Catholic Church - Karragullen

1955 Karragullen Catholic Church Group

Ack Row L-R: Viola Sonego, Stella Italiano, Teresa Ghilarducci, Lina Coda, Anna Plozza, Angelo Ghilarducci, Bruno Poletti.
Middle Row L -R: Angelina Frigo, Ada Italiano, Danita Plozza, Bob Scari, Jim Sonego, Joe Coda.
Front Row L -R: Rosa Italiano, Esdra Tonusso, Sarah Italiano, Lina Italiano, Father Abramo, Carlo Ghilarducci, Anthony Putland, Neil Casotti, Marco Scaravilli, Eric Ghilarducci (Priest Has Hand On His Shoulder).
Sitting L – R: George Putland, Gerard Putland.

Reference: Article: Carilla – Karragullen – Day of Thanksgiving – The First 25 Years

References: Article: Carilla – Karragullen – Day of Thanksgiving – The First 25 Years

Images: 1, 2, 4 Silio Di Marco
5 Anna Vincenti
3 Stephanie O’Meagher

Methodist Church Karragullen

When the Minister of the Methodist Church at Guildford, the Rev. Robert R. Fleming, sought to establish a preaching point in the Karragullen District in 1913 he sought the co-operation of Thomas Price (Senior) of Illawarra Orchard, Karragullen. Thomas had always thought the church was the custodian of the decencies so he willingly offered his support. At first the services, conducted fortnightly, were held in the packing shed at Illawarra with fruit cases for seats, and later at the School that was operating at Illawarra, then when the school was moved to more central site in Karragullen, they were held in the Karragullen Hall. Thomas’ wife Emily conducted a small Sunday School for her children and a few other children. She obtained teaching material from Lake Street Church of Christ. Thomas Price (Senior) always entertained the minister, who cycled from Kalamunda over twelve miles of gravel roads and unkind tracks. The Rev. Percy H. Taylor, in an inspiring eighteen-months’ ministry, particularly endeared himself to the worshippers, and it was a sad evening when, as he answered a call to return to the ministry in England in the grim war years, the little congregation presented him with a gold watch and the children gave him a fountain pen and said farewell never to see him again. Harvest Festivals were held each year and the display of produce as regards quality and quantity plus decorative effects appeared very creditable.

A later Minister, the Rev. Tom Allan, drove to the area in horse and buggy and it was Thomas Price’s son, Eric’s job to look after his horse. It was a staunch little animal, and it was a satisfaction to give him a double ration of oats and bran in his chaff. Thomas Price (Senior) was treasurer of the little cause and he regularly took the collection, which was never very much, and wrote a cheque for what was then a third of the minister’s weekly stipend.

In October 1929 a vision of the Rev. Tom Allan for a home which would provide an agricultural training for orphan boys was realised. Twelve boys were in residence at Werribee, a 1000 acre reserve near Wooroloo which the Government had earlier granted the Methodist Church. Rev Allan had the interest of the Price family as he worked for the home, and on Price’s retirement from Illawarra he became a member of the committee of management. He visited the property from time to time and made an informed and incisive contribution to committee meetings.



References: Article: A History of Illawarra Orchard & Early Recollections by Hector Price
Thomas Price of Illawarra by Eric T. Price

Images: 1, 2, 3 Tom Price
4 City of Armadale Library

Sunday School At Karragullen

After the war Hector Price and his wife Gladys were keen to start a Sunday School at Karragullen. Hector canvassed the district and found fourteen children whose parents would welcome a Sunday School. There were also younger children who would soon be old enough to attend.

At the first Teacher’s meeting of the Karragullen Churches of Christ Bible School held in the Price’s home on 17th February 1947 there were only three people present:- Hector and Gladys Price and Ethel Judge (one of the Land Army girls who later married Ken Smailes). Hector was appointed Chairman, Ethel, Secretary and Gladys became Treasurer. The Armadale-Kelmscott Roads Board granted them permission to conduct a Bible School in the Karragullen Hall every Sunday morning except the once a month when the Roman Catholic People held their service. They were permitted also to put a large cupboard, in which to store all their equipment, (kindergarten chairs, trestle tables the right height for children of varying ages, blackboards etc) in the Hall kitchen. They used lessons printed for the Churches of Christ Bible Schools.

