Our History (1987-89) Recollections by Molly Quick
This is an early history of the Cairns Spiritual Group from its inception in October 1987 up to the time it moved into its own premises and a formal management committee was formed in early 1992. Times, dates and happenings were either taken from memory (pre newsletter days) and then combined with entries in newsletters over those years. If anyone has more memories interesting bits and pieces to add or would like to look through old newsletters or the scrapbook I would be pleased to hear from them with a view to adding to this history. Sincerely, Molly Quick firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE BEGINNING (1987- 1989).
In September of 1987 a notice appeared in the Personal Column of the Cairns Post that read: ‘Spiritualist Church Psychic Centre forming Cairns shortly. Interested persons please phone 312192 evenings. This notice attracted nearly 40 people to the library function rooms in Lake Street later that month. The advertiser, English Spiritualist, Ollie Wilson addressed this meeting. He said that he was from a Spiritualist family and was seeking a group of like-minded souls to start a Spiritualist church with teaching/development groups running on a regular basis in Cairns. From this, a small number of people came forward volunteering to be active in making this happen. They were, Paula Ripley, now return to her native New Zealand, mother of two Michelle Brown, Lesley Wells, a nursing sister, (both have since left Cairns), and Molly Quick, still living in Cairns and actively involved in spiritual work. Others committed to attend any arranged meeting. There was also a German gentleman, name not remembered, who, after some debate on suitable venues kindly booked and paid, from his own pocket, for rooms at The Lakes Centre on the corner of Little and Greenslopes Street for a meeting to discuss the format of the proposed organisation. This gentleman attended only this meeting and was not seen again. At least a dozen people attended the first get together in early October. It was decided that the yet unnamed group should meet weekly at the same venue. This led to a discussion on a name. Cairns Christian Spiritualist Church was decided upon and a bank account opened in that name at Northern Permanent Building Society, in Lake Street. On a Tuesday evening in October 1987 the first official open meeting was held at the Lakes Centre, having been previously advertised in the Personal Column of the Cairns Post. A good number attended and Ollie Wilson presided, being the only person to have had much experience in addressing public meetings of this nature. It soon developed into an open circle and a forum for discussion with much eager input. From that time on the meetings were attended by more and more people each week. Ollie departed Cairns quite mysteriously before Christmas of that year leaving Paula, Molly, Lesley and Michelle to run meetings and wondering if Ollie had been a figment of their imaginations. It is of interest to note that Cairns Crystal Ball Bookshop also opened for business in October 1987 quite independently of and unknown to each other. The proprietors were Ralf and Marion Wenske. Their premises were in Lake Street where Central Fitness now stands. In 1987 this area was considered well off the beaten track from the main city block. As Lesley’s work and Michelle’s parenting took priority it was left to Paula and Molly to keep things running. As both of these people now took the bulk of the responsibility meetings were scaled back to fortnightly. Not long after that, wanting to provide quality rather than quantity, they became monthly on Tuesday evenings and a monthly talk continues on a Tuesday evening to this time of writing at the CSC’s then venue on Little Street.
By the end of November 1987 other valuable input had arrived in the forms or Rene Montgomery (dec), an elderly Spiritualist of many years standing, Lois Stilson, Norm Reichart (dec), Phyllis Denham, Elizabeth Inch and Cheryl Winn (dec) with Christine Scott joining in the December of that year. The first Christmas meditation was held on a Friday night in December 1987 at Molly’s home with about fifteen people attending. Each attendee was asked to bring a children’s toy, unwrapped, to put under the Christmas tree for the spirit children to play with during the course of the evening. These toys were later given to charity. This Christmas tradition continued for several years.
