Lutheran Archives Film Digitisation Appeal
When God waters your donation, who knows the ways in which it will sprout or the harvest it will produce?
Seeds that sprout
In 2014, Lutheran Archives engaged a professional conservator to conduct a Preservation Needs Assessment of your collection. When our acetate films were assessed, she reported:
The acetate film collection is in an advanced stage of deterioration and requires immediate digitisation. The reformatting of this material is the highest priority for the collection.
Each film costs $350 to digitise, including ongoing preservation. To digitise the collection it costs $60,000. For the most fragile of films, the life span available for digitisation is months. We cannot do this alone.
Lutheran Archives preserves objects and records because they enable us to tell the stories of God’s love coming to life through his church, and the stories of his grace.
Preserving these stories means nourishment and the ability to feast on the fruits of our labours, taking heart from the seeds God has watered in our ministries through times past. By partnering with us to digitise these films, you are ensuring there is a harvest of stories for our children and our grandchildren, and you are continuing to grow this orchard of stories.
Your film collection contains 140 films requiring immediate digitisation.
- They are the stories of congregations, departments and individuals across Australia and New Zealand.
- They are the stories of mission in New Guinea, Central Australia, Koonibba and Hope Vale.
- They are the stories of mission outreach through openings of girls hostels in Queensland and South Australia.
- They are the stories of the formation of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), including footage of the Declaration of Altar and Pulpit Fellowship service in 1965 and the opening of North Adelaide Seminary in 1968 – the thanksgiving project for LCA union.
Find a film close to your heart
You can choose to save the film that's close to your heart, and you can even dedicate your donation in memory of a loved one. Each film costs $350 to save. You can contribute the full amount if you wish, or part of that amount. You can save more than one film. Or you can make a general donation towards the project. The entire project will cost $60,000.
To browse the collection, click on the accordion tab below.
125 years – Thanksgiving service of Lutheran Pioneers 1963
On Sunday 17 November 1963, the UELCA held a commemorative service at Port Misery – the site where the first Lutherans landed 125 years previously. Author Colin Thiele wrote a poem for the occasion, Minister Downer spoke, and the Tanunda Town Band provided music. (We hope this is footage of this event.)
Adelaide, SA, St Stephen’s congregation activities (Film CHS/40)
A celebration of the congregation, the church and its members: the year is 1962 and it is 100 years since the congregation built its first church in Pirie Street, Adelaide. For the centenary year, congregation member Norman Drogemuller, an architect, designed a new hall and Sunday school rooms. This was dedicated at the centenary anniversary on 1 April 1962, and a plaque unveiled to commemorate those who had served during the two World Wars. A mission service was held in the evening, where our well-known friend, Mr Lou Borgelt, a member of the congregation, showed pictures of the Holy Land. And of course, Carl Schulz, St Stephen’s member, UELCA SA district treasurer, and film enthusiast, filmed the occasion. The film also includes footage of a congregation picnic and the 1956 Adelaide Christmas Pageant.
Areyonga, SA (film Areyonga)
Blackwood, SA, church dedication 1966 (film CHS/35)
The Blackwood congregation grew from a Sunday School begun by Martin Gottschall in 1960. Mainly migrant families attended. In keeping with the UELCA Metropolitan Mission program, a dual purpose worship space and hall was built on Main Road. The congregation worshipped here for 32 years before moving to their current location on Cumming Street. This is its dedication July 1966.
Blair Athol, SA (film TV8)
St Paul church and installation of an Australian Aboriginal social worker. This was a commercial TV production.
Canberra, St Peter’s Congregation ACT (Films CHS/19 & G/18)
‘As in the case of the Methodist, Church of Christ and Congregational churches, ours too is to be a "National church", not only the property of one congregation but a symbol of the UELCA in the National Capital. Thus the appeal has gone out to all our members, men, women, youth and children. It has come particularly to the youth to present the organ to this church.’ (Lutheran Youth Focus magazine, 1960). Befittingly for a national church, St Peter's served Estonian, Latvian, Finnish, German and English speaking congregations and was built in memory of those who served Australia during WWII. Land was gifted by the Commonwealth Government, the UELCA brotherhood adopted its building as their main financial project for 1956–1959, and financial gifts filtered in from all over the country. This is its dedication on 10 September 1961. For further information see the Stepping Stones column A bridge and a beacon in the July 2015 edition of The Lutheran.
