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Jubilee History of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church of Carlton
The Gaelic Congregation—Revs. D. M. Sinclair and Dr. Mackay


The Congregation now worshipping in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Carlton, had its origin in a band of Highlanders, who commenced to meet statedly for divine worship in both the Gaelic and English languages in the old Protestant Hall, Stephen Street, on the same site as the present Protestant Hall, towards the end of the year 1851. The Congregation is thus practically the same age as the State of Victoria, which became a separate Colony to the parent Colony, New South Wales, on 1st July, 1851.

During the early years of the reign of the late Queen Victoria, a great number of the Celtic race, hailing from the Highlands and the Islands, emigrated to the Colonies, and societies to encourage their emigration were founded under distinguished patronage in Scotland, and these efforts were helped on by Government. As early as 1840, there were a goodly number of Highlanders about Melbourne and the immediate neighbourhood, and also in the Western District. They earnestly desired a preacher in their own tongue, and in October, 1840, they joined with other Presbyterians in a petition to the Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland, asking for ministers to he sent out to supply the needs of the Port Phillip settlement.

On 29th February, 1842, the Rev. Peter Gunn arrived, having been ordained by the Presbytery of Caithness on 11th August, 1841, to specially minister to the Gaelic-speaking people. He was appointed to form a congregation in Melbourne, but was unsuccessful, the chief causes of his failure being that the Highlanders were mostly poor and unsettled in their prospects, and lived at such scattered distances from one another, as not to be able very conveniently to meet together as a congregation. After ministering to his people, and doing a great deal of pioneer evangelistic and educational work all over the Port Phillip District, Mr. Gunn at length gave up the idea of forming a congregation of Highlanders, and in August, 1845, was settled as minister of an English-speaking congregation at Campbellfield, where, however, a number of Highlanders were settled. Mr. Gunn laboured here till his death, in 1864, and "even to the last he journeyed to the full extent of his strength to preach the gospel, particularly to the Highlanders, to whom he felt himself in a special sense called upon to minister " (Extract from memorial minute of General Assembly, 2nd Nov., 1864).

The Highlanders about Melbourne, for many years after this unsuccessful attempt to form a congregation, had only to depend upon an occasional sermon in their own tongue to satisfy their spiritual wants. As year after year went by, they increased largely in numbers, and with the discovery of gold in 1851, larger numbers still were attracted to the Colony from the Old Land.

In the meantime, the great Disruption had taken place in Scotland in 1843, and, unfortunately, ministers arriving from the Old Country brought their prejudices out with them, so that before the end of the decade there were three different bodies of Presbyterians in the Colony, corresponding to the three great divisions at Home. The Highlanders in Scotland were warmly attached to the Free Church, and the Highlanders in Victoria had the same sympathies for the local body bearing the same name. Accordingly, a number of them in 1851 formed themselves into a congregation, under the jurisdiction of the Free Presbyterian Synod of Victoria, and on 11th February, 1852, the Rev. Duncan McDiarmid Sinclair, their first pastor, was ordained to minister unto them. Thus originated the congregation which was afterwards to worship in St Andrew’s Church, Canton.

Mr. Sinclair was born on 1st March, 1816, in Argyleshire. His father was a sheep farmer. He was descended from some of the oldest Highland families, and was educated at the Glasgow University. About the close of his student days the Disruption took place. Being grieved at the state of Church affairs at Home, he decided to go to Australia. Along with his wife (a sister of the Rev. William Fraser, afterwards minister of St. Andrew’s), and sister and brother-in-law (Dr. Anderson), he landed at Sydney, and went to New England, where he bought and carried on the Newstead Station in partnership with his brother-in-law. But his heart was more in preaching the gospel than in sheep farming, so, abandoning his station, he went back to Sydney to preach. Learning of the large numbers of his countrymen who were arriving in Melbourne, many of whom could only speak Gaelic, he felt that there was a Macedonian cry ringing in his ears, and he accordingly went over to help them. A lease was taken of the Protestant Hall, a Committee of Management was formed, sittings were let to the worshippers, and a properly organised congregation was instituted. The preacher was given a stipend of £300 a year, but he rented his own house, paying £500 per annum therefor, which was by no means an excessive rental for a moderately good house in those days. He lived in Albert Street, East Melbourne, near where the Presbyterian Ladies’ College now is, and afterwards in Nicholson Street. He is described as a man of fine appearance, and a good preacher.

Two services were held each Sabbath, one in the morning at 11 in English; the other in the afternoon at 3 in Gaelic. Many of his congregation came from great distances to hear him, and a number of them are still alive, although none of these belong to the present congregation of St. Andrew's.

During the whole of 1852 and 1853 Mr. Sinclair worked earnestly amongst his people, being instant in season and out of season. In addition to the ordinary services, prayer meetings were held, and much good was done. Changes, however, were at hand, and to understand these we must now turn our attention to events which were happening in Scotland.

