William and Marguerite Lock were missionaries to Papua New Guinea.
William Norman Lock, one of twelve children, was born on August 8, 18871 at Wanderah, a small settlement in South Australia2. Parents, Robert and Emma Lock, were wheat farmers in the Lower Broughton area near Wanderah. Robert was a big man, standing 6 foot 6 inches, a gentle giant, honest and hardworking, known for his punctuality and love of cricket.
Marguerite (Molly) Elsie Beck was born in the small rural town of Oraroo in South Australia3, one of five children. At age thirteen she came home from school one day to find her mother dead on the floor of the kitchen. To help the Budd/Beck family the oldest daughter in the Lock family, Elsie, went to live with the Budd/Beck family as a domestic. From time to time William Lock would visit the Budd/Beck home when he was conveying Elsie to work on his bicycle.4
Pastors Butz and Hubbard came to the small town of Crystal Brook, nearby to Ororoo and Wanderah to present an evangelistic series. They erected a large tent in which to conduct the meetings. As a result of the program, grandma Budd, Molly Beck, Elsie, and Edward Lock were baptised into the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. Molly attempted to share what she had learned with William, but he dismissed what she was saying: “I've been a Methodist all my life and that is what I will be for the rest of my life.”5 Eventually William accepted a book Molly wanted to share with him, His Glorious Appearing, and he read it from cover to cover. The more he read the more convicted he became. He was impressed to attend the annual SDA convention in Adelaide and at the camp in March 1908 was baptised into the fellowship of the SDA Church.6
William's education ended with primary school but while working at timber cutting, he desired to do something better for his Lord. Someone suggested Literature Evangelism.7 After a short period of training, William commenced canvassing books, including Heralds of the Morning.8 Such was his success that he decided he could support a wife.
Marriage and Early Ministry
William and Molly were married on February 25th 1911.9 Plans were made to attend Avondale College in 1912. Toward the end of 1911 a request came for them to minister at Broken Hill. Should they take up this position they were promised financial assistance to study at Avondale Missionary College.10
William and Molly attended a Literature Evangelist's seminar in Warburton towards the end of 1912.11 As the seminar ended a leader in the church approached William to join with the New South Wales Conference as Publishing Director. He accepted as “State Canvassing Agent.” His official title, however was “Field Missions Secretary.” Appointments to West Australia as Field Missions Secretary (1915 -1919), Victoria as Home Missions Secretary (1920 – 1921) and then back to West Australia as Home and Field Missions Secretary (1922 – 1924) followed.12 During this time four children had been born into the home: Elsie Jean on February 11, 1913 at Auburn, New South Wales; Lester Norman on April 24, 1916 at Subiaco, Western Australia; Lois Wilma on October 11, 1920 at East Prahan, Victoria; and Homer Maynard Robert on January 1, 1923 at Subiaco, Western Australia.13
Service in Papua
Early in 1924 with preparations for the Perth camp meeting underway, President H. E. Piper often visited to inspect preparations and encourage those who were working to prepare for the camp. On one such visit he handed William a letter with the comment, “you may be interested in this”.14 The letter contained an invitation for the family to go to Papua as Mission Superintendent pioneering the work of the Church along the Kokoda Trail, and establishing a mission station at Efogi, about half way between Port Moresby and the highest point on the Owen Stanley Ranges. After much prayer and discussion the invitation was accepted. Nurse Emily Heise joined them at Brisbane.
