A hand painted testimonial for John Watson Esq from the Trustees of the Kew Methodist Church. The certificate reads in part ‘Dear Sir … in view of your compulsory retirement on health grounds, from the position of Church Steward, [the Trustees] desire to express their great appreciation of your long service of over 22 years, in that and other offices in the Church. They trust that you will yet be spared many years in fellowship with our Church, and that God’s richest blessing be on you, and your family. We remain, Yours sincerely A. E. Albiston (Minister), S. Lamble (Secretary), F. S. Fitchett (Treasurer), T. J. Eaton (Trustee), C. H. Green and Hubert S. Howell (Church Stewards); March 28th 1907’. The customised certificate includes, at lower left, a turn of the century photograph of the Kew Methodist Church in Highbury Grove.
"METHODIST CHURCH. In 1881, during the ministry of Rev. W. H. Fitchett, B.A., at Hawthorn, a number of members of the denomination living at Kew considered that the time was opportune for founding a local Church. The Superintendent of the Circuit, the Rev. W. A. Quick of Richmond, met the members and formed them into a society class under the leadership of Mr. A. Brown and a Church was formally instituted at the house of Mr. T. J. Eaton, of Eglinton Street, in December, 1881. Services were regularly held for some time at the same place, and funds for purchasing a block of land were gradually collected, resulting in the present site in Highbury Grove being purchased for £350. Messrs. W. Cleverdon, A. Money, T. E. Serpell, and T. Vasey, of Hawthorn, and Messrs. A. Brown, R. Eyre, and T. J. Eaton of Kew, were appointed trustees. A public meeting was held a the Town Hall, when over £100 was raised. The Rev. John Harcourt, who had just been placed on the supernumerary list, was persuaded to undertake the charge, and commenced services in the Town Hall on 29th April, 1882, which were continued for eighteen months. A Sunday School was started, and altogether the effort progressed so satisfactorily that in October, 1882, the foundation and memorial stones of the present Church were laid by Mr James Huddart. At the tea meeting held in connection with this event nearly £200 was raised and a few months later £250 more was obtained by means of a bazaar. The contract for building Church was let for £1,200. The Sunday School celebrated its first anniversary in June, and the Church was opened on 7th October 1883, the preachers on the occasion being Revs. E. J. Watkin, S. Chapman, and John Harcourt, the collections amounting to £230. Towards raising these sums of money the ladies of the congregation helped very materially. In 1886 the foundation stone of a Sunday school, to cost about £900, was laid by Mrs. H Berry, the building being opened in April 1887. During the same year the Church was enlarged. In 1889 parsonage was erected, and again arrangements had to be made for a further enlargement of the Church, at a cost of nearly £2,000. The foundation stones of the tower were laid by Rev J. Harcourt, and of the transepts by Mrs. Job Smith and Mrs. John Watson. These additions were made during the ministry of Rev. P. R. C. Ussher, the first minister appointed to Kew by conference. He has been succeeded by Revs. Henry Howard, J. de Q. Robin, J. J. Brown, J. G. Wheen, A. E. Albiston, M.A., and F. J. Nance, M.A., who is at present ably filling the pulpit. For the musical portion of the services, the Church has been greatly indebted to the enthusiasm of Mr. C. Gardner, the leader of the choir, and Mr. C. E. Gardner, the organist. The Sunday School has had a number of excellent workers, among whom may be mentioned Messrs. Burchett, Allum, Hillard, Tonkin, Dent, Avery, McDonald, Green, and B. Hoadley, who have acted as Superintendents, and Messrs. Arnall and McCaghern as Secretaries. The present trustees are Messrs. H. Berry, Job Smith, A. Hoadley, F. Vial, C. Powers, H. L. Carnegie, C. H. Green, W. R. Rylah, E. M. Tonkin, S. Gaylard, J. Gregory, J. R. McDonald, T. J. Eaton, F. S. Fitchett, and S. Lamble; Society Stewards, T. J. Eaton and B. Hoadley; Poor Stewards, G. Hinchliffe and G. Fraser; Church Stewards, C. H. Green and G. Hinchliffe; Treasurer, F. S. Fitchett; Secretary, S. Lamble."
Source: FGA Barnard, Jubilee History of Kew, Victoria, 1910
Commemorative tributes were regularly produced in the 19th and early 20th Century to honour community service. Most were adapted from traditional lithographed models. This example, while created within a formal lithographed border has been transmuted into the equivalent of an illuminated document, hand-painted, and therefore rare. The use of flowers in the design emphasises the sentimental and spiritual aspects of the certificate. The document is a rare unique record of the Kew Methodist Church's history.