Our History (1990-92) Recollections by Molly Quick.
In 1990 Barbara Huntley (dec.) and Sheryl Braund began a open meditation/healing group on Monday mornings at Barbara’s home in Kewarra Beach. In 1991 Alan Walsingham began development groups from his home at Yorkeys Knob. In the autumn of 1991 a healing group was started each Friday evening at the Birch Street rooms. Lois Stilson and Rene Montgomery were instigational in this. Lois continues her valuable healing work in what was later to become a support group for those with life threatening illness. Phyllis Denham assisted. Again these are still running as an open healing session on a Wednesday mornings at the present Cairns Spiritual Centre. Rene Montgomery was persuaded to run some spiritual/psychic development circles which she did at her home several evenings a week, right up to the time of her passing in 2003. Word of the group’s willingness to investigate ‘hauntings / ghosts and psychic disturbances’ had become public knowledge and some members who were prepared to help these souls did this work. All sorts of weird and wonderful requests were addressed and in most cases assistance was given. Graham Connett was frequently the channel for these type of Rescues with many of them being recorded on tape now kept by Molly Quick.
PLANNING MEETINGS. By the end of 1988 some sort of administration meeting was needed. These were always social events that happened infrequently in the home of Lois Stilson. Up to ten people would attend. No one had a specific position on a structured committee. After discussion on the groups needs each person took on a task which they could fulfill, their time, energy and expertise permitting. It was always an exciting and willing group gathering. There was a short meditation at the start of each meeting invoking harmony and the highest good for all. Soon these meditations included requests for guidance in finding a permanent venue so that all the events could be held under the same roof.
NEWSLETTER. Alan Walsingham, formerly of the Victorian Spiritualist Union, had joined the group together with his wife, Joan. It was Alan who published the first Spiritual Group Newsletter in October, 1990, forty copies of half a foolscap page of print asking for input and ideas. The first news sheet contained the following prophetic words from the editor. “Gradually this little sheet will grow and will be an important part of this group”. The newsletter’s first advertiser was the Health Food Centre, run by Ken (dec) and Marilyn Reid, then at 74 Grafton Street and Earlville Shopping Town. Their shop is now at Cairns Central. Judging by a scan through past news letters it seems that they have advertised in just about every issue since. Molly also stores most of those original newsletter. When Alan Walsingham returned to Victoria some five months later Christine Scott took over as editor. With the added expertise of Clemens Vermeulen and his wife Gerry (dec). The group was now producing six hundred copies each month. Regular contributors to the Newsletter, beside the editors newsy blurb, were Rene Montgomery (inspirational writing), Lois Stilson (inspirational writing) Molly Quick (channeling from Russha). Vince Margiotta (book reviews). Phyllis Denham and Elizabeth Inch also assisted. In November, 1991, thanks to Clemens’ knowledge of computers and publishing programmes, the newsletter changed its format from A4 pages to the B5 booklet. Clemens’ format is still used today.
HELPING THE COMMUNITY. At the end of 1990 the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ opened a chapter in Cairns. The Spiritual Group aligned themselves with this organisation and were able to make donations to several children in difficult circumstances who were either living in or visiting Cairns. For example, in 1991 CSG gave $100 to twelve year old Zak Strange from North Carolina USA. Zak had shown interest in buying some stuffed cane toads and a T-shirt with crocodile tears and blood on! He wanted to show his friends back home that he had really experienced life in Australia. Some members helped to raise funds for Make a Wish by joining a roster to make hamburgers on their stand at the 1991 Cairns Show. At about this time Phyllis Denham and Lois Stilson began their healing work by offering help and counseling to those with life threatening illness or experiencing bereavement. By the groups 4th Birthday in October 1991 the following services were being offered to the public. Public awareness through the monthly meeting and newsletter-Introduction to Psychic and Spiritual classes, Development groups, Healing and meditation nights, Bereavement counseling, Haunting investigations, Directory assistance for associated activities, Workshops by visiting facilitators
At the age of four, CSG joined L.E.T.S. Clem and Gerry Vermeulen ran this.
THE LOGO 1992. The logo, which was used for the first time on the cover of the 14th issue of the Magazine in May 1992, was designed by Glenda Johnston of Atherton. It depicts the four elements of fire, air, earth and water through the symbols of the sun, bird, plant and lake, representing Light, Freedom, Growth and Tranquility.
