St. Oswald’s Anglican Church

Opened: 11th May, 1890

23rd February 1913

Deconsecrated: May 2012

Reconsecrated: 18th June 2016

Boomahnoomoonah Church

The word Boomahnoomoonah is certainly an aboriginal word.

There are several meanings:

Big Winds (Mr Bond)
Big Kangaroos (Mr Hammon)
Seeing Sun Shining on Water from a Big Hill (Mr Dowling)
Big Kangaroo at Sandhill
(Aboriginal dictionary)

Boomahnoomoonah 1890 – 1990
(Extract from the Centenary booklet)

Building St Oswald’s

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The first mention of the new church at Boomahnoomoonah was in the minutes of the Yarrawonga Parish Guardians, dated 11th March 1890, when the Rev. Chairman said that the erection of the church at Boomahnoomoonah had been commenced.

At the same meeting it was moved by Mr Green and seconded by Mr Gaffin that the lectern at St. Cuthbert’s be presented to Boomahnoomoonah on its completion.  We think that the lectern was the first permanent fixture, as the anchor was presented to St. Oswald’s by Rev Potter in 1895.

The Church building was officially opened on 11th May 1890 with one hundred and forty people present.  An offering of 6.4.00 was collected.  On 3rd June 1890 at a Parish Guardians meeting it was reported that the cost of St. Oswald’s Church, Boomahnoomoonah, including all furnishings was 184.11.5 1/2, of which 140.00 00 had actually been paid.  10 was promised and 11 in hand.  On the 1st August of the same year, the Parish Guardians heard that the total cost of St. Oswald’s was 184.11.5 1/2, of which 168.2.5 had been paid, leaving 16.8.9 1/2. outstanding.

On 8th December 1891, the Chairman of Parish Guardians reported that a recent concert at Wilby in aid of St. Oswald’s building fund raised over 13.  On 13th October 1892 a report appeared in the Moira Independent newspaper of a concert at Wilby in aid of St. Oswald’s.

An advertisement also appeared in the The Tungamah Express around the same time calling tenders for ” labour only ” to line St Oswald’s Church, returnable up to Monday, 14th November.  It appears that the Church was closed for a few weeks to allow this work to proceed, as services until the 18 December, when the church was re-opened.  In 1895 the Reverend Incumbent reported to Parish Guardians that all three parish churches were free from debt, so correspondence was entered into regarding consecrations.

In the Vestry Minutes a vote of thanks was recorded to Mrs Trotman for supplying varnish for the Church.

1906 – Vestry Minutes.  It was moved that coir matting be purchased for the Aisle and front Porch, also a twenty five gallon tank was to be purchased.

1919 – A vote of thanks was recorded to the anonymous donor of a brass vase for the Altar.

1920 = There was a motion that the window be repaired and altered so that the lower portion should open.  (Apparently this alteration never happened as the window still only opens at the top).

The Rector announced a gift of two brass vases to St Oswald’s by an anonymous donor.

1936 –  The Secretary was instructed to prepare a contract for renovations to the Church, two coats of paint, two crosses and the barge board, contract to be signed with Mr Hallett for 24.  Funds for the renovations were raised as follows:

Norman Jones 10.00

Sale of skins 4.14.04

Evening at Brooks 4.02.00

Entertainment at Wilby 11.07.06

J. Bond 1.00.00

S. Jones 2.00.00

A total of: 23 pounds 14 shillings and 11 pence

1940 – The Morris family donated the curtains behind the Altar.

1941 – The Vestry decided to paint the Church.  Volunteer labour was used to do the job and a special bank note offering was led to raise the funds.

1944 – Vestry discussed carpet for the Church and the matter was held over for further consideration.  I have found no further reference to carpet, but there is certainly carpet on the floor now.

1951 – a builder was asked to inspect the church and estimate the cost of porches.  I assume they mean we build the porches.

1961 – The Guild was asked to make a donation to establish a Church Improvement Fund.  Mrs Morris donated a chair for the Sanctuary and the Guild members agreed to have it recovered and painted.

