The Amalgamation and New Building

Early in 1929, a combined meeting of the congregations of Flinders Street and Chalmers Presbyterian Churches was held to adopt a constitution for Scots Church, the name adopted for the amalgamated churches. Reference had been made in "The Advertiser" to the amalgamation of those churches. The following information comes from a statement made by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly in South Australia, Right Rev. A. C. Weber:

Several conferences between the churches had been held; a basis of amalgamation agreeable to both parties was reached. The name of the united church was to be Scots Church. The Rev. W. Floyd Shannon was appointed interim moderator. Seven delegates were appointed by each church, with power to carry out all necessary duties until the united congregation met to elect its board of management. The Presbytery of Adelaide decided that the elders of both congregations should continue in office, and the services of the present organists (E. E. White of Flinders Street and Sable Grivell of Chalmers) would both continue, with the hope of increasing interest in the service of praise, until otherwise determined by the united congregations.

After January 1, services would be conducted in the morning at Flinders Street and in the evening at North Terrace. In February, a united congregational meeting would be held in order to call a minister. In the meantime the committee had secured pulpit supplies from Victoria until the end of March. The church solicitor (Mr. G. C. Ligertwood)[i] was appointed trustee of the properties and other assets of both churches, and authorised to transfer them to Scots Church. When sufficient funds were available, it was proposed to erect a new church on the site of Chalmers Church, North Terrace. The Flinders Street property was to be retained.


According to the “'Presbyterian Banner", the official Presbyterian newspaper of the time, the feeling was that the permanent services should be conducted either in the present Chalmers Church building, or in a new building to be erected on the site of Chalmers Church. It was intended to sell the Chalmers manse at the earliest favorable opportunity and that the funds obtained from the sale, together with other money available, become the nucleus of a fund for the erection of a new church on Chalmers site. It was decided that the new buildings should not be commenced until £15,000 was available, either in cash or in promises. The estimated cost of the new building would be approximately £25,000. In the meantime the Flinders Street property would be retained so as to be available for services during the erection of the new church. After that it could be dealt with as the amalgamated congregation deemed best.

In accordance with the request of both congregations, the Presbytery of Adelaide approved of the amalgamation, and directed that it take effect as from January 1, 1929. It also expressed deep appreciation of the fine spirit of harmony, goodwill and Christian feeling which had characterised all the meetings leading up to proposed amalgamation. Apparently this was a period of “acute” financial stringency, so that, as the Chalmers church building was almost adequate to accommodate the combined congregation, the Presbytery strongly recommended the congregation of Scots Church, before proceeding to erect a new building to reconsider carefully the expenditure of such a large amount as had been suggested.[ii] (The Flinders Street property was sold in 1956.)

[i] Sir G C Ligertwood was a prominent SA lawyer and judge of the Supreme Court. Ligertwood (or Law) Building at Adelaide University was named in his honour.

[ii] The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) Friday 21 December 1928 p 7 Article

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