Part of the 1857 painting of Kooringa by William Bentley


Information about the Baptist Church, in Thames St, Kooringa is extremely rare. One fact that is known, is that the old church was used as a council depot for many years. The following is an extract from the original diary of Thomas Hair. The extract relates to his time in Burra and the establishment of the Baptist Church.


"In England we all belonged to the Baptist Church but there was none of that persuasion up there, so we mostly attended the Primitive Methodist Church. Buxton being a good public speaker he was anxious to start a cause at the Burra.

He was told that the Overseen of Works, that is all buildings and carpentry work, was a Baptist, Mr. Philip Santo, so one Sunday afternoon we resolved to introduce ourselves to him. We were very cordially received by himself and his good wife. It turned out that Mr. Santo belonged to the Grote St. Church of Christ. Not being much difference between us, and Mr. Santo being a good speaker the two argued the points of difference between them, but Mr. Santo very soon convinced us thus Christians [Primitive Methodists in this context] walked nearer the truth than the Baptists, so it was suggested that we meet at the Santo's house on Sunday mornings to break bread according to the ancient custom of the Apostles of old, and both of them being good speakers they soon began to preach the Gospel on Sunday evenings and they would get a house full of hearers, first one and then another were convinced, the Hoskins and Pearces families were baptised and 18 received into the Church. Adam Taylor a shipmate of mine also joined the Church and several others.

And Mr. Santo's house got too straight for all who wished to hear the Word so it was resolved that a Chapel be built with a Baptistry under the platform. It was not talked about for months before starting the work, but after the resolution was passed it was taken in hand at once. Hoskin and Pearce were masons, Buxton at this time had left the mine and started as Builder in the town on his own account, Adam Taylor was a quarry man, he found the stone, Brooker, the father of Brooker of the firm of Brooker and Crooks was a Painters so the building was put up cheap. I think it was opened free of debt or nearly so."