THE NAME & FORMAT CHANGE. It wasn’t long before a name change was decided upon. It had been Ollie’s wish to create a church but as no one was of reverend status the majority decision was for it to be a group for spiritual and psychic learning. A decision was made to move away from strictly spiritual subjects to encompass all New Age related aspects as they were, at that time, coming to the fore. It also wished to be non-denominational so the word Christian was dropped from the title and shortly after that Church was exchanged for Group and the ‘ist’ for ‘al’, thus creating the name as it is today “Cairns Spiritual Group”. The early gatherings always seemed to be successful, always attracting more folk each time. Although Lesley Wells was an excellent medium she could not always attend. Molly had had some experience doing flower readings in Spiritualist Churches and many years of personal study behind her and Paula had the wisdom and natural vision of her Maori heritage. There was no minister, no music, no clairvoyant and yet successful meetings continued with people flowing in, all leaving with a thirst for more knowledge. Some were surprising themselves as their psychic and clairvoyant gifts started to open. The rent was always covered and the bank account was growing. Some of the people were a little shy about being seen at such ‘strange’ meetings. Many would peep round the door to see who was there before they entered. Mention must be made of the small dog that sat dutifully under its owners chair during the course of meetings. Taking the dog for a walk was the excuse of one lady to a skeptical husband so that she could come to meetings. Other people to become active in the group during its early months were, John Buzacott, Lois’ daughter Karen McMahon , Sheryl Braund, Les Sharpe (dec) and Barbara Huntley (dec.).
FIRST VISITING SPEAKERS & HELPERS. During those first months of 1987/8 the group had made contact with some of the spiritual churches around the country seeking information and advice. One of the first to respond was The Spiritual Church, Boundary Street, Brisbane. Ordained minister Frank Bruce and his wife Dorothy visited Cairns in the winter of 1988. Their input and assistance was invaluable. Frank gave a public talk and channeled address at the monthly meeting as well as holding some small groups at Molly’s home. Dorothy did some overhead clairvoyance on both of these occasions. It is doubtful that anything of this nature had been seen at a public meeting in Cairns before, and it was great encouragement for many to learn more about their own spirituality and spiritual gifts. Other visiting speakers in the early days were Psychic Artist Julie Keeffe, Clairvoyant Ray Speers and Psychic and Healer John Fraser (dec), president of A.S.H.A, all from Brisbane, and Healer and Lecturer Georgina Reagan from the U.S. Mention must be made of John Lawton (dec), a local channel and wise adviser then living at Bellenden Ker. His assistance and that of the guides working with him were of enormous help to the fledgling group. Also channeller Dan Littlewood and his guides gave valuable input.
COURSES, CLASSES AND CIRCLES. Meditation evenings were started each Wednesday evenings in late 1987 at Molly Quick’s home. Initially these were to help the development of those actively involved in running meetings, make contact with the guides and assist each other gain experience. These Wednesday groups soon opened to the public in various venues and were run by Paula Ripley, Molly Quick and later Rene Montgomery (dec) and Christine Scott. The Wednesday night meditations continue at the time of writing at Chrysalis Relaxation Centre, and include new facilitator Joy Gale. As the thirst for knowledge grew, so did the numbers attending the meetings. People were wanting more than the monthly Tuesday evenings could manage. In November of 1988 Molly held the first’ Introduction to the Psychic and Spiritual’ course in her lounge room. There were three students, John, Coral & Lou. As the demand for this course grew it became necessary to rent premises at the Neighbourhood Centre, Birch Street, Manunda on Monday nights to provide space on an ongoing basis. Extra assistance was required and this came in part from Graham and Elizabeth (dec) Connett from Port Douglas. Merryl Arthy has also been a co-facilitator for these courses. Jennifer Thomas (dec) was now a part of things. Jennifer ran a small coffee lounge in Abbott Street that she offered to the group after her business hours. Introduction Courses were held here together with a couple of workshops. Jennifer, an excellent channel, and her son, Keith, were to become regulars at Rene Montgomery’s home circle for several years. The Introduction Course still runs intermittently as demand requires with one in progress at the time of writing: September, 2003. They have been modified over the years and are presently held at Chrysalis Relaxation Centre and are facilitated by Molly Quick and Christine Scott.