Finance in the 20th century
The financial problems continued into the 20th century and there were other issues as well. In 1900, the Rev Dr Rentoul, Professor in the Theological Hall, Ormond College, University of Melbourne, was quoted in the daily press as supporting the Boers against England in the war in South Africa. This offended the patriotism of the Kangaroo Ground congregation so at a special meeting they determined that no contributions should be made to the Theological Hall.
To raise funds, a special Anniversary Service was held followed by a Concert and magic lantern slides. But it was not until 1903 that “the ladies of the congregation” came to the rescue holding a “Variety Fair” which raised £91 (about $10,000). The bank overdraft was finally paid off. (A glass dome filled with native stuffed birds wasn't sold at the Fair and E. H. Cameron, the local Member of Parliament, took it home to "Pigeon Bank". It was still in the front hall in the 1980s and may be seen at the Andrew Ross Museum.)
The Annual Harvest Thanksgiving Service commenced in 1897 and continued to be held until the 1960’s. This produced a wonderful display in the Church of farm, garden and home produce given by the Congregation, the pulpit being decorated with sheaves of wheat and barley and trails of vines with grapes. These gifts were auctioned in the hall next evening to raise funds for the Church.
Tea meetings were also held. A decision was made to hold evening services on moonlit nights to bring in more money as there was £2.15.5 owing to the Organ Fund and £2.17.1 for Sabbath School expenses (about $350 and $360 today).
In 1912 the Kangaroo Ground and Christmas Hills Churches joined Yarra Glen and Healesville; the Rev. J Stuart Drummond was inducted to the united charge and a decision was made to build a Manse at Yarra Glen. The ladies of the Kangaroo Ground congregation held a Jumble Fair and raised £88.7.0 (about $9,200 today) towards its cost.
It was decided in 1928 to sell the Minister’s “turnout”, a horse and buggy valued at £15 (about $900 today) and allow the Minister, Mr Laity, £20 (about $1,200 today) per year towards the upkeep of his borrowed car, with Yarra Glen providing £25 (about $1,500 today).
In 1930 the Minister’s stipend was again in arrears but the Minister, Mr Brown, did not complain. He said “he was glad of the opportunity to preach the Gospel, to get a bit of food to eat and a roof over his head.” The problem was solved by a donation from one of the parishioners.
13. This was well before electric light came to Kangaroo Ground. Even now, there is very little street lighting and it is very dark around the Church.
14. Probably because Australia was suffering the Great Depression