In 1880, just two years after becoming The Salvation Army, two converts, John Gore and Edward Saunders pioneered operations in Adelaide. The Movement then spread throughout the colonies of Australia. By June 1885 the Movement flourished in the colonies of Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales. Thus Brisbane, Queensland, seemed to be the next city in which to commence operations. At times, however, the growth was slow and The Salvation Army faced opposition from both the public and government sectors.
The Salvation Army Comes to Queensland
Brisbane presented challenges of its own, for, on at least three earlier occasions, there had been attempts to form a local Salvation Army centre and the attempts had failed. 1880 saw Mr. and Mrs. McNaught start the work but it soon dwindled. Then in 1883 the untrained and inexperienced Captain and Mrs. Cairns, from the U.K., tried hard to commence the work, but found it impossible. More Salvationists, Mr. and Mrs. Harry, from England migrated to Queensland later that year and tried to start The Salvation Army. However due to constant moving, to find work, they were unable to form a group of supporters.
In 1885 a group of four officers, lead by Adj. Edwards, was sent from the Southern Colonies to break the cynical feeling Brisbane had of The Salvation Army. By early 1886, 3 corps had been well established and social work was in progress, even though anti-Army petitions were being received through the Brisbane Council.
The Salvation Army Arrives in The Coorparoo Area
In 1890, five years after The Salvation Army commenced in Brisbane, Captain and Mrs. G. Phillips were appointed to open a Salvation Army centre at Stones Corner, which became known as the Coorparoo Corps. The first War Cry report read:
"Glory be to God we are pushing on in the war. We have been open three Sundays now, and have had souls every Sunday, also through the week. Since last report we have had five souls, some real good cases. We are believing for big things, and are working for them...
On Sunday night we had more people than we have had before. The place was not big enough to hold them.
'Keep believing, we shall win the day, and Coorparoo for God. We will be starting the junior Soldiers work soon. We want a place for the children, also a drum. Yours fighting, Capt. and Mrs. Phillips' (1890)Although there was immediate success, as with many new ventures the fight seemed sadly to dissipate:
"Captain Lanes and Lieutenant Hutchison have been welcomed here. The Captain's bike unfortunately collided with a dray the day after he took charge. His injuries were very slight, but the bike needed a good deal of repairing. Our first Sunday meetings were seasons of blessing; one soul sought Christ. The place needs the fire of the Holy Ghost; the officers, by God's help, are going to set things ablaze. - F.W.Lanes, C.O." (1902)
This new boost of enthusiasm seemed to be just what The Salvation Army at Coorparoo needed, for the Corps never looked back and also enjoyed public support. A report in 1904 states:
"We have had a very encouraging Sunday at Coorparoo. The night meeting was good, the seats all being full. We are bringing in more seats this week to make room. It does us good to see the interest that people are showing in the Army. At Stone's Corner the open-air crowds are the most attentive I have seen. One woman came to the soldiers' meeting and gave her heart to God. She has since attended the meetings and testified. The converts are doing well... Mayfield and Findlay"
Special Events In The Area
In 1915 Coorparoo Corps held a "Seven Days Tent Campaign" under the leadership of Brigadier Veal. It was attended by a "fine crowd" in which "an excellent spirit prevailed". The Campaign was a success seeing "several sinners" seeking God and "Comrades testified to blessings received". Thirty-two years later in 1947 a similar campaign took place and the large marquee" was positioned "on the site of an old battleground of earlier days" somewhere in Stone's Corner. There was an "excellent attendance" which revealed a "keen spirit". The campaign, was a great benefit to the Coorparoo Salvation Army with "twelve Seekers, several backsliders returned to God" and "one knelt at the drumhead outside a hotel".
The Salvation Army's War Cry, given out in the Hotels of the area, gives special mention of other activities conducted by Coorparoo Salvationists. These include: a Veterans Sunday; the swearing in of Salvation Army Soldiers; and travelling to the Valley, Sandgate and West End Corps to conduct Harvest Festivals. The Corps also held their own Harvest thanksgiving annually, which involved community groups donating goods for resale to aid the work of The Salvation Army. The Greenslopes Baptist Choir rendered a program at which "good business was done by the stalls" raising money'.
There were large celebrations to mark both the forty-seventh (1937) and Golden jubilee (1940) anniversary of The Salvation Army commencing in the area. On both occasions visiting Officers conducted the meetings and veteran Soldiers were honoured. Visiting Salvation Army Bands and Songsters also played a major role along with greetings from local church and government officials. Two speakers also gave talks on ''What The Army means to me."
