The Salvation Army, Parramatta

The Salvation Army, Parramatta

The Salvation Army, Parramatta (abbreviated to PSA) is a Salvation Army Corps located in the CBD of Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.[1] It is one of the oldest active Salvation Army Corps in Australia. It is the largest of its kind within the Greater-West Division. Situated in the western suburbs of Sydney it has survived two World Wars, an arson attack, and countless other disasters, it has been led by some of the most prominent Australian Salvation Army officers of the modern era, it has held onto the traditional Salvation Army image by maintaining a Brass Band and Timbrel Brigade since its inception, and, most importantly, its soldiers have ministered to the people of Parramatta and the surrounding regions for over 120 years.



The Salvation Army first came to Australia in 1880, Parramatta Corps opened four years later in 1884. The first leaders of the Corps were quite young by comparison to what was later regarded an appropriate age to command a Corps. They were also all men, John Dean, George Walker and Matthew Thompson made a name for the movement through meetings held at the local Masonic Hall. Within the first two months Matthew Thompson was viciously attacked and killed, though no charges were laid.

The Corps grew rapidly which allowed for the first Citadel to be built in 1919.

The current building was erected in 1969.[2]


Parramatta Easy English Congregation (or P.E.E.C) refers to a group of people that attend a 9.30am meeting at Parramatta Citadel on a Sunday. This worship service is aimed for people who use English as a second language. It is usually followed by a morning tea.[3]

Brass Band

Parramatta Citadel Band (PCB), part of Parramatta Salvation Army, is a typical Salvation Army Band with a membership of approximately 30-35 people. The band is the largest Salvation Army brass band in Sydney and is also one of the youngest by average age. It has existed uninterrupted for close to a century. Active within the corps and community alike, PCB has become a feature of the Parramatta area.


The bands purpose is to minister the word of God to the people of Parramatta and its surrounding area's through the use of music found in the Salvation Army Brass Band Tune Books, they also commonly use arranged music of both secular and Christian origin for open-airs and concerts. The motto of the Band is derived from psalm 150: "Praise Him with Melody." [4] The band also provides accompaniment for worship during Sunday church services (referred to in Salvation Army circles as "meetings").

The Band

PCB is currently under the leadership of Graham Ainsworth. It is considered a large brass band (as far as Corps bands go) and currently consists of the following:

In The Community

The band has been part of Parramatta Corps for some time and is beloved by both Salvationists and Non-Salvationists alike. PCB is a common feature at the annual dawn service on ANZAC Day and features "around town" playing Christmas carols from mid-November to December 25 of each year.


PCB has been on overseas tours but their last one was some time ago. It is also common for them to attend other Salvation Army Corps on "band trips", the most recent being to Dubbo, Perth and Hamilton (in Newcastle). In June 2007, they made a trip to Forbes, and in August travelled to Gosford.


For some time, to be able to join the band, it was necessary to be enrolled as a Soldier of The Salvation Army. This rule, however, has been relaxed in recent years, but under the pretence that the individual is looking to be enrolled at some point in the immediate future. Many people were wary of allowing this to occur, but having seen the impact joining the band has on younger players, soon warmed to it.


The ‘Songsters’ have been a long-standing fixture of the Parramatta Corps. Songsters are a four part choral group that aim to bring the message of Jesus Christ to those that don't know him and also bless the congregation each Sunday through song. The group toured Asia in June 2001 and Perth in 2006, as well as other New South Wales regional centres such as Tamworth and Dubbo. The group also sings within the community at Christmas time, sharing carols and Christmas songs in shopping centres and carol services.

Through a program of modern, relevant music, evangelistic concerts, prayer and caring community, the Parramatta Songsters have become one of the premier Salvation Army choirs in Australia, boasting a wide range of generations within their healthy membership.

As well as providing musical support for the Sunday church services at Parramatta Corps, the Songsters are active with a busy concert schedule and have just finished their first CD record, released with an album launch concert on the 1st June 2008

The songsters are supported by a small ensemble of fine musicians on instruments including piano, bass guitar, and drums, and led by Songster Leader Nicola Poore, assisted by Deputy Songster Leader Elwyn Humbley.

YP Band

The Standard of The Salvation Army, of which the YP Band marches under.

The Parramatta YP (Young Peoples) Band is a brass band and was formed in 1944, its main objective is to provide a medium in which young people can worship God (through the playing of brass instruments) and also partake in fellowship with other like-minded young men and women. The band is made up of young people ranging from ages 7 to 23 and has experienced varying levels of membership over the years. In previous years up to 35 players were regularly involved, but currently there are more like 12-14. It currently consists of:

  • 7 Cornets
  • 2 Tenor Horns
  • 1 Baritone
  • 1 Euphonium
  • 1 Trombone
  • 1 EEb Bass

The Parramatta YP Band has toured all around New South Wales, this usually consists of a Saturday night concert, followed by a worship service at the local Salvation Army Corps on the Sunday morning. The men that have led the YP Band over the years have been some of the finest musicians in the state and include the likes of Bandmasters (B.M(s)) Ray Entwistle, Ian Roberts, David Godkin, and Rodney Everett.