1965 – It was decided to put in a 500 gallon water tank.

1968 – The Ladies Guild was negotiating cost of erecting a new fence around the Church.  Fence to be erected as soon as a satisfactory arrangement is made with the contractor.

1976 – After considerable discussion, it was decided that some renovations would have to be done to the Church building.  The first week in April was the date set aside for a working bee.

1978 – There was discussion regarding cleaning down the Church walls and putting on a priming coat of paint.  This was done and the Church remained pink for a few years.

1979 – It was decided to remove the wooden crosses each end of the building and replace them with a metal cross on the west wall.

In the last few years the men of the congregation have had a glance around some Sundays after the service and then arranged a day amongst themselves to do any jobs that need doing.


Centenaries are important occasions in the life of any community.  And not least of all to the people who make up the community of St.Oswald’s Boomahnoomoonah.

It is a time to look back with thanks for the achievements of past generations.  It is a good time to take stock of the present and so prepare for the future.  In terms of Christian history, 100 years is a short time.  However, we celebrate the same faith that St. Oswald sought to plant in Northumbria thirteen centuries ago.

The People of St Oswald’s have prepared for this celebration with great enthusiasm, for this Church and The Faith are very important parts of their lives.

As we celebrate with them let us all re-dedicate ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is ‘the same yesterday, today and tomorrow’ and continue to build on the faith handed on to us by our forefathers.

Fr. Graham Reynolds    

Yarrawonga Mercury, 3rd November 1904

A CHURCH   ATTRACTION – The attendants of St. Oswald’s Church, Boomahnoomoonah, are promised a treat next Sunday, when the new organ will be played for the first time.  The Instrument, an Estey Organ, was purchased with moneys arising partly from a local concert and partly from contributions generously made by various members of the congregation.  It will be operated upon by Mr. J. Parkinson, organist of St. Cuthbert’s Yarrawonga, who will play a number of choice Sacred selections during the service.  Sacred solo’s will also be sung by Miles Abbott and Mr. Gosling.

A Church and its people

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We believe that early services were held in either held in  private homes or the School.  We have no minute books of those early years, just a Preacher’s Book commencing in 1836.  Many of our records were either destroyed by fire or lost over the years.

Charles Bott and Thomas Pigdon were Boomahnoomoonah’s representatives on the Board of the Yarrawonga Parish Guardians and in the early days it appears Boomahnoomoonah was able to contribute more than their share of the stipend. There are a couple of references to that fact in the early years. Average attendances in those early times were thirty with communion held quarterly.

The concerts held at Wilby must have been quite a social event according to a report in the Moira Independent Newspaper.  One such concert raised 13 pound in aid of the St. Oswald’s building fund.

In 1910 finance could not have been quite as good as previously.  Mr T. Lewis stated members should not resort to concerts or anything of that nature to make good the clergy stipend and he gave 2 pound towards the deficiency.  Parishioners gave a total of 5.10.00 (pounds /shillings /pence).

In 1914 a request was received from Yarrawonga to increase the stipend to 50.

In 1916 on the 21st May, a Memorial Service was held for Corporal A. Smith and on the 10th September six people were confirmed, but we have no record of who!

1918 – There was a motion that chaff and firewood be provided for our clergyman, this still applies.   Boomahnoomoonah still supplies wood to the Rectory – nowadays only in the winter. A story that comes to mind as more recent times is a working bee that was held to top the trees around the Church, so they would be nicely grown back again for the centenary celebrations.  The wood was cut into blocks and neatly stacked in the corner of the Church yard to dry out ready for the next winter, but the wood started to slowly disappear.  Somebody was helping themselves and it is not the Rector.

In 1921, a vote of thanks was recorded to Mr Charles Bott for his nineteen years as Treasurer.

1922 must have been a bad year.  The Vestry was asking members to pay their annual subscription during the first quarter.

