A select Chronology of the South Queensland Conference.





First Seventh-day Adventist missionaries from the United States of America arrived in Sydney 6 June 1885. The party of eleven included three preachers, a printer, an experienced door-to-door salesman. Note: The Seventh-day Adventist denomination had its origins in the New England States as a result of the Second Great Awakening, a spiritual revival that occurred in both America and Great Britain during the 1830s and 40s. Organisation into a religious denomination took place May 23, 1863, at Battle Creek, Michigan. Two key doctrinal tenets are embodied in the denominational name: belief in the second coming of Christ, and conviction that Saturday remains the Sabbath day of the Ten Commandments.

The American missionaries did not remain in Sydney, but relocated to Melbourne where they set up a printing press and later established a school for training church workers.

1886 The first issue of the sixteen-page paper, Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, was published in January. Apart from being used by the preachers in their contacts with the people of Melbourne, copies of the Bible Echo were also mailed to the libraries of the major towns in the Australian colonies. Thus the Australian colonials were first made aware of this new Christian group through the printed page.  
1888 New convert, and door-to-door salesman, William E. Wainman began selling Seventh-day Adventist religious books and magazines in Brisbane and later in Rockhampton.


1891 The Jacobson family, probably from the Maryborough district, became the first converts in Queensland as a result of reading Adventist literature printed in Denmark. Not much is known about this family, except that a J. C. E. Jacobson is recorded as selling Adventist literature in Bundaberg in 1900 and in Charters Towers in 1901.



Michael Bernoth, having previously withdrawn from his pastorate of the German-speaking Baptist community at Marburg, attended the Australasian Bible School in St Kilda, Melbourne. There he and his wife Amelia were re-baptised as Adventists by Pastor George Starr. Evidence suggests Bernoth participated in several short institutes which focused on the art and science of health care through natural remedies and hydrotherapy.

 Building on the earlier work of William Wainman, William and Mary Ann Gregg and their daughter Lizzie were located at Rockhampton to sell Adventist books and pamphlets. They had particular success with German immigrants, including the Gustav Zeibig and  Adolph Wantzlich families.


  Michael Bernoth


Rockhampton was selected for the first Adventist evangelistic program in Queensland. Pastors George Starr and Arthur Hickox were the evangelists, supported by Michael Bernoth. By the end of October the first Adventist church in Queensland was established with forty-five members. (For information with regard to the formation of Adventist churches in Queensland, see Churches.)

Early 1894 Thomas Whittle began selling Adventist literature in the Sandgate district. He found lodging with John and Clarinda Horsey. Clarinda became interested in Adventism and joined the church in June of that year. Thus she was probably the first person to become a Seventh-day Adventist convert in the greater Brisbane area.

The first documented meeting of Seventh-day Adventists in Brisbane took place on 17 November 1894. A small group of eleven persons, including evangelist Pastor George B Starr, met in the home of John and Clarinda Horsey in Sandgate.


Following Rockhampton, the Starr-Hickox-Gregg team relocated to Toowoomba where the second Adventist church was organized on 27th July. Amongst the new members were three Hughes brothers: Charles, Harold and Alfred. They advised their mother, Lucy Hughes, of Eagle Junction, of their new faith and she also joined. 

Queensland designated a Mission Field by the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Not only did this imply a degree of administrative supervision, it also meant that any activities by the church in Queensland would receive financial assistance. Pastor Jesse Pallant was appointed to Brisbane and established regular Bible study groups in several homes both north and south of the Brisbane River.


Pastor George B Starr, an American, was appointed Superintendent of the Queensland Mission. The private home of Mrs Lucy Hughes in Eagle Junction became the temporary administrative centre for Adventists in Queensland.

Lucy and her daughter Katie became agents for health foods imported from the home of the health food industry, Battle Creek, USA. Products sold by Lucy Hughes included Granola and Granose biscuits, and Caramel Cereal, a coffee substitute. A retail outlet was established in Queen Street.

