Corps History

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The Salvation Army commenced operations in Lismore in January 1891 when two Salvationists William Gray and George Guy from Kempsey held the first Salvation Army meeting in the street in front of a big crowd.  The curious crowd followed the gathering to the packed hired Protestant Hall.

Meetings continued for the next four months until the corps - number 308 - was officially opened in May of 1891with Captain Maggie Doland and Lieutenant Gayland becoming the first officers in charge.

Those first open air meetings and street marches attracted a lot of attention, often difficulty being experienced in forming a ring to conduct an open air meeting because of the crowds.

However there was early opposition to the Army's presence, sometimes the Salvationists were pelted with rotten eggs and raw meat. A 'skeleton army' was formed and while the Salvationists marched on one side of the street the skeleton army marched on the other side. They even formed a ring and commenced a 'service', with their own captain, lieutenant and a drum, and learned to sing the Army choruses.

Gradually the skeleton army tired of its tactics and the Salvationists had the joy of seeing the conversion of its 'captain' and many others of the group.

Captain William Minnis, the corps officer in 1892, was prosecuted by the local council, charged with 'standing up, kneeling down, praying in the street.' The police magistrate described the charge as ridiculous and it was eventually dismissed.

In 1908 the first Salvation Army hall was opened in Magellan Street. In 1935 a new hall was built in Molesworth Street, and on November 29, 1997, a new complex in Cambridge Drive, Goonellabah, was officially opened.

The Lismore Salvation Army band was formed in 1892 with Harry Coyte the first bandmaster. When the band instruments were silver plated in 1923 it became known as the Salvation Army Silver Band.

The Lismore Salvation Army Home League was formed in 1917 and branches were established at  Ruthven in 1957, Rosebank in 1959 and at Cubawee near Tuncester in 1960.

Lismore corps outposts were formed at Ruthven, Rosebank, Tuntable Falls and Pearces Creek, the latter continuing for over a century. The Lismore corps continues to be part of the Pearces Creek Christmas Eve carols night and supports the hall's annual Harvest Festival.

The corps can claim a direct association with one of the Army's world leaders, the late General Eva Burrows, who spent her childhood years in Lismore while her parents were in charge of the Army's North Coast work during the 1930s depression years.

Assistance during times of natural disasters is well documented in corps history books, probably the most notable occasion being the 2017 Lismore flood which saw the corps working with affected individuals and businesses for several months - even when the corps sustained major damage to its own facilities in the central business district.