**As told by the Church on the Hill**
Well, here I am perched on this hill in Ourimbah – not bad for my age really - Seventy two in March. Some say I’m Historic – the only church building standing now in Ourimbah.
I look towards the east; down below is The Pacific Highway, the Great Northern Railway, then two roads – Brownlee Street to the right and Enterprise Drive (formerly Chittaway Road) to the left – then playing Fields and at the back the Ourimbah Campus of the University of Newcastle.
A University! ‘How things have changed over the years’
Now back in 1897 I was a dilapidated Commercial Bank Building. Maitland Road was in front of me and Elizabeth Street behind me. The Wesleyans bought the land – Contributions in money, materials and labour, sundry repairs attended to, three coats of paint applied much to the improvement of the property. At the close of their labours, the working party held a prayer meeting on the job and expressed their thankfulness for being permitted to do the work.
Life went on until there was a fire……
My foundation stone was laid by Mrs C.D. Bateman on 19th March, 1927. A fine gathering of local and visiting friends witnessed the ceremony which was presided over by the minister of the circuit, the Rev C.P. Walker-Brown, Chairman of the District, delivered the address and greetings were received by Rev. C. Wheeler, Gosford and Rev. G. Kelly (Anglican). The service was a happy and impressive one, and a good collection proved how enthusiastic the people were, Mrs. Bateman was the recipient of a beautiful silver trowel the donation of the Architect, Mr. A.W. Anderson, while the stone was given by the builder Mr. W.A. Buscome of the Church. The Ladies Church Aid entertained the friends at the afternoon tea.
Life went on…..evening services….. a service every Sunday….. Sunday School, 10.15am…..church service 11am, We had Sunday School Anniversaries, Harvest Festivals and church socials – and so for forty years life went on – until the downfall.
About 1971 the congregation bought the Kangy Angy Church (which was used by the Dutch Reformed Church). The building was actually the Wyong Creek Church in 1922, then it was moved to Kangy Angy in 1927. The building was dismantled and transferred to Ourimbah for use as a hall, but things started to happen – families left because of health or ‘greener pastures’ - the Sunday School numbers went down, down, down – members of the church went down, down in number – a bit shaky – only one service a month, then about seven years ago slowly, slowly, slowly the congregation built up – now I have two or three services a month, last year a new roof and my steps were painted.
Things are looking up for ‘The Little Church on the Hill’.
One Hundred and Two Years gone!
Article by: Jenny Hewitt.