1898 The early Adventists in Australia used the Camp Meeting as a means to gain the attention and interest of the Australian colonials. October 13-21, the first Seventh-day Adventist Camp Meeting in Queensland convened at a site on Logan Road, Woolloongabba. Twenty-five ‘house’ tents were arranged around the main canvas pavilion. One hundred and eighteen Adventists from across Queensland were in attendance to support this venture. Principal speakers were Arthur G Daniells, leader of the fledgling church in Australia, and Mrs Ellen G White, gifted public speaker and prolific religious writer. The event captured the interest of the people of Brisbane and the main tent’s seating capacity of 1000 was stretched to the limit. Daily biblical and lifestyle presentations were extensively reported in the Brisbane Courier and Evening Observer.

The first Seventh-day Adventist church building in Brisbane was erected in Church Street, Buranda. This church constituted the South Brisbane congregation.

A second Seventh-day Adventist congregation was formed in North Brisbane. Unlike the congregation at Buranda this church did not acquire its own building. Rather, it used hired accommodation. A major exodus of members in 1908 to a land release in Murgon resulted in the lapse of this congregation. Those who remained worshipped in private homes and rented halls.

At a convocation of Queensland Seventh-day Adventists held in Toowoomba, 13-23 October, it was decided to establish Queensland as a Conference, i.e., a self-supporting administrative unit. At that time there were four church congregations and 211 Seventh-day Adventists in Queensland. American, Pastor George C Tenney was appointed President.



The new Queensland Conference took over the importation and sales of health foods from the Hughes family. A health food and religious literature centre was established at 123 Queen Street, Brisbane. Young Queenslander, John Mills was appointed secretary-treasurer of the Conference, a dual role he filled for twenty-three years. Five churches. Total Adventist membership in Queensland stood at 262.

The Brisbane Bath and Treatment Parlour was opened at 85 George Street. Nurse Albert Brandstatter was assisted by his wife in offering hydrotherapy and similar treatments. Intended to attract an elite clientele, the project was overcapitalized and income could not meet repayments. The project closed in 1904. A second Bath and Treatment Parlour was opened in Rockhampton by Thomas and Maud Skinner. A severe drought in 1901 made water treatment problematic and this venture also closed in 1904.


Formal administrative centre for Seventh-day Adventists established in rented accommodation at 186 Edward Street, Brisbane.

First Seventh-day Adventist school opened in Brisbane at the South Brisbane Church. Miss Marie Louise Tuxen was the teacher. This school closed at the end of 1905. It re-opened in 1918, but closed again at the end of 1926.

1907 The Seventh-day Adventist Church established its Youth Department. The aims of this department were to involve the church’s children and youth in self-development programs and in welfare activity both in Brisbane and in overseas missions. 
1909 The Australasian Conference Association was established to hold property as trustees for the conferences as their constituent churches. Previously church properties were held in the names of individual members.


1910 The Murgon church opened a church school taught by Miss Ruth Cozens. Miss Cozens extended her work to include Sunday School lessons for the children at the Barambah Aboriginal Settlement. Seven churches. Total church membership, 333.
1911 An Adventist Café based on vegetarian and health foods was opened at 186 Edward Street, Brisbane. The retailing of health foods was relocated to this address. By now there was less emphasis on importing health foods from the USA with the establishment of a manufacturing plant at Cooranbong, NSW. Under the name Sanitarium Health Food Company, products were rail freighted to Brisbane. Products included a range of breakfast cereals such as Weetbix, Granose and Cornflakes, biscuits such as Granola, nut foods such as peanut paste, and the vegetable-yeast spread, Marmite. 
1912 Seventh-day Adventist Queensland Conference headquarters sited on a purchased property at the corner of Peel and Grey Streets, South Brisbane. 
1913 The Queensland Government gave a grant of about 1600 hectares of land and permission to establish a mission for Aborigines at Mona Mona, on the Barron River inland from Cairns. Initial Mission buildings were constructed during 1914. Responsibility for Mona Mona passed in 1928 to the North Queensland Mission.

