Proposals for the development of the church property seem to have arisen at regular intervals during the church’s 71 years. Proposals in the past have included:
- The building of a “cathedral” in keeping with the original plan.
- Major extension/redevelopment of the existing church building.
- A National Baptist presence on the site.
- The construction of a new multi-purpose building.
- Home units/residential units for the aged.
- Developing an outdoor worship area.
- Construction of a Theological College.
A few years ago a concern arose that changes to the Land Use Ordinance allowing for new development in the Kingston area had implications for the church. However, our site was granted in perpetuity to the BUA and there is no urgency for the development of the site. Any idea of urgency is unfounded.
What is interesting is the way the site has been developed to date. Some of those developments are set out briefly below.
Sunday School and youth work in the early years
From the beginning (1929) the site consisted solely of the church building and the manse. The Greening Room was the main meeting room, supplemented by the Fellowship Room. Sunday School, up to the early 1960s, was held on Sunday afternoons, so the whole church building was available for this purpose.
In 1952 a Government Hostel hut was purchased for the equivalent of $260 from the Department of the Interior and set up on the premises for use as a youth centre. The hut is still on the premises and is currently used by Action Tae Kwon-Do.
The need for a second church building for use by a number of church groups, including the Sunday School, was evident by the late 1950s and in 1959 a firm of architects was asked to draw up plans for a brick building “of comfortable proportions”. It was to include a kitchen and stage. The first sod for the building was turned in September 1961 and in April 1962 the completed hall was officially opened (cost $30,000). The second stage of Waldock Hall added the lounge, library, nursery and Minister’s office and was opened in September 1974 (cost $35,000). Recently Mamie Howe kindly presented to our archives copies of a number of plans of Waldock Hall which had been carefully preserved by her late husband, Ron.
The photograph shows Rev Fred McMaster and Mr A C Joyce at the unveiling of the plaque on Waldock Hall on 5 November 1961. The plaque is located on the left wall just outside the doors leading into the foyer of Waldock Hall.
The church grounds
There are some magnificent trees on the site. Most of these were planted in the church’s first two years. During 1929 working bees were formed to develop the property by planting trees and shrubs, laying down footpaths, establishing gardens and making parking areas and access roads.
In September 1930 a special tree planting afternoon was held and each church member who attended planted a tree. Over 70 trees were planted during the afternoon and they included elms, poplars, oaks and pines in addition to ornamental plants and shrubs. The trees were provided for the church and manse grounds by Parks and Gardens, Department of the Interior. The Local Committee for Unemployment Relief (this was during the depression years) provided labour for the digging of numerous holes in preparation for the planting afternoon.
Sporting teams and facilities
Sport was regarded as a part of the Sunday School activities in the early years, with boys and girls teams participating in local competitions including cricket, football, basketball and hockey. Tennis was particularly popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Initially courts were hired, but in 1957 work commenced on the church’s tennis courts. Construction was a fairly drawn out affair and work was not completed until December 1960.
R.W. Hughes, From the Archives. Canberra Baptist Church Quarterly Newsletter, Vol . 19, April 2000.