Arriving in Port Moresby, Papua, on July 16, 1924, the missionaries were met by Pastor Gerald Peacock and several indigenous young men dressed in white loincloths. The missionaries remained overnight at the mission station at Ela Beach, then rose early the next morning ready to start the 27-mile journey to Bisiatabu on the Sogeri plateau behind Port Moresby. This was to be accomplished utilising a buggy, two saddle horses and three pack horses. After several buggy breakdowns, a change from buggy to saddle horses, and, finally, many miles walking, they finally arrived at Bisiatabu in darkness accompanied by escorts with lamps. They remained at Bisiatabu for some time making preparations for the trip to Efogi while beginning to learn the language of the people. Meanwhile William made a number of trips to Efogi to make preparations for the construction of a house for them to occupy. The house was constructed by Albert Bateman. Its roof was thatched with grass, internal partitions were of hessian, floorboards were hacked from logs using tomahawks and smoothed a little by adze.15 With the house complete, the task of moving the family, now including three children, to their home at Efogi could proceed. The day before leaving Bisiatabu to journey to Efogi was a Sabbath. On that day William conducted at Bisiatabu his first baptism in which eight men and three women joined the fledgling church.16
The journey to Efogi along the Kokoda trail took six difficult days. With the family settled, work could begin, including school for the local villagers. A phoenetic script was utilised to convert the local Melanesian language into written form. Limitations in the language became evident. There was no word for 'life' but there was a word for 'death.' There were numbers one to ten, but after that it was just 'more.’ As some confidence with the language was acquired, translating some hymns was undertaken. Singing in the local language impressed minds with the gospel while picture rolls were used to illustrate Bible stories. For two and a half years the Lock family lived and worked at Efogi, all the time making many trips to Bisiatabu then back up the trail to Efogi. No baptisms came from those years of work. However, shortly after leaving Efogi, William returned to baptise a much feared man by the name of Faole. This was in 1927. In the meantime, at the end of 1926, William had travelled to Sydney for the annual meeting of the church and was ordained to the ministry.
When Pastor and Mrs. Peacock were transferred to the Solomon Islands, it was decided that the Locks should move back to Bisiatabu. Moving back to Bisiatabu would be difficult as Molly was pregnant with her fifth child. A stretcher was built and strong mountain men carried her carefully and gently all the way to Bisiatabu. Charles and Evelyn Mitchel replaced them at Efogi. Earle Maxwell Lock was born on September 30, 1926 in Papua.
With the work at Efogi and Bisiatabu progressing well William decided it was time to move along the coast of Papua. It proved difficult, however to obtain freehold land on which to establish a mission station. A conversation with the manager of Burns Philp in Port Moresby encouraged William to start work along the coast east of Port Moresby. Burns Philp had freehold land in the Marshall Lagoon at Korela that the company was willing to sell and another parcel at Pelagi on the Aroma coast. In 1929 William inspected the land. He advised the mission headquarters of its availability and suitability. Word came back to proceed with negotiations to buy. A mission station was established at Korela. Charles and Evelyn Mitchel were transferred from Efogi and later Faole, who had been working as a minister was appointed to evangelise in the area.
William decided the time had come to extend the work into the Gulf Province. He booked passage on a coastal steamer and travelled west arriving at the Vailala River. Mr. Puxley, manager of a nearby coconut plantation, identified a piece of freehold land that might be suitable for a mission station. After inspection, decisions were made to purchase the land at Belepa. A request was made for an additional missionary. George and Christina Engelbrecht accepted the invitation to locate at Belepa and the work of the Church commenced.
As progress was made, William and his committee realised it was becoming necessary to have a centralised training school. A small parcel of freehold land, near the village of Tubusereia, was located that was owned by a Dr. Simpson. William discovered an additional piece of land adjoining Simpson’s plot, but it was crown land. Application to the government to lease the land was approved. Approval came due in part to the excellent reports government school inspectors had given of other Adventist Mission schools. Guiroha, later Mirigeda, became the site for this new school with buildings recycled from a nearby abandoned mine site. William and family moved to Mirigeda, to establish what became known as the Mirigeda Training School.
Mirigeda soon became the centre of mission operations. Nearby a good anchorage was available for the mission boats, Matamana and Diari. A suitable anchorage was becoming increasingly necessary as sea transportation became the principal mode of transport visiting along the Papuan coast.
In 1937 Ken and Dorothy Gray joined the staff of the school. William shared his dream with them: “We introduce them to Christianity and teach them to read and write and do simple sums . . . The real hope for our work lies in their children. Some of these piccaninnies are bright youngsters. We'll have a high school someday, maybe even a college to train them to become ministers, teachers, nurses, maybe even doctors . . .”17
After 17 years working in Papua the Lock family returned to Australia. During the war years William was Superintendent of the North Queensland Mission. Four years later the family was moved to their home state of South Australia where William served as Conference Departmental Leader and Pastor of the Adelaide City Church for ten years.18 When retirement came in 1955, he and Molly moved to Cooranbong to be near family. While in Cooranbong William, always active, developed an extensive garden in the back yard of the home and from that helped feed many a hungry family or student in the Cooranbong community. Molly died in the Kurri Kurri, New South Wales hospital on March 26, 1961 and is buried in the Avondale cemetery.19 Subsequently William married Amelia (Millie) Rosendahl (Bree) (1889-1989)20 at Sunnyside in Cooranbong.
