An Account of the German Baptist Church History in Queensland

German Baptist Churches in Queensland

 

 This historic account of the German Baptist Churches of Queensland is taken from Queensland Baptist Jubilee Record Volume 1855-1905, (Brisbane: W.R. Smith & Co, 1906) edited by William Higlett (who was well acquainted with and supportive of these churches). It gives a good picture of this unique group of churches up to 1905.

 Since that time, the churches grew strongly and then gradually dropped their use of the German language as they moved into full fellowship with the Baptist Union of Queensland, where they have become loyal and hardworking members, supplying a large number of leaders, officers, ministers and members to the church at large. Demographic and other socio-economic changes in the farming areas they served have meant that some of the churches have now closed.

 Their history has been partially written up, but a great deal of work remains to be done yet before there is a full record and understanding of their life and witness.

The first German Baptist churches in Queensland owe their origin to a considerable influx of German immigrants in the [eighteen] “sixties.” There were no ministers to labour among them, but the faithful testimony of such men as H. Falkenhager, C. Lamprecht and C. Dahn led to many conversions and baptisms, and to the formation of churches at Zillman’s Waterholes (now Zillmere), and Logan. As land opened for settlement elsewhere a considerable exodus took place, and eventually these churches became extinct. Mr. H. Falkenhager removed to the Brisbane River, and there at Vernor a church was formed in 1869, now known as the Lowood church.[later it moved to Tarampa.]

Several German Baptist families settled at Normanby Reserve (now Harrisville) in 1868, and there, in March, 1871, a church was formed, with Mr. W. Peters as pastor. This church was associated with the Ipswich Baptist church, then under Rev. T.S. Gerrard. An exodus again took place to Mount Walker, Black Flat and Engelsburg. For some time Mount Walker was the headquarters or centre of the German Baptist churches, but in time this shifted to Engelsburg. For many years now this has been numerically the strongest of the churches, with some 200 members. It has been ministered to by Pastors W. Peters, H. Windolf and Carl Krueger; who has held that position since 1886. Mount Walker is now a preaching station of Engelsburg together with Boonah and Schneider’s Road.

In 1871 a church was formed at Marburg (then known as Rosewood Scrub), and was ministered to by Brethren C. Dahn, C. Lamprecht, C. Arndt and others. From 1879 to 1883, Rev. H. Windolf settled at Marburg, taking also the oversight of the Lowood Church. In 1885 Pastor M. Bernoth arrived from Germany, but resigned after a short term of service. After numerous vicissitudes, and a division, resulting in the erection of a second building in the township, the church is again united, and worships in a new building erected in 1905, under the ministry Pastor H. Windolf.

At Minden a church was formed in 1879, and at first was under the oversight of Mr. J. Schultz, after which, for several years, Mr. August Schmidt served as pastor. Since then Brethren J. H. Hauschildt and J. Bischoff have rendered faithful service.

In 1895 a church was formed at Blenheim, with C. Muetzelburg as leader, and is now under the care of Rev. Otto Krueger, together with Tent Hill.

For several years the churches at Engelsburg, Minden and Marburg were affiliated with the English-speaking churches in the Baptist Association of Queensland. The need of trained ministers was often felt, and unsuccessful attempts were made to obtain one through the Association. Ultimately the churches at Marburg, Minden, Lowood and Blenheim united for the purpose, and in 1900 Pastor S. Blum arrived from the United States, and settled at Minden, where a manse was erected by the joint effort of those churches. Mr. Blum’s arrival marks a new epoch in the history of the German Baptist churches. At different times the churches had ceased their connection with the Baptist Association, and Pastor Blum was instrumental in forming them all into a Union upon a constitutional basis, and under the name of the Conference of German Baptist Churches in Queensland. A new church was formed at Tent Hill, and Pastor Otto Krueger was called and settled at Blenheim, where also a manse was erected by joint effort. Owing to a breakdown of health, Pastor Blum returned to America in 1902, leaving Pastor O. E. Krueger to supervise the five churches. Since 1904, Pastor Windolf has resumed charge at Marburg.

The six churches, with several preaching stations and three pastors, are now working harmoniously, and, though without official connection, are in close fraternal relation with the Baptist Association, representatives generally visiting the annual meetings of each body. The total membership is about 550, and, during the year 1905, a gracious revival led to no less than 75 baptisms.

Note:

• Churches closed – Mt Walker/Coleyville; Marburg; Vernor/Lowood/Tarampa.

• Blenheim church moved to Laidley

• The name of Engelsburg township (and consequently the church which celebrates 125 years of service in August 2000) was changed to Kalbar during World War I.

• Several of these churches have their own cemeteries (unusual for Queensland churches) now all closed; the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland has published listings of the monumental inscriptions.

 German Baptist Ministers (including lay pastors):

Bernoth, Michael (from Germany)

Blum, Samuel (from USA)

Dickfos, Carl

Ehmke, G.

Falkenhaugen, Heinrich

Heinrich, Johannes (from USA)

Krueger, Carl

Kruger, Otto Edward, DD (from USA)

Lassig, Ferdinand

Litzow, Wilhelm

Meissener, A.

Mutzelburg, Carl

Nitz, Gottfried

Orthner, Franz (from USA)

Peters, W.