Mr G. Pigdon tendered his resignation due to his leaving the district, members wished Mr and Mrs Pigdon well in their new home.

In 1927 Mr G. Morris, Mr P. Spriggs and Mr E. Martin were appointed to look after the interests at Boomahnoomoonah in respect of the new Rectory in Yarrawonga.

1929, 25th August, the altar cross was dedicated.  I have found no reference to indicate if it was donated or purchased.

The years 1929 – 1930- must have been wet years as there are several notes in the Preacher’s Book.  No service.  No-one came, roads flooded or Wilby Creek impassable.

Entertainment were held in Pilkington’s Barn.  Mr Tom Pilkington Jnr has said that the family continued the tradition from Mr Joe Stewart, the previous owner.  He said many district functions were held in the large barn.  Entertainment in the form of sing-a-longs and dances were held with music being provided by Mr Jack Ferguson on his tin whistle, often accompanied by Mr Jack Elliot on the fiddle.  Dances often combined with Euchre parties.

In 1931, I have noted that proceeds from the entertainment in Pilkington’s Barn on one occasion was 16.02.00

1933 – Six people were confirmed we have no official record of who!

A Bank Note offering became the way to make up the deficit when Church finances became a problem.

In 1940, a Jubilee Service was held on the 16th June. As there is no Preacher’s book for this period, we do not know how many people attended. Some older members remember Miss Lorna Lean played the organ and her sister was the soloist. 1941. It is reported in the annual meeting minutes that Mr. Chesterfield congratulated St. Oswald’s on coming through the year with a credit balance and also a very successful jubilee celebration.

1947 An afternoon tea was tendered to Mr. Spriggs prior to his leaving the district. Mr. Spriggs was church treasurer for twenty-six years. Mr. Brooks was elected as treasurer in his place.

1950 a diamond jubilee celebration was held. Lighting was borrowed from the congregational church at Wilby. There was a motion on the books that the Secretary write a thank you note to them for the use of lights. Rev. C. Coish arrived during the year.

1951 M. G. Brooks resigned as Church Treasurer, having sold his property. Mr. D. Carter was elected in his place. Finances were again a problem and it was moved that in order to clear the deficit for the year, Vestry suggested each family subscribe 2 pounds.

1955 finances were still a problem and it was suggested that each family donate 10 pounds a year and the collection plate be retained in the Service.

1956 Fred Bond was elected Secretary in place of Mr. R.A. Morris 1958, October 12th was the last Service with Reverend C. Coish.

1959, January 18th was the first Service for Stan Goldsworthy.

1960, the first mention of a Ladies Guild in the Annual Reports.

1962, 15th March, Requiem Mass – Edith Jeffcott, aged ninety-one years.

1965, 4th April Requiem Mass, Robert Morris.

1966 It was moved that St. Oswald’s donate 225 pounds or thereabouts to buy a piece of furniture for the new Parish Church in Yarrawonga.

26th February Mass with the intention to marry Geoffrey William Willett and Bronwyn Lyla Hargreaves.

1967, 12 March. It was moved that St. Oswald’s support plated giving to the extent of 500 pounds and that the Ladies Guild be asked to meet the 12.5% increase.

1969 Mrs. Jeffcott, Guild president, announced that guild members were arranging an Old Time Ball to be held in the Wilby Hall on the 6th June. Dennis Carter resigns as Treasurer after nineteen years and Fred Bond was elected in his place.

26th October, Mass at Wilby Sports Ground and Parish Picnic. The altar was built of hay bales set up under the big red gum trees.

1970, 4th October, 80th Dedication Festival with more that eighty people present.

1972 Father Goldsworthy departed for Shepparton and Father J. Thomson became our Parish Priest.

1975, 28th April. No mass, roads flooded. In the early years this was a regular event, but in more recent years, it is very unusual.

9th March – a farewell presentation to Mrs L. Hargreaves, wishing her well in her retirement in Yarrawonga. Mrs Hargreaves played the organ for many years.

1978, 29th April, we had a visit from the Bishop and he announced the resignation of Father J. Thompson.