The first Seventh-day Adventist Church building north of the Brisbane River was erected in Cairns Terrace, Paddington, on land donated by a church member. The congregation that composed this church had existed since late 1899, but had utilised rented halls. As membership grew, this site proved inadequate and in 1926 the church relocated to Hammond Street, Red Hill. In 1936 the congregation changed its name from the North Brisbane to the Red Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church. The new name better reflected its geographical location. 

The Conference’s southern boundary altered to include the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. This brought two churches into the Conference—Corndale and Murwillumbah—and church companies at Kyogle, Lismore and Mullumbimby. In 1923 the southern boundary was adjusted back to the New South Wales-Queensland border.


1920 Twelve churches. Total church membership, 691.
1921  Sanitarium Health Food Company consolidated its café, retail and wholesale activities at 360 Queen Street, Brisbane.
1922 A small church school established by the Haden church. Closed at the end of 1927 due to small enrolment and difficulty in finding a suitable teacher.

Since their first public presence in Brisbane in 1898, Seventh-day Adventists had held annual camp meetings in various Brisbane suburbs such as Wynnum, Paddington, Kelvin Grove, Kangaroo Point, West End, and Annerley. These meetings were open to the public. Also, a number of tent evangelistic programs, had been conducted in inner Brisbane suburbs. A new dimension to Seventh-day Adventist public evangelism was add in 1927 when evangelist R Allen Anderson conducted a City Crusade that extended over three and a half years. Apart from religious, doctrinal and health presentations, the Crusade was noted for its quality music including the presentation of Handel’s Messiah. Venues used in the Crusade included the Lyceum Theatre, His Majesty’s Opera House, and the Brisbane Exhibition Hall. 

The Seventh-day Adventist headquarters property at the corner of Grey and Peel Streets was sold to the Brisbane City Council to facilitate the construction of approaches to the William Jolly Bridge. The Church’s administrative office was relocated to a house at 37 O’Connell Terrace, Bowen Hills.

1928 The large Seventh-day Adventist administrative unit, the Queensland Conference, was reduced in size to facilitate good management. The region of Queensland north of 22o latitude was separated and became the North Queensland Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. In 1955 this Mission became the Northern Australian Conference with headquarters in Townsville.


1930 Thirteen churches. Total church membership, 988.
1931 The Seventh-day Adventist Church established a camping program for early teenagers with an emphasis on learning practical outdoor skills. This became an annual event with the first camp held at Scotts Point, Redcliffe.
1934 The Rockhampton church opened a church school that ran continuously until it closed at the end of 1999. 
1935 The increased demand for health food products required an expansion of the Sanitarium Health Food Company wholesale department. Larger premises were obtained at 57 James Street, Fortitude Valley. 


1940 First Seventh-day Adventist primary school north of the Brisbane River commenced in a room at the Albion Seventh-day Adventist Church. Sixteen churches. Total church membership, 1268.
1941 The Sanitarium Health Food Company moved its wholesale department from Fortitude Valley to 220 Roma Street. The manufacture of health food products also commenced at Roma Street. This decentralisation from Cooranbong, NSW, was the result of the military’s demand for food products and the decreased availability of railway rolling stock. The war in Europe also led to the establishment of the National Emergency and Welfare Service (NEWS) where Adventist churches collected and dispatched clothing for families in bomb-ravaged London. With the end of hostilities in 1945, NEWS changed its focus to meet local needs. Its named was changed to Dorcas Society and later to ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).

The Toowoomba church commenced a church school. This school has become the Darling Downs Christian School and offers P-12 schooling on a large campus on the western edge of Toowoomba. The Haden school was re-opened to provide for some Adventist students relocated from coastal areas during World War II. It closed again after the war.

The Seventh-day Adventist church began a radio ministry through its Australian produced program, the Voice of Prophecy. 4BH Brisbane began VOP broadcasts late that year.