Schmidt, August

Schneider, Johann George (from Germany)

Stibbe, John

Windolf, Friedrich Wilhelm Hermann (from Germany)

One of the large baptismal services that took place in German Baptist Churches in rural south-east Queensland

One Comment

  1. I was saddened to not see a mention of the Father of the Baptist church in the Fassifern Valley our Great Great Grandfather Johann Georg Schneider _ Fassifern Guardian 26 May 65

    Boonah Baptist church anniversary on sat 8 May history of church given:

    Traced to Henry Schneider(our Great Grandfather) who came to this country. Then returned to Germany & brought out his father George Schneider, 2 bros John & Fred & 2 sisters who became Mrs Dickfos & Mrs Henrichsen. They fist lived at “the Black Flats” on West side Bremer River at Mt Walker. The place where the Schneiders lived is now being farmed by the sons of Adam Ruhland. The home of Adam’s grandfather was located not far from his present residence. Mr Ruhland Snr was born in 1830 and died in 1917 at the age of 87. The first Baptist church in the area was situated at what was known as “Black Gully” which was the name of a particular part of the Coleyville Creek in what is now Mutdapilly. It seems certain that there was a slab hut or barn

    in this vicinity which was known as the Black Gully Baptist church. It was in this Black Gully that Pastor George Schneider baptized Carl Krueger who was converted in 1871, & later became the pastor of the Engelsburg Baptist Church. Some time later Mr Schneider also Baptist Mr W Peters who later also ministered to the Engelsburg church. According to one of the oldest maps available, which has the named of these settlers marked on the properties they worked, some of the res in this area were W Blackwell, TB Cribb, J Fielding, JH Hauschildt, J Hunter, The Jenner, FC Kingston, TJ Kingston, A McKinnon, J McKinnon, J Murray, A Neuendorf, A Ruhland, A schneider, J Schneider, J Schultz & F Wolter.

    The A Ruhland mentioned could be August Henry (or Heinrich) Ruhland, Adam Ruhland’s father, who was born in 1857, married Miss Maria Elisabeth Johanna Zahl on 8 April 1886 & died on 5 April 1939. Although Mr C Gotke’s name doesn’ the appear on the map mentioned, we now know that Mr Charles Gotke did live on the farms marked as owned by J Schultz and A Neuendorf. His son Norman was born on this farm, & he is a member of the Boonah Baptist church today. There was also a Mr Lobegeiger who later moved to the Coleyville area. Some of these pioneers used to walk to the Coleyville Baptist church over “the Gap” on the s-w lopes of Mt Walker (a distance of 7 miles) to attend the services. They carried their hurricane lanterns with them to the evening service..Mr Henry Moller, the grandfather of Mr HF Moller, lived a short distance to the north of where the Mt Walker school now stands. It appears that the first Baptist Church in what is now Coleyville was opened in 1868. The building was a slab hut, and the first pastor was George Schneider, the grandfather of John Schneider who is still with us. The church was situated near the Gap on the Coleyville side of Mt Walker & also near the present cemetery. It was somewhere nr this Gap that Mr George Schneider was buried but the location of the site is unknown. [later it was found & a reunion held there & a plaque erected]

    We do not know when the Schneider family moved from the Black Flats to Warrill View, but we do know that a Mr McIntyre bought land from the Crown in 1843, & he later sold it to Mr Thorn. When the Normanby station was first established, there were 3 men who held prop in its area & these were bought out. These 3 men were Mr G Schneider, Mr Ryan & Mr Monican. After this Mr Schneider moved to the Gap. Mr Thorn gave a portion of land for the building of a church. This church, as we have stated, was built in

    1868. Thus the Coleyville church will be celebrating its centenary in 3 yrs time. The church was eventually rebuilt in its present site in 1908. The early settlers in the Coleyville area included P Coley, Fred Crepin, CF Dau, J Dickfos, H Drager, A Engels, P Fischer, Jacob Korner, W Logegeiger, Fred Mandelkow, H Moller, W Peters, J Richter, A Schmidt, For Schneider, W Schulze, Eric P Stanke, C Stolpe, Mr Thomas and Philip Vonderheid.. Mr Henry Schneider was the first pastor of the Baptist Church in the Boonah area, assisted by Pastor W peters, from 1880-1887. During this time the services were conducted either in the home of Fred Schneider (whose full name was George Frederick Schneider) or under the mulberry tree in his property.

    This Mr Fred Schneider was the father of John Schneider who is one of our oldest members today. He is an honoured deacon of the church, had been secretary & Sunday school Supt for 31 yrs. The first Sunday school teachers were Miss Annie Schneider (who later became Mrs Korner) & Mr Fred Jenner ( the father of our Mrs Morrison). Fred Schneider was commonly known as “Boonah’s grand old man” & his brothers as we have mentioned were John & Henry.

    The first Bap church building in Boonah was erected in 1887 beyond the railway bridge which spans the road to Kalbar. For many years it was thought that it was erected in 1888 because that date was inscribed on the pulpit but it appears that this date was inscribed when the pulpit was made, not when the church was erected. The Boonah & Coleyville church were, of course, for many years under the supervision of the Engelsburg Bap church, which later became the Kalbar Baptist church. Kind Regards Cal Schneider

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