The 1919 church calendar was published the year after World War I ended and featured patriotic images and messages. gm031021

By Tracey Matthies

AN HISTORIC century old document found inside a wall during house renovations in Korumburra has excited interest amongst church and local historians.

Nadia Kellett discovered the tabloid-sized document glued to shiplap boarding about 18 months ago but, apart from gently dusting it with a soft paint brush, has simply stored it until recently.

Now she is preparing to move house and must decide what to do with it.

Headed ‘St Paul’s, Korumburra 1919’, the paper includes a calendar listing various religious occasions and saints’ days, and images of a newly-married couple and returning servicemen.

Nadia is particularly keen to learn the identity of the newly-weds – but it’s not clear whether the couple were even locals.

Diocesan historian Anglican Diocese of Gippsland, Tim Gibson said the church calendar, “sometimes even spelt with a k, or church almanac”, was very interesting and he had not seen one from that early.

“Calendars like this were produced in this era and handed out to parishioners,” Mr Gibson explained.

“This is a very special one as it is the year after war ended. [I] have seen a few others from the 1920s till perhaps the 1950s when they went out of vogue.”

Korumburra’s current Anglican Church of St Paul dates from 1927 meaning the calendar relates to the time of the first wooden church building built in 1893 at 18 Queen Street. That building was demolished. The Rector of St Paul’s was Reverend Alfred Brain who was at Korumburra between 1918 and 1921.

Mr Gibson said he had a few other calendars from other Gippsland parishes in the archives at Sale but described the design on Ms Kellett’s calendar as “very interesting, as 1919, with the slow return of men from the war, would have seen an increase in marriages across all churches”.

Mr Gibson said printers would have supplied churches with a catalogue of images to choose from each year. The calendar was printed by Butler & Tanner, described as Britain’s oldest and foremost colour printer until its closure in Frome, England in 2014.

The Frome Museum told the Sentinel-Times that Home Words Printing and Publishing Co Ltd formed the bulk of church magazines for many churches.
Retired Butler & Tanner printer, Neville Dean, said the publishers would have just contracted B & T to set the type, make the plates and print.

“Connections with print and the church go back a very long way, our unions did not have shop stewards but ‘Chapels’ with a ‘Father of the Chapel’ (or Mother) as your union representative.”


The discovery has raised further questions, including who lived in the Bourke Street house at the time, and what should happen with the calendar now?

Doug Boston, of the Korumburra Historical Society, has found that in 1919, four blocks in Bourke Street, the four below the lane and running down to Gordon Street, were owned by James Gavin Duffy.

Mr Duffy was an agent at Outtrim for a number of years, before moving to Guys Road in Korumburra and becoming a shire inspector.

However, Nadia believes her house at number seven was moved there from Kongwak but does not know when.

Nadia wants the calendar to “go somewhere where it can be looked at”.

Church historian Tim Gibson wants the same outcome.

“If the owners of this are wanting a home, the best place would be either returning it to St Paul’s Korumburra (but only if it will be on show) or the Korumburra Historical Society but, again, it would be a shame if it just gets filed in a map drawer, etc,” he said.

“I could add it to my map drawer and give it secure and proper storage, but I think it should stay safe and on show somewhere in your district.”