’. A Brisbane girl being treated by two physicians had recovered. People in Maryborough and Rockhampton had experienced God's healing power.[57]

In January 1928, instead of the usual listing among the churches, the Cairns entry in Good News reads—‘GREAT REVIVAL at CAIRNS, Hundreds saved—Many healed.’[58] The Mission continued over subsequent weeks. Van Eyk preached mostly on the Second Coming, World events and Divine Healing. Friday night 13 January was again devoted to healing. Again ‘several hundreds’ were present. During the message, Van Eyk declared, ‘I will prove that the Word of God is true.’ He asked who in the audience was suffering pain, and began to pray for them. According to the press report, the first person was ‘instantly healed’ and ‘a wave of enthusiasm swept over the audience.’[59] Soon others were claiming relief from pain and distress. The result was that testimonies of healing were reported daily.[60] Because of numerous requests, the evangelist was also available for consultation at Kelburn House, from Mondays to Thursdays, 10 am to 2 pm.

His topic on Sunday 22 January was ‘Staggering Events at Hand. The complete absorption of the Anglican Church by Roman Catholicism. The Reason why, and its ultimate destiny’ with a pertinent quote from Revelation 17:4, 5 about the scarlet-clad mother of harlots. This was ‘a thrilling subject to the last degree’ and it would provide ‘conclusive proof of the absolute nearness of the second coming.’[61]

There were many hooks in the title, but it attracted a mainly Protestant audience. ‘There was no compromise,’ Bessie Kajewski recorded, ‘but a plain statement of facts—facts that found a mark.’ She estimated that 90% of the ‘vast audience’ stood at the close ‘to stand by the truths their fathers died for.’

She was delighted with the whole event. ‘Mummie,’ she wrote to Lancaster, ‘it was a grand meeting, and turned the scale in our favor [sic].’ People in the streets were now friendly and cordial and whole families were coming to God. On another night, Van Eyk spoke on the topic: ‘Jubilee.’ ‘Surely we heard the bells ringing,’ said Bessie.[62] What a change this represented from the early, small pioneering efforts of the little assembly. The revival was continuing and many claimed to be healed and hundreds to be converted.[63]

Van Eyk preached a fervent message in answer to the question, `Will the Church Pass through the Rapture?' He didn't mince matters—

Now that events are taking place with such lightning-like rapidity, it behoves us who are looking for the translation of the Church to know just where we stand. Every now and again a fresh diabolical doctrine blows over the ocean, generally with some individuals who just delight to make their happy hunting grounds here in Australia for as long as they are tolerated. Recently the work of God has been shamelessly rent into pieces both in Australia and New Zealand, by the teaching `that all the saints have to pass through he great seven-year tribulation... Surely the cruellest division I have yet seen in Pentecost. Many of God's people have been robbed of their blessed hope... from this Satanic lie...’[64]

Then followed strong—and positive—teaching that believers would be raptured prior to the great tribulation. About 100 people responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Christ. Prayer was also offered for the sick and testimonies of healing followed.

On 29 January, the ‘Cleansing Power of the Blood’ was ‘chemically demonstrated.’ Again, there was a ready response. According to Bessie Kajewski, virtually the whole congregation accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour and the newspaper editor was ‘awestruck’ at the way business men and prominent citizens respected Van Eyk.[65]

At times I could hardly believe that our brother was facing a Cairns audience; surely these keenly-interested people who sat forward in their seats couldn't be our indifferent citizens...

The people of Cairns do not realise how deeply they have been stirred, the old lethargy will never again settle down upon them. Jesus is coming soon; and we Pentecostal people will keep them busy thinking until then...

The people are positively gripped. It is a joy to see the rapt expression as they listen to the blessed message. They have never heard anything like it before, and they come night after night, hungry for more.[66]

Finally, on 30 January, it was announced that the most important stage of the campaign had been reached. Now Van Eyk was going to address the theme of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. There were meetings from Tuesday to Friday night in the Hibernian Hall, with the daily consultations continuing.

On Sunday 5 February, the evangelist chose the unusual topic of ‘The Great Pyramid’ which, he claimed, foretold ‘the date of every event in English History since 1840... with amazing accuracy’ including the start of the Great War.[67]

The campaign came to an end on 12 February, with the final week-night meetings being held in the Oddfellows Hall.[68] Dozens testified to conversion or restoration to health and many were baptised in the Holy Spirit. The meetings concluded with a baptismal service at Freshwater Creek, six kilometres north of the city, a Farewell social and a closing Sunday night rally on one of the evangelist's ‘greatest themes’—‘—

Decision.’[69] For the baptisms, a special train was provided from the Central Station and according to Jesse Deacon, they had the foresight to engage two local police who were ‘urgently needed to control the immense crowd.’[70] He noted that the interest of hundreds of people had evidently been sufficiently aroused for them to want to witness ‘such an old-time Gospel scene enacted in public view.’ Thirty-seven believers were immersed. Others had apparently thought about joining them, but at the last minute, held back.

Bessie Kajewski was deeply moved—

I'll never forget that scene; it was grand to see the ever-increasing courage of those who obeyed [the Lord], and their obedience made a great impression upon many of those around... The people of Cairns do not realise how deeply they have been stirred.[71]

A subsequent report claimed—

In many respects more wonderful things were witnessed than in any preceding Mission, and Brother Van Eyk declared it to be the high-water mark of his labors [sic] up till that time.[72]

The Cairns church begins

The home meetings now became a church. Sunday services were conducted in the Oddfellows’ Hall and the Sunday School at the Deacon house had increased significantly. Further campaign meetings were planned for the Atherton tableland and Townsville. Van Eyk's preaching on the imminence of the Second Coming was so effective that Jesse Deacon wondered whether there would be sufficient time before the Lord's return for the Atherton and Townsville meetings to be held!

The local meetings continued in Cairns. Over the next two months, another 45 people were baptised in water. Regular ‘instruction meetings’ and ‘waiting meetings’ were held and one by one people received the Spirit. Charles Kajewski was now recognised as pastor. Jesse Deacon was secretary.[73] Evening services continued in the Oddfellows' Hall. Morning services and midweek Bible studies were at 91 Martin Street, at the Chapman home.[74]

The first Queensland conference of the Apostolic Faith Mission was held in September 1928. Thirty-eight delegates attended from the dozen or so meeting places now established in that State. There is no specific mention in the Conference report of any delegates from Cairns attending but it is more than likely some were present.[75]

The excitement of that year was short-lived. The Mission experienced a serious reversal when there were allegations of serious indiscretion on the part of F.B.Van Eyk during his time in Toowoomba. As a result his ministry with the fledgling Queensland churches was terminated.[76] By July of the next year, the Apostolic Faith Mission had changed its name to Assemblies of God.[77] Nevertheless, the Cairns church seems to have maintained its links with Good News Hall, although it may not have formally joined the Apostolic Faith Mission.[78]

In 1930, Dr Mina Brawner (b.1880), an American physician now resident in Australia, and working from Good News Hall, conducted a series of evangelistic campaigns in Queensland. She was accompanied by Winnie Andrews, secretary of the Good News Hall congregation.[79] For five weeks, through July and early August, Brawner preached in Brisbane, often in the streets.[80] She held meetings for the unemployed and addressed a gathering of Methodist Lay Preachers, who urged her to address them again on her return. She and Andrews journeyed on to Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville, ministering in each place. Finally, in August, they arrived in Cairns, where they were greeted by the Kajewskis and church secretary George Schipke. That evening, there was a meeting of the local campaign committee, whom Winnie Andrews described as a ‘band of faithful, energetic workers, whose one desire is to see souls saved and believers led into a deeper walk with God.’ When the assembly gathered for the weekly communion service on Sunday morning, ‘the presence of God was blessedly real, and a sweet spirit of love and unity prevailed.’