Since the Disruption of 1843, both the Established Church and the Free Church were too busily engaged with their own internal affairs to send ministers to the Colony. The Colonial Churches were much in need of men, owing to the large increase of population; but the preachers were not forthcoming. During the whole of 1852 the Free Church of Victoria did not receive a single accession to the ranks of her ministers.

The period of lethargy was, however, coming to an end. During 1853 a number of Free Church ministers arrived, in consequence of a resolution of the mother Church to make Australia, and especially Victoria, the ground of a great missionary effort. A great meeting was held in Edinburgh, whilst the General Assembly was sitting, on 13th April, 1853, when it was determined to send twelve ministers to Victoria, ten of them young men recently licensed, and the other two ministers of experience, specially chosen to help the Colonial Church in organising and consolidating its forces. To aid this important undertaking, collections were taken up in all the parishes in Scotland, and a liberal response was made. The two leading clergymen chosen were the Rev. Adam Cairns, D.D., of Cupar, Fife, and the Rev. MacIntosh Mackay, LL.D., of Dunoon. The former arrived in the colony in September, 1853, and shortly afterwards founded Chalmers’ Church, Eastern Hill, whilst the latter, who is of more interest to us as the founder of another church, set foot on these shores at the beginning of the following year. Of the young men who came out with these leaders, only the Rev. A. Adam, M.A., Minister Emeritus, formerly of Beaufort, now survives. Both the leaders have long since joined their friends above.

Mackay’s special mission was to look after the Spiritual necessities of the Highlanders. He was now in his fifty—fourth year, having been born in 1800 in Lord Reay’s Country, Sutherlandshire, where the clan Mackay had lived since before historic times. His father was Captain Alexander Mackay, of Duard Beg. In 1825 he was ordained minister at Laggan, Inverness— shire, and whilst there he earned a great reputation both as a preacher and scholar in the Gaelic tongue. The Gaelic Dictionary, published in 1828 in two large volumes by the Highland Society of Scotland, was chiefly his work, and in 1829 he earned greater fame in literature by his collecting and publishing the poems of Robert Mackay (Rob Doun), a Celtic bard of the Lord Reay Country, who flourished in the middle of the seventeenth century. His fame as a scholar spread through Europe, and the Glasgow University, at which he had been a student, honoured her illustrious son by conferring on him the degree of LL.D. The "Quarterly Review ‘ suggested that he should be made a Professor of a Chair of the Celtic languages, as he was so well versed in all the dialects of the Celtic race, and described him as having "already done more for the language of the Scottish Gael than any other individual of the present or last age," although he was "still a very young man." He also became the intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, who describes him as "a simple, learned man, and a Highlander who weighs his own nation justly—a modest and estimable person. (See Lockhart’s "Life of Scott," Vol. V. pp. 331 et seq., where an interesting account of a visit paid by the young scholar to Scotland’s greatest author is recorded.)

The "young man," however, determined to make the preaching of the gospel, and not the pursuit of literature, his life-work. In 1832 he was appointed to the important charge of Dunoon. Here he laboured for the next 21 years, first as a minister of the Established Church, and after the Disruption as an upholder of Free Church principles. He had a large stretch of country for a parish, and took great interest in the welfare of his own race, preaching to them in Gaelic whenever opportunity offered, although his sermons at Dunoon itself were all in English. He came eventually to be regarded as a leader amongst his countrymen, and became very popular amongst them. The various societies for aiding emigration of Highlanders to the Colonies owed their existence largely to his advocacy, and be was very successful in securing the patronage of very distinguished personages, including H.R.H. the late Prince Albert, the father of our illustrious King Edward. Although somewhat austere in manner—a young student, now an eminent professor, was once much disturbed by this trait when being examined by the Doctor for his license - he got on well with the Highland gentry. Some, however, did not like him on account of his outspokenness against those who had deprived families of their dwellings in order to make room for their sheep and grouse and deer; and one Laird (Douglas of Ardentinnie), with whom he was none too friendly, used to describe him thus—with pauses between the epithets— "wiry, sinewy man strongest man in Europe—-‘pon me honour—never eats vegetables."

After the Disruption, Dr. Mackay was appointed Convener of the Free Church General Assembly’s Home Mission work in the Highlands and Western Islands, and in 1845 was chosen Moderator. As Home Mission Convener, he placed the Free Church cause in the Highlands upon a very firm footing. Indefatigable in his zeal to build churches, he travelled all over the country on his mission, and always spent the best part of each summer cruising about the Islands and the various arms of the sea in the Western Highlands, in a yacht known as the "Breadalbane," which he obtained as a gift for the cause from Lady Effingham.

