“Those who were most successful at mining in this area were either Cornish people, who had experience at mining, or ex-convicts, who had been taught by the British Government how to use picks and shovels. Both classes of people were physically ready for the strenuous work required for winning the gold. The Bendigo area required dry mining procedures, but some water was still needed even for this. So, the population rose and fell according to the yearly rainfall pattern. Any new discovery of gold in some other district would lead to a new rush., This could cause a greater part of the population in a district suddenly to disappear. So, if even a large community existed in a certain place, very little of it might exist three months later.”(Robert Evans, EARLY EVANGELICAL REVIVALS IN AUSTRALIA A Study of Surviving, Published Materials about Evangelical Revivals in Australia up to 1880 Research in Evangelical Revivals 2007 last accessed 11/2/2013 http://revivals.arkangles.com/docs/EarlyEvangelicalRevivalsInAustralia.pdf)
The landscape was unforgiving, hot, dry and dusty with floods and fire, those that survived were strong, tough and at times fierce. There was an ebb and flow of population due to the gold fields and the presence of water which made establishing community a little bit harder than it may have been otherwise.
The importance of churches and schools was not only as the hub of community life but to ensure that fabric of the community was educated and strong. The church also provided
“about the only recreation for the steady part of the diggings' population, and served to counteract in others, in some degree, the attractions of the dram shop and the dancing and gambling saloons.” (Robert Evans, EARLY EVANGELICAL REVIVALS IN AUSTRALIA A Study of Surviving, Published Materials about Evangelical Revivals in Australia up to 1880 Research in Evangelical Revivals 2007 last accessed 11/2/2013 http://revivals.arkangles.com/docs/EarlyEvangelicalRevivalsInAustralia.pdf)When the Ebbott’s arrived in area there was already the beginning of the Methodist church community as there were four places
“occupied as Churches on the Creek, two being only tents and other two weatherboard”(W.L. Blamires and John B. Smith, The early story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria, A jubilee volume. Published 1886 by Wesleyan Book Depot in Melbourne. Accessed 11/2/2013 at http://archive.org/details/earlystoryofwesl00blam)
so work began in earnest to establish a spiritual base which came to fruition in 1856 when a new Church was built of stone at Chapel Hill. John’s father wasn't just raising and lending money to the church (Accounting Records Wesleyan Church Chapel Hill, Fryers Creek 1856) he was listed on the Wesleyan Preachers' Plan for Castlemaine Circuit 1854 He also worked assiduously as a as local preacher and class leader.
These activities became a dominating feature of the Ebbott’s family life. Later both John, and his brother Philip and Frederick all became heavily involved in the ongoing church movement and would later become very influential members, and leaders. Membership numbers in the church were bolstered by revivals both at a local and state level that swept through the area regularly.