That night, the first of the campaign, ‘several hundreds’ gathered and stood for half an hour at an open air meeting and some proceeded to the hall for the commencing rally, where there were four converts. On Sunday 17 August, Brawner’s topic was ‘The End in Sight.’ Taking as her text 2 Peter 3:3-4, she challenged those who scoffed at the signs of the Coming of the Lord to consider the state of the world—the growth of population, the increasing shortage of food, the demands on energy resources, the escalating armament industry and the rising evidence of moral decadence. ‘The outlook,’ she declared, ‘is bad, but the uplook is glorious.’ God would one day lift His hand and bring an end to ‘the mad rush of lawlessness’ and when Christ returned the earth would be filled with the glory of the Lord.[81]

On the last Sunday night in August, a ‘splendid open-air meeting’ was held outside the Palace Theatre, where there were a thousand people ‘listening attentively.’ This was followed by a ‘very good meeting’ where there was a growing attendance, although they still ‘would like to see more.’

During the campaign, there were twelve professions of faith and thirteen acknowledged cases of healing. One of these was a man who came for healing for a sore hand. Mina Brawner refused to pray for him until he repented of his sins. This he refused to do. Then another man who had just been converted began to encourage him. ‘Try it yourself, lad,’ he said. The man accepted this, believed in Christ and experienced both salvation and healing. Another was 14 year-old Joyce Kajewski, who testified to being cured of pains and headaches from which she had suffered for years and of being baptised in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

There were two tarry meetings at which one person received the Spirit. Winnie Andrews reported that the local press gave plenty of favourable coverage and that almost the whole community heard the word of the Lord.[82]

In nearby Yungaburra, several people also claimed healing and spiritual blessing. On 26 September, a ‘car-load of saints’ travelled from Cairns and joined the group there in prayer. Several spoke in tongues including Beulah, a child of eleven, who had specifically come from Cairns to ‘get under the showers of Latter Rain.’[83] Both wonder and joy were experienced in Yungaburra. Brawner reported her awe at hearing a ‘Heavenly Orchestra... playing the most heavenly music.’ This phenomenon continued for half an hour, and several of them claimed to have heard it. For a while, there seemed to be only stringed instruments; then it sounded like ‘a supernatural full orchestra.’ Others spoke of their joy in receiving the Spirit. ‘Oh it was so sweet! She is just bubbling over with joy,’ wrote Winnie Andrews of one lady. And when Sister Coulters ‘came through..., her mouth was filled with laughter’ and she claimed to be ‘full right up to the top.’

The first church building

These meetings were held in a ‘nice little hall’ in Lake Street. Later, they moved to ‘Mirob’s shop’ in Aplin Street, next to the Methodist manse. It is said that the minister used to sneak into the meetings and was eventually baptised in the Spirit.[84] A large ‘Apostolic Faith Mission’ sign hung over the door.[85]

This meeting place was not satisfactory, however. Pastor Theo Hallop conducted a tent campaign and they continued to use the tent for regular services until they moved into the Trocadero Dance Hall while waiting for a more permanent meeting place. Sometimes there were problems with people trying to sleep overnight in the tent. Hallop recalls that on occasion they had to clear out beer bottles on Sunday morning before they could use it.[86]

The need for a building of their own became clear. Being an independent group, they found it hard to raise finance. So in 1934, when Hallop was pastor, they began to take steps to affiliate with the Assemblies of God. Leonard Cook was not enthused. ‘What's this Assemblies of God?’ he demanded. ‘We’re an autonomous church. So we’ll call it an Assembly of God.’ This they did. It remained so till after the war. But they were accepted and became Assembly No.22 in Australia.[87]

Charles Kajewski was away at the time working at Gillies Range. So Cook approached J.Coulters and ‘Dardy’ Koch to act as trustees. They were willing to mortgage their own homes. Originally, they thought of buying a large house and converting it to a hall, but eventually they purchased two blocks of land at 25 and 27 Clare Street and one on the Esplanade, then sold two of them to raise funds for building. Len Cook supervised the building contracted to Adams Paterson at an estimated cost of 550 pounds.[88].

The project was not without its problems. Because the land was very swampy, piles were set some 20 feet into the ground and in the early days, there was a large cavity in the ground behind the building (the city council was invited to fill it by dumping waste there).[89] There were other needs—for paint, for foot-path filling, for street lighting. An anonymous donation of ‘two fine crisp five pound notes’ provided for the paint and the civic authorities attended to the rest. Others donated building materials and the members of the church, including the children, gave of their time and energy.

Eventually, ‘the beautiful Assembly of God Tabernacle,’ as a news report described it, was completed. Of timber construction, it stood painted, fenced and large enough to accommodate a couple of hundred people.[90] Not everyone was so proud of it. The Assemblies of God chairman described it as ‘a nice little church in an out-of-the-way location which at least was fully paid for![91] The Tabernacle was opened on 16 December 1934 with pioneer Pentecostal minister Len Jones as the guest speaker.[92] It was to provide a centre of activity for the church for the next 36 years, until another building was erected in Gatton Street. It is still being used today by an independent congregation.

Outreach and mission

Members of the Cairns church were involved in outreach work to nearby settlements including Skeleton Creek, where there was a remarkable thatched grass church,[93] Redlynch, Deeral, Mossman and Wright’s Creek.

It is possible there were Pentecostals among the South Sea Islanders and the Aboriginals as early as 1904, well before any white people came with the message. Among these was a strong, well-built man named George Malla Kulla (also known as George Dann Tanna) who was a devoted follower of the Lord.[94] It may be that he was part of the prayer revival that came to the Queensland Kanakas in 1905 when there was an unprecedented pouring out of the Spirit. This was not overtly Pentecostal but it may have been sufficiently expressive to be seen as such.[95] One of the last of the ‘black-birded’ Kanakas, Malla Kulla, died on 23 April 1965.[96]

Will Enticknap was coordinator of the ministry among coloured folk. So he was stationed at Cairns for a time. Will’s family had been introduced to the Pentecostal message in 1924 by Annie Dennis and there had been a remarkable outpouring of God’s Spirit. As a result, Will and his brother Charles launched out in evangelism in Townsville, Qld, with a tent campaign, and soon Will was pastor of a vibrant church running nine public meetings a week.[97] The Enticknaps were respected as a humble, loving couple. They were to serve in Assemblies of God ministry for many years.

A saintly Irish woman, Mrs Isabella Hetherington (born c.1869), had been working with Aborigines since the turn of the century. In a report written in 1913, she describes some extraordinary revival phenomena among Aborigines in La Perouse, now a Sydney suburb—

One of the dear native women was graciously baptised in the Spirit last Sunday morning. She was under the power of the Lord some five or six hours. I danced before the Lord one whole hour and so did she. She sang in the Spirit for two or three hours and then the Holy Spirit gave the sign to unbelievers, speaking through her in other tongues...

All church form was broken through. We started prayers in the morning about 8 o’clock and the meeting lasted until 11 at night. Several of the natives were under the power of God. It was a day long to be remembered...

She goes on to describe an incident involving her adopted Aboriginal daughter, Nellie, who later gained a reputation for her beautiful singing—

After tea, we went to pray in the kitchen, and immediately the Spirit of the Lord began to pray through ‘this clay.’ Nellie (her adopted daughter) and Vera fell down under the might power of God. How I wish you could have seen my Nellie. At first her little face looked as though she was undergoing crucifixion, then her arms went up to God one after the other. Her hands shook severely and her whole body was lifted off the floor several times. Then her little mouth was opened... a beautiful smile came over her face and she shouted, ‘Praise Him!’ and ‘Yea Lord, I love Thee’ and began to speak and sing in other tongues and to cast out demons. Both the girls were under God’s power nearly three hours...[98]

Isabella Hetherington’s humility is indicated by her quaint reference to herself as ‘this clay.’ It was she who pioneered the work among the Aborigines in North Queensland.[99] She was based on a ‘Faith Mission’ with Aboriginal people at the Gorge Reserve, near Mossman, about 80 kilometres north of Cairns, where she and ‘Sister Vale’ laboured together. On occasion, she visited the church at Cairns. A photo taken around 1935, when Maxwell Armstrong was pastor, shows her standing with a group of Cairns people. She was a slight, diminutive, grey-haired woman. She was also said to be hard-working, set in her ways and on fire for God.