This, then, was the man who in middle life essayed the bold attempt to work up the Highland cause in the Colonies. On 3rd January, 1854, he appeared before the Free Church Synod in Melbourne, and was warmly welcomed by the brethren. The Highlanders were especially glad to see him, and Mr. Sinclair, their minister, at once generously offered to resign his charge, in order that the Highland apostle and bishop might form a strong Gaelic congregation in Melbourne, and a meeting, called by advertisement, was held to consider the matter, In John Knox Church, on Monday evening, 9th January, 1854.

The result of this meeting was that a committee was appointed "to take steps for the speedy settlement of Dr. MacIntosh Mackay in Melbourne as minister of the Gaelic Congregation." This Committee accordingly met on the following evening, those present being Rev. D. M. Sinclair (Convener), Drs. Aldcorn and George Mackay (the well—known barrister), Messrs. A. Campbell, Robert Lawson, L. MacLean and Urquhart. It was determined to open subscription lists for the raising of necessary funds to build a church and manse, and to ask the co—operation of several leading Highlanders in the country districts. The names of the country collectors chosen, with their districts, were—Messrs. J. Mc Knight (Belfast and Port Fairy), Macdougall (Campaspie), Charles Mackay (Kilmore), McIver (Bunnyong), Turnbull (Elephant Bridge), MacMillan (Gippsland), Alexander MacPherson and D. MacPhail (Saltwater River), (Captain MacPherson (Heidelberg), and Lachian MacLachlan (Bendigo). A Committee to select a suitable site for a church and manse was also appointed, and it was decided to recommend to a meeting of Highlanders, to be held in the John Knox Church on the following Monday evening, that "in the present circumstances of the Colony a stipend of not less than £800, with house accommodation, would be requisite" for the minister.

On the following Sabbath, 15th January, 1854, Dr. Mackay Preached his first sermons in the Protestant Hall, in English at 11am., and in Gaelic at 3pm. On the following evening his supporters again met in John Knox Church, for the purposes of hearing a speech in Gaelic from the Doctor, and "to expedite the arrangements now in progress for his settlement in Melbourne." At this meeting the recommendations of the committee were unanimously adopted. Dr. Mackay told the audience that he was undecided whether he would remain in Melbourne or form a congregation elsewhere, and that it was his intention to visit the Highlanders in the country districts so that he might be able to judge in what locality he might best aid the cause. He accordingly spent his time during the next two months in doing so.

In the meantime, Mr. Sinclair resigned his charge, so that the people might be free to prosecute a call in favour of Dr. Mackay. The call was signed by about 900 persons, and after due consideration was accepted, and the new minister entered upon his duties on the last Sabbath in March.

During the previous week the former pastor, Mr. Sinclair, suffered a sad bereavement in the sudden death of his wife. He shortly afterwards left the Colony, and returned to the Old Country, for the purpose of educating his children-two sons and five daughters. Whilst in the Colony he was an ardent supporter of the efforts being made for a Union of the various Presbyterian bodies, and when he went Home, his advice on colonial matters was much sought after. The report of the Free Church of Scotland's Colonial and Continental Committee as to the appointment of the late Dr. Morrison as Head Master of the Scotch College in 1857 refers to help received from him in the following terms: "In all matters connected with the details of this appointment, and in all the efforts to find suitable ministers, the Committee have enjoyed the counsel and assistance of the Rev. D. M. Sinclair, one of the ministers of Victoria, now in this country, who, from his long experience as a colonist, thorough knowledge of the country and sound judgment as to what is necessary and suitable, has been of the most essential service to them, and to the Church of Australia, in which he is deeply interested." In 1858, Mr. Sinclair came out to Queensland, where he again took to pastoral pursuits, near Condamine, assisting the Queensland Church by preaching occasionally. After some four years of pastoral life, he gave up his station, and was appointed a Police Magistrate, first at Dalby, and afterwards at Warwick. He had previously presided in courts as an honorary magistrate.

During the next ten or twelve years Mr. Sinclair exercised his judicial functions. Having married Miss Vigne, an English lady, he left the Presbyterian Church, and became an Episcopalian. In 1877, he resigned his Government appointment, for the purpose of becoming a clergyman of the Church of England. Preaching at first at Armidale, New South Wales, he was ordained there by Bishop Turner, and then became vicar of St. John's Church, Uralla, New South Wales. Here he officiated for many years. He died on 15th January, 1887, at Glen Innes, where he is buried, having resigned his charge two years Previously through ill health (heart complaint). The members of his family still live in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales, the district in which he spent the best years of his life. Both his sons predeceased him. His eldest daughter married Mr. William Yaldwyn, P.M., of Brisbane. Mrs. St. Clair, of Glen Innes, and Mrs. Tribe, of Tamworth, are his surviving daughters. He had no children by his second wife. Mr. Sinclair has a relation at present a member of St. Andrew's Church, in the person of Miss Isabella Mackay, who has been an earnest and valued worker in the congregation for some years. Miss Mackay is also a kinswoman of Dr. Macintosh Mackay, her parents hailing from the Lord Reay Country, where Dr. Mackay was born, and belonging, like him, to the KinlochBervie stock of the Mackay clan. Her mother (whose maiden name was Mackay) was Mr. Sinclair's cousin, while her father, the late Mr. Charles Mackay, of Kilmore, was one of the collectors named above who were appointed by Dr. Mackay's committee to receive subscriptions in the country towards the erection of the church. It is also interesting to note that Miss Mackay is a lineal descendant of the renowned chieftain, Lochiel.

