Finance in the early days

The Early History of Kangaroo Ground Presbyterian Church provides some interesting details on the costs of running the church:Chained kettleChained kettle (Footnote 10)

"By 1873/74 the Minister's Stipend was £124.13.0, (about $12,600 today), Kangaroo Ground paying £54.13.0, Lilydale £45.0.0 and Yarra Flats (now Yarra Glen) £25.0.0, though frequently only £60.0.0. was paid." (The stipend was paid by quarterly subscription rather than through a weekly collection).

It goes on: "Amongst church expenditure at this time were the following: 'lamp glass 6d (about $2.50 today), printing notices £1 (about $100 today), postage stamps 6/2d (about $31 today), Sacramental Wine 9/- (about $46 today), cleaning 2/6d (about $12 today)."

Special collections were regular features and included those for 'the Precentor'[11], 'Widows and Orphans', 'Day Spring Sabbath School', 'Heathen Missions' (by 1890 these became 'Foreign Missions') and others."

The 1890s were particularly stormy years, largely because of financial difficulties. (Kangaroo Ground Presbyterian Church has always been a small church in a sparsely populated district and has suffered financial stringencies several times in its life.) In 1897 the Church was divided over a disagreement with the Minister. Several of the Board of Management refused to pay the stipend contributions until the bank overdraft was settled. This must have led to a split in the congregation as services were held in the Church and the local community hall for a time. The Rev. John Darroch resigned as also did several Elders. It was decided to have a Student Minister jointly with Christmas Hills and Yarra Glen.

The problems in the 1890s were due to the difficulties of paying the Minister's Stipend of £100 per year (about $12,000 today) and the rent of £10 per year for the Manse, "The Bungalow" at Christmas Hills. This cottage previously housed the engineer employed on building the Watts River (Maroondah) aqueduct that supplied Melbourne with water. Yarra Glen was committed to its own building fund and Kangaroo Ground, with a debt of £38.3.6 (about $4,900 today) borrowed £35 from the Heidelberg Commercial Bank at 7% interest.

In 1897 a special effort was made to clear the overdraft. Members promised the value of a load of chaff worth £3 (about $380 today) and decided to ask all farmers to contribute.


10. The chained kettle - prior to the construction of the Church Hall all meetings were held in the small timber vestry. Water was boiled in the kettle on the open fireplace for the essential pot of tea. Washing up was done in a kerosene tin cut diagonally. (The tin was opened out so that it looked like a "W" from side on. One half was for the water, the other half for the crockery and cutlery to dry). (No one in the present congregation knows why the kettle is chained.) 
11. The Precentor led the singing prior to the purchase of an organ. It is not known whether the congregation forswore the use of a musical instrument at the time (as is still the practice in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland) or whether lack of funds prevented the purchase.