In 1941, Pastor Henry Wiggins, the Chairman of the Assemblies of God in Australia, visited the Gorge at Mossman where, he wrote, ‘nestles Sister Hetherington’s Mission for Aboriginals.’ The Gorge was ‘more lovely than ever’ but Miss Hetherington was ‘frailer than in past days.’[100] Four years later, the new Chairman, Pastor Philip Duncan, described her as an ‘aged worker of 76 summers, bent with age’ who wept when they prayed together. ‘She lives with the coloured folk,’ he wrote, ‘and she will die with them, for whom she left and gave her all.’ She was unselfish in her devotion to God and ‘passionately in love’ with the people she served and on whose behalf she sacrificed so much.[101] Hetherington was a true minister. She was willing to do whatever was needed. One of the rare extant photos of her shows her milking a cow; in another she is conducting a funeral service. Her love for God and commitment to his service come through strongly in these words—

I am not worthy of the crumbs that drop from my Master’s table, but I am finding out that it is not according to my merits or demerits that He blesses me but according to His riches in glory… My King has conferred his highest honour upon me, even me, by pouring out His Holy Spirit upon me. I cannot understand this mystery of mysteries but oh! Who else but God could have produced such a rapturous height of holy delight as possessed my body… Is it presumptuous to say that I was filled with the fullness of God?... Oh that I could get entirely out of self and into God, indeed I hunger and thirst after the living God…[102]

If this was the spirit that she conveyed years later to the people of Cairns, when she visited them, they were truly blessed.

Albert Edward Noble worked on the railways as a fettler in Maryborough, but felt called to the ministry. He and his wife had five children—Annie, Ivy, Eileen, Ted and Joy. Albert had a horse and caravan and began to pioneer all along the coast. There were no roads or bridges in those days and it was very difficult. In Cairns, he worked by day at Cairns Timber Ltd, drying plywood, veneering and the like. Between times, he did general repairs. He pioneered some of what they called the ‘dark work’ around Cairns—at Skeleton Creek, Mossman, Wright's Creek and other places.[103]

To those who knew him, Albert's whole life was dedicated to the Lord. When he wasn't working, he was always preaching, day and night, regardless of weather. He loved to work with Aborigines, in particular. To facilitate this ministry, he bought an old Pontiac truck. The truck had no windscreen wipers. So in wind and rain, he would drive with his head out the window. Then an ugly growth began to form on the side of his face. Common opinion was that the wind on his skin and in his ear had caused it. He believed the Lord would heal him solely in answer to prayer, but Cairns Timber made him seek medical help. Surgery was seen as the only answer but he refused. He was finally confined to bed, in pain, and eventually died. The little house where they lived is still there, by the cemetery.[104]

Theo Hallop remembers one occasion some time around 1935 when he and Tom Crawley rode bikes to Skeleton Creek, about seven miles out of town, to pray for a sick Aboriginal woman. They just told ‘simple stories’ but there was a spontaneous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There was no laying on of hands—both adults and children just knelt in prayer and worship. ‘I can still see their shining faces,’ Hallop said, ‘as they knelt there speaking in tongues. I don't know anyone there that night who wasn't converted.’

The doctor next door was evidently bewildered by the change in the community. There was no drunkenness any more. People were singing. Ned Pitt, a notable drinker and pedlar of alcohol, was converted and his wife became a gospel singer.[105]

Redlynch was ‘a very primitive church away in the hills’ where the ringing of a cowbell ‘brought the congregation out of the night to shyly take their places.’[106] In 1945, it was still by the light of acetylene flares that the congregation worshiped the Lord. Often, people from the Cairns church would attend these services.[107]

On occasion, there were conventions where people from the various outreaches got together. In 1946, some 200 people from Yungaburra, Redlynch, Deeral, Innisfail, Wright’s Creek, Skeleton Creek, Harvey’s Creek and Cairns converged on Deeral for a weekend convocation.[108]

Pioneering pastors

Although Charlie Kajewski acted as pastor for the first few years,[109] Theo Hallop (1911-) was the first recognised minister (1934-36). Educated at Maryborough Grammar School, in Queensland, he had received a teacher training scholarship for Brisbane University, but felt more drawn to the ministry. In 1930, he was baptised in the Holy Spirit. He had a good office job at Toowoomba, but left in 1931 to go to Bundaberg to help with the youth work. He worked with Aboriginals at Mundubberra, Nambour, Cooroy and Gympie where he labored with W.A.Buchanan for a couple of years, then ministered in Woombye, Cooroy, Mackay and Ingham, before going to Cairns.[110] He lived a sacrificial life and gave himself unstintingly to the work.

He was known as a good Bible teacher, an observation perhaps reflected in the fact that in 1941, he was one of six speakers at an ‘All-Australian Easter Convention’ at Glad Tidings Tabernacle, Brisbane, and that his message was later printed in the Australian Evangel.[111] In the same year, he was a member of the Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God.[112]

Hallop’s dedication is still remembered. ‘He lived on nothing for weeks,’ recalls one member. ‘Often he did not receive his pay. If there was anything left over after the bills were paid, he would take it. If there wasn't, he wouldn't.’[113]

‘I only had one pair of shoes,’ Hallop recalls. ‘When the soles wore through, a friend took them in to be repaired, but forgot to pick them up. So I was left with no shoes at all.’[114]

He was followed by Max Armstrong (1936-38), affectionately known as ‘Daddy Armstrong,’ and ‘a fine bloke.’ He was a physically small man, although large in heart. His wife, too, was diminutive. He used to ride a bicycle in his pastoral visitation. His son David married one of the Kajewski girls. Two other sons, Norman and Dalton entered Pentecostal ministry.[115]

Brought up in India, Armstrong became addicted to alcohol, ran away to sea at the age of 17 and was eventually converted in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1903, at a Salvation Army citadel. He became an officer and moved to Sydney, NSW, where he met and married his wife May. Here they encountered people who had been in John G.Lake’s meetings in South Africa, and on 23 June 1918, were baptised both in water and in the Holy Spirit.[116] Soon they were holding Pentecostal meetings in their home. In 1920, they moved to Cleveden, near Parkes, in New South Wales, where they ministered for fifteen months. They relocated in Sydney but in October 1929, returned to Parkes, where they served for three years and four months. After working in several places in Queensland, they moved to Cairns. Armstrong was willing to undertake any form of ministry. He and May loved to minister to the derelicts of society.[117] Max personally painted the original church building.

When Len Cook Jr was younger, he and three others rode motor cycles—Christ's Ambassadors, they were called. They used to hold open air meetings on Saturday nights in places as far removed as Innisfail (100 kilometres) or Atherton (85 kilometres), and sometimes Mossman and the Daintree Mission. One Sunday night ‘dear brother (Bill) Leembruggen,’ as Armstrong called him,[118] one of the four, started his bike and rode 100 metres when the motor cut out. Max Armstrong asked him, ‘Well, brother, what's up?’

‘The bike won't go,’ Bill replied. ‘It's seized up or something.’

‘We'd better pray about it,’ Max responded.

The group was sceptical. But Daddy Armstrong prayed. Then he said, ‘Kick it down.’

‘What do you mean, kick it down?’ Bill asked.

‘Kick it down. It will go,’ said Max.