College Park, SA, Girls Hostel dedication (film CHS/37)
June 1959 – the church’s young rural population is moving from the country to the city for work. The UELCA was able to accommodate men boarding at Immanuel Seminary but this is the opening of a hostel for females.
SAVED! – Funded through the 2014 South Australian History Fund Grant.
For further information see the Stepping Stones column A home away from home in the February 2012 edition of The Lutheran.
Concordia Memorial College Qld, Girls Hostel dedication (Film G/19)
Did you know that 1300 people attended the opening of the Girls Hostel on 22 May 1955? The collection at the opening services amounted to £1255 – at the time the largest collection ever to be raised in the ELCA in Australia and a testament to the local community’s commitment to Lutheran education. The college had been opened by the ELCA church nine years earlier, in 1946. Mostly those attending the college were boarders, with the girls being housed in a facility that was meant to be temporary. Building for the new Girls Hostel commenced in 1953 and opened two years later. The dedication was attended by the Queensland Deputy Premier, Mr J E Duggan, who commended the church for its outstanding work in the field of education. The girls ‘thought it almost a palace compared to the cramped quarters [they'd] been used to. It was great to have a little more privacy, [their] own dressing table … A room for table-tennis, but best of all, plenty of showers and enough baths … ’
Dankilai (film RT/11)
Dankilai is the Arrande word for ‘give thanks’. This film was produced in 1977 by Finke River Mission for the centenary of Hermannsburg mission. ‘Most important of all, it had to give thanks to God: thanks for all he has done through the Finke River Mission; thanks for the early missionaries’ faith; thanks for the work of all who have been a part of it.’ It includes multiple reels of uncut footage not included in the final production.
Declaration of Altar and Pulpit fellowship 1965 (films G1, TV/7, CHS/21)
After four decades of intense discussions, prayer and debate, the ELCA and UELCA synods joined together in 1966 to form the Lutheran Church of Australia. Before the amalgamation could take place, altar and pulpit fellowship needed to be declared. This is footage (on several films) of the 1965 service in Tanunda and at Adelaide Oval in South Australia. Services were held concurrently all over the country.
Partially funded – Through the 2014 South Australian History Fund Grant.
Eight Mile Plains, Qld, Congregation 1950–1951 (Films G13, 14 and 15)
In 1994 the church plant at Eight Mile Plains was threatened by plans to build a four-lane road through the middle of the property. The community rallied until the plans were changed. What they had fought for was a kindergarten, church, manse and hall. Years earlier, in 1947, the congregation was worshipping in a Union church, along with three other denominations. Lutheran ministries were blossoming and a home of their own was needed. It was decided to build their own Lutheran church – it was to be a church clearly visible to the community and passers-by as a reminder of the presence of God. This is the footage of building operations, undertaken primarily by the congregation themselves, of the spire being set on the tower and of the foundation stone laying and dedication.
ELCA & UELCA churches (film G/9)
This is a unique film, in that it captures both ELCA and UELCA congregations, dedications and events, including youth rallies and conventions in the 1950s. Includes Lobethal, Cheltenham, Largs, Findon, Woodville North, Renmark, Glynde, Eudunda, Blair Athol, Light Pass Straight Gate, Tanunda Langmeil, Tabor & St Johns, North Adelaide, Magill, Loxton, Point Pass, Immanuel College Walkerville, and Luther League rallies.
SAVED! – Funded through the 2014 South Australian History Fund Grant.