FUND RAISERS. The first fundraiser in the form of a Psychic Expo was the brainchild of Barbara Huntly (dec.)and Sheryl Braund who put together a delightful afternoon at the Lakes Centre on Saturday 7th December, 1991 entitled ‘A Psychic Affaire’. Keeping in mind that ‘fortune telling’ was still illegal under the Vagrancy Act at that time, a newspaper article reports the event was to include “New Age activities such as fun readings of tarot, astrology, palmistry, auras, character analysis, dream analysis and psychometry. Therapists would be available for aligning mind, body and spirit, aromatherapy, massage, essential oils and herbs, reflexology, crystals”. In this article Barbara Huntly (dec.) describes the fundamental principle of the Spiritual Group as being “The continued existence of the consciousness after the transition called death, and communication between those who have passed to that state of existence and those still on the earth plane”. The result of this first expo was exceptional. Newsletter number 13 in February, 1992 reports: “Hundreds attended and the following were available: Water purifiers, L.E.T.S system, reflexology, P.R.O.U.T., metamorphic massage, Crystal Ball Bookshop, naturopathy, iridology, Australian bush remedies, body workshop, spiritual healing, Louise Hay, Sunrider with Chinese herbs, massage, books and tapes from the Health Food Centre, ringing crystal bowls, Bach flower remedies, crystals, healing wands etc. Colour puncture, Brain Gym, herbs and homeopathy, stained glass modules, books from Healthy Affaire and a Giro machine. Eight people did readings in the categories of palm, aura, tarot, colour harmony, direct contact with spirit through channel, dream analysis, past lives and astrology. Demonstrations of Yoga and Aikido were also popular.” Having just acquired new premises at Mulgrave Road the next Psychic Affaire was set to be held there on Sunday 5th April, 1992. Barbara Huntley (dec.) and Sheryl Braund again worked their magic to make this occasion a winner. This time Feldenkrais, hypnotherapy, Quantum Healing, Kirlian Photography, karmic blue prints, Esogetics, Reiki and Kinesiology were added to the list of presenters. Speakers and demonstrations included a Native American medicine circle, magnetic fields, UFO research and Tai Chi. The new Spiritual Centre and surrounding grounds were filled. It was the wish of the organisers that monies raised by this event would start the ball rolling for a spiritual retreat somewhere in the area. This was never achieved by the time of writing.
CAIRNS SPIRITUAL CENTRE IS BORN. A major event in the history of the group took place on the 1st of February, 1992 when the dream of having premises of their own became reality. It was Lois Stilson who first heard news of some premises that may be available for rent. Situated at 129 Mulgrave Road these rooms had been a Yoga Centre for some years. They were clean and carpeted and quite within financial reach, largely due to the first fundraiser. They were snapped up. It was all hands on deck with donations of time and furniture and the Cairns Spiritual Centre was created. The venue contained a large meeting room that would accommodate 50 to 60 people, two small rooms one of which was used for storage and the other for a library, and also a small garden at the rear.
After some time it was obvious that a formal committee, with a view to incorporation was required, together with a centre manager who had the time and enthusiasm to keep things flowing. A committee was formed with Clemens Vermuelen as president and Barbara Huntly as centre manager. Other members of the first committee members were Christine Scott, Libby Inch and Russel Wedd. Barbara Huntly (dec.) was later to become president. All existing events were now operating from the centre. Teaching groups, meditation and healing evenings, committee meetings and more. The new centre was now available for rent for other gatherings of similar nature. A small collection of books soon started to grow with many donations being gratefully accepted and the small room at the centre was now became a library. A second-hand refrigerator for the centre was procured on the basis that it would be paid for once money was raised for that purpose. Molly received direction from her guide to put his channeled words, some of which had previously been printed in the newsletters, into book form. Once again it was Clemen’s skill that produced “The Little Book of Words from Russha”. Stacey Fuller, a talented artist, arrived at the centre at the perfect time and offered to illustrate each piece. Several hundred of these books were printed and sold for $4 each. The sale of the books raised enough money to cover the cost of a fridge and the expenses incurred in its publication. No more, no less. Left over books could not be sold and have been given away. A copy of the book was taken to the UK by Molly in 1993 and given to the library of Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Science at Stansted Hall in Essex.