Dr. Mackay having become settled as pastor, steps were-at once taken to procure from the Government a site for the erection of a church and manse. In the meantime, the Committee rented a house in Nicholson Street, Collingwood (now Fitzroy), at the rental of £400 per annum, as a suitable residence for the pastor. Dr. Mackay lived in this house till November, 1855, when he moved to No. 8, Royal Terrace, for which the Committee paid at the rate of £300 a year.

The piece of land applied for from the Crown was situated on the Eastern Hill, adjoining the Melbourne Academy, afterwards the Scotch College, of which Mr. Robert Lawson, the secretary of the Congregation, and a former member of Dr. Mackay's congregation at Dunoon, was the first Principal.

Dr. Cairns' congregation also claimed the same ground. A conference between the Committees of the two congregations took place, and the result was that Dr. Mackay and his congregation resolved to relinquish their claims, and their secretary was instructed to record "that the Gaelic Congregation, believing, all things considered, in their prior claim to the site alluded to, made this surrender solely as a matter of deference to a sister congregation, and from a desire to promote the harmony of the Church." In consequence of this splendid spirit, Dr. Cairns was able, to obtain the land on which the old historic Chalmers' Church now most unfortunately no more stood for many years.

Dr. Mackay and his Committee then made application for another site. The Congregation, at a meeting held in John Knox Church, on 14th June, at which addresses were delivered by Dr. Cairns, the Rev. A. M. Ramsay (of St. Enoch's U.P. Church, Collins Street, now the Assembly Hall), and the Rev. A. Morrison (of the Independent Church, Collins Street), resolved to push on with the project of building both a church and a manse, and to erect a substantial church whilst they were about it, an offer of an iron building for a church having been already refused by the Committee. The canvassing for subscriptions in aid of the project was redoubled, the minister himself taking a very active part in this respect. Even before a site was obtained, it was resolved to advertise for plans for both church and manse, and two prizes of £30 and £20 were offered for the best approved designs.

On August 30th, at a Committee meeting held at Mr. Lawson's Academy, Dr. Mackay announced that the Government had at length granted the site, which comprised two acres, adjoining the Carlton Gardens, in Oueensberry Street, North Melbourne (now Carlton). On 6th September, the Committee, after having consulted the congregation two days previously, awarded the prizes for the plans, and appointed Mr. George Reilly Cox, the architect whose plan had obtained first prize, to superintend the building of a church and manse, at a remuneration of £270. The Committee, in its eagerness to get to work, then adjourned to meet the architect on the following morning, at 8 o'clock, on the site of the proposed erections, in order to inspect the same and allocate the separate sections of the ground to be appropriated to church, manse and school. The second prize in the plan competition was awarded to Mr. Jenkins.

For the next month, the Committee was busy collecting money and consulting with the architect over minor matters of detail. Dr. Mackay paid many visits to the country, and the Highlanders all over the colony gave what they could towards the cause. To assist the pastor in spiritual matters, Mr. L. MacLean was appointed a catechist, at a salary of £200 per annum.