And it did. Next weekend, Bill stripped the motor down but couldn't find anything wrong with it.

In 1944, Max Armstrong was appointed State Chairman in New South Wales.[119] A letter to his constituency reveals a great deal about his spirit and his enthusiasm—

Dear Brethren in our Glorious, Conquering Saviour,

Again I take this opportunity to send forth loving greetings to you all, in the sweet name of Him Who loves us with an Everlasting Love, and Whom we are learning to love more and more as the glory of His comforting Presence becomes increasingly real to us...

In the midst of the stupendous, and sometimes, bewildering happenings in the world today, it is very precious to know that this glorious work given to ‘the fishers of the Lord’ need never stop; and while ever there are Christians in the world who really love their Master, it shall never stop. We all realise that the fishers are very few, and therefore the work of hauling in the nets is very heavy and difficult, but thank God for the faithfulness and perseverance of the few... May He call out many more fishers to launch into the great sea of humanity, which at the present time is so troubled and storm tossed.[120]

Armstrong’s intense, joyous love for his Saviour and his sense of urgency about the need to save the lost comes through very strongly here. These qualities were clearly characteristic of the man.

In 1939, Ted Irish became pastor. Ruth Dyer remembers him as ‘a lovely chap.’ He, too, rode a motor cycle. On 5 June 1937, he married Annie Noble, who was then secretary of the church. Maxwell Armstrong officiated. It was the first wedding conducted in the Cairns Tabernacle and ‘the presence of the Lord was manifested as earnest hearts prayed God’s richest blessing on the future of these dear ones.’[121] Thomas and Dorothy Reekie, who were among the first to receive the Spirit in Adelaide in 1923,[122] pastored the church from 1940-42. They were followed by Bob Moody (1942-43), A.H.Waters (1944-1945)[123] and C.Frangos (1945-1946). Frangos, formerly a Greek Catholic, had attended a Toowoomba Bible School before beginning his ministry at Skeleton Creek. After his marriage, he ministered with his wife at Wynnum, Ayr and Mackay, before being inducted at Cairns by the national Chairman, Pastor Philip Duncan. Some of the early members of the church, who had evidently withdrawn for a time, returned and took up membership and ‘a fine board of officers was formed.’[124]

From 1946-48 Stanley Thomas Douglas (1914--) led the church. He was to return in 1960 for another eleven years. Stan and his wife Ruth (1920--) came from Bendigo, Victoria. Ruth's great aunt, Mrs Elizabeth Sutton, and her grandmother, Mrs Clare Buley, had been baptised in the Spirit in Melbourne, Vic, in 1906, during a time of prayer together. When they first spoke in tongues, it was all very strange to them, and it was only when they came into contact with Good News Hall, that they understood it.[125]

In 1929, Douglas’s Presbyterian father and Methodist mother had visited Richmond Temple, the flag-bearing Pentecostal Church of Australia congregation in Victoria. Here they were baptised in the Spirit and in water. Soon the whole family followed, the sixteen-year-old Stan being baptised in the Spirit in 1930. About this time, Richmond Temple’s pastor Charles Greenwood prayed for Stan for healing from repeated headaches. As he prayed, he spoke in tongues and then continued in English, that the Lord was calling young Stan into ministry, but that it would be a progressive development. Similar prophecies were given to Stan by pastors Charles Reid and Philip Duncan. ‘I would to God somebody had given a prophecy over me the way the Lord has spoken to you,’ commented Greenwood.

In 1938, Douglas arrived in Toowoomba to attend the new Bible School there. After two terms, the school closed. So he went to Brigalow and then, after six months, to Mackay where he assisted in looking after the church while the pastor, his future father-in-law, Harold Akehurst, worked at the Daintree Mission. After ministering in Townsville, Rockhampton and Maryborough, Douglas arrived in Cairns in 1948, where he spent the next two years.

His ministry was not characterised by unusual gifts, but ‘he was endowed with the fruit of the Spirit,’ says Ruth Dyer. He was popular with other ministers in the town. According to Dawn Parker, he had a great knowledge of the Scriptures, gave excellent Bible studies and his pastoral ministry was ‘superb.’ Through his efforts, the standing of the Assembly of God was greatly enhanced. He joined the Ministers' Fraternal and did much to overcome the stigma associated with so-called holy rollers and the like. He was well respected.[126]

Stan's wife Ruth was also loved and appreciated. She believed in keeping high standards such as modesty in dress. Ruth was ‘good musically’—she encouraged singers and gave music tuition. The Douglases were ‘mother and father to everyone,’ says Dawn Parker. They were ‘sound on the Word.’ She recalls with gratitude ‘the grounding they gave us in Cairns.’ It was Stan who baptised Dawn.

Pioneering people

There were many interesting people in the early days of the Cairns church. Ivan Kajewski, Charles and Bessie's son, was a marine engineer. He was a foreman at the North Queensland Engineering Agents. At various times, Ivan was a deacon, church treasurer and church secretary.

Mrs Guilfoyle and her son Ernie were active members. She had been converted through Charlie Kajewski's ministry in their home in Sheridan St. She had an ‘umbrella hospital’ under her house in Wiggs Street where she repaired umbrellas, usually by replacing the material on the frames—which she did well. Bible Study meetings were held in her home in 1928.[127]

Leonard Cook (1900-1987) came to Australia in 1922, originally to Sydney.[128] In 1924, he moved to Cairns where he established an electrical business under the name ‘Cook and Skinner.’ Cook was an active member of the Oddfellows Lodge. He and his wife Elsie Maud (1899 - 1954) had seven children—Leonard, George, Elsie, Stanley, Hazel, James and Edith Dawn. In 1955, a year after Elsie's death, Cook and Dorothy Schipke were joined as man and wife.

Mrs Guilfoyle told Cook about her Pentecostal experience. He was then a staunch member of the Church of England, although his wife was a Methodist. Cook said that if it was genuine he should look into it and he did. He was converted and then baptised in the Spirit. He never drank, but he did smoke. Now he immediately put his cigarettes away, on the basis that his body was the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The eldest son, Leonard Sydney Frank Cook (1921—) married Eileen Noble, whose family were actively involved in the church. He was shift engineer at the Hambledon Sugar Mill and then at ACF and Shirley's Fertilizer Company in several executive positions in the engineering departments and finally a maintenance engineer of the Cairns works.[129] George was a plumber and then a manual training teacher at night school. Elsie Frances (b.1926) became a nurse. Stanley Jack (b.1929) was a stone mason who later established his own business in Mackay. Hazel Dorothy (b.1931) was employed as a tailor. James Henry (b.1932) was a motor mechanic. As a result of volunteer work with the ambulance service, he became an ambulance supervisor, and then a manual training teacher, instructing apprentices in evening classes. Finally, he was an Assembly of God pastor at Murgon, where he died in office in 1984. Edith Dawn (b.1938) was a bank clerk before her marriage to John Parker.

Cook never lost a chance to evangelise. One day in the late thirties he took his oldest son Leonard to church to hear Howard Carter, renowned English evangelist. Len Jr was aware of people whose lives didn't match up with the teaching, so in his early teens he had began to doubt the Pentecostal message. He was busy studying and working for his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner. That night, the car was out of action so they walked to church. When the altar call was given, he stepped outside and waited for his Dad. When Cook appeared, he said, ‘Come in, son.’

Len replied, ‘I don't want to go in. I'm tired of all this.’

But he recalled what the Bible says about obedience to parents and so went in anyway. His father said, ‘Here's another candidate.’

The evangelist responded, ‘Kneel down, son.’

Len thought, ‘How long will this take?’

The evangelist asked him, ‘You want to be filled?’ He laid hands on his head. The Spirit of God came on him. ‘There were rivers of living water!’ he recalls today. For the next week he ‘walked on air.’ He hardly knew what was going on around him. This, he said, ‘sealed his experience of Christ.’

