My parents, Ken and Doris Hacket, lived on a farm in Richmans Valley near Quorn in South Australia. They attended a mission conducted by John Baartz and Richard (Dick) White, and “professed” in their meetings. The year was 1929. I was 3 years old, and my only sibling, a sister Leila, was 6 years old. My maiden name was Margaret Hacket.
At the time I am writing these memories, I am 82 years of age. So my sister and I grew up in the 2x2s. Not long after these meetings, some friends from Kapunda visited us. (I do not remember this but was later told of it). From then on we attended the annual conventions which at that time were held either at Conrad Doecke’s property at Strathalbyn in the Adelaide Hills, or at Kapunda on Herman Geue’s farm. Both families are mentioned in the Bethel Mission historical account, South Australia, 1910. This document is reprinted on the Telling The Truth website.
The Barossa Valley in South Australia is very Germanic and Bethel, Stockport and Kapunda are all located in that Valley. It is a very productive agricultural area and specialises in vineyards as well as farming. William Irvine had been in the area at this time (but this was probably only known to those locals) and so they knew of the beginning of the 2 x 2. However, my parents did not know, as we lived much further north in the State than they did in the Barossa Valley area. I only understood the same old story that the “Way” had always existed from the apostolic times and this was a direct descent from that. I later discovered it wasn’t — but that knowledge did not affect me, since I wasn’t tangled into their web at that time.
I professed at age 12 (only to be a good girl) and was baptised in a creek at my future husband’s property near Kapunda. I was (seemingly) a model 2×2 with long hair, no make-up, etc. However, when not in the limelight, it was a different story. I did not understand being saved by faith. I only had understood being saved by good works and doing what the preachers approved of. There were times in my teenage life and in my 20s when I hoped I wouldn’t die just then!
When I was a teenager, Willie Hughes was the Senior Worker in South Australia, and he was very well supported by a tall slim Irish lady named Emma Moll. She always wore black stockings and had very strict ideas about dress. No feathers in hats, only black stockings and no jewelry, etc. However, you could have artificial flowers in your hats! Over the border in the State of Victoria, it seems you could have feathers, but no artificial flowers. Bill Carroll was the Senior Worker in Victoria at this time. They have various names out here including “Cooneyites” (which they hate) the Go Preachers, The Way, The Friends, the CAA (Christian Assemblies of Australia which they adopted in the second World War in order to get petrol coupons, etc.)
I met Ronald Vogt at Convention held at Herman Geue’s property at Kapunda. Ron was the second son of Walter and Agnes (Schmidt) Vogt. They married in 1910. Agnes was born at Bethel on 28th May, 1887 and died on 31st July 1979, aged 92 years. Walter Vogt, was born at Stockport on 5th June 1886 and died on 9th October 1967, aged 81 years. Walter & Agnes had 3 children, Evelyn (later Mrs. Alan Harris) born 1911, Leonard who married my sister Leila, and Ronald, to whom I was married in 1947.
Ron’s father was a Vogt and his mother was a Schmidt and both the Vogt and Schmidt families are on the List of Bethel Families professing in the 1910 Bethel Mission in South Australia. These two families had a number of members who were workers.
Ron and I were married in the Registry office in Adelaide in 1947. When we were planning to be married, Ron Campbell was here at home in Mannanarie, a district close to Peterborough, in the mid-north of South Australia. We asked him to be our best man at our wedding and he agreed. However, before the date arrived, he returned to the USA. Ron was a lovely preacher from Australia, who went to America to be a “missionary” for the 2 x 2s. We then asked Ossie Graske, another preacher, if he would be our Best Man, which he was. He later went to Germany and there he married and settled down. My sister Leila married Leonard (Len) Vogt in 1944, so we were very much part of the Vogt family. In 1951, Ron and I adopted twin sons (9 days old).
Six months after we adopted our sons in 1951, we found ourselves no longer in fellowship with the 2 x 2. This came about because nine elders in Adelaide went to the Head Worker in that State, John Baartz, and pleaded for love to reign. This came about because while Ron Campbell was home, he was very popular with the people and an excellent preacher, and there was much jealousy against him.
