THE HISTORY OF ST. MARGARET OF SCOTLAND
The story of St. Margaret of Scotland begins in Hungary. She was born there in 1045 while her family was in exile. In 1057 circumstances in England were such that she and her family were able to return to England only to have to flee once more. This time Margaret found refuge in Scotland.
Around 1070 Margaret married Malcolm III of Scotland and became his Queen. They lived in Edinburgh Castle, and they had eight children, six sons and two daughters. Her youngest son, David, who later became David I of Scotland, was influenced strongly by her and was himself canonised.
Margaret was a just queen and a reformer of the church. She strongly influenced her husband, Malcolm, the court and the church.
Margaret was also a holy woman. She became renowned in her lifetime for her charitable works and service to orphans and the poor, spending many hours attending to those in need as well as reading the scriptures and praying. Her chapel in Edinburgh castle is maintained to this day.
Margaret died in 1093 at the age of 48 and in 1250 she was canonized in recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Church, work for religious reform and charity.
The feast of St. Margaret is celebrated on 16 November each year.
THE HISTORY OF ST. MARGARET’S CHURCH
The following information was provided in 1998 by Tom Wetherell, a well-known identity of the Island community and a revered member of the St. Margaret’s community for many years. Tom writes:
“In attempting to write a history of St. Margaret’s at Arcadia, one has to rely to a large extent upon the memories of our older members. Records for historical purposes were never required during the formative years, so many dates, decisions, and so on, are not precise. None of the original decision makers are still alive. However, an attempt has been made which hopefully will give a picture acceptable to the present regular worshippers as well as to visitors of long standing, past and present.
Post War – 1950s:
Immediately after the war a regular service was held on the front verandah of the home of Mr and Mrs Ray Henry, Dent Street, Horseshoe Bay. As the nation was rebuilding in the 1950s, one Archdeacon Bill Hohenhouse was able to buy a barracks building from the Fort area of Florence Bay. This was erected at Endeavour Road, Arcadia, on land already owned by St. James’ Parish and it was to become the present St. Margaret’s Church. It is conceivable that the land was given by the Hayles family in the 1920s when they subdivided the old Rheuben Estate which comprised practically the whole of Arcadia as we know it today. So the building was adapted as a church, furnished as a church and regular services were held at St. Margaret’s, eclipsing the little church at Picnic Bay and the front verandah of the Henry house. On his retirement from St. James’ Parish, Archdeacon Hohenhouse, who came to live on Magnetic Island, brought the daughter church of St. Margaret’s under his guidance and care.
No church can function properly without its friends. St. Margaret’s is no exception. From the beginning the Church has welcomed and benefited from these friends. The surrounds have been kept in trim, a lawn planted and maintained, garden beds dug and processed.
Post Cyclone Althea – 1970s:
St. Margaret’s Ladies’ Group: St. Margaret’s has, over the years, had a unique band of women members of the Ladies’ Group to take care of its fabric, finances, functions and morning tea, fetes, church maintenance, its vestments and linen – in fact, everything necessary for its upkeep. Today, the whole St. Margaret’s parish community helps with the support of the church.
St. Margaret’s Remodelled: In the 1970s a request for a shaded area to be used for occasional meetings, morning tea and a place for a Sunday School, was made by Joyce Heselton. A band of men – Arthur Wynn, Graham Rich, Bert Humphries and the writer – decided to alter and improve the building. St. Margaret’s had been given the altar from the defunct Seaman’s Mission in Palmer Street, Townsville. This altar was one where the celebrant faces the congregation, so the new altar set the pattern for a rebuilding of the sanctuary. The glass panel at the rear of this area was presented by Arthur Wynn – a left over from cyclone Althea 1971. The old broom cupboard behind the hymn board was turned into a toilet, a new vestry was incorporated on the other side and a lean-to shaded area was built on the northern side and paved with cement tiles. New altar rails, kneelers and padding completed the internal renovation.
Pews were brought up to date with a platform for hymn books, etc., and hinged kneelers. The rear glass wall, where the congregation can gaze at the wooded hillside with its spectacular rock formations, is the ‘pièce de résistance’, inspiring reflection on the mystery and wonder of creation and its beauty.
Church Bell: This is a ship’s bell and came to St. Margaret’s from the Hayles family. Bob, in particular, felt it would serve a useful purpose to summon worshippers each Sunday rather than being left to languish in a store room.”
During these years, Norm Strambini made and added the wooden cross that stands against the glass behind the altar and Bligh Hall made the built-in cupboards in the vestry and a second prayer desk.
The front of the church was opened up to the street by removing the gate and fence. At the same time, the garden was remodeled and the lawn area was replaced with paving. A large cross that could be illuminated at night was placed on the front wall outside the church.
In recent years a disability access ramp has been added to one side of the church.