22nd April, New Australian Prayer books used for the first time.

23rd July, no service on account of storm and roads flooded.

1978 – 27th August Mass followed by a barbecue in the Church grounds and erection of new sign.  This sign was vandalised by someone shooting neatly through all the o’s in Boomahnoomoonah and so it was replaced with the one that is there now.  Father Geoff Terry welcomed in 1978.

1980, April 10th a Vestry meeting was held to elect Fred Bond as Secretary and Bill Willett as Treasurer.

1981 – Dot Carter was elected Secretary.

1984 – for the first time a family barbecue was held prior to our Annual meeting at the home of Robert and Faye Glover.  This has become an annual event with different members hosting the barbecue and Annual Meeting each year.  It is always an enjoyable evening of Anglican fellowship. Dot Carter resigns as Secretary as she is to retire to Yarrawonga and Faye Glover was elected in her place.

1985 – Yarrawonga Parish entered into a joint ministry with Mulwala.  Father Alan Backhouse and family of Mulwala were welcomed to Boomahnoomoonah.

A picnic day to be held on 10th August to honour St. Oswald’s.

Seventy – five people present for A Christmas Eve Service.

1986 – A soup and and sandwich luncheon was held at the home of Don and Beryl Hargreaves after Mass to celebrate St. Oswald’s Day.

1987 – November 20th, we farewelled Father Terry.

1988 – A Committee was formed to organise Centenary Celebrations.   We welcomed Father Graham Reynolds and family to Boomahnoomoonah.

1989 – St. Oswald’s Day Celebrations.  We journeyed out to the Killawarra Forest for a  barbecue luncheon, following Mass at which Allison and Scott Glover were admitted to Holy Communion.

We have continued to plan for our Centenary Celebrations.   Ladies Guild have put together a Recipe Book and the Centenary Committee have been having souvenir windcheaters and t-shirts printed.

Tenders, returnable up to Monday, 14th November at Wilby, for lining St. Oswald’s Church, Boomahnoomoonah.  Labor Only.  George Hall, Secretary

Rector and Office Bearers

1886Rev J. A. White
1887Rev E. G. Knox
1888Rev R. H. Potter
1895Rev J. G. Swan
1906Rev Wray Mr L. TrotmanMr C. Bott
1909Mr R. Hammon
1914Rev Oates
1915Rev G. Nelson
1920Rev J. C. Stanage
1921Mr P. Spriggs
1923Rev W. A. Williams
1924Mr B. Morris
1927Rev Canon Chesterfield
1941Mr R. A. Morris
1947Mr G. Brooks
1950Rev Fr C. Coish
1951Mr D. Carter
1956Mr F. Bond
1958Rev Fr A. S. Goldsworthy
1969Mr F. Bond
1972 Rev Fr J. Thomson
1974Mr W. Willett
1978Rev Fr G. Terry
1981Mrs D. Carter
1985 Mrs. F. Glover
1988Rev Fr G. Reynolds
1995Fr Reg Farnell
2000Fr Robert Niehus
2005Rev’d Canon Michael Jones Mr. D. Presley / Mrs C. Henderson Mrs. D. Wright
2017Rev’d Neil Hicks


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On Thursday 8th October 1891, the little township of Wilby was quite en fete:  a moonlight night and large concourse of people giving its principal street an air of importance which its name deserves.  The occasion was the annual concert of St. Oswald’s Church of England, Boomahnoomoonah, which, by the enthusiasm exhibited, bids fair to rank as one of our most popular annual gatherings.

I like Boomah, and I like the independent spirit shown by its people;  but the treat in store was to say the least unexpected.  The Rev. R.H.Potter, incumbent, took the chair, in addition to which he made the proceedings more enjoyable by his skilful rendering of several pieces.  The performers one and all deserve the greatest praise for the competent manner with which they accomplished their several parts, and must have been rewarded by the hearty plaudits of the audience and frequent encores.

