The New Age Spiritualist Mission
began as two separate organisations in the early 1920s. The first organisation
began in 1922, 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.
Despite the apparent focus on cricket and tennis, dances and picnics to bring
people together, this organisation had a deeper theme founded on Spiritualist
beliefs 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 Taylors 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 Missions 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 Tingeys 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
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
Missions 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 Missions
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
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 Hazels 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 Missions 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 and, Mrs
Lis Warwood, the present leader was appointed.
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, committees 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 Trustees 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.