St John's Church memorials, Waikouaiti

St Johns Church memorials Waikouaiti St Johns Church memorials Waikouaiti St Johns Church memorials Waikouaiti St Johns Church memorials Waikouaiti St Johns Church memorials Waikouaiti

The Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist, Waikouaiti, opened in 1858, is the oldest surviving church building in Otago and Southland.

The church’s First World War memorial tablet was dedicated by Bishop I. Richards on 26 September 1920. This lists the names of 15 men from the parish who gave their lives during the war: Lieutenant Ivan S. Orbell, Percy Lawless, Joseph Jones, Rowland G. Jefferis, Arthur Brightling, Alexander Kerr, James E. Beal, Benjamin Hallett, Ralph S. Jefferis, Cecil W. Walters, George A. Townsend and James S. Hallett from Waikouaiti; George Harper, George A. Taiaroa and Charles Te Wahia from Puteteraki.

There is also a brass tablet dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Orbell, who was killed in action near Neuve Chapelle in France on 26 October 1914 and a hymn board donated to the church in memory of Cecil Waters, who was killed at Paschendaele on 1 October 1917.

On the same day as the Waikouaiti tablet was unveiled, the bishop also unveiled a prayer desk and bench in the parish’s ‘Maori Church’ at Puketeraki donated in memory of the local men who had served in the Pioneer Battalion, and a brass tablet in memory of three who had been killed: G.T. Harper, D. Muir and C.T. Te Wahia (no photographs of these items have been traced).

The church’s centennial publication lists the names of 13 local men from Waikouaiti, Goodwood and Puketeraki who served in the South African War and of 56 local men who served in the First World War.

The churchyard contains a substantial family memorial which has an inscription commemorating Leading Aircraftsman John Ronald Scott Orbell who was killed in a flying accident on 18 August 1942.

See: ‘Waikouaiti Parishioners’ Meeting’, Otago Daily Times, 1/5/1920, p. 10; ‘St John’s Church, Waikouaiti’, Otago Daily Times, 4/10/1920, p. 7; E.J. Neale, St John’s Church, Waikouaiti, 2nd ed., Waikoutai, 1958, pp. 37, 45-9, 53, 55.

 

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