At length, on 31st October, 1854, a contract for the building of the church, for the sum of £7,400, was entered into with Messrs. James Laurence and William Murray. The contractors agreed to have the whole building, except tower and vestry, covered in by 1st March, 1855, and to complete the whole work by 1st July, 1855. The work then went on apace, the Committee being most indefatigable in superintending everything, and in getting in subscriptions. The extent of their zeal is evidenced by the fact that they even held a meeting on Christmas Day, 1854, at the house of their enthusiastic secretary, Mr. Lawson. The work of raising subscriptions was, however, a difficult matter. Large amounts came in, and a paid collector assisted in the work; but the building expenses were very heavy, on account of the difficulties of transit. In those early days, the place being regarded as in "the bush," and the high cost of labour and materials. The church that was being raised was also a very substantial structure, and, considering the circumstances of the people, the majority of whom were not too well off in this world's goods, the undertaking was far beyond their resources. The Committee had covenanted to pay the contractors an instalment equal to three-fourths of the value of the work completed each month, and to pay the balance of the stipulated price within a month, after the completion of the whole work. At the end of January, 1855, these obligations were pressing rather heavily. A large number of promised subscriptions were unpaid, and several of the members of the congregation had left to reside in the country. The Congregational Fund for ordinary expenses was also £120 in debt. Under these circumstances, Mr. Coiler Robertson, of Essendon Park, who had ever been a good friend to the congregation, convened a meeting of "a few of the friends of the cause," at Mr. Lawson's house, at one o'clock on the afternoon of Tuesday, 6th February, 1855, to consider the state of affairs. The result of this meeting was that Mr. Robertson and several others agreed to become security to the Bank of Victoria, at which the Committee had an account, for the advancement of sufficient money to enable the Committee to finish the erection of the church according to the plans and specifications originally prepared by the architect. The Bank agreed to lend the money required on these terms, and the building of the church accordingly went on to completion.

In addition to erecting the church, the Committee also desired to build a house for the pastor, as the heavy price paid for rent was a severe drain upon them. Mr. Cox was accordingly instructed to prepare plans and specifications, and tenders were advertised for and received, the estimated cost of the undertaking being about £1,800. It was, however, agreed that no further expenses should be incurred without the sanction of all the gentlemen who had become guarantors to the Bank, and after consideration at several meetings the whole question was eventually adjourned until after the opening of the church. Many years, however, were to elapse before a manse was built.

Whilst all these preparations were going on, and the church was nearing completion, the congregation was thrown into a state of great excitement by the news that a call to their minister from a number of Presbyterians in Sydney was to be presented to the Presbytery at its next meeting. A monster petition against the call was got ready, and, as this document is still in existence, and is of some importance, as showing the state of the congregation at the time of the opening of the church, it is well worth quoting. It was as follows :

"Melbourne, 2nd April, 1855.

To the Free Church Presbytery of Melbourne.

"We, the undersigned members and adherents of the Gaelic congregation of Melbourne, under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Macintosh Mackay, are grieved and alarmed to know that a call from Sydney to our beloved pastor has been laid on your table. Being ardently attached to Dr. Mackay as a minister of the gospel, and persuaded of the greatly superior importance of his present sphere of ministerial labour to that to which our friends of Sydney are seeking to remove him, we are resolved to use every constitutional means to retain his invaluable services in Melbourne.

"The case is one, we believe, not only affecting our interests as a congregation, but palpably endangering the present and the prospective advancement of the Presbyterian cause in this the most important and promising of all the Colonies of Britain, and should such a transference be now effected, it might be fraught with the most disastrous consequences to the peace and the stability of our ecclesiastical constitution.

"As you value, therefore, the peace and harmony of the Gaelic congregation of Melbourne, as you value the prosperity of sound Presbyterian Christianity amongst us, your petitioners would most respectfully and earnestly entreat you to reject this call."

According to the report in "The Argus" of the meeting of Presbytery a couple of days afterwards, this document was signed by 907 members and adherents above the age of 14. The sheets preserved only contain 749 signatures, and it is very probable, after the lapse of time, there are some sheets missing. The addresses following the signatures are very interesting. A large number of city addresses are given, showing that there were many residential houses where now there are large warehouses and places of business, and practically no residences at all. For instance, a large number came from MacKillop Street, where not a single dwelling now exists. The suburbs Carlton and Fitzroy are unknown, the names of the leading streets in those suburbs now being followed by the respective names of North Melbourne and Collingwood, by which those localities were then known. Not only are the suburbs of Prahran, St. Kilda, Emerald Hill, South Melbourne, Hawthorn, Richmond and Essendon mentioned, but also places further afield, such as Broadmeadows, Glenroy, Campbellfield, Yuroke, Plenty River, Darebin Creek, and Tea Tree Creek (presumably somewhere beyond Brighton), and there is even one signatory from Kilmore, and one or two from the Loddon River. Such was the widespread interest shown by the Highlanders in their cause.

This petition was presented to the Presbytery by Messrs. Robert Lawson and Coiler Robertson, the latter with some warmth protesting against the barefaced attempt of the " Sidonians " to sever the tie of affection existing between the Doctor and his congregation. The call from Sydney was signed by 150 members of the Free Church there, and was supported by Dr. Aldcorn (a former member of Committee of the Gaelic congregation, Melbourne), and Mr. McIntyre and the Rev. Mr. Grant, of Sydney. These gentlemen represented that there were 14,000 Presbyterians in Sydney, with only one Free Church minister, and that Dr. Mackay was urgently needed there. After the two sides were heard, Dr. Mackay made a speech, referring to his work in Victoria, stating that during his fifteen months' stay in the Colony he had travelled over 3,300 miles in the interests of his congregation, and also in connection with the important movement for union of the Presbyterian bodies then in progress, and had paid many hundreds of visits to the sick and others. He felt it his duty to remain with his congregation, but he would leave the whole matter in the hands of the Presbytery. The Presbytery refused to sustain the call. There was an appeal from this refusal to the Synod, which, a few days afterwards, upheld the decision of the inferior court.