Soon after, these nine elders received letters stating that they and their families were to cease fellowship! That took in Walter Vogt’s three children, a married daughter, Evelyn Harris and her husband, their two sons Len and Ron and their wives. We continued as a family to hold fellowship meetings each Sunday at Pop Vogt’s home, but the others who used to come there were directed by the workers to go elsewhere. It was very strange to meet those with whom we had had fellowship for years in the street and have them ignore our greeting and pass us by without recognition. Since it is nearly 57 years since this happened I can only recall a few of those men (the 9 elders) who were ordered to cease fellowship then: the ones I recall are Ernie Wirth, Con Doecke, Fred Ashman, ? Sharp, but there were 9 altogether.
Later, Ron and I moved to Sydney and Ron went to Germany to study a certain steel process (he was a civil engineer). While there, he met and had fellowship with Ossie Graske (our Best Man) and his wife. Ron’s uncle and aunt Frank and Hilda (nee Vogt) Quick were married workers. They came through Sydney from New Zealand where they had been in the work and had written to us asking us if we would go with them to see the Head Worker in NSW ( the State where Sydney is the capital city) to see if we could go back to the meetings. We went to see him at Guildford Convention grounds in Sydney while there was a convention in progress.
By this time our twin sons were 5 years old. I had short hair and was wearing a little makeup. The people there at the convention just parted down the middle as if we had leprosy and the “head sherang” (whose name I forget–it was so long ago) would not see us, but sent his 2OIC out. We then found out that we were not welcome because my husband, Ron, had disobeyed the command not to have fellowship. He had done that with Ossie while he was in Germany!! So we returned to our home and continued our lives.
Len and Leila Vogt and their two girls moved to Sydney to work with Ron in the new set-up, and Len had trouble settling down, so Ron and I joined the local sporting car club, knowing Len would enjoy that, and that became our Sunday occupation.
Meanwhile, my parents, Ken and Dorrie Hacket, were still going to meetings back in South Australia. Then the 2OIC worker there, Ian Reed from New Zealand, came to them and said that they either had to cease meetings or give up fellowship with their two daughters (i.e. the two Mesdames Vogt, Len & Ron). My Dad had no hesitation in informing him that this was no choice–they chose their daughters and that decision “put them out.”
This happened a couple of years after we were “dismissed” from memory.
My parents then moved to Sydney, as both their daughters now lived there. My Mum was so hungry for fellowship, she used to catch a bus to a nearby suburb and follow the Salvation Army, as they played their band and preached in the streets. This disturbed me and since I was then working with a couple of good fellows, one a Baptist and the other a Salvation Army lad, I talked about it to them.
The Baptist chap said that there was All Age Sunday School at the suburb next to us, and maybe I’d like to take my parents there on a Sunday morning. I did this and they settled in – but the Baptist lad didn’t stop there and encouraged me to take our twins to the Sunday School and later invited Ron and me to join the Young Married’s Bible study group. This we did, and of course, all ended up going on to the morning service in the Baptist Church. Ron eventually led the Young Marrieds’ Bible study and also became Choir Master for the church, in which my mother and I also sang. It was an active Baptist church and we enjoyed our time there.
Then Ron was moved to Melbourne, Victoria to take over the management of another of Humes Ltd. businesses. He used to fly back to Sydney to manage the one there where his brother Len and family still lived. They continued to live in Sydney and the family remnants still do, but they have no spiritual connection in any direction.
After Ron and I moved to Melbourne, we wanted our twins to continue attending Sunday School so we tried several Baptist churches. Finally, we settled at the Mentone Baptist Church where the pastor, Alex White, asked me to attend a housewives Bible study during the week. (He was taking 9 of these each week). I reluctantly attended and was surprised to have him answer all my questions and arguments with wisdom, always using the Scriptures to base his responses on. I, of course, thought I knew it all. Hadn’t I been speaking in the fellowship meetings for years?