Elizabeth, St Peters, SA (films G/5 and part of G12)
The St Peters Elizabeth congregation (ELCA) was established through church planting initiated and supported by the Cheltenham SA ELCA Congregation. The Home Mission Board, Lutheran Men of Australia and SA Luther League all contributed financially and practically. This is footage of its foundation stone laying on 18 November 1956. For further information see the Stepping Stones column The travelling trowel in the December edition of The Lutheran.
Hermannsburg (Film CHS/20)
Unknown content – until we digitise, that is. Can you help us reveal what could be currently hidden treasures? All we know is it was filmed by UELCA treasurer Carl Schulz.
Hermannsburg: Planted by the River (film RT/7) and Like a Green Tree (film RT/8)
In September 1960, E A Mueller, Finke River Mission board member, began a tour of parishes in South Australia and Victoria. He was showing two colour films, Planted by the River and Like a Green Tree, ‘documentary in nature, highly educations, interesting and stimulating’. The films portray the history of the establishment of Hermannsburg Mission and its successes and difficulties. The films feature Albert Namatjira, translation work, and the expansion to outstations of Finke River Mission.
Hillcrest, St Johns SA, dedication 1960 (film CHS/31) (now Dernancourt congregation)
A congregation of dedicated members, worshipping in a multitude of locations for 26 years ranging from a hall, a private home and an old Methodist Church. And then at last, 1957! Land was bequest to the congregation to build their own church, which was dedicated three years later in Hillcrest. This is the dedication and opening of St Johns on 7 August 1960.
Hope Vale 1957 – Lou Borgelt Films: LAB/39 and LAB/40 (two films)
In 1957 Lou Borgelt, philanthropist, filmmaker and Lutheran, travelled to Hope Vale where he filmed some of the industries of Hope Vale mission: the sawmill in operation and cotton picking. He then ventured down to Cairns and Kuranda. This is also the year the new church was under construction at Hope Vale, although it wasn’t dedicated until the following May. In the same year, Lou and his wife Hertha returned to New Guinea, a place they hadn’t visited since 1939 where a remarkable seed was planted.
Immanuel Seminary library dedication 1960 (film G/3)
The building we now know as the Löhe Memorial Library began its life in 1882 as the hall for Whinham College where gymnastics, lectures and theatre were held. Later Whinham College became an interdenominational missionary training school: Angas College. In 1958 an appeal was launched by the UELCA to convert the hall into their library, which was dedicated in 1960. This is the footage of the dedication, on 2 October 1960. This is still the theological library for the LCA.
Indooroopilly, Qld (Film CHS/19)
A puzzle to be solved! Our film description says ‘Opening Lutheran Hall Indooroopilly’. What we know is that the Resurrection Indooroopilly congregation was formed in 1975 from the Kenmore congregation and St Peters preaching place. The new congregation worshipped in the St Peters College chapel. Three years earlier, Kenmore had bought a residential property with the aims of turning it into a worship place, but while they waited for planning approval they worshipped in a Presbyterian chapel. The formation of Resurrection in 1975 meant that they didn’t need to develop this property. This leaves us with footage of a mysterious hall dedication. What was it and where? It will remain a mystery until it is digitised.
Koonibba – Children’s Home, 1951 Jubilee, 75th anniversary in 1976
These three films document an integral part of our church ministry. More importantly, they are the stories of those that lived at the missions, available for them and their descendants.
Koonibba Golden Jubilee 1951: ‘In grateful remembrance of all those who faithfully served Koonibba during these 50 years’, it includes the opening of a playground and children playing on the swings, a sports day, the Koonibba football team, and of course, the congregation and anniversary celebratory service and devotion in the children’s home.
The Koonibba Children’s Home was established in 1913. The text for the laying of the foundation stone was ‘Jesus said: Whose shall receive one such little one in my name receives me’. Documenting daily life in the home, the footage is of the late 1940s.
1976 and the 75th anniversary of Koonibba – in 1963 the government took over the mission from the church, and then in 1975 the land was passed into Aboriginal Australian hands and has since been run by a community council.
SAVED! – Digitisation of two of these have been funded by South Australian History Fund Grants, and the third funded by Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation.
