Travelling north along the Lincoln Highway about 16 kms from Port
Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia, you will come upon the small
township of Poonindie. Here we
have two churches, a school 105 years old and families whose forebears
date back to the Mission days. The Poonindie brickworks, long since
closed, made and
supplied red bricks for the first trust homes in Port Lincoln and
Whyalla and for private homes and buildings you can see around Port
Families with young
children are moving in nowadays preferring the quiet country life, at the same time appreciating the
chance to have their children educated at a country school.
the east of the Church the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Community Council
manage a 300-acre property, which was dedicated as an Aboriginal reserve
when the Mission closed in 1894. Here farming is being carried out as
well as environmental activities along the Tod River banks to its mouth
But in 1850 what wonderful pristine countryside Poonindie would have been
with the Sheoak clad hills in the west sloping down to the grassy plains
and on to the sea. Unhindered by man, the Tod River would have flowed
wide, cool and clear and clean.
was in this spot that Archdeacon Hale established his Aboriginal
Training Institution, his vision being to create here a Christian
village to educate the aborigines and to teach them to farm the land and
to live as English men and women.
1854-55 the church was built intended at first to be the school, but on
completion it became the church, serving both the mission and the local
community. In a parliamentary paper dated April 12 / 1856 Archdeacon
Hale stated that although the building was not complete they were able
to hold the first divine Service in the loft on May 17 1855. This
service heralded the beginning of the Church of Saint Matthew.
When the Mission closed after 44 years and the land was divided and sold, the Church and a small area of land remained the property of the Anglican Church. Throughout the years bands of loyal parishioners have lovingly cared for it.
Today at Poonindie we are an older congregation in the main and are delighted when young ones come along. Some like to come because it holds a special place in their lives, some because the history appeals to them, some because of family involvement over the years – but all because they want to worship and where better than in this little church where services are held at 11.00 am on the third Sunday of each month. The church fills to capacity when lamp lit services are held on Christmas Eve and St Matthews Day.
This heritage listed unique little church with its double chimney, its stained glass windows, its hanging lamps, its loft with its winding staircase, its wealth of history and old world charm is becoming increasingly popular in recent years for weddings and baptisms.
the history of St Matthews is important, and holds great interest for
people all over Australia, it is foremost in our minds at all times that
St Matthews, first of all is a place of worship as it was intended in
its beginning on that day in May 1855 when Archdeacon Hale conducted the
first divine service upstairs in the loft.