Dam­aged church open again

Central Telegraph - - NEWS - Aden Stokes Aden.Stokes@cqnews.com.au

WOWAN Unit­ing Church held it’s first ser­vice this month after be­ing swept away in the 2012 floods.

The his­toric build­ing will also be cel­e­brat­ing 95 years next month.

Wowan Unit­ing Church, or Wowan Methodist Church as it was known back in the day, had its stump­ing cer­e­mony in 1923 and was the very first church erected in the com­mu­nity.

In the 2012 floods the church was se­verely dam­aged when it was un­der­mined, and the porch and steps were pulled away from the church.

It was thanks to one Wowan lo­cal that the church was able to re­open and hold its first ser­vice since the flood­ing.

“There was a lot of work to be done and the con­gre­ga­tion didn’t have the money, so they came to the con­clu­sion the church was to be de­mol­ished,” Wowan and Dis­trict Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Dot Nut­ley said.

“I knew it was the first church in Wowan and I didn’t want to see it de­mol­ished.

“They told me it was go­ing to be bull­dozed and dumped.

“I was ap­proached by some parish­ioners of the church and they asked me if I would take it. I said ‘Yes please’.”

Tak­ing the church with­out hes­i­ta­tion, Ms Nut­ley knew

❝I knew it was the first church in Wowan and I didn’t want to see it de­mol­ished. — Dot Nut­ley

she had a hard road ahead of her, as the church needed a lot of work.

“I have had a lot of help along the way,” she said.

“The in­sur­ance paid to get it moved across the road to the mu­seum and it was thanks to Jupiter’s Casino that we got the ramp.

“A cou­ple of years ago, a bus of 42 Bris­bane Univer­sity stu­dents came through town and re­newed my faith in the younger gen­er­a­tion.

“They hopped off the bus, I had all the clean­ing gear ready and they just got stuck in.

“They pulled the car­pet up and cleaned all the walls, in­side and out.

“They were ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic.”

Ms Nut­ley has also ap­plied for and been suc­cess­ful in re­ceiv­ing a num­ber of grants and fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It is still a work in progress,” she said.

“We are rais­ing money to fin­ish it off.

“I have put in for a fund to get power in the church and an­other to mod­ernise the kitchen and make it work­able.

“There’s still work to be done but it has its charm.”

The com­mu­nity couldn’t be more pleased with the re­open­ing of the church, with a “nice” turnout at the first ser­vice.

“Ba­nana Shire Coun­cil Mayor Nev Fer­rier even came along and said ‘I’ve never seen it look­ing so good’,” Ms Nut­ley said.

“Ev­ery­one is quite pleased with it.

“There is even a cou­ple here look­ing to re­new their vows at the church.

“Hope­fully in the fu­ture it will be well used again.”

The first ser­vice was con­ducted by Donna Mus­ton, who is the min­is­ter in Biloela. The parish­ioners of the Unit­ing Church will hold a ser­vice every month.

PHOTO: ADEN STOKES

HOUSE OF THE LORD: Dot Nut­ley in­side of Wowan Unit­ing Church, which held its first ser­vice this month after be­ing se­verely dam­aged in the 2012 floods.

PHOTO: ADEN STOKES

Wowan Unit­ing Church is now lo­cated at the Wowan and Dis­trict Mu­seum.

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