LCA seminary opening 1968 (films CHS/33 & CHS/38)
1966 was the formation of the LCA as we know it today. The thanksgiving project chosen in thankfulness for the amalgamation of the ELCA and UELCA synods was the seminary – the most tangible symbol of union, that of theological, pastoral and teacher training. This is its dedication and opening March 1968.
SAVED! – Funded through the 2014 South Australian History Fund Grant.
LCA SA District Synod: Murray Bridge 1966 (film CHS/36)
SA District conventions: November 1966 was the concluding convention for ELCA and UELCA SA District, held respectively in Holy Cross and Christ Church at Murray Bridge. It was also the first SA District convention for the newly formed LCA held in the John Dohler Hall, Murray Bridge.
LCA 2nd Synod: Albury Synod 1968 (film CHS/36 &39)
The second synod of the LCA, 1968: an opportunity to review the progress made since the amalgamation two years earlier, including doctrinal statements, the right of women to vote, and difficulties facing the new church – relationships with overseas churches, shortage of pastors and realignment of parishes.
Lou Borgelt Central Australia films 1940–1947 (films LAB 10-27; LAB 29–31; LAB 42–44; 24 films in total)
Lou Borgelt gave invaluable financial and physical support for Hermannsburg mission through his films – a legacy that is still being harvested today. We reckon that he had a lot of fun visiting Central Australia, delivering trucks and helping to build churches such as at Jay Creek. It’s all captured on film of course – events include a 28-day camel trek in the outback, culminating in climbing Ayers Rock with the noteworthiness of being the first people to do so since WWII; footage of Kuprilya Springs and the pipeline that gave water to Hermannsburg so that the mission could grow food and survive; footage of the bountiful harvest from the Hermannsburg vegetable garden; sporting festivities; driving through fields of brilliant red Sturt's Desert Peas and camping under the stars; building and repairing the church at Jay Creek and installing and turning on electric light at Hermannsburg for the very first time.
For further information see the Stepping Stones column The story of a little seed in the May 2015 edition of The Lutheran.
Loxton Riverview Rest Home opening and dedication (film CHS/34)
The day is 21 February 1965. It is the middle of UELCA SA District Synod (held in Loxton) and 45 degrees celsius. Over 1000 people attend the dedication and opening, which included the installation of the chaplain Pastor J M Larsen. The door is opened by Premier Sir Thomas Playford and the Renmark Citizens’ Silver Band provided music. The first resident moved in three days later.
LWF conference – 1957 Minneapolis (films CHS/22 and LWF/1)
These two films portray two different perspectives of the same event. CHS/22 was filmed by layman Carl Schulz, UELCA treasurer and film enthusiast, as one of the official Australian visitors from the UELCA along with Mrs W W Fritsch. The Australian delegates were Dr S P Hebart and the president-general Dr M Lohe. Footage includes the opening service, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) sessions and the youth rally – of which a contingent of Australian youth attended.
LWF/1 was the official film created by LWF – the UELCA film department would loan this film out across the country for £3/10/- per screening. The advertisement reminds us of the significance of the event and the LWF ‘Bishop Ordass of Hungary, was allowed to leave from behind the Iron Curtain [to attend the assembly and preach the opening sermon on "Christ Frees and Unites"], on the understanding that he duly return. Every phase of this Assembly is vividly portrayed, the climax being that great gathering of 100,000 Lutherans, in the large square of St Paul, Minneapolis. An amazing spectacle that must be seen to be believed.’
For further information see the Stepping Stones column A hearty welcome and a new beginning in the June 2015 edition of The Lutheran.
Mount Gambier, St Martins, SA 1972 (films G/6 and G/8)
In the decade preceding this film footage (1972) the St Martin’s congregation had experienced an amazing trebling of members. It grew from 204 members in 1961 to 633 in 1971. Amazing! Amongst other things, the films show children in the newly expanded Sunday school block and kindergarten, which was perhaps a forerunner to the establishment of the St Martins school opened 1982, and a testament to the congregation’s desire to provide Christian education.