It may here be stated that Dr. Mackay, from his arrival in the Colony, had taken a very prominent part in the public concerns of the Church, and was one of the leaders in the movement for union, which seemed to be very near fulfilment at that time, at all events between the Synod of Victoria and the Free Church Synod of Victoria. He was also at this time Moderator of the latter Synod. The Presbytery and Synod therefore had very strong reasons for refusing to sustain the call.

On May 6th, 1855, the last services were held in the Protestant Hall, and on the following evening the Committee made its final arrangements for the opening services on the following Sabbath. An advertisement announcing the opening of the church was to be inserted three times in each of the newspapers, and two hundred copies of the same were to be placarded over the city. Another advertisement, which appeared in the papers a week or two previous, is worth reproduction. It ran thus:--"Gaelic Church, Melbourne. As managers of this congregation's affairs, we have now the satisfaction to intimate that our new church is to be opened for public worship on Sabbath, the 13th May. Special services in connection with this event will be held there on that day. Two sermons in the Gaelic language and two sermons in the English language will be preached. Highland ministers are to come from a great distance to be aiding on the occasion. The cause is a national one. The event of a Gaelic Church being opened in the metropolis of the Colony we trust will speak to the hearts of all our countrymen, awakening remembrances of former privileges in our native land and encouraging us to trust in God that the same privileges may yet be enjoyed by ourselves and those that come after us in this land. We earnestly invite all our countrymen within reach to be personally present with us on this interesting and solemn occasion. Let it be a day by the Divine blessing to be long remembered among us. Let us show to all our interest in the event. And the pecuniary difficulties with which we have still to contend oblige us to say and urge it upon all our countrymen that a very special and great effort must be made on this befitting occasion to relieve our undertaking of its remaining burdens. This might easily be attained. A special collection for this purpose will be made at each of the diets of worship on our opening day. The amount of one sovereign from each of half the number of the Highlanders in Victoria would much more than relieve the undertaking from all burdens. We trust that each one amongst ourselves will heartily do their utmost to bestow that amount on this occasion. We trust at least, also, that our cause will meet with kind and liberal consideration from our brethren of other congregations within our reach on our opening day. And we appeal earnestly to our countrymen at a distance in this Colony to be aiding to us, and to forward to us their contributions for this occasion. All of them have interest in it. It brings spiritual privileges in their native tongue a step nearer to them than they have hitherto been in this land. May the word of God go forth until its blessings reach to all. Let our prayers and our efforts show that we truly seek this. The present is a special opportunity to us all. Much will every way depend on what shall be done by us on this occasion. We have been labouring on behalf of our countrymen's welfare in this undertaking; we now call upon them all to go forward and help us on their own behalf. Coiler Robertson, Donald MacDonald, David Walker, John MacPhee, James Stewart, Gordon Cameron, J. Barclay Stevenson, James Mackay, Alexander MacLean, Ewen Mackinnon, John Sutherland, Lewis Grant, Malcolm MacInnes, Duncan Sutherland, Peter MacKenzie, Angus Kerr, Managers; M. Mackay, Convener; Robt. Lawson, Secretary."

"Contributions to the collections on Sabbath, 13th May, will be received and forwarded by Mr. Stuart, of the New South Wales Bank, Castlemaine ; by Mr. Liddle, Messrs. Liddle and Cooper, Bendigo; by Messrs. McLeod and Grant, storekeepers, Creswick Creek; and by Mr. John MacIvor, teacher, Ballaarat. The names of all contributors will be added to the list of subscribers." The various services to be held were then given.

At the meeting of Committee on 6th May, arrangements were also made for lighting the church, it being decided to purchase candlesticks, lamps for the pulpit and precentor's desk, a box of candles, and four pewter plates to take up the collection. The candlesticks referred to are still on the church premises in a large bag. They were soon afterwards replaced by chandeliers. The Committee also made arrangements for letting the pews, between the hours of 12 and 3 during the day, and between 7 and 9 in the evening on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week, and " in case any two parties should wish to obtain the same seats, the matter to he decided, if necessary, by casting lots." Two of the ladies of the congregation were appointed to provide and prepare the linen for the communion tables.