Hector Price was Superintendent, pianist and chauffeur if there were no parents to drive the children who lived at least two miles from the hall. The school prospered and besides the Sunday Service they had an annual Anniversary and Prize-giving. Friends from the metropolitan area were guest speakers and musicians for this special occasion. There was always a Christmas party at the Price’s home and during the year Mr. Liddle from the Kalamunda Church, who was licensed to show films from the Education Department Library and religious films, would entertain them in the packing shed at a Social Evening. Sometimes other children and their parents were invited to these functions.

The children seemed to come in waves – a full class of boys and then one of girls. At times they had about thirty children on the roll. For a few years Hector had a very fine class of thirteen to seventeen year old lads whom he took on several Saturday outings. Two of the most popular drives were to Canning Dam and to Mount Dale. The Methodists conducted monthly services at the Hall and at Carinyah and Carmel. Just when they thought there was no further need for the Sunday School, as many of the older scholars had left the district, and there was no younger ones to replace them, an English couple with one young daughter arrived at the Forestry Station at Carinyah. When the Methodist Minister acquainted Hector and Glady’s group about their need of a Christian fellowship they were challenged to continue the Sunday School for the children of the forestry workers and those at Millar’s sawmill who attended the Carinyah school.

These children had to be collected at first but then two young Christian couples who followed one another as teachers at Carinyah school helped for a few years with the transport, teaching and music. Finally the Forestry Station and the mill closed down and the Sunday School was discontinued.


Gladys acted a chauffeur and ran the Sunday School when Hector was not well enough or away. On one particular occasion it had rained heavily all through the winter of 1964 and there was flooding in many places. At Karragullen, which usually registered twice as much rainfall as Perth, it was very muddy. The main roads were bitumen but the bush tracks were quite dangerous. The gravel roads through the Price’s property and into the forest beyond had been old railway tracks to the timber mill at Canning Mills.

As Hector Price was not well enough to attend Sunday School on the first Sunday in August 1964, his wife Gladys deputised for him. She drove the Holden Station Wagon two miles east on the gravel road from Illawarra Orchard to the Carinyah Forestry Station where about five lively children were waiting for her. It had rained heavily all night and was still showery. Gladys was dismayed to find that the roads that criss-crossed each other were being upgraded. The heavy machinery had made them muddy and rutted in some places. However she reached Carinyah safely and drove to the Karragullen Hall three miles away.

The Sunday School was conducted and all the collapsible tables, kindergarten chairs, blackboards etc stacked in a large cupboard ready for next week. Gladys daughter, Jean helped her.

Everything seemed to be more muddy and misty on the return trip. However the children were returned safely and Gladys set out for the last two miles of the journey home. Unfortunately the tracks were so confusing that she took the wrong road leading into the orchard. She couldn’t turn back as the bush and trees were close to the gravel track and she could become bogged. After travelling at least four miles he arrived at the back of Roy Bovani’s orchard at Canning Mills. Fortunately Roy was home. After the shock of finding her at his back door he towed her with his tractor across his orchard to Canning Road. Gladys then drove safely home on three miles of bitumen road, thankful that she had not become stranded in the mud, miles from help on a very wet Sunday.

Hector and Gladys Price also supported the monthly Methodist Church service. The minister usually ate a midday meal at their home on this day and also on the day he visited the Karragullen School to conduct religious instruction.


Sunday School At Karragullen

On the 2nd June 1996 a Reunion of former Sunday School pupils, parents and children was held at Illawarra beside the packing shed. Barbara Shipley (nee Smailes), a former student, organised the reunion with help from her mother Ethel Smailes and Tom Price.

A few people came from as far away as Busselton and Rockingham and many were from the suburbs close to Perth. It was a lovely day sharing photos of Anniveraries and Christmas parties, and enjoying a barbeque luncheon. At the end Gladys Price had the honour of cutting a beautiful cake which Ethel had made and iced. It was a time of rich fellowship.

References: Article: Gladys Flora Price – Her Story
A History of Illawarra Orchard & Early Recollections by Hector Price
Thomas Price of Illawarra by Eric T. Price

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Tom Price