Mystery congregation (film CHS/18)
Mystery film: all we know is that the label says ‘New Church’ and that the filmmaker is Carl H Schulz, UELCA SA District treasurer.
Narrogin, WA (Film G/2)
Did you know that in 1955 Eastern Luther Leaguers visited Katanning where they watched a film called ‘A Church is Reborn’? This is the story of the removal and dedication of your church from Langsville to Narrogin in 1954. One of the earliest congregations in WA, the congregation was formed by a farming family, Lange, and a church was built at Langsville in 1915. After World War II, families of the congregation began to move away from the area, resettling in Narrogin. The congregation chose to follow, dismantling the church and rebuilding it brick by brick in Narrogin. It was dedicated 25 July 1954. This is its story, produced by Narrogin resident Mr Comini.
New Guinea – Lou Borgelt 1939 and 1957 trips (films LAB 2–9 and LAB 32–35: 12 films in total)
1939: A cruise to New Guinea ... and the sowing of a seed that grew into a bountiful harvest.
1957: Lou Borgelt and his wife Hertha return to New Guinea nearly two decades after their initial visit. I bet they never envisaged what those intervening years would grow. They again visit the mission stations, schools in Amron and Baitabag, and visit Finschhaften and Sattelberg. In Banz they witnessed, along with 6000 others, a remarkable baptism of 115 adults. Lou’s wife Hertha participated in the procession, the arrival of Missionary Flierl is dramatised, and they celebrate the baptism with a feast.
New Guinea – Treasurer Carl H Schulz (films CHS/1–17; 23–30: 26 films in total)
Carl Schulz was the UELCA treasurer for the SA District. A member of St Stephen’s Adelaide, he was also interested in making films – a large portion of our film collection is attributed to him (see films beginning with ‘CHS’). Each year he travelled to New Guinea to audit the financial books and of course, he took footage while he was there. These are his films from the 1940s and 1950s. As with Lou Borgelt, Treasurer Schulz was involved with showing mission films to stimulate awareness and interest in the mission field – however, it is unclear if he showed his own films or predominantly those of others. At the Loxton UELCA Convention 17–20 February 1957: ‘the mission programme of our Church was also illustrated on the screen, when on Tuesday evening Missionary A Koschade screened coloured slides of the work in New Guinea, and Bro CH Schulz screened movie films taken in the metropolitan fields and in the fields of the Finke River Mission. Personal links with the mission fields were provided by the presence of Missionary Koschade and the lay missionary W Fugmann (en route to New Guinea after furlough) and of the Pastors S O Gross and P A Scherer.’ Footage includes churches, hospitals, nursing, schools, industry, Lae, the Highlands, Port Moresby and more!
Nuriootpa, St Petri: congregation activities (films G10, G11 and G12)
Jam-making to support Lutheran colleges, fetes to provide for the Tanunda Rest Home, and the foundation-stone laying for the new church in 1966. Footage of a general synod – probably the UELCA General Synod held at Nuriootpa September 1959.
Para Vista Congregation SA, dedication of church 1966 (film CHS/35)
To build a church in an expanding urban area with no existing Lutheran congregation = Para Vista: a UELCA SA District pilot mission project. Members were canvassed from doorknocking. The project was so successful the congregation outgrew the original premises (now Mattiske Funerals) and is now located on the opposite side of Montague Road. This is the dedication of the original church, July 1966.
SA Centenary 1936 – Lutheran Celebrations (Film LAB/1)
South Australia celebrated its centenary 98 years after Lutherans first migrated en masse, in 1838. As a part of the state centenary celebrations, Lutherans re-enacted the landing of the ship George Washington before progressing to filming at Klemzig, the first Lutheran village in SA and the St Stephen’s Adelaide congregation, of which the filmmaker, Lou Borgelt was a member. The first Lutherans settled as a community and had an extensive impact in colonial life in settling new communities in the Adelaide Hills and in the Barossa Valley. Newspaper accounts of the time record their industriousness in cultivating the land and in contributing to the welfare of the state. Whilst as a community they retained their German (Prussian) language and their German culture, they assimilated quickly into their new homeland – they were quick to be naturalised and were overjoyed at the religious freedom afforded them in their new country. They called themselves Australians at a time when most other colonists still thought of themselves as British.
