The New Age Spiritualist Mission began as two separate organisations in the early 1920’s. The first organisation began in 1923, not as a Spiritualist Mission "but as a social activity to brighten the lives of those hurt and bewildered by the unemployment and misery that followed World War I. (1) and was known as the ‘New Age Athletic Club’ founded by Mr. & Mrs Davies. The First record of its existence, as the "New Age Mission of Love" is a Bank Pass book dated 1925 and this will be the formal date we use as our centenary in 2025.Despite its new focus on Spiritualism it continues its social and sporting activities

Despite the apparent focus on cricket and tennis, dances and picnics to bring people together, this organisation had a deeper theme founded on Spiritualist belief’s and regular discussion, healing, and clairvoyance groups met on a regular basis in the Davies’ home. Mrs Davies, later to become known as Sister Hilda Taylor, was an excellent healer, clairvoyant and trance medium and by 1925 what had been a loosely knit organisation had aligned itself alongside the Spiritualist Movement.

Its first premises were large barn at South Yatala was converted into a Mission Hall and a wide range of social and spiritualist activities were offered. The organisation became known as the New Age Mission of Love, and later still the name was changed to the New Age Mission and continued on roughly the same lines for twenty or more years. Sister Hilda Taylor eventually rented premises in the city, holding meetings in the evening, giving trance addresses, healing and demonstrating clairvoyance until her passing into spirit in December 1956.

Miss Gertrude Menear, who had been Hilda Taylor’s friend and assistant for many years, took over the leadership and over the next four years organised the Mission on more modern lines. A Constitution was drawn up and Committees formed to deal with the financial and social aspects of the Mission’s activities. The name was changed slightly to become the ‘New Age Spiritualist Mission’ in order to make clear what the Mission was about and this became an Incorporated Body in 1960.

Over the previous thirty years the Mission had used a number of temporary halls and rooms, but in 1959 when its rented premises were to be demolished, it was offered the use of a classroom, a healing room and a library room in the home of Miss Rosina Tingey.

Miss Tingey was the Leader of the Greater World Christian Spiritualist Mission, which had also been in existence many years and held its Services and other activities in her house at 94 Park Terrace, North Unley, now known as 120 Greenhill Road, Unley. Unfortunately almost all of the records of the Greater World Mission have been lost and it is difficult to say with any certainty how it came into existence. Nevertheless, in 1959, it was a well established organisation, though it operated on an informal basis and had never become an incorporated association. Miss Tingey was a devoted Spiritualist, healer and medium, who also had a passionate interest, and skill with the healing use of herbs.

For the next six years the two organisations shared the use of the premises and held their services and activities independently, though occasionally they combined together for Sunday Services. Such was Miss Tingey’s admiration for the work of the New Age Spiritualist Mission that in 1965 she suggested the merging of the two Missions under the joint leadership of herself and Miss Menear. Discussion and drafting of a new Constitution was well under well when sadly Miss Tingey passed into Spirit in December 1966. She bequeathed her valuable property at Greenhill Road to the New Age Spiritualist Mission and it was decided that as a memorial to her, the Mission premises were from then on to be known as the Rosa Tingey Centre.

The Mission carried on under the leadership of Miss Menear, with the assistance of various committees, a Mission Council and Trustees. The property was in poor repair and for many years fund raising was of major concern. It prompted a vast number of activities such as dances, socials, variety concerts, garden fetes and two mysterious activities known as ‘American Evenings’ and ‘Bug Evenings’. The latter were held every month over many years proving to be very successful in raising money that was used for many different purposes. The Mission’s fund raising efforts were not restricted to helping the Mission, for money was regularly raised for charitable purposes, for example, the purchase of four wheelchairs for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In addition to Mission’s development classes, healing and services, help was offered to the sick and elderly, to those suffering financial or other hardship and over the years numerous other ‘good causes.

The Mission actively encouraged and assisted interstate and overseas Mediums to visit to speak and demonstrate. The Mission was ever on the alert for ways to further promote Spiritualism, and was involved in the setting up of the organisation known as S.A.S.P.R.A (the South Australian Spiritual and Psychic Research Association) which was instrumental in getting the Witchcraft Laws changed in South Australia.

Miss Menear remained as leader until 1972 when, at the Golden Jubilee Service, she handed the responsibility over to Mrs Stella Darwood who led until 1976, when Joan Baseby became leader. In 1982 Mrs Hazel Veare took up the reins of responsibility and led the Mission with strength, determination and great caring for a further 15 years before retiring at the end of 1996.
During Hazel’s time as leader, much discussion took place about the poor condition of the Greenhill Road property, and in 1984, the house, by then over 130 years old and beyond repair, was sold.

There is an interesting little side story related to the demolition of the house on Greenhill Road, told by a Quantity Surveyor working for the development company that planned to knock down the old Mission premises.

Apparently, each time the developers tried to move the equipment onto the land to begin the demolition process, their engines would cut out. After much consternation, and numerous unsuccessful attempts to get the equipment onto the land, the quantity surveyor, who happened to know a little bit about Spiritualism, thought he knew what the problem might be. He entered the house and on going upstairs, communed with the spirit of several passed over Mission members. On reassuring them that though the building was going, the Mission itself would live on elsewhere, he went downstairs and said to the workers, it would be alright now, and sure enough the machinery worked and the demolition went ahead.

The Mission rented temporary accommodation on South Terrace until the present site was found, purchased, and finally the Mission’s new home was built. Getting the present building built was not, however, without difficulties. Shortly the initial building work commenced, opposition to it arose in the local community, led by a member of parliament who lived nearby. It took much strength and determination on the part of the Leader, Hazel Veare, and the Committee & Trustees of that time, to overcome the opposition and see the dream realised. The building was officially opened in September 1988, and dedicated to Spirit in a Special Ceremony on the 19th of November later that year.

In 1997, Mr. Ken Esplin, who had been involved in the Mission for many years, became Leader but in  January 1999 he found it necessary to step down. Mrs Lis Warwood was then appointed as Leader until her retirement in December 2009 after 11 years of vibrant leadership. Jim Warwood was then appointed leader at the start of 2010.

With the constant need for fund raising finally at an end, the Mission has, over the past 14 years been able to focus more on offering an ever growing range of activities, aimed at providing all who come to the Mission with many opportunities to explore and learn about the principles of spiritualism, develop their spiritual and psychic abilities, discover the healing service, and find a safe and friendly place in which to share their spiritual journey.

Throughout the past 82 years, many people have contributed to ensuring that the vision held by the early leaders continued and grew in strength. Many people dedicated their lives in service to the Mission. There are too many to mention in this brief record, but all are remembered with appreciation and gratitude for their work. Though on rare occasions conflicts have arisen over how that vision and the work for spirit might best be achieved, in the main the Mission has seen many years of harmonious, and co-operative management. The records of minutes highlight how well the Mission has been served by its members, committee’s and trustees.

Other records, in particular, the many ‘jottings’ of Miss Gertrude Menear, highlight the foundations of the New Age Spiritualist Mission were built and maintained by people who were deeply committed to Spiritualism and to doing the work of Spirit. It is also clear that this organisation has been guided throughout its journey by Spirit and that, with that continued guidance the Mission has grown and prospered.

The present Committee and Trustee’s give thanks to all who have contributed to the creation and continued existence of our Mission and look forward to the continuing support of all who attend its activities now, and in the future. May Spirit Bless this Mission and Guide us forward in Love.

Jim Warwood
Mission Leader
September 2023