COROMANDEL VALLEY ANGLICAN – HISTORY
The land on which we live and worship, including the present sites of St John’s Church Coromandel Valley and All Hallows’ Church Blackwood, has been occupied and cared for by the Kaurna people for thousands of years. It was taken by British colonisers, without consent or compensation, in 1836.
Church of England people met for services in local homes. A foundation stone was laid for St John’s Church in 1872, and worship began there in 1873. Priests from neighbouring parishes led services until a parish was formed in 1895, with its own priest, assisted by licensed Lay Readers, covering Belair, Blackwood, Eden Hills, the Kalyra home, and Coromandel Valley.
A wood and iron hall, erected on Shepherds Hill Road Blackwood by 1895, was moved on a bullock dray to Coromandel Parade and re-opened in 1914. It included a supper room and kitchen, was used for church and Sunday school on Sundays and as a recreation hall during the week. It was destroyed by fire in 1934. The present All Hallows’ Church replaced it in 1935, together with a hall on the site of what is now a childcare centre.
Fortunes of the church fluctuated over the 150 years of its history, from the time in 1923 when there were 120 communicant members and 130 children receiving religious instruction from 20 Sunday School teachers across the whole parish, to the time in the 1950s when St John’s Church was opened only once a month for a lay reader’s service, after an advance party had cleaned away the accumulated bat droppings! An increased involvement of lay people greatly expanded the work of the church in the 1960s.
Blackwood and Coromandel Valley together became a parish in their own right in 1969, and participation in charismatic renewal contributed to the vitality and wide-ranging scope of church activities, including a liturgical dance group. Growing attendances and finances led to the appointment of an assistant curate in 1987, together with a deaconess, a youth worker, and a number of lay readers and lay preachers.
Along with the rest of the church in Australia, the Parish of Coromandel Valley continues to fluctuate down and up, as God’s constant love leads us on to a hope-filled future.
Coromandel Valley: its history trails and tails, Coromandel Valley & DistrictsBranch National Trust of South Australia, 2014.
A Sacred Heritage: The story of St John’s Anglican Church Coromandel Valley, 2018.