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Helen GrayPrint Page Print this page

28-August-2013
28-August-2013
Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

A memorial tablet commemorates Helen Gray for service to the Horsham Presbyterian Church. Helen Gray died in 1922 and was the wife of the Reverend Thomas Gray. 

It was an easy task that fell to the lot of Mrs. Thomas Young when she put forth a plea for funds to erect a memorial tablet in Horsham Presbyterian Church to the memory of the late Mrs. Thomas Gray. The proposal instantly met with the approval of the members of the congregation, who were pleased to have this opportunity of showing their respect to their late friend by having a permanent record of her good works in the church. Last Sunday forenoon the unveiling ceremony took place before a large congregation, which included several friends of Mrs. Gray from other denominations. An appreciative service was conducted by the Rev. E. G. Petherick. Mrs. Alan Kimberley sang feelingly "Nearer to Thee," and the anthem rendered by the large choir was "Unto the Upright."  In the course of his sermon which had dealt with the work of noble women in other times, Mr. Petherick said they were gathered that morning to honor a woman of their own time. A memorial to her was to be unveiled, and it was noteworthy that in a congregation with a history of over 67 years the first memorial to be placed on the walls of the church, apart from the war memorial, was to have a woman's name inscribed upon it, and that name the name of a minister's wife.

Mrs. Gray was born in Edinburgh. As a young woman she co-operated in the work of the Free Church of Scotland in the Students' Mission and the Sabbath school in the service carried on in the Pleasance in Edinburgh, also in connection with the free breakfast for the poor. During Sankey & Moodey's mission about 1874 she sang in the choir in the mission in Edinburgh. She came to South Australia in 1880 with her mother and brother, there joining another brother who had come to the State in 1870. During her first year in Australia her mother died. In 1881 she became Mrs. Gray and made her first home in Mt Pleasant, where three children were born. About six years later she took up her life work in Horsham and continued it here until 1922. She soon gained a warm place in the hearts of the people, and she continued her activity until her health forbade active work. She was brought into contact with many missionaries, some of whom were now beyond the pale and others were in the New Hebrides, Mapoon and Korea. In her visitation among the congregation she endeared herself to many, and her influence had been widely felt.  In the wider sphere of the town and district she had her place and for many years as office-bearer of the Ladies' Benevolent Society she was a friend of the poor. In her association with the Women's Christian Temperance Union she was recognised as a fearless opponent of the liquor traffic. When she and her husband felt constrained to sever themselves from their life work. and to retire into private life her attitude was noteworthy--not a murmur, but thanksgiving to God and thanks to the friends who had made quietly possible the last two years of her life. She was laid to rest in the Box Hill cemetery till the trump shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise.

Today it was their consolation to raise up a memorial in the house of God so that it could be told to generations still unborn that there worked here one of the women of God, one of the worthiest on God's earth. The honor of unveiling the memorial was entrusted to Mr. Thomas Young who said he considered it was a privilege to do so. The tablet is simple in design,and by reasons of this its appropriateness is impressive. It is of grey marble, the surround being plain. The lettering in the centre is black, and between it and the border there is a brightening in the tone by the mosaic work and corner displays. At the conclusion of the service the Rev. Thomas Gray met the members of his old flock in the grounds and briefly renewed acquaintance with each one.
Horsham Times (Vic), 20 October 1925.

Location

Address:33 Pynsent Street, Horsham Historical Society, Horsham, 3400
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.715622
Long: 142.201161
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Religion

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 18th October, 1925
Front Inscription

To The Glory Of God
             and
In Loving Remembrance of
Helen Oswald Gray
Who Entered Into Rest 26th, Septr. 1924.

Our Minister`s True helpmeet 1887 - 1922
A Consecrated Sabbath School Teacher.

Zealous for Missions
Given to hospitality
A friend of the poor

2 Timothy 4 rb, 7-8 v.

Source: MA
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