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Heritage symposium draws international delegates

Heritage symposium draws international delegates

Heritage symposium draws international delegates

1 August 2018

The presenters for last weekend's Historical Society symposium on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

By Simone Worthing

“History – a collection of memories or a collective myth” was the theme for The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory’s Historical Society, Brisbane Chapter, held on the Sunshine Coast from 27-29 July.

Fiona Simpson MP (pictured below), officially opened the symposium on the Friday night, focusing on the importance of history in re-shining the light of God, through his followers, down through the years.

Commissioner James Condon gave the evening’s keynote address. “We need to keep alive the spirit of our history and our forebears as it inspires, motivates, challenges us and shapes our future,” he said.

“We need to learn how to recognise myths and to gather truth about events and experiences ... we need to present a truthful perspective of our history for the present and future generations so they can learn from it.”

Australian and international guest speakers presented at the symposium including Major Keith Hampton, author, musician and corps officer in Redcliffe, Queensland; Dr David Malcolm Bennett, Christian researcher and writer based in Brisbane; and New Zealand Officer, writer and historian Major Kingsley Sampson.

American Nanci Gasiel (pictured below), historian and Historical Museum Director of The Salvation Army USA Central Territory Historical Museum, also attended the symposium and spoke about “Doughnut Fact and Fiction: The Myth of the Doughnut Helmet”.

Her presentation focused on the 244 Salvation Army male and female War Service Workers who were sent to France and Germany to provide humanitarian aid to the US military forces during World War One and its aftermath.

Major Sampson recounted stories of Australian Salvation Army officers who served as New Zealand chaplains in World War One, and Dr Bennett spoke about Catherine Booth’s letters to her parents, Sarah and John Mumford.

Other topics focused on The Salvation Army during the time of Australian Federation, the myth of The Salvation Army as a “community of believers” and structural change in the Australia Eastern Territory from 1975-2015.

A new Salvationists biography was launched and an announcement made that Catherine Booth’s letters to her parents, and a book on The Salvation Army New Zealand’s war ministry would both soon be available. 

The Saturday evening featured songs, stories and music, based on the theme “Lest we Forget – a tribute to Salvation Army service in the First World War”.

Many delegates attended the Maroochydore Corps holiness meeting on the Sunday, before the final afternoon session.

Garth Hentzschel, president of The Salvation Army Historical Society, Brisbane Chapter, educator and PhD candidate in Salvation Army history, organised the symposium with his team. He also delivered several presentations including an investigation into songs.

A major feature was a panel made up of international experts who answered difficult questions around Army history.

“The aim of the symposium is already taking hold of those who attended,” said Garth. “I have received communication that some are questioning and looking for proof. From this they will find a deeper truth and the providence of God in history.”

For more information on the Salvation Army Historical Society and future events go to

For additional information, please email Garth at



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