But God was reaching out to me and in a study one day on “faith” I was asked to read Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 and the words stunned me. It was right there that I acknowledged Christ and His salvation (but silently). Anyway that evening I questioned Ron about these verses and he was amazed that I had not understood this truth before. So he claimed he had a brand new wife. He had grown up under a totally different set of preachers to those I had heard.
From there we built a new home at Dingley, a Melbourne suburb, and were happy to join a local interdenominational church, called the Dingley Union Church. Here Ron became an Elder and our home was used extensively for Bible studies, missionary meetings, youth groups, etc. It was in the 40 years we lived there that we became very friendly with many great evangelical people – some of them missionaries and some evangelists.
Ron became the Chairman of the Christian Businessmen’s Association and during this period, Rev. Peter Deyneka, Sr. who lived in Chicago, visited and asked Ron to set up an Australian Council for the Slavic Gospel Association which concentrates on taking the gospel into Slavic-speaking countries. In 1983 while we were in Chicago at one of their conferences, I also joined the Council here in Melbourne and am still a Council member today. We have been involved with many missionary societies over the years such as Wycliffe Bible Translators; H.C.J.B., Interserve, Global Interaction, S.I.M. Leprosy Mission, etc.
Today I teach a ladies Bible study at the Beaumaris Baptist Church and I love it. I also take a “Friendship Group” (a name for a lightly based Bible study group) at the local Retirement Village in Dingley. I know many of the folk at Belgrave Heights Convention, which is interdenominational and very sound. (More information at: http://www.bhc.org.au/v2/index.php) The Keswick Convention in England was a formative leader in this movement where the distinctive Biblical teaching developed for which the Belgrave Heights Convention movement has become known.
I also know Charles and Hilary Price. He is Senior pastor at the Toronto People’s Church in Canada at this time. I know Alistair Begg, pastor of the church in Cleveland (it has changed its name several times but has a congregation of about 4,000). He is a real Bible-based teacher – Scottish by background. There’s another fellow that I enjoy very much, and that is Dr. Chuck Missler and he has as his base Koinonia House. He has some excellent DVDs.
My husband Ron died of Lou Gehrig’s disease exactly a month after my sister passed away on Sept. 16th and Oct. 16th, 2003. Leonard Vogt (now 92 years of age) lives at Lake MacQuarie in New South Wales on his own, and I visit him by plane about twice a year
I have continued with all our connections since then. I feel time is so limited that I want to concentrate on the future and looking forward to serving my Lord by proclaiming His love and our need for His Lordship in our lives.
My favourite Bible verse would be hard to define, as I love the whole Word of God. But it was Ephesians 2:8 and 9 which brought me face to face with my Lord and Saviour – so that is special: “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith, — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not of works, so that no one can boast.”
I also love Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God. I can only commend to all people that they seek to know the Lord — the promise is that He will be found. Hebrews 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please God because any one who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
THE BETHEL MISSION FAMILIES:
Sam Jones and his companion arrived in Bethel in 1910 and held a mission in the area. I remember Sam Jones, and also Syd Maynard, but I do not remember Bob Bashford or Tom Turner. (All four of these men are mentioned in the Bethel Mission screed.)
I know all the folk mentioned in the List of Bethel Families, although most of them are now deceased. This List is reprinted on Telling the Truth website.
The Matz Family: Mrs. Hermann Matz was Martha Schmidt. She was Ron’s aunt and they later moved to Mildura also. One of Martha Matz’s granddaughers is Mrs. Glenys Simpson, now living at Woodend, in Victoria and I am in touch with them several times each year.
The Geue Family: Herman Geue is mentioned in the Bethel Mission screed also, and it was on his farm that a Convention ground was built, and I believe it is still operating there, although I am not positive about that.
In 1910 due to the Moravian preachers dying out in the Bethel work, the Lutheran church took over and it caused the Vogts, Geues, and Schmidts to seek fellowship together and along with a few others, they sought out a Baptist minister to baptize them (apparently 24 of them in all).
Sam Geue’s granddaughter lives in the States and is married to Timothy Bell, whose parents were also “friends.” She would be the daughter of Agnes Geue, one of Sam’s daughters.
