Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ascot Vale Presbyterian Church - For God and Empire

The Honour Roll, pictured in a pamphlet published for the unveiling, in the collection of the Essendon Hist. Society Inc. The Honour Roll and the Church were destroyed by an arsonist in 2004.
The unveiling of the Ascot Vale Presbyterian Church took place on Wednesday 15 September, 1920. Corporal F W Edmonds gave an organ recital which included pieces composed by Handel and Mendelssohn.    Captain-Chaplain W Fraser said the first prayer.  Colonel Chaplain D Macrae Stewart gave the address, and Senator-Brigadier H E Elliott, CB, CMG, DSO, DM, performed the unveiling.

D Macrae Stewart was the minister of the Ascot Vale Presbyterian Church from 1881 to 1903, immediately preceding Chaplain William Fraser.  Stewart served as a Chaplain in Gallipoli and France, but returned to Australia in 1916 when appointed the Senior Chaplain of the 3rd Military District (ie, Victoria).

The honour roll was an opus sectile, beautifully crafted from tiles.  This one was unusual in that it had the colour patches of the AIF represented in a block of tiles just above the legend "The Great War".  Another church in the district with an opus sectile is St Thomas' Church of England in Moonee Ponds.

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