St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Gloucester was opened Wednesday 19 December 1906 and was celebrated by a service followed by photos, tea and a meeting.1 The builder, C Skinner, was prominent in the area and also built the Manse on the corner of Cowper and Barrington Streets.2 The church bought the land from Gloucester Estate Ltd in 1908.3
The Laurie family have long been associated with the Gloucester Presbyterian Church.4 Herbert W Laurie was a generous contributor and in 1912 instructed the installation of a bell at his own cost. Just months later he was accidentally drowned while crossing the Barrington River. The church was filled to capacity for his funeral.5 His wife and two sons took over the installation of the bell and belfry and both were dedicated in 1916.6
Mr Joseph N Laurie, Herbert’s brother, was owner of the well-known property ‘Stobo’ at Rawdon Vale. After 45 years of living at Stobo, J N Laurie retired to Gloucester, but died of pneumonia two months later.7 In his will he left £500 to the church which was spent building the ‘J N Laurie Memorial Hall’ in 1932.8
In 1929, Mrs Elizabeth McWhae Higgins (nee Laurie)9 of ‘Faulkland’ presented a gift to the church in the form of a Memorial Roll of Honour for those who gave their lives in WW1. The wooden tablet replaced two flags that hung in the church with the names of the fallen written on them.10 When Mrs Higgins died in 1946, a stained glass window was installed in her memory, as well as the stone and iron gateway at the front of the church.11
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Gloucester Advocate, 22 December 1906, 4.
2 Gloucester Advocate, 28 November 1908, 8.
3 NSW Land Registry Services Bk-No: 858-64.
4 NSW BDM, death index No. 7884/1912.
5 Gloucester Advocate, 27 March 1912, 4.
6 Gloucester Advocate, 26 July 1916, 2.
7 NSW BDM, death index No. 10535/1929; Gloucester Advocate, 3 May 1929, 2.
8 Gloucester Advocate, 3 May 1929, 2; Building application 16516/1932, viewed at MidCoast Council Chamber, Gloucester.
9 NSW BDM, marriage index No. 7284/1890.
10 Gloucester Advocate, 8 October 1929, 2.
11 Gloucester Advocate, 12 August 1947, 1.