On the eventful day (13th May) the church was well filled at all the four services which were held, and the response to the appeal in the advertisement for funds was a liberal one, the collections for the day taken at the church door amounting to £416. In the morning at 11, Dr. Mackay preached in Gaelic from Psalm 122 : I: "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." At 1.15 p.m. the Rev. William McIntyre, of East Maitland, New South Wales, conducted a service in English. This was followed by another Gaelic service at 3 p.m., conducted by the Rev. Alexander McIntyre, of Ahatton, New South Wales (afterwards minister of the Gaelic Church, Geelong), whose text was: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14 : 18). In the evening, at 6.30, the Rev. William McIntyre again preached in English.

The information as to the preachers' texts has been supplied by Mr. Malcolm McQueen, one of those present at the services who lives to see the jubilee of the occasion. Being more familiar with his mother-tongue at that time than with English, he can remember the Gaelic texts, but not the English. Shortly afterwards, he was married by Dr. Mackay to a young woman connected with the congregation (a Miss McSwain), who is also still living. Mr. McOueen is the only survivor of the elders who originally constituted the Kirk Session, which was not, however, formed till some years after the opening of the church. Of those who were present at the opening services, Mrs. Urquhart enjoys the distinction of being the only one who has continued to attend tie church ever since without a break to the present time. She, however, never attended any of the services held in the Protestant Hall, so that none of the original congregation which worshipped in that building are now connected with the church. Amongst those who belonged to the original congregation and are still alive may be mentioned Mrs. Gunn (who was connected with the congregation for over 40 years, her late husband being one of its leading members), Mr. Ewen Henderson (a member of the Committee of Management and elder for a great many years), Mrs. Alexander MacIntosh, Mrs. Leslie (formerly Mrs. Gordon Cameron), Mr. John MacQueen (brother of Mr. M. McQueen), Messrs. Donald and Norman McSwain (brothers of Mrs. M. McQueen), Mr. Malcolm Ferguson, Mrs. John McLeod, Mr. and Mrs. Murdoch MacLean, Mrs. Malcolm MacLean, Mrs. Norman Mac Lean, Mrs. MacKenzie, Mrs. Bethune, Mrs. Keiller, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Smith (Heatherton), Mrs. Smith (Auburn), and Mr. M. MacDonald. Mr. D. R. MacGregor, who often attended the original Gaelic services, is still alive. Only within the last few weeks Mr. Alexander MacIntosh and Mrs. Reid (a sister of Messrs. D. and N. McSwain) have been called away to the other world. Amongst the first of forty-two marriages solemnised by Dr. Mackay in Victoria were those of Mr. and Mrs. Gunn and Mr. and Mrs. Alexander MacIntosh. The eldest children of both these marriages were amongst the earliest baptisms.

Commenting on the advertisement quoted above, " The Argus " of 19th April, 1855, says : " We understand in terms of an advertisement in this day's issue that the new Gaelic Church (Rev. Dr. Mackay) is to be opened for public worship on Sabbath, the 13th May next, and that a Highland gathering is expected in our city on that occasion. Clergymen to address their countrymen in their own language on that interesting occasion are expected to come all the way from New South Wales. This fact of itself bespeaks the interest with which our Highland friends contemplate the event. We congratulate them on the respectability and good taste of their place of worship. Its position, in front of the Carlton Gardens, is peculiarly favourable and central. It is an erection every way creditable to our Celtic brethren, and not unworthy of the advancing metropolis. We sincerely wish them all success in the effort which they intend to make on the occasion of this place of worship being opened--to set it entirely free from debt."

The new church thus opened was called by its founders "St. Andrew's." It still stands, being now the oldest Presbyterian church building in the metropolis used for congregational purposes. In its original form it was without the transepts (which were added in 1873), and was built to hold about 80o people. The contractors and workmen engaged are now nearly all dead. W. Park, a mason engaged in the work, is still alive at Mount Dandenong.

The cost of the original building was over £10,000. Among the extras not included in the building contract were ;666 for a fence of hurdles, 650 for chandeliers, £129 1s. 9d. for the bell, and £104. 12s. for fitting up the tower clock, which was presented to the Committee about a week after the opening of the church by the City Council. This gift was accompanied by the following letter, addressed to Dr. Mackay:-" Town Hall, Melbourne, 22nd May, 1855. Sir, I am instructed by the Public Works Committee of the City Council to inform you that the Corporation is possessed of a valuable public clock, which, not being suitable for the principal tower of the Town Hall, they are willing to present to the trustees of your church for the tower of the Gaelic Church. The only condition the Committee would seek to impose is that the clock should be erected with its face towards Collingwood. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant, Wm. Kerr, Town Clerk."

The condition imposed was duly complied with, and the clock still faces that part of Collingwood now known as Fitzroy. Its use to the inhabitants in that quarter has, however, been somewhat impaired since the erection of the Exhibition Building. The clock and bell are still in first-class order, being of good Scotch manufacture, the clock being made in Kilmarnock, and the bell cast in a Glasgow foundry.