The current YP Bandleader is Mark Roberts. He has been in this role since October 2005.

Children's Ministry

The Children's Ministry has been given the title of YP (or "young people"). The YP is overseen by the Young People's Sergeant Major (or YPSM), which is currently Kylie Maxwell.

Parramatta Corps provides groups for both children and adolescents. These groups are often led by Soldiers of the Corps and include:

Mini God Squad (previously Primary)

Mini God Squad is held on Sundays prior to the morning meeting and is often involves games, activities, music and Bible stories for children from 2 years of age until they complete year 2 at school. It is a basic introduction to Christianity.

God Squad (previously Sunday School)

God Squad is held prior to the meeting on Sunday. It aims to teach the values of the Christian faith and often involves games and live music for children of primary school age. The live music is of a contemporary nature and features songs from current Christian groups. It is sung by the children with an accompaniment of drums, bass guitar and electric guitar.

Junior Soldiers

Junior Soldiers is held during the morning meeting on a Sunday morning, the children usually attend the "worship segment" of the meeting and then depart to a separate part of the Citadel. It is an age-specific discipleship model for children aged 5–14 years and aims to increase the children's knowledge and understanding of Bible truth as well as The Salvation Army's doctrines and history.

The program consists of a weekly teaching time and an award scheme. The award work allows the Junior Soldiers to complete tasks that help them to understand how they can daily live out their Christian faith. Every Corps is compelled to have someone to oversee this program, this person is formally known as the Junior Soldier Sergeant.

The Current Junior Soldier Sergeant is James Lloyd, he has been in this position since early 2005.


Youth is a general term that refers those aged 13–21. The "youth" are overseen by current Youth Pastor Sean Harrison, he has held this position since January 2007. The following groups are available for "youth" to attend:

Junior Youth

Junior Youth (or JY's) is for high school aged teenagers and is held fortnightly at Parramatta Corps' Function Centre. This normally falls on a Friday night and mostly includes games and food. It has proved extremely popular with numbers growing from an initial four, to over fifteen.

Youth Group

Is for those aged 16 and over. Events are held sporadically throughout the calendar year. These include but are not limited to movie nights, beach trips, karaoke box socials and disco's. Also, an annual weekend called "House Party" gives the youth two days away together in which they share in worship, activities and many late nights.

TRIBE (previously Corps Cadets)

Tribe is held prior to the morning meeting on a Sunday and is for teenagers from 13–17 years of age. It offers a four year curriculum of teaching material with a balance of Bible teaching, faith issues and Salvation Army doctrine, principles and practices focusing on issues teenagers have today.

It is hoped that after four years, the young person has touched every Salvation Army doctrine, various ethics issues and a range of Bible teaching from Genesis through to the Revelation. Some Army history is presented as well.

Many decide to become enrolled as Corps Cadets as a sign of their commitment to service through the Army (seen by many as the final step before becoming a Soldier). But regardless of whether the youth decide to be enrolled, they are still permitted to partake in all Corps Cadet activities.

PSAFC Generals

A 'Generals' player in action

Parramatta Corps is the home of the Parramatta Salvation Army Football Club, the 'Generals'[1]. PSAFC is a member club of the New South Wales Churches Football Association. They are a Senior team that play in the NSWCFA's Raahauge Cup 1. Little is known about the history of the club other than that it has existed in several stints over the past 30 years. The records that are available indicate that Parramatta Salvation Army, as they were known then, tasted success in 1992, as All-Age Division 4 Runners-up and in 1994, as All-Age Division 3 Premiers. On both these occasions the teams were under the coaching of Arthur Hodge. (This team also notoriously received a 'lifetime ban' from participating in Church competition in the mid-1990s. In a game against a team from Lidcombe Catholic Church a player, in an unprovoked attack assaulted one of our players causing serious facial injuries. Both police and ambulance were called. As a result both the Lidcombe team and the player were banned for life. Successful Police prosecution against the player in question resulted in guilty charges of 'causing grievous bodily harm". The players from the Salvation Army chose not to play in the following years.

Some 10 years later (in 2006) the ban was unprecedentedly lifted.) They currently field both a first and reserve grade side. This new generation of players saw Daniel Evans take over as "Club President" and Mark Roberts step in as "Club Secretary".[5]

2007 season

In the 2007 season the first grade team lost only 1 regular league match, finishing in 1st place on the ladder. They qualified for the grand final but lost 1-0. The reserve grade team put in a much improved effort from the previous season finishing 7th on the table. Both teams also qualified for the quarter final's of their respective cup knock-out competitions.[6]

2008 season

In 2008 the Generals moved into the 1st division of the Raahauge Cup. They struggled to meet the new standards of this division and failed to win many games.[7]

Endorsement from the General

The team was thrilled when they received a personal message from the General which, among other things, said:

"May you prepare diligently, play hard but fair, being generous in victory and gracious in defeat. May you devote equal application, skill and flair to your witness and evangelism through sport. May your friendships and contacts prove to be bridges for others into faith in Jesus Christ."[8]

Other Australian Salvation Army Corps


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