At the interval, refreshments were handed round by the ladies of the congregation, who are to be complimented on the success of this part of the performance.  The performers were:-  Pianoforte duet, by the Misses Pilkington and Abbott;  songs by the Misses Bott, Williams, McLeod, Burke, and Miss Robinson, of Tungamah;  a trio by the Misses Bott (2) and Pigdon; and a duet by Mr and Miss Bott.  Messrs. Ruston, McGregor, and Rev. Potter also contributed songs.

A very enjoyable meeting was brought to a close by the usual vote of thanks and the singing of “God Save the Queen”.

(From a correspondent)

1959Mrs T. JeffcottMrs L. Hargreaves
1961Mrs D. Carter
1962Mrs R. White
1965Mrs L. Hargreaves
1966Mrs R. WhiteMrs W. Prescott
1967Mrs D. Carter
1968Mrs T. Jeffcott
1970Mrs G. Willett
1971Mrs L. HargreavesMrs R. White
1972Mrs B. Hargreaves
1973Mrs W. Prescott
1975Mrs R. White
1976Mrs L. Hargreaves
1977Mrs W. PrescottMrs K. McQualter
1978Mrs L. Hargreaves
1979Mrs R. Hammon
1980Mrs D. Carter
1984Mrs G. Campbell
1987Mrs R. Glover

St Oswald’s  Ladies  Guild

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With the encouragement of Father A.S. Goldsworthy. The Ladies Guild was formed in 1959. The inaugural meeting was held at the home of Mrs L. Hargreaves, with Father Goldsworthy acting as Chairman.

The following ladies were present:

Mrs. F. Bond
Mrs. J. Bond
Mrs. D. Carter
Mrs. S. Millar
Miss M. McCurdy
Mrs. W. Tait
Mrs. F. Wilett
Mrs. A. S. Goldsworthy
Mrs. L. Hargreaves
Mrs. T. Jeffcott
Mrs. T. Lewis
Mrs. R. Morris
Mrs. W. Prescott
Mrs. R. White
Mrs. G. Willett
Mrs. J. Jeffcott was elected President with Mrs. L. Hargreaves Secretary/Treasurer.

Over the years our ladies have enjoyed friendship with each other while helping the wider church community by raising funds in a variety of ways, such as fetes and picture nights in the Wilby Hall.  The ladies worked all year to provide a variety of goods for the well stocked stalls.  Such things as apron parades, prettiest apron competitions were also conducted.

Children’s clothing stalls as well as the usual cake and produce stalls were also organised.  Since 1969 we have held annual old time balls in the Wilby Hall.

The older members tell us that baking eight dozen cakes each is much easier than sewing all year round as they had to do to make the fetes a success.

We always have a well stocked trading table at our meetings and a small competition always added to the amount of money we were able to give away at our annual meetings.  We held coffee mornings in the new parish hall in Yarrawonga with all the proceeds going towards to its Building Fund.  They were most successful and each year we combine with St. Cuthbert’s ladies to have a cake stall for the Missions.

We continue to support the A.B.M. Garden Party at the Cathedral in Wangaratta each year and of course, the Missions to the Streets and Lanes, with donations of money and used clothing.

Some of the people we helped over the years are Sr. Jean Henderson in Samaria.  We provided her with bandages, nappies, children’s clothing and toys and we were able to send her money to buy a much needed Auto-clave and dilly bags have been sewn and sent to the New Guinea Missions.

These were filled with rulers, rubbers, pencils and exercise books.  Clothing toys and knitted rugs have been sent to Brighton Babies Home and Moira Home for Retarded Children at Sandringham as well as money for children’s Christmas parties.

The Mission Hospital at Dongura, Thursday Island, has also received parcels and only last year we were able to send money to an appeal to buy a new boat motor for Father Frank to enable him to reach his people in outlying islands.

Reading through the Minutes I note that we have helped train three young Priests.  We paid 24 a year for four years for each of their training and we also supplied vestments for them.  The Priests were Kingsley, Rueben and Gilchrist.