The Vogt Family: Gerhardt (Gary) Vogt has a grandson, Graham Vogt, who is alive and in contact with me.
Rudolph Vogt’s only surviving son, Ted, lives at Coldstream (near Melbourne). He married Margaret Watkins, whose brother, Cliff is a retired worker and still very much in touch with the “friends” here in Victoria. Margaret and Ted Vogt are not connected with the 2x2s any longer, but both love the Lord and I have contact with them at least once every two weeks.
The Schmidt Family: Otto Schmidt’s son, Mervyn Schmidt, married a New Zealand lass, and they have two sons. One of them named Leyton wrote a very memorable letter to the workers in Western Australia when he lived there. He now lives in Mildura and the whole family attends the Baptist church there. In fact, I believe that Mervyn is an Elder in that church. I am in contact with them occasionally.
Friedrich Schmidt married Martha Vogt (one of Walter’s sisters) and their youngest daughter, Rhinah Short, is the only one of that family alive. She now lives in a nursing home in Adelaide.
Frieda Schmidt was Ron’s cousin, and I knew her well. She was a very gentle, gracious and sincere lady who loved the Lord. She and another worker Olga Hastings went to Israel and Europe as workers.
One of Ron’s aunts, Esther Schmidt was a missionary in Israel for the Brethren, and she gave Ron and me a copy of the book “The Amazing Jew” by A. J. Pollock as a wedding present, and she also gave us some egg cups carved out of olive trees grown in Israel.
The Doecke Family was closely connected with the other families and Conrad’s daughter Gwen was my bridesmaid. She died just prior to Ron’s death. Only one member of Conrad’s children is alive; Elwyn married to Frank Ashman, and they live in an Adelaide suburb. Gary Doecke’s son Robert is a worker somewhere in South Australia I believe.
I have photos of the graveyard of the early Moravian missionaries which is located on a property once owned by Walter Vogt. Their farmhouse looked across paddocks to the Lutheran Church which still stands there. Many of my husband’s relatives are buried in the cemetery attached to this church.
EARLY WORKERS IN AUSTRALIA
Back in the early days of settlement of South Australia, some of the preachers who came out there to preach were Adam Hutchinson (a very godly man who went to India from here and died there.) Although I never knew Adam Hutchinson, I do know the following to be true as it was told to me by Ron’s Aunt and Uncle who were directly involved. Adam felt that he needed to launch out in faith again and prove God’s provision. He set his mind to go to India to evangelise the gospel there.
An uncle of Ron’s named Jack Schmidt (a brother to my mother-in-law Agnes) was then a fairly well-to-do vineyard owner in Mildura (Victoria). He and his wife decided and told Adam that they were sewing into his waist-coat ten golden sovereign pieces, so that he would have something to fall back on. (He had refused to take any money from them, stating that he was trusting God.) Off he went to India. I do not know how many years later it was that he died and his belongings were sent home to the only address known for him i.e. Jack Schmidt at Mildura. They found the sovereign pieces which they had put there so many years ago still sewn inside the waistcoat.
Sam Jones was a very gentle and godly man who wrote many beautiful hymns. I think Sam Jones is buried in Western Australia ( Perth) He loved nature and his sincerity was very deep and almost palpable. I have in my possession a beautiful framed text “Christ in you the hope of glory” which Sam Jones did and gave to my mother-in-law, Agnes Vogt. It is written on the back of her Confirmation Certificate. She gave it to her son, my husband, and on the back of it she wrote the following:
“To Ronald, in remembrance of your Mum. Sam Jones painted this on the back of my Confirmation certificate when I was 23 years old. (1910).”
With both of these I have no doubt they knew the Lord.
Edward Cooney visited Australia on several occasions and we found him to be a godly man who loved the Lord. He died and is buried at Mildura, here in Victoria. But he was with William Irvine in the early days of the beginning of “the Way” when they, as young men, were trying to bring life to a “dead” Methodist church in Ireland.
Edward Cooney was privileged to preach the gospel to Princess Victoria in Britain. The story is reprinted on Telling the Truth website.
Click Here to read the entire Bethel Mission Account on Telling The Truth website