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National Trust of South Australia

In Gawler now



Polkinghorne Rev. Brian

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“My poor wife Jill had always declared that she would never marry a farmer. Well she married a minister, who then became a minister-farmer!

I was born at Maitland and my early life was as a farmer, but then the call of God came and I studied for the ministry in Parkin Theological College. Jill and I met in and married in late 1963 and ministered in the Congregational Church in the Upper South East. Then came another call, this time to study agriculture at Roseworthy.

The Australian Council of Churches / Christmas Bowl Appeal funded us (together with our three small children) as Agricultural missionaries, first with the YMCA then the Roman Catholic Church on the slopes on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, for eight wonderful years. With the Roman Catholic church we established, from wild bushland, The Kilacha Production and Training Centre in 1974.

During a visit back there in 2012 I was delighted to meet some of the original employees still working and 700,000 chickens being produced per year, 462 students in training courses, the whole Centre economically self-sustaining and no Europeans assisting in any of the operations.

Back in Australia for the education of our children in 1978, we ministered in Burra, Laura and Prospect before being requested by African Evangelistic Enterprise to open up a large reforestation project back in Tanzania, funded by the Australian government. That was another huge success as I and my team convinced farmers to plant and nurture 6.72 million trees.

I then opened up another Farmer Training Centre with the Africa Inland church and after those 15 years returned to Australia to ‘refire’. During those years Jill had a wide variety of teaching jobs. We decided to 'refire' in Gawler where we had lived in 1967 - 69 and are delighted to go on discovering many of the activities and achievements of my great grandfather E.H. Clement who played a significant role in the establishment of Gawler, including two terms as mayor.

In 2006 came ministry at Woodville and Owen and later in 2007 we went back to Tanzania again with the Anglican Church as CMS volunteers. After a year and a half we returned home and took up part time ministry at One Tree Hill and Williamstown which continues today, in the meantime, taking leave, we had another one year stint back in Tanzania with CMS again.

My great delight is to have evolved, taught and implemented a theology of agriculture and the environment, to have engaged in various forms of peace and reconciliation ministries, and to have Jill by my side assisting, guiding and tempering all that God has called me to do. Bwana asifiwe – Praise the Lord.”

Jill and  Brian Polkinghorne
Jill and Brian Polkinghorne

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