When Ken and Dorothy Gray attended the opening of Pacific Adventist College in 1983, the occasion provided opportunity to remember and reminisce. Talking with Lester Lock (William's son) Dorothy remembered the words of William back in 1937. She recalled that, “even in those days Taubada Lock told us that he dreamed of seeing the educational work expand and improve until it provided national teachers and ministers who could work for their people.”21
William Lock passed quietly to his rest on September 23, 198222 and is buried in the Avondale Cemetery beside Molly. The inscription on his headstone includes the word “Taubada,” a name of honour and respect given him by the Papuan people. Nearby are other family members including the first little Australian girl, Lois Sidney (Lock), to walk the Kokoda Trail to Efogi.
Summary of Service
|Literature Evangelist||South Australian Conference||Mar 1910–Dec1911|
|Field Missions Secretary||New South Wales Conference||1912–1914|
|Field Missions Secretary||West Australian Conference||1915–1919|
|Home Missions Secretary||Victorian Conference||1920–1921|
|Home and Field Missions Secretary||West Australian Conference||1922–1924|
|Superintendent||North Queensland Mission||1942–1945|
|Field Pastor||South Australian Conference||1946–195523|
“Among the South Sea Islands.” ARH, May 28, 1925.
“An effort is being made…” Australasian Record, September 10, 1917.
Boehm, E. A. “Bisiatabu Trains Leaders.” Australasian Record, January 15, 1962.
“But their places…” Australasian Record, October 31, 1921.
Chapman, A. G. “Breaking New Ground-Part 6.” Journal of Pacific Adventist History, December 2, 2003.
Fulton, J. E. “Report from Australasian Division.” ARH, June 11, 1926.
Fulton, J. E. “Work in Australia.” ARH, April 6, 1925.
“Here at Bisiatabu…” Australasian Record, March 28, 1932.
“Lock, Amelia Bree Rosendahl.” Obituary Citation, Adventist Review, December 16, 1989. Accessed June 23, 2019. https://encore.andrews.edu/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3524795__SLock%2C__Ff%3Afacetcollections%3A2%3A2%3ASDA%20Obituaries%3A%3A__P0%2C1__Orightresult__U__X6?lang=eng&suite=cobalt.
Lock, W. N. “A Second Visit to Efogi.” ARH, June, 4, 1925.
Lock, W. N. “A Visit to Vilirupu.” ARH, July 11, 1929.
Lock, W. N. “An Advent Movement in New Guinea.” The Missionary Leader, March 1925.
Lock, W. N. “Birth of a New Paper.” The Missionary Leader, Nov 1941.
Lock, W. N. “Busy Days at Mirigeda.” The Missionary Leader, September 1938.
Lock, W. N. “Faole.” The Missionary Leader, May 1927.
Lock, W. N. “From One to 20,000 in Papua.” ARH, August 8, 1968.
Lock, W. N. “In the Wiles of Papua, South Pacific.” ARH, May 21, 1934.
Lock, W. N, “Itinerating by Aeroplane in West Australian.” ARH, March 6, 1924.
Lock, W. N. “Itinerating in New Guinea.” The Missionary Leader, December 1927.
Lock, W. N. “Itinerating in Papua.” ARH, July 9, 1931.
Lock, W. N, “Itinerating in Papua.” ARH, August 6, 1931.
Lock, W. N. “Letter from Pastor Lock.” Australasian Record, November 18, 1929.
Lock, W. N. “New Arrivals.” The Missionary Leader, June 1927.
Lock, W. N. “New Guinea.” Australasian Record, October 4, 1926.
Lock, W. N. “Opening Work in a New District, Papua.” The Missionary Leader, June 1930.
Lock, W. N. “Papuan Training School.” The Missionary Leader, November 1934.
Lock, W. N. “Papua’s Day of Opportunity.” The Missionary Leader, July 1929.