Digitisation has been funded through the 2014 South Australian History Fund Grants.
Tanunda, SA, Rest Home dedication and opening 1952 (Film CHS/21)
At the 1945 SA District Synod for UELCA, four congregations submitted proposals for the district to build a ‘Home for the Aged’. The vote in favour was unanimous. Our filmmaker C H Schulz was appointed to the Old Folks Home Committee and with the other four committee members set about selecting a site, quickly deciding upon Tanunda and launching an appeal through the church. Owing to war delays, the foundation stone was laid five years later in February 1950 and the long-awaited day of dedication came two years later on 17 February 1952. The Tanunda Town Band played and the service was held in the open with 3000 people attending.
Tanunda, SA, St Johns congregation (Film G/16)
The film, most likely from the early 1960s and taken by a congregation member, includes footage of the Harvest Thanksgiving display. We are not sure precisely what year the footage is, but congregation minutes record that the 1960 Harvest Thanksgiving was especially significant: ‘the fruits of the field and garden which adorned our sanctuaries in such abundance were a pleasure to behold, and showed that God has been good to us despite the year of drought.’ The yield was passed on to Immanuel College and Seminary, the Tanunda Rest Home and Tanunda and Gawler hospitals. The story of the Lutheran church is intrinsically linked with rural life – until the mid-1950s the Australian Lutheran Church was predominantly a rural church. As such Harvest Thanksgiving has always been a significant celebration and time of thanks.
UELCA 14th Synod: Bundaberg 1962 (film CHS/32)
The 1962 UELCA Synod was held in St John’s church. The church had been dedicated two years prior in 1960. To this day it is the only General Synod held this far north in Australia. Of concern at the synod was the lack of progress in altar and pulpit fellowship with the ELCA – which was, at last, to occur three years later with amalgamation the following year. It was resolved at the 1962 synod that members should pray for union between ELCA and UELCA.
Download the PDF of this story.
Lou Borgelt was a mechanic in Adelaide and a Lutheran.
His hobby was taking films, and he loved to travel.
In 1939 he saw a brochure advertising a cruise to New Guinea, which he said was ‘the sowing of a seed’. Little did Lou know that the seed would grow into a mission that would build churches and a hospital, purchase trucks and equipment, and provide electric light for Hermannsburg. In fact, the sprouts from that seed ended up feeding the ministry of Lutherans at Finke River Mission and in New Guinea and Hope Vale, Queensland.
How did Lou achieve all this? It all started so simply.
He took films of the New Guinea mission sites he visited on his trip. When he returned home he showed the films, as fundraising events, across Australia. This inspired him to visit other missions, where he continued to take films and use them as fundraisers for mission. By 1977 he had held 658 film evenings.
That seed sprouted into a harvest!
You can be part of the harvest by helping us to digitise Lou’s films and others in Lutheran Archives.
We need $60,000 for 140 films.
These films enable us to tell the stories of God’s love and grace to us and through us. They will minister to our church family and the wider community.
In your film collection (on the next tab in this accordion), we're sure you'll find a film that's close to your heart. You can choose to save the one you find, and you can even dedicate your donation in memory of a loved one.
By partnering with Lutheran Archives, you can encourage our Lutheran family to grow, as we remember what God has done through people like Lou … and through people like you.
These are your stories, our stories. These are the stories that make our church alive, showing how we live God’s love. What a bountiful harvest of stories! Please help us to keep them alive.
Film Digitisation Appeal
If we haven't explained ourselves properly, or if you'd like to know more about partnering with this us on this project, please call us or write to us. We'd love to chat with you.
Rachel Kuchel – Director & Archivist
Janette Lange – Archivist
Adam Kauschke – Archivist
27 Fourth Street, Bowden SA 5007
08 8340 4009