1944 Six acres purchased on the South Maroochy River, near Yandina, as the site of a youth camp. First JMV camp held on site late that year. Senior youth held their first camp in March-April 1945. The name Maranatha (‘Our Lord, come’) was chosen by the youth as the name for their camp ground. 
1949 Zillmere Seventh-day Adventist Camp Ground was opened. From the first  Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting at South Brisbane in 1898, this annual event was held in a variety of locations around Brisbane. As the size of the annual meetings increased, it became more difficult to provide basic amenities in these transient venues. Adventists therefore decided to purchase a property with space for its ‘tent city’ and upon which basic amenities could be constructed. Within ten years, however, the limited size of the Zillmere property and Brisbane’s urban spread  had the Church searching for a new and expansive property in a more rural setting. This was found at Kallangur, approximately 25kms from Brisbane’s CBD.


1950 Twenty-four churches. Total church membership, 1960.
1951 Kingaroy church commenced a primary school. This school had a short life; it closed at the end of 1958.

The Queensland Conference opened new administrative offices in Eagle Terrace, Brisbane. The purpose built office complex was more central and offered greater scope for the development of new church departments than was possible in the converted house at Bowen Hills. 

The Albion Adventist School, located as it was at the rear of the Albion Church, had no prospects of growth. In 1953 therefore this school was relocated to a larger site in Zillmere adjacent to the Camp Ground. A fire destroyed the school building in 1978. Rather than rebuild at Zillmere, the school was relocated to the new and spacious Adventist Camp and Convention Centre at Kallangur. In 1984 secondary classes were commenced. Renamed Northpine Christian College, the school offers full P-12 schooling.

1954 A Russian Adventist Church was established at Woolloongabba. This was the first Seventh-day Adventist ethnic church in Brisbane. In 1970 a Yugoslav ethnic church was formed (Salisbury) and in 1974 s second Yugoslav church was established at Garden City. During the 1990s Samoan Adventist churches emerged in the Logan, Ipswich and Deception Bay districts.
1955 The Book and Bible House was established at the Zillmere camp Ground. In 1965 the Book Centre was relocated to the Administrative Offices at Eagle Terrace. During the 1970s the name was changed to Adventist Book Centre (ABC) and in 1992 the main ABC was relocated to the Convention Centre at Kallangur and a subsidiary centre established at Brisbane Adventist College. 

The Sanitarium Health Food Company relocated its manufacturing and wholesale departments to an expansive site on Ipswich Road, Moorooka.

For almost six decades the Sanitarium Health Food Company had operated one retail outlet in Brisbane. In 1958, however, a second shop was opened in Picadilly Arcade and others followed in the 1960s and 70s. By the mid-1980s, however, changing trends in Australian food retailing resulted in the gradual closure of Sanitarium Health Food Company retail stores in Brisbane and the merchandising of its products through Coles, Woolworths and other large retail food companies.


1960 The Pathfinder program for children and youth was inaugurated. Thirty-three churches. Total church membership, 3384.

Watson Park, the new Seventh-day Adventist Camp and Convention Centre was opened at Kallangur. In addition to catering for the annual Adventist Camp, the Centre is also a venue for a wide variety of camping, in-service and convention-type meetings. The construction of permanent accommodation facilities has added flexibility to the kinds of programs the site can support. The Centre is also available to groups and organisations from within the general community. 

Dial-a-Prayer telephone ministry commenced. Queensland University SDA Society (QUASDAS) was established to provide spiritual nurture and fellowship for Adventist students attending tertiary educational institutions.

1964 Faith for Today TV programs began broadcasting on QTQ9 (now Channel Nine). The 5-Day Plan to Quit Smoking was introduced to Queensland. This highly successful program was replaced in 1990 with the Quit Now! It’s Your Choice program.
1965 The Adventist Health Centre opened in Quay Street, Brisbane. Emphasis was on hydrotherapy, massage and natural remedies. Initial patronage was high, but fell due to undercapitalization. The Centre closed in 1970.
1966 The Mt Gravatt Seventh-day Adventist Primary School was established in Broadwater Road, Wishart. In 1969 secondary classes were commenced at the primary school site, while building commenced on the Brisbane Seventh-day Adventist High School in Wishart Road. In 1999 the two campuses were amalgamated to form Brisbane Adventist College which offers a full pre-school to Year 12 program.
1968 The Ipswich Seventh-day Adventist Primary School was opened.


