Taplan Railway Centenary Celebrations
I haven’t posted any new articles here for the last two months while I considered whether I would continue writing for this site. I have so many things to write about, and so many great photos to share, that I thought I would continue – at least for this year.
Over the next few days I want to depart from the posts I was writing about our trip to Morocco. Instead, I want to take you back to where it all started. I want to show a few photos of the little country town where I grew up.
Taplan is a small mallee farming community about 32km south east of Loxton and about a 3 hour drive from Adelaide in eastern South Australia. In October of last year my wife, daughter and I returned for a day to attend some special celebrations. the year 2013 marked the centenary of the laying of the railway line from Tailem Bend to Renmark (and at one time to Barmera). This line went through Taplan. In fact, the railway straddled my father’s farm where I grew up. I will write more about the railway and the centenary celebrations in the coming days.
Today, however, I want to focus on another celebration held on the same day. October 2013 marked the 95th anniversary of the beginning of the St John’s Lutheran Church in the district, as well as the 90th anniversary of the church building. Normally fewer than about 10 worshippers attend church there these days. On this special occasion I counted over 120; there was very little spare room, as shown in today’s photos (it filled up after I took the photos). It was just like when I was growing up.
This was the only church in the district and the one I attended with my family as a child. On this occasion my extended family filled two whole pews. I have many fond memories of attending services here, as well as a gratitude towards the faithful Sunday School teachers who laid a solid foundation for my Christian faith. On reflection, the building hasn’t changed very much in 60 years. It’s just as I remember it. That gives me a certain hope: the more some things in society change, the more important it is for foundational things to remain solid. That’s more than I can say for some of the ageing bodies present! ( It was great to cacth up with so many people I grew up with 60+ years ago.)
One startling thing did change from my childhood days. During the service – a very relevant and enjoyable one – the officiating minister didn’t stand up on high in the pulpit (as shown on the extreme left in the photo below). I was always in awe of one so “exulted”. I almost wanted to become a minister myself in those earlier days.
Instead he came and stood near to the people, relating his teaching to every day terms to ordinary people and on their level. I like that.
Just one more observation: the use of cameras. When I was a child the use of a camera in church would have been frowned upon, perhaps even banned with the possible exception of a wedding. On this joyous occasion the cameras were out in force. At least I tried to be discrete and only use the camera on my Smart phone.
More about this event tomorrow.