The first churches were established in Adelaide. Edwin Hodder's 1893 History of South Australia, Chapter 5 states that, in 1838:

......the various religious denominations were soon well represented. The Wesleyans were among the first in the field, and early in 1837 a few individuals set to work to provide funds for a chapel and schools. Through the liberality of Mr. E. Stephens and others, a neat brick building was soon erected in Hindley Street, at the back of the South Australian Bank, and here Mr. D. McLaren, manager of the South Australian Company, conducted service in the morning, and other laymen in the afternoon and evening. But in course of time they felt the need of a regular minister, and early in 1838 one was sent to them in a singular fashion.

The Rev. William Longbottom, Wesleyan minister, sailing in the Fanny with his wife and child from Tasmania to fill a vacancy in Western Australia, fell in with a gale which increased in fury, until at midnight the vessel struck on an unknown coast, and they were landed through the surf by means of a rope. They suffered for want of a fire, till on the second day of their escape some friendly natives ventured near them. After a fortnight spent in a forlorn condition, and not knowing whither to turn, a crew of shipwrecked mariners found them. By means of a chart they had saved they had travelled a hundred miles, and were going fifty more in search of a whaling station. The two companies made common cause, and for forty-five days they wandered through the bush, and, reaching the station, they were taken by sea to Adelaide, where the pastorless society of sixty members welcomed the minister, and would not let him go. He lost all his worldly possessions by the disaster, but a subscription was set on foot to recoup him for some of his losses. He soon commenced his ministrations among the people, and carried them on with such success, that he may be regarded as the founder of Wesleyan Methodism in South Australia.