Joseph Banks (‘Dardy’) Koch (1893-1956), a clerical officer with the then Cairns Harbour Board (now known as the Cairns Port Authority), was one of the founders of the church.[130] His father, Dr David Koch, had pioneered research into tropical fevers which were prevalent in the district. Such was the appreciation of the local citizens for his work that two years after his death in 1901, a monument was erected to him which still stands in Anzac Park. ‘Dardy’ Koch was converted under Van Eyk and baptised by him at Freshwater Creek. His wife, Ellen, apparently did not share his faith and, although they seem to have been happily married, his conversion evidently put strains on the relationship, a situation which alienated other members of the family from the new church. Meanwhile, ‘Dardy’ became a fervent evangelist. His son Edward recalled—

My father became a very devout man. He was always reading his Bible, praying to the Lord and preaching the Gospel to all and sundry even though they may have been reluctant listeners...To him there was no deviation from the biblical path... Every Saturday evening for many years the Assembly of God brethren used to have an open-air meeting in Spence Street, Cairns, outside Boland’s building not too far distant from the intersection in Lake Street... ‘Dardy’ Koch rarely missed one of those meetings. My father most sincerely put his actions and beliefs where his mouth was. He was forever doing and preaching the Lord’s Word.[131]

He did not miss a single Board meeting from 1948 till 1954, when records run out.[132] Two years after Ellen’s death in 1942, Koch married Claudia Theodosia Fraser (1900-1988) a nursing sister from the Skeleton Creek Mission, in the Clare Street chapel, with Pastor A.H.Waters officiating,. On one occasion, when she spoke at a Convention at Deeral, her ministry was described as ‘owned of God’ and ‘a blessing to all present.’[133] During the last few years of his life, ‘Dardy’ Koch spent much of his time working among the indigenous people at Kamerunga and Mossman.

He was said to have owned considerable property around town—land, houses, flats—as he had inherited money from his father. He used to support the church well and was a major guarantor of the Clare Street church property. He died at work in June 1956, having been employed at the Cairns Port Authority since 1909.[134]

George Chapman was an engineer at the Cairns Timber Ltd mill where he exercised a supervisory role. He would often find jobs for church people at the mill. He was one of the few people with a car. In 1928, after Van Eyk's campaign, although his wife was not a believer, Bible Study meetings were held in his home at 91 Martin St.[135] It is said he was an erratic person, known, for example, to wear odd socks. One man who served under him as an apprentice recalls, ‘He knew the Scriptures. He would quote them all day long. But he believed you had to suffer and endure hardship as a Christian. So he would make Christians suffer at work—he would give dirty jobs to the Christians or have you work outside in the sun!’[136]

The Aeschlimans, of Swiss-French origin, were actively involved. Mr Aeschliman was a photographer with his own business. He used to travel around on a bicycle, carrying his gear on the handlebars. On one trip to Aloomba he hit a hole and went over the top of the handlebars, one of which penetrated his stomach. The accident was fatal. Their daughter joined the Salvation Army and their son Harry was a chemist in the Mulgrave Sugar Mill but in adult years drifted from the church.

Arthur Jesse Deacon and his wife Daisy were involved from the very beginnings of the church. As we have seen, a Sunday school was held in their home in 64 Charles Street and Jesse was church secretary. Together with four of their daughters—Victoria May (b.1913), Thelma Rose (b.1914), Laura Myrtle (b.1916) and Emilie Jean (b.1919)—Jesse and Daisy received the Spirit as a result of Mrs Lancaster’s visit in 1926.[137] The following year, Jesse testified to being healed of influenza after telegraming Mrs Lancaster for prayer.[138] He was actively involved in the church’s worship, on at least one occasion seeing a striking vision of widespread war which he took as a warning of the Lord's soon return.[139]

Other people in the church included Fred and Dolly Schipke of 42 Upward Street who had three children. Fred was a clerk at McDonald and Harris, Solicitors. In late 1928, George Schipke was church secretary.[140] His sons were musicians. Dorothy Schipke married Leonard Cook. The Rumble family lived in Water Street with their nine children, although Mrs Rumble was the only one who attended the church. She was ‘a fine old sister.’[141] R.H.Kelly who owned a clothing and shoe store made a stand for Christ but did not stay in the church.

Clive Anderson, a single man and a blacksmith worked in his father's business. Henry Bernard Freudenberg (1909—) was a clerk at the Cairns Timber Ltd mill. He married Louisa Selma Holzaphel (1907-1992) who had been baptised in the Spirit in 1920 when she was riding alone in the bush looking for her father's lost horse. She was singing the only two hymns she knew when the Spirit came upon her. Henry and Lou were baptised in water in March 1929. They remained in the church till 1934. Henry later became an Assembly of God pastor for a time.[142]

J. Coulters was a dairy farmer on the Tablelands who was probably converted through the ministry of Van Eyk. There were two children—Gladys and Charlie. Many ‘coloured folk’ lived on the farm. He built a place or worship there before the Cairns church building was erected. Len Cook Jr remembers him driving down the old Range Road to Cairns. It was so narrow, there was only one-way traffic, and people were only allowed 40 minutes for the journey or they could be fined. Coulters was a great financial supporter of the church. Pinnacle Pocket church now stands where his property was.[143]

After her 1930 Cairns campaign, Mina Brawner visited the Coulters’ farm and stayed for nearly two weeks. ‘The power and glory of God fell in a mighty way,’ wrote Winnie Andrews. Six people were baptised in the Holy Spirit, including Mrs Coulters, who had been seeking for ten years, and her daughter Gladys. Her husband was healed. As a result, it was decided to hire the Oddfellows Hall in Atherton and conduct a series of evangelistic meetings. On 26 October began the first ‘full Gospel’ campaign ever held in the Tablelands.[144]

For six weeks Brawner persisted in the face of considerable opposition and little response. But there were encouraging features. One young man missed a ride but walked six miles to the meeting. Another determined to rid himself of his business of growing tobacco. Some were healed. A few were baptised in the Barron River. And on 9 December, a small church was formed. Mrs Henry was appointed secretary. The church was not an organisation, Brawner declared at the inauguration, but an organism in which people could work together harmoniously. So those who joined did so of their own free will. Nor was there any competition with others—

We have no quarrel with any other body of Christians, but we are devoted to Apostolic Christianity. We have Apostolic aims, for we feel that the Church Jesus calls for must conform to the pattern of the Church He established; therefore, we preach Apostolic Doctrines, and look for Apostolic results. That is why we call ourselves ‘Apostolic Faith,’ that the world and our fellow Christians may know just what we stand for—viz., all that the Apostles preached.[145]

Mrs Volivarda, a widow who owned a property at the top end of Charles St, and who, as she became elderly, tended to keep to herself, was thought of as a ‘lovely old lady.’ She had a daughter Maggie. There was another woman named Sister Hunt who was apparently converted during Van Eyk's time. She was ‘a nice woman.’

The church fellowship

‘We were like a family. We thought more of each other than of our relations. We would spend all day Sunday together,’ recalls Len Cook.

For Ruth Dyer, it was a long way to walk to the church in Clare St, but they were prepared to do it. The building was usually quite full. Ruth remembers ‘Dardy’ Koch speaking out in tongues almost every week. There were several who always seemed to be prominent in matters like these.

Sunday was a busy day. According to Len Cook Jr, the morning services followed a fairly regular format—

· Prayer

· Hymn

· Choruses

· Message/word from Charlie Kajewski, Len Cook Sr etc

· Testimonies (open to anyone)

· Breaking of bread, worship and fellowship

These gatherings would sometimes last two or three hours. They didn't hurry. Then some families would stay for lunch together. Here they would discuss the Scriptures, debate different views, compare ideas and in this way try to increase their understanding of the Word.