Lock, W. N. “Seeking a New Mission Site in New Guinea.” The Missionary Leader, April 1927.
Lock, W. N. “Seeking a New Road from Efogi, New Guinea, to the Coast.” ARH, April 29, 1926.
Lock, W. N. “Starting a New Mission in Papua.” The Missionary Leader, March 1933.
Lock, W. N. “The Mountain Trail.” ARH, September 26, 1929.
Lock, W. N. “The Sabbath at Bisiatabu, Papua.” The Missionary Leader, September 1927.
Lock, W N. “Then and Now.” Australasian Record, August 12, 1974.
Lock, W. N. “Yaba Nobea.” Australasian Record, July 16, 1928.
Lock, W. N. (Mrs). “Around the Field in Papua.” The Missionary Leader, May 1936.
Lock, W. N. (Mrs). “Visiting Sabbath Schools in Papua.” The Missionary Leader, May 1933.
Lock, W. N. (Mrs). “Women of Papua.” The Missionary Leader, June 1930.
“Pastor W. N. Lock writes…” Australasian Record, May 30, 1927.
Meyers, C. K. “To the Mission Field.” ARH, January 1, 1925.
“Mrs Piper and…” Australasian Record, February 25, 1924.
“New Openings in New Guinea.” ARH, June 20, 1927.
“Pastor and Mrs W N Lock…” Australasian Record, June 25, 1928.
Piper, H. E. “Ernest Morris obituary.” Australasian Record, November 14, 1921.
“Presidents Symposium.” Australasian Record, October 8, 1945.
”Sending an article…” ARH, June 4, 1931.
“South Australia.” Australasian Record, September 5, 1910.
Stewart, A. G. “Itinerating in Papua.” Australasian Record, November 11, 1929.
Stockton, H. “Encouraging News from Papua.” ARH, October 6, 1932.
Stockton, H. “Missionary Volunteers in the South Pacific.” ARH, December 1, 1932.
Todd, J. “South Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, June 18, 1928.
Tolhurst, L. P. “The Kokoda Trail.” Australasian Record, February 23, 1985.
Turner, W. G. “Answering the Call of the Wild.” ARH, December 5, 1940.
Watson, C. H. “The Spirit is Being Poured Out on Savage People.” ARH, August 25, 1932.
“West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, December 2, 1921.
“West Australian Conference.” Australasian Record, December 6, 1915.
“Western Australia.” Australasian Record, December 3, 1917.
District of Clare, South Australia, Birth Certificate, Book no. 402 (1887), William Norman Lock, 215.↩
Glynn L. Lock, Lock Lines, (Self Published, 2003), 133.↩
Lester N. Lock, Locks That Opened Doors, (Warburton, Victoria: Lester Lock, ca. 2001), 10.↩
William Norman Lock Worker’s Biographical Record., South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Lock, William Norman.” Document: “Worker’s Biographical Record.”↩
Lock, Locks That Opened Doors, 11.↩
Lock Biographical Record.↩
Lock, Locks That Opened Doors, 11.↩
Lock Biographical Record.↩
Lock, Locks That Opened Doors, 14.↩
The history of the service of William and Molly Lock in Papua is summarised from William N. Lock, “Pioneering in the Land of the Fuzzy Wuzzies,” n.d., unpublished memoir, personal collection of Glynn Lock, 27 - 52.↩
Goldie Down, When Father Disappeared, (Hornsby, New South Wales: Eben Publishers, 1994), 42.↩
Lock Biographical Record.↩
W. G. Turner, “Lock, Margaret Elsie Lock,” Australasian Record, May 9, 1961, 14.↩
“Lock, Amelia Bree Rosendahl,” Obituary Citation, Adventist Review, December 16, 1989, accessed June 23, 2019, https://encore.andrews.edu/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3524795__SLock%2C__Ff%3Afacetcollections%3A2%3A2%3ASDA%20Obituaries%3A%3A__P0%2C1__Orightresult__U__X6?lang=eng&suite=cobalt.↩
Down, When Father Disappeared, 143.↩
J. B. Keith, “Pastor William N. Lock,” Australasian Record, vol. 88, no. 1, Jan 15, 1983, 14.↩
William Norman Lock Sustentation Record. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Lock, William Norman.” Document: “Sustentation Fund Record.”↩