Community News

Members of the Grafton Salvation Army Band Toby and Travis Smidt are looking forward to playing in the Grafton Salvation Army Band Concert on Sunday, April 21. Image: contributed

The Salvation Army celebrates milestone anniversary in Grafton

140 years ago, there were rumours in Grafton that The Salvation Army was coming to town. Captain Joseph Hammond, along with Adjutant Lindsay, Captain Cox, Lieutenant Towns, and Brother and Sister Lambourne and their daughter arrived in Grafton after a 15-hour sea trip.

They chatted with the locals and learned the Army were considered ‘a low lot’, ‘made such a noise’, and sang so many ‘song tunes’ to their hymns.

Others said they would get no followers as ‘they all had their different churches.’

Little did they know they were talking to the representatives of this despised but misrepresented body.

Soon, the large posters went up all over town and The Salvation Army ‘Opened Fire’ in the Oddfellows Hall on Saturday, April 19, 1884.

Over the past 140 years, The Salvation Army has had a continued presence in the Clarence District.

From the first meetings in the Oddfellows and Protestant Halls, to renting a building in Prince Street, known as Noah’s Ark, the opening of their own building in Pound Street in 1916, and lastly, the repurposing of the Skate Rink in Oliver Street, for Army purposes.

Amongst the early day soldiers were: Bro. Meally, Bandmaster and Sergeant Major; James Goodwin, Treasurer; James Wiblen, Secretary; William Hall, Colour Sergeant; Sister Mrs Dykes, Y.P.S.M.; Mrs Hardy; Bro. Crowhurst; Bro Ellis; Bro. Lees; Bro Bailey; ‘Granny’ Ferguson; Wilcox; Bro. and Sis. Fischer.

Later names include Wunderlich, Ford, Olsen, Drew, Shoesmith, Haggar, Albert, Maxwell, Eggins, Dodds, Simpson, Jones, Payne, Fernance, McKnight.

(Names taken from Jubilee report in Daily Examiner, 16 April 1934)

To celebrate this milestone, a concert featuring The Grafton Salvation Army Band will take place at The Salvation Army Hall, 91 Oliver Street, Grafton on Sunday, April 21 at 2pm.

Afternoon tea will follow.

A comprehensive history is being compiled and any contributions of memories, stories, memorabilia (copies) or photos would be most welcome.

Please contact Major Cathryn Williamson –

A book launch and further celebrations will be held later in the year.

Editorial: contributed.