Evening services were simple—

· Prayer

· Singing

· Address

· Prayer—for people’s needs such as healing or the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The preaching was ‘down to earth, straight forward, fundamental, with no frills,’ says Len Cook Jr. ‘They didn't use notes—just the open Bible. The Word used to flow out of them. Not like today when preachers have pages of notes...’ This may have been true of some of the preachers, but not necessarily of all. Over 170 sets of Will Enticknap's sermon notes survive, some of them of messages preached in Cairns.[146]

‘Sister Kajewski's Bible studies were very deep,’ recalls Dawn Parker. Not everyone agreed. For Henry Freudenberg, it was only when he went to Bible School in Brisbane that he felt learned anything of spiritual substance. ‘I look back and see what a no-hoper I was,’ he recalls. ‘What an ignorant man. I knew nothing of the Scriptures. Yet I was seven years in that church. They would just tell Bible stories.’[147]

But for most people, Sundays were high points of the week. ‘We used to long for Sundays,’ recalls Len Cook. ‘We weren't interested in work and other things—we just wanted to enjoy the presence of the Lord.’ Ruth Dyer agrees. ‘Worship was not like today. We sang the old hymns. We were keen on the Word in those days,’ she says. ‘We loved the Word.’

There was plenty of opportunity for anyone to be involved. Ruth Dyer preached for the first time at a Sunday night youth service when she was about 15. The young people were expected to take part. There was a washing of feet service once a year (probably on Good Friday, which was the accepted practice in Good News Hall).[148] This was seen both as a symbolical cleansing and an expression of humility. But it was ‘not a popular ordinance among the proud,’ the ‘apron of humility’ seeming to have ‘gone out of style.’[149]

A brief reprint in Good News from the Pentecostal Evangel written by S.H.F. (Stanley Frodsham?) puts aptly the feelings of those early saints on this matter—

As a young minister... said, `Do you know, friends, we are all fighting for the top in the Church; but there are so few fighting for the towel.

He whom God exalted and gave a name above every name declared, `I am among you as one who serves,' and throughout eternity this will be his attitude... He is the One Who took the towel and girded Himself to perform the work of the lowest slave.

The world says, ‘There is plenty of room at the top!’ We are not so sure about this, for all seem to be scrambling for the top places; but we are sure there is plenty of room at the bottom. This is the place in the coming year for the Knights of the Order of the Girded Towel.[150]

The service was simple. They all sat in a circle, with a towel. The leader would take a bowl and go round and wash each person's feet. Sometimes they would wash each other's feet. This practice was discontinued when the church joined the Assemblies of God.

Baptismal services by full immersion were generally conducted in the Freshwater Creek. Usually just the church people attended. While individuals could be baptised, sometimes family groups were all immersed in the same service. Len Cook Sr, his wife and the oldest three children were all baptised together. Even at a Sunday School picnic, there were baptisms. In 1927, hearing that the event was to be held at Freshwater Creek, four girls enquired about baptism. After prayer and some Bible teaching on the subject by the elders, it was agreed to go ahead, and after a morning of playing a game called ‘Pilgrim's Progress,’ Will Enticknap ‘undertook to bury them deeply.’ And so ‘in the name of Jesus they were baptised, thus taking His death as their death; His risen life as theirs.’ The day finished with celebration as each child was given a gift, some biscuits and sweets, and they sang gospel songs as they travelled home on the back of a truck.[151]

When they were teenagers, Ruth Dyer and the young man who was to be her husband were both baptised in the Barron River. It was also a favourite swimming spot. Crowds gathered there. At first Ruth refused because her school friends would see her, but later she agreed to go ahead.

Tarry meetings

Tarry meetings were an important part of Pentecostal church practice. These were regular prayer gatherings for the sole purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit. Often they were held at the Coulters farm. There were also regular tarry meetings at Sheridan St. Some folks had the idea that if you didn't get baptised in the Spirit you would miss the rapture, a viewpoint no doubt stemming back to Florrie Mortomore’s teaching.[152] Often the Lord would ‘point things out to people’ as they prayed. One man took twelve months ‘to get the baptism.’ Sometimes, people would stand up in a tarry meeting and say, ‘I've got to put this right before I go on...’

Prayer meetings and tarry meetings were common. The latter were held weekly, usually on Saturday nights. ‘The Lord dealt with us for weeks before we received,’ recalls Ruth Dyer.

It was not a matter of someone laying hands on you, telling you to say this and say that and then telling you you'd got it. We put things right and the Lord dealt with us before we received. Things have to be dealt with.

A pastor visited us and laid hands on me and told me to say this and that and then told me I had received. But I knew I hadn't. It didn't change my life. I still wasn't willing to be baptised in water. We need to get back to God. We need to get to know God. God would reveal things in our lives, they would be dealt with and there would be no trouble later. I never understood the references to immorality in the Scripture because we knew nothing about it. It's sad today when pastors fall—it’s not necessary. We don't have to sin. We have a risen Saviour. Everything needs to be put under the blood.[153]

Stan Douglas saw the tarry meetings as of ‘tremendous significance’—

We found in the early days that where there was something out of touch in people's lives, as they waited before God, the spirit of God would deal with them... and we were able to counsel them and they were able to put things right. Invariably, a short time afterwards, they'd be filled with the Spirit. We'd spend a lot of time waiting on God—there's so little of it today. We've become very caught up with the modern way of the world—it all comes in a can![154]

When the Douglases were in Cairns, there was a regular youth camp on the Show weekend. One Sunday morning after the service closed, while Ruth played the organ, Douglas remembers how that group of young people ‘just sat and sobbed and sobbed for a quarter of an hour or more.’ The following year, at the camp, quite a number ‘were filled with the Spirit’ and others had ‘a real touch of God on their souls.’ There was a noticeable change in the spirituality of the youth group after this.

For Douglas, it is not the same today—

We've become very shallow in some of our experience. I never thought I'd live to say the day when the Pentecostal movement would become so shallow and lose that touch of God that hallowed the atmosphere.

No doubt there were barren times in those early days as well. And perhaps, with the passing of the years, only the times of blessing are now remembered. Furthermore, not all contemporary churches are languishing. In the 1990s, for example, the Cairns Christian Centre, as the Assembly of God church was now known, was a flourishing congregation of several hundred people with a magnificent auditorium with office facilities, a College of Christian Ministries, a large Christian day school and extensive grounds. The church offered leadership in the community and was a focal point for much Christian activity in Cairns and beyond. People were regularly being added to the church and there were many testimonies of the power of God touching and restoring human lives.[155]

But for all that and for all their lack of sophistication, most of the pioneers of the first Pentecostal assembly in Cairns demonstrated a spirit of dedication and consecration that clearly bore godly fruit in their lives. To quote Stan Douglas, whatever else we may say of them, they did know the hallowed touch of God.


Note that much of this paper is based on personal interviews. Usually where at least two people say the same thing, I have assumed the material to be correct. Also, where there are printed sources, the data is likely to be reliable. Where there is only one source, oral or written, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of what is reported. I want to express personal thanks to all who assisted in supplying information. Many went out of their way to be helpful. I trust that everyone concerned is acknowledged in the endnotes. I must express a special word of appreciation to Mrs Kendrie Smallcombe who finished up, I think, doing more research that I did. Her assistance was invaluable. Suggestions, corrections or contributions of additional information are very welcome. Please write to—

Dr Barry Chant,
Wesley International Congregation
220 Pitt Street
Sydney 2000

Email barry.chant@wesleymission.org.au



AE = Australian Evangel

GN = Good News



[1] R.McCutcheon, ‘Margaret Holmes: Larger Than the Roles She Played’ in S.Willis (ed) Women, Faith and Fetes, Melbourne: Dove, 1977:114.

[2] John O'Connell, ‘Cyril Ernest Mortomore (1902-1974)’, an unpublished paper, Tabor College, 1993.