Special Activities For The Locals
The Salvation Army also provided activities for the children of the area. As early as 1890 Young People's work was established such as Sunday School and junior Soldiers. In 1936 the Divisional Efficiency Banner was presented to the area for youth work. A year later the Chum Brigade was inaugurated being a new club for young boys in the area. The Corps also ran other youth clubs such as the Sunbeams. During 1940 the junior Soldiers of the area sang on 4BC Radio Station during the "Bible Session".
The Salvation Army also conducted local weddings. funerals, a youth group, Dedications, annual Christmas Carol Services, ANZAC Day Services, visits to Boggo Road Gaol and Peel Island Leper Colony as well as Open-Airs and the women's group 'Home League'. In 1942 the Corps distributed wartime ration books. In 1954 it joined in the official celebration to welcome Queen Elizabeth and during the 1950's contributed to 4KQ's 'The Salvation Army Half Hour'. Coorparoo Corps also voiced its concern about the change in Liquor Laws and aided many local and international Church bodies, such as the Bible Society.
Coorparoo Corps Extends The Salvation Army
As Brisbane extended so did The Salvation Army under the direction of the Officers and Soldiers of Coorparoo. Five outposts were established: Wynnum, Holland Park, Morningside, Broadwater and Carina. 1915 saw Wynnum, become a Corps 1t has been worked as an outpost from Coorparoo for some time, but, after due consideration, it was decided to open it as a Corps". Holland Park saw the first Salvation Army meeting "held under a Gum tree." Holland Park became a Corps in 1950 and with its relocation in 1971, changed its name to Mt. Gravatt Corps.
Coorparoo To Carina
There was much growth in the Carina District and the Coorparoo Corps purchased land in the area. Thus in 1974 the Coorparoo Corps moved from the hall on the Corner of Montague and Ellis Street, Stone's Corner to the corner of Chataway and Gallipoli Road, Carina and also changed its name. In the Centenary Booklet Carina Salvationists declare that time has "done nothing to diminish the standards set by "'old Coorparoo". Rather, the foundations have been built on, and today Carina is a thriving corps seeking in a variety of ways to communicate the love of God in Christ to a world that needs a Saviour more than ever.'
The Salvation Army Continues Work In The Coorparoo Area
After the Coorparoo Corps moved, The Salvation Army saw the importance of keeping a witness in the area, thus after Carina was established West End Corps, in 1976, moved to the Corner of Montague and Ellis Street, Stone's Corner changing its name to the Stone's Corner Corps. The Salvation Army continued to be active in the community even though the numbers in Salvation Army meetings in the area declined due to the population moving out of the area and those attending The Salvation Army either going to the City Corps or Carina. New avenues of service were commenced.
A New Work For The Salvation Army
While a small group of Salvationists and locals met at the Stone's Corner Hall, discussions were in progress to close down the Corps and expand the outreach that the Corps has started with the youth in Brisbane, thus two new services were expanded with the closure of Stone's Corner Corps.
YOS (Youth Outreach Services)
1988 saw the naming of Stone's Corner Youth Outreach Services with an officer appointed especially to look after the homeless and troubled youth of Brisbane. Armed with a van and food, the officer goes and talks with the children society has forgotten. The hall was set up with games and gym equipment, so the youths would have somewhere to go.
Early in 1988 the Youth Outreach Services moved out of the area into the Valley where their services are close to the need.
Salvation Army Welfare Work
Although The Salvation Army has always been involved in giving to the needy, a more professional approach in the area was taken in 1989 with the establishment of the Stone's Corner Regional Family Welfare Centre. This Centre has also gone through changes with the change in society. In 1993 the word family was dropped as more single and non-family members needed assistance and again the name changed in 1994 to the Stone's Corner Regional Community Service Centre. During 1997 the Centre was moved to Greenslopes, becoming known as the Greenslopes Welfare Office.
Although The Salvation Army maintains a Welfare Office and visitation to Hotels by neighbouring Corps, with the sale of the Salvation Army property, 1998 marks the end of a long association with the area. At present the future does not look promising, with The Salvation Army withdrawing its Christian witness from the area. Yet looking around other Australian inner city areas there may be some light on the horizon. The Salvation Army in other cities are starting to open ethnic Corps, such as the Korean Corps in Sydney. But what will you do to help The Salvation Army triumphantly march back to the Coorparoo area? The future of The Salvation Army is in your hands, and with God's guidance and your support anything is possible.