Exorcising the Swine
Many of the early settlers had troubles with their pigs – particularly with differences from the ‘old country’ and getting used to farming ways and techniques more suitable for the new land.
One well known incident concerns the Marburg congregation and the well-loved Pastor Temme who ministered to his flock here from 1925 until the 1930s. I interviewed Pastor Arthur H Koehler who was then residing in Salem Home, Toowoomba in the mid 1990s. He related to me the incident described below:
One particular farm in the district was having great trouble with rearing the piglets – they all seemed to perish so suddenly for no apparent reason. The district farmers all prevailed on the Pastor to make a farm visit and ‘exorcise’ the Hex that was causing the mortalities.
After some persuasion Pastor Temme visited the farm in question and first had a walk around the pig enclosures. The Pastor noticed that surrounding the pens were a number of well-developed White Cedar trees (a common native of the Lockyer vine scrubs) which were dropping their multitude of ripe yellow berries into the pens. The piglets were particularly ravenous and devoured the berries with great fervour.
After a hearty lunch with the family, the Pastor went for one last look and discovered a number of the piglets were already dead and some now dying. The problem was solved – that very afternoon the white cedars were chopped out and Pastor didn’t perform exorcism, but had still solved the farm problem using the powers of observation. The local congregation were appreciative of their educated Pastor!
Fruit of the native White Cedar – attractive to pigs but with fatal results