[3] C.E.Mortomore, Good News [hereinafter GN] 1:5 January 1913:12.

[4] P.H.Scarisbrick, GN 19:8 August 1928:15.

[5] GN 1:5 January 1913:12.

[6] Mrs Lancaster often signed her name as ‘Jeannie’ (original documents in my possession). To the people at Good News Hall she was usually known as ‘Mother’ or ‘Mummy’ Lancaster. For the story of Good News Hall and its significance in early Australian Pentecostalism see B.Chant, Heart of Fire, Unley Park, S.A.: Tabor, 1984 and B.Chant, Spirit of Pentecost: origins and development of the Pentecostal Movement in Australia, 1870-1939, unpublished Ph D thesis, Macquarie University, 1999:213ff; 663ff, http://e-theses.webjournals.org/

[7] GN 1:5 January 1913:12.

[8] GN 18:8 August 1927:14. Following details about Florrie Mortomore are from this source, pp.14-15, unless otherwise stated.

[9] GN 1:6, October 1913:6

[10] GN 1:5 January 1913:9

[11] GN 18:8 August 1927:14. Further biographical details are from this source unless otherwise stated.

[12] After this, the Closes itinerated through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland , ‘with Gospel van’ doing open air work. GN, 18:4, April 1927:l 1.

[13] J.A.Redsell, ‘The Gift from Heaven,’ GN 15:2 February 1924:10. The next quotation is also from this source.

[14] cf Act 10:44

[15] N.Armstrong, personal interview, 30 April 1990.

[16] For a discussion of these doctrines see Chant, 1984:51ff.

[17] GN 17:5 June 1926:17.

[18] Leonard Cook, personal interview, 30 January 1994; Ruth Dyer, personal interview, 28 January, 1994; N. Smallcombe, Into the 21st Century, Cairns: Cairns Christian Centre, n.d., 6; GN Vol 18, No2, February 1927:l0.

[19] She was instrumental in the founding of the church at Bowen, Qld. See the Australian Evangel, [hereinafter AE] 6:11 October 1940:9; AE 13:1 December 1946:13f.

[20] ‘Sister O’Brien’, ‘Pentecost in Toowoomba,’ AE 15:6, May 1949:18f.

[21] George Burns, ‘A Tribute to Sister F.Mortomore,’ GN 18:8, August 1927:l5; for more on Burns see Chant, Heart of Fire, 103ff.

[22] ‘Sister O’Brien’, ‘Pentecost in Toowoomba,’ AE 15:6, May 1949:18f; W.A.Buchanan, letter provided by Buchanan family.

[23] H.Farnsworth, ‘Pentecost in Toowoomba,’ AE 15:6 May 1949:18

[24] Pearl Swenson, personal interview, 16 April 1993.

[25] C.B.Swenson, ‘Pentecost in Toowoomba’, AE 15:6 May 1949:16f.

[26] GN 16:9 September 1925, 17; J.Lancaster in GN 18:8 August 1927:14

[27] A.S.McPherson, This is That, Los Angeles: Echo Park Evangelistic Association, 1923:500. For a more detailed discussion of the reasons for McPherson’s rejection of Good News Hall see Chant, 1984:71ff.

[28] J.Lancaster, ‘Open Letter,’ GN 9:1 February 1923:17.

[29] GN 9:1 February 1923:18. Further details about Florrie Mortomore’s Brisbane meetings are also from this source.

[30] GN 9:1 February 1923:23; H.Martin, ‘Queensland report of Evangelist Van Eyk’s Brisbane Visit,’ GN 18:4 April 1927:11.

[31] F.Mortomore, ‘The Dragon’s Plot,’ GN 14: l0, November 1923:3.

[32] ‘First Australian Recruits for Japan,’ GN 17:3 March 1926:10f.

[33] GN 15:2 February 1924:20.

[34] This woman is identifed only as ‘Sister B.D.’ or ‘Sister Bernice’. See GN 15:6 June 1924:9; 15:11 November 1924:11

[35] GN 15:6 June 1924:9; 15:11 November 1924:11

[36] GN 16:9 September 1925:17.

[37] In 1945, a Kajewski family reunion was held at Toowoomba, and according to a contemporary report, ‘all but about half a dozen’ of the 93 descendants of the original couple being present. An accompanying photo shows about 60 family members. AE 11:11 October 1945:20f. It has already been mentioned that Florrie’s brother Cyril married a Kajewski girl.

[38] Charles had two daughters by his first marriage, Joyce (b. 20 Feb 1916) and Beulah (b. 22 April 1919). Of their own children, birth details are as follow -- John (b. 30 Dec 1924), Jean Frances (b. 16 June 1926), Ivan (b. 10 July 1928) and Ruth (b. 13 November 1930).

[39] Henry Freudenberg, personal interview, 15 April 1993; Theo Hallop, personal interview, 15 April 1993.

[40] Leonard Cook, personal interview, 30 January 1994; Ruth Dyer, personal interview, 28 January, 1994; Smallcombe, Into the 21st Century, 6; GN Vol 18, No 2, February 1927:l0.

[41] Ruth Dyer, personal interview, 28 January 1994

[42] GN 18:2, Feb 1927:l0.

[43] GN 18:2, Feb 1927:l0.

[44] GN 18:6 June 1927:l0,l9.

[45] J.Lancaster, ‘The Editor Visits Queensland,’ GN 18:1 January 1927:10.

[46] GN, 17:3 March 1926:12.

[47] See B.Phillips, The Life Story of Beryl Phillips, published by the author, 1985:5. ‘One time I was away with the pastor (C.L.Greenwood) and his family at Daylesford Springs for a rest. He was suffering from bad carbuncles on his neck, and when I asked why God didn’t heal him, he said he hadn’t the faith to ask for healing because he had worked too hard and needed rest.’

[48] GN, 18:2 February 1927:19.

[49] GN 18: 6 lune 1927:11.

[50] W.A.Buchanan, letter, quoted in Chant, 1984:45.

[51] F.W.Perrin, ‘A Tribute of Christian Love,’ GN 18:8 August 1927:l5.

[52] GN 18:8 August 1927:15.

[53] GN 18:8 August 1927:8.

[54] Henry Freudenberg, personal interview, 15 April 1993.

[55] Cairns Post, 9 January 1928. See also GN 19:3 March 1928:14; GN 19:5 May 1929:13. Following details are from these sources unless otherwise stated.

[56] Cairns Post, 7 January 1928.

[57] Cairns Post, 9 January, 1928.

[58] 5 GN 19:1 January 1928: 31.

[59] Cairns Post, 14 January 1928.

[60] B.Kajewski, ‘The Angels Rejoicing’, GN 19:3, March 1928:12; see also GN 19:5, May 1929.

[61] Cairns Post, 21 January 1928.

[62] GN 19:3 March 1928:12; GN 19:5 May 1929:13. Following details are from these sources unless otherwise stated.

[63] B.Kajewski, GN, March 1928:12.

[64] GN 19:3 March 1928:14; GN 19:5 May 1929:13. The report in Good News says that this message was preached in Cairns on 8 January 1928, but this is clearly a mistake, as press reports show plainly that Van Eyk preached on Divine Healing on that date.

[65] GN, 19:3, March 1928:12.

[66] GN 19:5 May 1929:13.

[67] Cairns Post, 4 February 1928. It is interesting that an article about this appears in GN 19:3, March 1928:10.

[68] Bessie Kajewski’s earlier report says the campaign lasted only two weeks but as it started on 8 January and concluded on 12 February, this is obviously incorrect. See GN 19:3 March 1928:12,14; GN 19:5 May 1928:13.

[69] Cairns Post, 10 February 1928.

[70] GN 19:3 March 1928:13.

[71] GN, 19:5 May l928:13.

