Max Ricks Recollections

Going to Sunday School

The district of Cherry Gardens became established in the 1840’s. The Methodist church was an essential part of the community, and Sunday School attendance for the children was a regular part of growing up. At my time starting in the 1930’s, there was the kindergarten for the 5 – 7year old’s, followed by the Juniors, the Intermediates, and the Seniors for the 14 to 16year old’s. We would meet for about an hour each Sunday and be led by local teachers who had been students in their turn in previous years. The songs appropriate to the age groups were sung, and we each had books according to our classes, which we used each week. Each age group would use a separate part of the church building for lessons.

Every year as I recall we had a Sunday School Anniversary which was held on the 1st Sunday in December. There would be 3 services held on Anniversary days, 10.30, 2.30, and 7 pm, when high ranking speakers would address the gathering. For example, the South Australian Moderator may come and also, Sturt Football Captain John Halbert came on several occasions. The students would spend 2 months learning special anniversary songs, and on the big day, assemble on raised platforms on each side of the pulpit. The singing conductor with baton in hand would direct our efforts. One conductor in my time was Mrs. Lousia Strange and the organist was Mrs Leo Terrell. This was the major event of the year for all the children who would be wearing their newest clothes, and the church was filled with parents and many friends who used the anniversary to renew old friendships. On the next Monday night, we would have a special supper evening. Whilst still sitting on the platforms as we did on the Sunday, each Sunday School child would be presented with a book. The senior students received a full Bible as they completed their years of Sunday School attendance. Where there were vacancies in the Teaching Staff, the former senior students would often move into these positions.

The final major event of the year would be a Sunday School picnic held at the Seacliff beach, and usually held on one day in the 1st week in January. We used to hire a small hall at the beach, and a great day of swimming and making sandcastles was had by the families and friends alike. A great day’s gathering which was a regular district event for many years.