With his well-known interest in ecclesial  history, Brother Ian Hyndman has produced a significant summary of the early  ecclesias in country Victoria.

The appreciative Australian Christadelphian  reader is going to  find much pleasure in perusing  these pages, either to discover where grandpa  and grandma found the Faith, or putting together  occasional references to such proverbial names as  Beechworth, Traralgon and Daylesford, long established  in the history of Victorian ecclesias.

There is inspiration too, in the fact that  two of the past editors of  The Christadelphian spent time in  Victoria, so far removed from  Birmingham, UK. Brother C.C.  Walker spent 13 years of his boyhood  in Ballarat due to the gold  mining interest of his father. He  spent another 7 years from 1881  to 1887 in Ballarat before returning  again to England. Many  people heard the Truth from his  confident presentation, especially  in beautiful Daylesford in the  years 1886-87. When Brother  Robert Roberts died in 1898,  it was Brother Charles Walker  that took over editorship of  The  Christadelphian magazine. Both  brethren had spent considerable  time in country Victoria.

There have always been large  fluctuations of population in  country Australia. Uncertain  markets, droughts or other weather variations  drive waves of labour-seeking families from town  to town, to the city or even interstate. Much of  this has been impossible to avoid and this history  of Victorian ecclesias in the 19th century draws an  accurate picture of labour insecurity. Many ecclesias  have ceased to exist and others are well down in  membership.

Other areas, however, have provided relatively  stable work opportunities, and there the ecclesia has prevailed into the 20th century and now into  the 21st century.

Is it not desirable that our light stands in the country regions of the states of Australia grow both in members and in the strength of their witness?

Here lies a responsibility for the larger, established ecclesias of our large cities. Should we  not extend our love and care to our members in  the country regions? There is  a short paragraph on page 82 which puts it well, “The involvement  of Melbourne ecclesia with  Daylesford was to last for the  next seventy years”. Doubtless it  is a two-sided responsibility: the  country ecclesia needs to make  provision for willing-hearted  visitors of the Faith, and the city  ecclesias should reach out to their  fellows in the “bush,” and encourage  them both spiritually and  with hearty fellowship. The focus  of this care includes the needs  of the children of these outlying  families, even as their parents  should embrace opportunities for their offspring to find and build  strong relationships with faithful  families of other ecclesias.

Brother Ian’s book is brim  full of circumstances that evoke both our interest and our responsibility. It represents  a wealth of research, for which we are very thankful.

The book of 130 pages is available from the  Christadelphian Scripture Studies Service for  $14.30 plus postage.