We also adopted small boys from ” The Home for Little Children ” providing birthday and Christmas gifts, also clothing parcels, complete sets of clothing were also sent for summer and winter, including underwear, socks and shoes.  The boys were Gary, Michael and Glenn, whom I am sure would have been thrilled with the lovely new clothes we sent them.

1989, we had a very successful 30th birthday luncheon and we all hope that we can continue the good works of the past for many more years.

Ladies Guild disbanded 2007 due to age of majority of members and with the few younger members finding it difficult to juggle work commitments.

Last Wedding held at St. Oswald's

Photo of the last wedding held at St. Oswald’s, Robert Buckley and Davina Campbell, daughter of Dawn and Geoff who own the adjacent farm and are long standing members of the Parish.

Marriages at St Oswald’s

1893  November 22nd
William Bott – Jane Ann Pigdon

1898*   March 29th
Roderick Mcdonald – Isabel Pigdon

* This marriage we discovered from a newspaper clipping.  There could be more that we have no record of, but would be pleased to find out about – Please contact St Cuthberts if you have information to add.

1903  April 33rd
Frederick Bond – Bertha Jean Morris

1905  February 22nd
Alexander Ewan McPherson – Emily Louise Abbott

1912  April 24th
William Parker – Anne Lewis

1915  September 21st
Andrew Stewart Chisholm – Lottie Cooper Morris

1944  August 22nd
Robert Ian Wemyss – Catherine Margaret Lewis

1951  May 12th
Robert Alexander Morris – Josephine Doris Lewis

1994  April 4th
Toby Nelson – Karen Hammon

2005  April 2nd
Robert Buckley – Davina Campbell

Baptisms at St Oswald’s

YearMonthDayGiven NameSurname
1902January30thFlorence ShirleyMcCOLL
August26thAbut RupertCOOMBS
1905October3rdGladys WillerettaFROOMES
1942January13thAmelia MayRICHARDS
1949October2ndJohn WilliamsBOND
1952March30thJeanette MargaretLEWIS
Angus WilliamRICHARDS
1952November30thCharles RossCARTER
December14thGregory JohnHULL
1953March26thJohn NevilleLEWIS
November7thDianne MarieLEWIS
1954February28thKevin GeorgeINNES
March7thJohn RobertMORRIS
1956December9thTrevor AlbertHARGREAVES
1958February16thGraeme CampbellCARTER
October12thGordon WilliamPRESCOTT
1959June12thLinda JaneWILLETT
1960April24thCheryl MarieBOND
Jennifer HelenWILLETT
1961April16thGlenda MayHARGREAVES
1963March24thWayne FredrickBOND
December22thKeith DouglasWILLETT
1964December20thRodney JohnBOND
1967April2ndKaren LeeHARGREAVES
October8thGeoffrey WilliamWILLETT
1968December8thBarry GlenHARGREAVES
1969April27thRobyn JoyWILLETT
May25thAndrew JohnCAMPBELL
1970May25thRicky JamesHARGREAVES
1971June20thFiona SusanCAMPBELL
1972February6thCindy JaneMcQUALTER
1972September24thDavina JaneCAMPBELL
1975March9thAngus AlexanderCAMPBELL
July27thBradley IanWILLETT
Gregory JamesWILLETT
1976October24thFiona LouiseGLOVER
1977September25thTara RenaeCAMPBELL
1978May14thJason IanLEWIS
1979August26thAllison JaneGLOVER
1980October26thJohn MortimerHAMMON
1981April26thSuzanne JadeWILLETT
October25thScott WilliamGLOVER
1984March11thDarren PaulBEATTIE
Nichole MargaretBANFIELD
1997September28thDale AnthonyPOWELL
1998July12thConner JamesRANKING
September27thJordan CooperNELSON
2002June9thPaige VictoriaNELSON
2005April10thChloe LouiseHART
2006May14thAnnabelle GraceHART
2008June8thJames KeithBUCKLEY