1970 Forty-two churches. Total church membership, 4278.
1974 Three furnished flats purchased at Hervey Bay to serve as ‘eventide’ homes for elderly persons. The Adventist Retirement Village was established at Victoria Point. In later years a Hostel, Nursing Home, and Chapel were added. Other retirement homes/villages have been established at Melody park, Gold Coast, 1989, Toowoomba, 1991, Yeppoon, 1994, and Caloundra, 1996.
1975 The Adventist Aviation Association of the South Queensland Conference was formed to support evangelism in outback Queensland towns. Particular focus has been on St George, Goondiwindi, Roma and Charleville.


1980 Fifty-three churches. Total church membership, 5823.
1981 The First Pan-Pacific Adventist Medical/Dental Convention held at Surfer’s Paradise.
1982 Three new primary schools opened: Bundaberg, Gold Coast and Stanthorpe.

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) established to coordinate Seventh-day Adventist international and domestic projects in providing welfare and aid, and in the implementation of development programs in the Third World. A branch office was established at the Church’s headquarters in Brisbane. Seventh-day Adventists have a history of welfare and disaster assistance within the local community, but ADRA provides the added focus developing self-sufficiency for communities. 

The Adventist Medical Centre was opened in Robertson. Intended to offer a range of medical and health services, the centre closed in 1996.

1984 A ministry to Adventist singles was established under the acronym PHILOSDA. By end of 1990s this program became known as Adventist Singles Ministry.

The Conference acquired 400 hectares of land fronting Lake Somerset for development as a Camp site to replace Maranatha. Difficulties with the local Shire delayed construction until the early 1990s. Camp Somerset opened in 1993.

The Adventist Health Association formed to foster contact between health professionals in Queensland.

1988 Adventists featured in World Expo 88: exhibition in Pavilion of Promise, Loma Linda Academy Symphonic Band, and Brisbane Adventist High School Bell Choir.


1990 Sixty-six churches. Total church membership, 7543.
1991 As an inter-Conference initiative, Sanctuary 7 was opened in South East Queensland as a women’s refuge. Sonshine Sancturary was opened to provide a similar service on the Sunshine Coast.

STORM Co (Service to Others Really Matters) was born as a short-term mission adventure for high school-age youth. It had its genesis at Brisbane Adventist High School and quickly spread to other Adventist youth groups in Australia and beyond.

Room 19 commenced. Working out of  the Brisbane Central Church, each Friday evening a soup kitchen provides for Brisbane’s homeless. The program is staffed by volunteers.

1994 ADCare, an agency providing a range of services including emergency relief, counseling, taxation and financial advice, and youth support programs was established at the Argonaut Shopping Centre, Slacks Creek. Major funding for these program has been through the ADCare Opportunity Shop. In 2008, under the name ADRA, this community service was relocated to a renovated centre at Logan Central. In addition to emergency relief and counseling, the new centre has strong programs in adult training.
1996 Volunteers in Action established to provide volunteers with a formal structure for engaging in direct support to mission projects through funds, goods and services.
1997 Establishment of a new department, Women’s Ministries, to focus on the nurture of women within the Adventist church.
1998 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) was established as a cross-cultural ministry to indigenous people.
1999 On October 23, the South Queensland Conference celebrated in Toowoomba the centenary of its formation.


2000 Sixty-nine churches. Total church membership, 9599.
2003 Noosa Christian College, Cooroy, opened initially as a primary school. Secondary classes (Year 8) commenced in 2007. NCC achieved full P-12 status in 2011.
2004 A special session of the South Queensland Conference constituency agreed to a change in legal status for the Conference from an unincorporated association to three legally incorporated companies: Seventh-day Adventist Church (South Queensland Conference) Limited, Seventh-day Adventist Christian Schools (South Queensland) Limited, and Seventh-day Adventist Aged Care (South Queensland) Limited.  


2010 Seventy-seven churches. Total church membership. 11,439.