Another item of expenditure £60 18s. for the erection of stables was necessitated on account of the long distances which some of the worshippers had to travel. The stables - which have long since disappeared - were erected along the Drummond Street boundary of the property, and they must have presented a lively scene each Sabbath. Those who came long journeys would, after the morning service, eat their lunches in the church grounds, and then repair to the sanctuary for the afternoon service, after which they would get ready and go home. On one occasion, Mr. Donald McSwain, who lived at Brighton, had rather an exciting experience. In those days, as old colonists will remember, tolls were in force. Persons driving to church on the Sabbath were, however, exempted, provided that in passing the toll gate they were doing so in order to reach the nearest church to where they lived of the denomination to which they belonged. Mr. McSwain had to pass two gates on his way to St. Andrew's. A wealthy squatter had also to pass the same gates when driving in his carriage to Chalmers' Church, where he regularly attended. The toll-keeper at one of the gates one Sabbath asked both the squatter and Mr. McSwain for the toll money. They both refused to pay, and in due course appeared before the magistrates on summons. The squatter was fined, because he could have gone to a nearer Presbyterian Church; but Mr. McSwain was acquitted because, although he could have gone to a nearer Presbyterian Church, yet he was a Highlander, and there was no other Gaelic Church, and as it was only natural that he should attend ordinances in his own language, his case was distinguished on this ground, and he went free.

Although the building was opened under auspicious circumstances, the large collections for the day (which have never been equalled since on any occasion) did not clear the congregation from debt. During July £825 were received through the agency of collecting cards, bringing the total amounts collected for the 'building somewhat over £5,000, or only about half the cost. The precentor, who was also appointed a collector for subscriptions, at a salary of £200 per annum for all his duties, was not able to get in any more money, and the result was a heavy incubus of debt, which depressed the spirit of the Committee of Management and the Congregation. At the beginning of 1856, £250 were required to meet current expenses, the minister took ill, and, after recovering from a serious illness, in the March following, another call was presented to him from the people in Sydney, which he accepted, and thus in less than a year after the opening of the church the Congregation was without a pastor.

Several causes had led up to this state of affairs. In the first place, the people had taken too great an obligation upon their shoulders, and as things were very unsettled in those days, it is not to be wondered at that many of the congregation left the city to reside in the country. The pastor also had his own defects, very often neglecting his congregation to attend to outside matters. He had been very popular with the Highlanders in the Old Country, and had great influence over them. He did not succeed with his countrymen in this new land. He was much disappointed with a large number of them who had repudiated obligations which they had undertaken when receiving aid to bring them out to the colonies under the emigration schemes in which he had taken such an interest. He also was not able to adapt himself to colonial life, owing to the fact that he was a middle-aged man when he came out here. He was a ponderous preacher, very earnest and very evangelical, so that it is not to be wondered at that the services were regarded as rather depressing and gloomy when the sermon alone on the hottest day in summer would last for about a couple of hours. The people, nevertheless, regretfully parted with him.

After his translation to Sydney, Dr. Mackay founded St. George's Church, and laboured there till the close of 1861 to an English-speaking congregation. He still, however, took a great interest in Victorian Church matters, especially the great cause of Union, in which he had taken a leading part while minister at St. Andrew's. He at length determined to return to his native land for ever. Whilst in the Bay at Melbourne, on his way Home, the Presbytery of Melbourne waited upon him with in address, appreciative of the great work he had accomplished in Australia. In 1862, he became minister of the Free Church at Turbot, Harries. Here he built a manse, and at great expense formed a beautiful garden about the house, having to cart earth from a distance on account of the very rugged nature of the soil. After labouring here for some years, he retired on account of the infirmities of age, and went to live at Portobello, where Miss Power, a niece, kept house for him. His wife, who was a Jewess, had died some years before, and they had no family. In spite of his failing health, lie still took a very active interest in the public affairs of the Church. Although a strong Unionist in Victoria, he was very bitter against the suggested union of the Free and U.P. Churches, which was largely agitated in Scotland during the sixties and seventies, and which has only been recently accomplished, although, unfortunately, unhappy consequences have followed. As minister emeritus, he had a seat in the Synod of Glenelg, and against the wish of his friends he insisted on attending the Synod during its 1873 session to speak against the Union question, which was on the business paper. The Synod met at Loch Alsh. The long journey north, and the exciting experiences of the meetings, were, however, too much for the aged minister, and on his return journey he took very seriously ill at the Perth Railway Station. From this illness he never rallied, and he was buried a few days afterwards. Beside the literary efforts mentioned above, Dr. Mackay also published two volumes of sermons on the "Beatitudes." The celebrated author, Dr. George MacDonald, is his nephew, being a son of a sister of the first minister of St. Andrew's Church.


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