Indigenous Missions

Tyndale, Wycliffe and Newton today explored the topic of Indigenous missions; specifically, the history of the church in Australia and work with Aboriginal people, in their House meetings.

First of all, they learnt that Reverend Richard Johnson was the first missionary, Bible teacher, and pastor to Australia. He arrived on the First Fleet with his wife in Sydney, with 1,000 free settlers and convicts, in 1788.

Students discussed David Unaipon, the Aboriginal man on our $50 note, and thought about what he might be famous for. Unaipon is well-known for his inventions and has been referred to as the Australian Leonardo da Vinci, because of his mechanical ideas. He was born on a South Australian Christian mission and trained to be an Aboriginal Christian preacher. Unaipon travelled widely in South Australia, preaching in cities and towns up until his retirement at age 87.

Lastly, each House heard from two inspiring ladies. The first, Gloria Miller (my mum!) and her friend, Lois Schenk. Mum spoke about her experience growing up in a reserve, where her family lived when she was younger. She shared about Aboriginal language groups and where she fits in as a Noongar person. Mum loves to travel and share the gospel with people; she has visited many Aboriginal communities and travelled the world, including preaching in Pakistan.

Lois Schenk talked about her grandparents, Rod and Mysie Schenk, who founded Mount Margaret Mission in 1921. She shared how Aboriginal people in the area were hungry and not interested in hearing about the gospel at first. Her grandfather began to give away a loaf of bread a day and eventually, they began to have ears to hear. Lois sang “Jesus Loves Me” in Wongutha, the Aboriginal language of Mount Margaret, as the children sang in English. It was a beautiful and special song to sing together.

The children enjoyed creating their own $50 notes and colouring in an Indigenous prayer.

Mrs Fairbairn


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