Old bible card depicting Jesus feeding the 5000  The beginning of the Christian church, Bible card  Old Bible card depicting the Israelites exodus from Egypt

Old bible card depicting Jesus betrayed, John 18:1-27  Antique bible lesson card depicting the conversion of Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus  Ascension artwork old bible lesson card Acts 1:1-14

Do you remember when we used to get little bible cards at Sunday school?

Getting a card was to me the best part of attending a lesson from the bible when I would far rather have been fishing with my father. Or playing with my toys in the sandpit under the palm tree.

Although she did not go to church herself, mother made a great fuss about my sister and I attending  Sunday school which was held in an ante room of Saint Augustine’s Anglican Church in Neutral Bay.

Our curly hair was brushed a hundred times.  This painful ritual over, it was pulled into bunches — you couldn’t call them plaits—and tied with bows to match  our blue seersucker frocks, a popular textile in Sydney’s hot summer climate.

Bible Cards, or Holy Cards, were first popularised  by the Catholic faithful in the late 19th century. They were used to mark baptisms, confirmations, funerals and to celebrate important occasions in the religious calendar.

The cards spoke volumes, even though most were not larger  than the size of a postage stamp. Not simply for the inspirational message, usually a popular biblical  quote, but for the images of Jesus and Mary and the disciples, beautifully and reverently illustrated. Left blank, the reverse side was used for personal handwritten  messages.

Swapping bible cards was popular with the dozen or so children who attended our Sunday school class.

I still have a box of them. Most are a little yellow, and dog-eared from all those years ago.