[72] GN 19:8 August 1928:11.

[73] GN 19:6 Iune 1929:14.

[74] GN 19:6 June 1928:l9.

[75] GN 19:11 November 1928:10-l 1. A photo in my possession of the delegates does not include any identifiable Cairns people, but I do not yet have a complete list of all the names.

[76] Chant 1984:113ff; GN May 1929:12.

[77] AE June l924:23.

[78] I cannot find any record in any of the conference reports of the Cairns assembly formally applying for membership. However, this is not to say it did not happen, as the reports are insufficiently detailed to be sure. See also Leonard Cook, personal interview, 31 January 1994.

[79] Chant l984:55f; 1999:646ff; Chant, 1999:646ff.

[80] GN 21:10 October 1930:10. Following details about Brawner’s work are from this source unless otherwise stated.

[81] Cairns Post, 21 August 1930.

[82] The description of these meetings is based on Winnie Andrews’ report in Good News. Len Cook Jr does not remember large crowds attending or a significant number of conversions or new members to the church. See GN 21: 12 December 1930:10; Len Cook, personal interview, 30 January 1994.

[83] GN 21:11 November 1930:l2.

[84] GN 21:12 December 1930:10; Joy Emms, notes on history of the Cairns church, p.4. Note that this document contains a number of inaccuracies.

[85] D.Parker, personal communication, 5 March 19:94.

[86] Theo Hallop, personal interview, 15 April 1993; Dawn Parker, personal communication, 5 March 1994.

[87] Smallcombe, Into the 21st Century, 6.

[88] K.Smallcombe, personal correspondence, 12 August 1994, quoting a report from the Cairns Council on a building application from W.Paterson, 11 November 1934.

[89] When Stan Douglas came in 1960, again they felt the need for a new church. Clare St was old and usually full. So they moved to Gatton St. Len Cook (Jr) was supervisor of the building. In November 1970, a new church edifice was opened debt-free in Gatton Street. Pastor Stan Douglas initiated this relocation and physically engaged in much of the building himself Finally, in 1989, the present extensive complex at Brinsmead was opened. See J.Emms paper; Theo Hallop, personal interview, 15 April 1993; Len Cook, personal interview, 30 January 1994.

[90] AE 4:5 April 1938:13.

[91] P.Duncan, ‘The Latter-Rain Season,’ in AE 12:1 December 1945:9.

[92] T.Hallop, letter written I6 May 1983, provided by K.Smallcombe, 7 September 1994.

[93] Esther Noble Frost, personal correspondence, 1 September 1994; AE 12:1December 1945:9.

[94] Esther Noble Frost, personal correspondence, 1 September 1994.

[95] See F.S.H.Young, Pearls from the Pacific, London and Edinburgh: Marshall Brothers, n.d.

[96] K.Smallcombe, personal correspondence, 17 October 1993; also, photo supplied by J.C.Hill, November 1994.

[97] See Chant, 1984:46f; Chant, 1999:656ff; GN 20:3 May 1929:23;.

[98] GN No.6, October 1913:10; K.Smallcombe, personal correspondence, 1 September 1994.

[99] AE 7:11 October 1941:9.

[100] AE 7:11 October 1941:2.

[101] P.Duncan, ‘Daintree Walkabout’ in AE 11:11 October 1945:3.

[102] GN No 6, October 1913:10; for more on Hetherington, see Chant, 1999:388ff.

[103] P.Duncan, ‘The Latter-Rain Season,’ in AE 12;1 December 1945:9—‘This Assembly (Skeleton Creek) is supplied by ministry from the Cairns Church.’

[104] Ruth Dyer, Len Cook Jr, Dawn Parker, personal interviews. J.Emms, paper. Following details in this section are from these sources unless otherwise stated.

[105] Theo Hallop, personal interview, 15 April 1993.

[106] P.Duncan, ‘The Latter-Rain Season,’ in AE 12;1 December 1945:9

[107] Esther Noble Frost, personal correspondence, 1 September 1994.

[108] AE 12:9 August 1946:16f.

[109] See for example GN 23:7 July 1932:20.

[110] Theo Hallop, personal interview, 15 April 1993; Richmond Temple Souvenir, 1939:32.

[111] ‘The Latter Rain’ in AE 7:7, June 1941:12.

[112] AE, 7:11, October 1941:8.

[113] Len Cook Jr, personal interview, 30 January 1994.

[114] Theo Hallop, personal interview, 15 April 1993.

[115] Norman served as an Assemblies of God pastor well into his eighties, while Dalton later entered the Baptist ministry. Personal knowledge.

[116] AE 6:2 January 1940:6; Richmond Temple Souvenir, 1939:42.

[117] N.L.Armstrong, personal interview, 30 April 1990.

[118] AE 10:8 July 1937:12.

[119] AE 11:1 December 1944:17.

[120] AE 11:9, August 1945:16.

[121] AE 10:8 July 1937:12.

[122] D.Reekie, personal interview, 14 August 1991.

[123] AE 11:9, August 1945:24.

[124] P.Duncan, ‘The Latter-Rain Season,’ AE 12:1, December 1945:9.

[125] Stan and Ruth Douglas, personal interview, 21 November 1989. Following details about the Douglases are from this source unless otherwise stated. See also Phillips, Life Story, 1985.

[126] 1n 1960, the first manse was built for him and his family. Prior to that, ministers and their families lived at the back of church. His hard work in relocating the church building has already been mentioned. One member remembers him in later years ‘working like a slave on the Gatton St church.’

[127] GN 19:8 August 1928:l9. There seems some disagreement about the exact address. Ruth Dyer says this was a small shop in Lake Street (personal interview, 28 January 1994) and Dawn Parker believes it was in Sheridan Street (personal communication, 5 March 1994).

[128] Len Cook Jr, personal interview, 28 January 1994. Following details about the Cook family are generally from this source.

[129] Dawn Parker, personal communication, 5 March 1994. Following details are also from this source.

[130] Edward Albert Koch, personal correspondence, 4 July 1994. Following details about ‘Dardy’ Koch are from this source unless otherwise stated.

[131] Edward Albert Koch, personal correspondence, 4 July 1994.

[132] K.Smallcombe, personal correspondence, 1994.

[133] AE 12:9 August 1946:16.

[134] K.Smallcombe, personal correspondence, quoting information from the Cairns Port Authority,

[135] GN 19:4 April 1928:20.

[136] Len Cook Jr, personal interview, 30 January 1994.

[137] V.M.Gadge, personal interview, 2 March 1922.

[138] GN 18: 12 December 1927:l2.

[139] GN 19:11 November 1929:14.

[140] GN 19:11 November 1929:l9.

[141] Len Cook Jr, personal interview, 30 January 1994.

[142] Henry Freudenberg, personal interview, 15 April 1993.

[143] Len Cook Jr, personal interview, 30 lanuary 1994.

[144] W.Andrews, ‘Dr Brawner’s Cairns Campaign,’ GN 21:12 December 1930:10; GN 22:4 April 1931:7.

[145] GN 22:2 February 1931:11.

[146] Private collection in my possession.

[147] Henry Freudenberg, personal interview, 15 April 1993.

[148] GN 19:3 March 1928:9.

[149] GN 19:3 March 1928:9.

[150] GN 19:3 March 1928:9.

[151] GN 18:4, April 1927:13.

[152] Some early preaching seems to suggest this. See F.Mortomore, ‘The Dragon’s Plot,’ GN 14:10 November 1923:3.

[153] Ruth Dyer, personal interview, 28 lanuary 1994.

[154] Stan Douglas, personal interview, 21 November 1989. Following details are from this source unless otherwise stated.

[155] These comments are based on my personal experience and knowledge of the Cairns church, together with conversations with the senior minister in 1995, Pastor Norman Smallcombe.

© Southern Cross College, 2004