The Christian faith in Beecroft and Cheltenham

As discussed elsewhere on this web site, along what is now Pennant Hills Road the earliest European contact in this locality took place with a number of farms being established. In the 1790s the largest of these farms belonged to John Macarthur but neighbouring this farm around the Thompson Corner locality were a group of farms occupied by Samuel Marsden, Rowland Hassall, William Lawry and Francis Oakes. Because these men were Christian missionaries or clergy the congregation of these grants became known as “Missionary Corner.” These men were denominationally mostly either (in contemporary language) Anglican or Methodist. While these farms were owned by these men none of them had their home there. 

To the east of these farms, heading along modern day Pennant Hills Road to near the current day reservoir, a government timber getting establishment was constructed from 1816. Convicts who were housed here harvested timber across the district but particularly throughout Beecroft. At its largest, 102 men lived on site in 1820. In 1819 the convicts in their own time, built a chapel (able to contain 150 people) and one of their number, George Horne, conducted services. It is possible that Horne was either Presbyterian or Congregational. Any preacher who visited was allowed to use the chapel and it is known that Revs Thomas Hassall and Walter Lawry did so. It is therefore possible that a Presbyterian elder may also have done so. The establishment closed in 1831.

The earliest church building in Beecroft was opened for worship in 1891 when the first building at St John’s Church of England was opened, then in 1895 with the Methodist Church building, in 1908 the Presbyterians, in 1913 the Brethren and finally in 1930 the Congregational. Each of these places of worship (unlike those in neighbouring Cheltenham) continue until the present day.

Each of the Christian denominations will be dealt with below in their own sections in order of their establishment:

 Link Churches - Anglican

 Link Churches - Uniting

Link Churches - Presbyterian

Link Churches - Brethren

Link Congregational Church