Neville Presbyterian Church's 150 years of service.

Elder Radburn: Kevin 'Scally' Radburn will be playing the same organ that he has for the past 74 years at Neville Presbyterian Church.
Elder Radburn: Kevin 'Scally' Radburn will be playing the same organ that he has for the past 74 years at Neville Presbyterian Church.

For 150 years the humble Neville Presbyterian Church has seen great tragedy and joy played out within its cedar lined walls.

For over half of its existence the church has also witnessed the life of 88 year old Kevin ‘Scally’ Radburn and his family unfold.

Mr Radburn is an Elder Emeritus of the church and has played an active part since he began playing the existing pump organ 74 years ago.

“I’m not sure if it’s the original organ or not, but it’s been here ever since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’ve been the elder for 64 years and that organ has never been touched.”

With deft fingers Mr Radburn demonstrated his prowess at the yellowing keyboard whilst simultaneously pumping the bellows. 

The church was dedicated on the 21st of November 1866 and on the 4th of December of that year it was presented with a pulpit and a copy of the Holy Bible which is still in use at church services, however following from previous thefts, the bible is kept securely under lock and key.

“Back in the early 1980’s we didn’t lock the church, and one day we came in and all the seats had been stolen,” Mr Radburn lamented.

Built by Reverend James Adam, known as the Apostle of the Saddle because he rode on horseback from his centre in Carcoar servicing Forbes, Orange, Cowra, Blayney and Tuena, the church is now under the control of the Orange Presbyterian Church.

Mr Radburn said that the church was barely used now but in its time had been the hub of the town.

“We used to have a full choir and we played at the Christmas and Easter anthem and the harvest festival,” he said, “people would come from all around in their horse and sulky.”

To commemorate the church’s 150 years of service, on the 27th of November at 11am there will be a special service followed by a luncheon at the sidings.

As as happened countless times before, on that day a child will be christened in the church.

“My grandson is getting his son christened on the same day,” Mr Radburn said. “I’ll be the organist.”