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Vectis Church buildings – 100th Anniversary

by John Noack

On 17th and 18th November 2008, Zion Lutheran Church at Vectis celebrated the 100th anniversary of the dedication of its present church building. This church was built by H. Dinning from Beulah at a cost of 728 pounds and was dedicated by Pastor J.F. Noack on 20 Nov 1907.

Their earlier church, dedicated on 9 Nov 1875, had been built by Carl and Christian Koenig on land donated by W. Schulz and with materials donated by church members. This was built soon after settlers from South Australia and from Tarrington took up land on “Vectis”, a station property in 1873. In 1874, Pastor Schoknecht accepted a call to the parish consisting of Natimuk, Vectis, Dimboola, Nhill, Minyip and Wonwonda but in 1890, this parish was reduced in size to Natimuk, Vectis and Gymbowen.

The weekend activities included a district tour, a dinner, a concert, a church service and socialising. Saturday’s weather was hot and Sunday’s activities experienced smoke from the lightening fires in the Little Desert.
The tour of the district from the Vectis church to the Quantong cemetery on Saturday afternoon provided for an inspection of over thirty features, homes and properties, whose owners were outlined in a useful tour-guide.
The Vectis School building, which was used from 1910-1970, is now on private property to the south of the church.

The Rudolph homestead directly east provided accomodation for school teachers and students, including the children of Pastor J.F. Noack, the Vectis pastor from 1905 to 1949.

Pastor Noack’s sister Annie was the wife of Rudi Gersch, who built a solid mud-brick home and a fruit orchard directly south of the church. Nearby, orchardist Bormann experienced a tragic death when he accidently drank poison from a bottle, which he thought was stout.

We noted that the cement-sheet house south of the church, which was provided for teachers Ern and Len Ziersch and was later occupied by Bill and Elma Bahr, was very small. In regard to church records, researchers have appreciated very much the work carried out by Ian Maroske in organising and making the church records of the Natimuk parish more widely available.

Original homesteads from the 1870s have mostly been replaced by newer homes for the descendants but the surnames, achievements and other reminders of the many pioneering and subsequent families still remain. These include such surnames as Ampt, Bormann, Dymke, Eltze, Fischer, Friebel, Gersch, Hoffmann, Jahn, Jakobi, John, Jost, Koenig, Lindner, Maroske, Moller, Muegel, Nuske, Pelchen, Preuss, Rudolph, Schulz, Schulze, Weckert, Werner, Zerbst and Ziersch.

The evening Dinner was held in the marque for over 200 people. A choice of meats, vegetables and salads provided for a satisfying meal. After the conversion of the restaurant to a concert hall, a concert featured local artists performing a skit based on Dad and Dave, solo and group singing, musical items on the harp, a few jokes and other items.

During the church service on Sunday morning, LCA President Mike Semmler referred to the survival of the “church in the stubble” and its special role in the present world. Included was a hymn composed by the late Edwin Schulz for the centenary celebration of the congregation in 1973.

A display of photos, costumes and other memorabilia in the hall enabled those attending to recall earlier times and to be grateful for the heritage left by the earlier generations. Those who were able to attend have plenty of reasons to be grateful to the hard-working locals who spent many months planning this anniversary and who helped to make the weekend a great success.