The Wesley Church

Opened in 1854, the original Wesleyan Methodist Church was a structure of canvas and slab built by Cornish miners at Red Streak. In 1859, the Creswick Advertiser reported that although the Wesleyan Methodists had the largest place of worship in the township, the congregation was pushing out the walls of the church, so it had been decided to build “an edifice worthy of this important district .…” In January 1861, when the official population of Creswick was almost 5000, the foundation stone was laid and Easter 1861, the new brick church erected in Victoria Street was opened to the congregation. The first service was conducted by Reverend D.J. Draper. From its earliest days, the Reverend Thomas Williams, grandfather of the Lindsay children, was a preacher at the church.

In 1864, Dr Robert Lindsay started his medical practice in Creswick and when he married Jane Williams in 1869 moved their home to the corner of Raglan and Cambridge Street. When this home was no-longer large enough to accommodate a growing family a new home was built. Lisnacrieve was on the corner of Victoria and Cambridge streets, next door to the new Gothic-style Methodist church. Each Sunday the children were reputedly herded into the church by their mother, and Norman, bored by the sermons, drew caricatures in his hymn book. Daryl found the church to be a refuge and wrote in his book The Leafy Tree, that he would take the vestry key and read in the pulpit, which he found to be so comfortable that he spent many an hour and once wagged it for almost the whole of December.

Of the five artistic siblings Ruby was the only one to marry at the Wesleyan Church.

Ruby was born in 1885, the seventh of the Lindsay children. Aged 17, Ruby left home and went to Melbourne to live with her brother Percy, ostensibly to keep house for him. At night she attended art classes at the National Gallery School. She drew illustrations for various periodicals including the Hawklett, the Bulletin and the Gadfly. She also designed posters, and illustrated books including Steele Rudd’s Back at our Selection. To make her own way without relying on the fame of her siblings, she signed her work Ruby Lind. However, it was a struggle to make ends meet.

On a visit to Creswick in 1902, Will Dyson, a friend of her brothers met Ruby. They married in 1909 at the Wesleyan Church. In his book The Leafy Tree, Ruby’s brother Daryl describes the day: “When the time came to go to the church only fifty yards away, Ruby looked over the gate to see half the people of Creswick waiting to see the bride arrive. One look was enough. She got stage fright, bolted through the house into the backyard and picking up her skirts, scaled the adjoining fence into the churchyard. Pink in the face, she made her entry through the vestry. And what is more, the ceremony over, she took to her heels at the church door and was chased back to the house by a hilarious bridegroom, to be greeted by cheers and laughter over the champagne in the old drawing room.”

After their wedding Ruby and Will travelled to England, accompanied by Ruby’s brother Norman. Both Ruby and Will worked at cartooning and illustration and lived in London. In 1911, they had a daughter, Elizabeth, known as Betty. Ruby continued to work illustrating books, including children’s books such as Naughty Sophia and the periodical The Suffragette. She also sent drawings back to Australia for the Bulletin and other publications. Ruby was also well recognised for her art work.

In Australia, Will Dyson was well known as a black and white artist and contributed to various magazines. In London, he found great success and was employed by the Chronicle and then the radical newspaper the Daily Herald. He was considered one of the best cartoonists of his day. In 1916 Will was appointed Australia’s first official war artist and served on the Somme. After the war he continued to work as a political cartoonist. Will died suddenly in 1938.

After the war Ruby went to Ireland with her brother Daryl to visit relatives. There she contracted influenza so they returned to London. She died a few days later in March 1919, aged 33.

In 1972, the Wesleyan Church was closed and the congregation combined with the Presbyterian Church in Creswick. The church was demolished in 1986.

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