Steps all that remain of old hall

The Reverend Carl Vermeulen with author and Historian Gerrit Johannes Bosveld (right). Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d410820
The Reverend Carl Vermeulen with author and Historian Gerrit Johannes Bosveld (right). Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d410820

The steps, taken from the Wongong hall when it was demolished 50 years ago, now lie in the gardens of the Darling Downs Free Reformed Church.

A stained glass artwork in the church also pays tribute to Wongong hall and its significance in the local community.

The hall served the growing migrant population, was used by the Armadale Congregational Church, then Dutch migrants used the hall to worship and attained the status of ‘church building’ in 1954.

Many Free Reformed churches then opened in other suburbs, as a result of this initial church hall.

The steps originally led to the rear door of the Wongong hall and will reach their centenary on November 15.

The Reverend Carl Vermeulen said the steps were brought on to the Darling Downs church property when the new church was built this year on Masters Road.

‘There is a stained glass picture of the Wongong hall with a tree growing out of the steps, designed by local quilter Ruth de Vos,’ he said.

‘This is representative of the church that the Dutch migrants attended and the branches of the trees represent the Free Reformed churches in the area.’

Gerrit Johannes Bosveld, author of a book Free Reformed Pioneers, recalled cleaning the hall for the first service on May 6, 1951.

He also recalled a sermon by the Reverend Bouwman in 1993 when he called the steps ‘steps of remembrance’ like the 12 stones of remembrance in the Old Testament.

Mr Bouwman encouraged families to see the steps and make a point of telling their children about God’s works in past years, Mr Bosveld said.