Emeritus Professor Alan Rice AM, President

The 2021 Program of the Baptist Historical Society (BHS) was severely disrupted for a second year by the pandemic. Improvements at the Archives were continued but other activities were cancelled.  We are looking towards 2022 for a better year.

The Archives was included in the Morling College renovations and has gained additional space to accommodate its holdings and now provides a more suitable area for research. The planning by the Archivist, Ernest Windschuttel and a team of volunteers has made the facility more accessible to churches and those seeking data on the Association and from church records.   Features of the year have included the following.  Most of the images held in the Archives have been professionally scanned as many were over 70 years and preserving them for the future is important. Access is also more readily available to identified collections. Newsletters were sent to members that focused on the stories of the lives of prominent Baptists that have been submitted for our records. Increased co-operation among historical societies during the pandemic has brought wider contacts and positive benefits for the future.

We have been encouraged by the positive reaction to the meeting of the BHS in November 2021 which was held by Zoom technology. On this occasion Rev Dr Ken Manley in Melbourne spoke on his research into the life of Thomas Elias Ruth, an outstanding Baptist preacher from England who came to Melbourne in 1914 as pastor of the Collins Street Baptist Church. Ruth contributed regularly to the Press at a time when both Empire Loyalty and anti-Catholicism were subjects of public discourse. The book, T.E.Ruth  (1875-1956) Preacher and Controversialist is available from Ken Manley.

In 2022 the Society is planning to resume activities subject to the advice of Health experts.  We hope to achieve the following:

  • Resume meetings shared between Zoom and Member attendance and with a focus on the history of the Bible in Australia.
  • Publish four editions of the Recorder, The NSW Society’s publication.
  • Encourage research into Baptist Church History based upon Archives data.
  • Develop our processes for scanning old church records and provide systems for giving access to these records.
  • Re-engage with our members (and researchers) to regain our vibrancy as a functioning Historical Society.

Over the past two years the Executive has met with unfulfilled optimism. We are looking forward to 2022 to gaining new members and creative ideas for the future.

  • President, Dr Alan Rice AM
  • Vice President, Barbara Coe
  • Secretary, Ronald Cardwell
  • Treasurer, Pam Windschuttel
  • Executive Member, Philip Dart
  • Archivist, Ernest Windschuttel