HISTORY SET IN STONE
St Paul’s Anglican Church in Glenrowan is an example of artisan building at its best.
IN a town that is inescapably linked to the Ned Kelly legend, it would be easy to overlook aspects of Glenrowan that aren’t as clearly linked to the notorious bushranger’s story. But tucked behind the town’s main street is a stone church that has a long and rich association with Kelly Country.
Set among a swag of gum trees, St Paul’s Anglican Church is as much a stunning piece of architecture as it is a piece of the landscape. It was originally a weatherboard building before storm damage forced a rebuild in 1959 as a stone structure, complete with stained glass windows and wooden floors. The historic building was recently improved for the 21st century with a seamless stone addition to the rear of the main building. The new ‘hall’, as regular attendees call it, boasts a large meeting area, vestry, kitchen and accessible bathroom. A regular congregation meets on Sunday mornings and the church regularly hosts christenings and the occasional wedding. The space is used for teaching children who attend regular services and offers those who attend the church an area to enjoy morning tea.
Community spirit was strong in supporting the $150,000 project, with some funds raised from community donations while other money was received in government grants. Stonemason Frank Vickers was employed to complete the works, hand carving 40 tonnes of local granite donated by Mawson’s quarry.
The intricate work took almost four years to finish, and the addition was officially opened and blessed in June 2016. Churchwarden and Glenrowan local Bill Gent, who also volunteered as project manager for the works, said the extension had proved to be a major asset to the congregation and wider community.
“Frank was passionate about making sure the work was high quality. It is almost seamless. Unless you were an expert you would think the addition had been there as long as the main church,” Mr Gent said.
“The main thrust behind getting it done was so that we could have a toilet, which we didn’t have, and also that there could be a vestry for the priest to get changed and do preliminary work and work after the service. So we needed to do those things and thought a small hall or a small room would also be a great addition.”
The facility is regularly packed with local community groups, who host meetings, functions and even yoga classes in the high-ceilinged hall. And for those keen to link the church to the Kelly Gang’s infamy - Ned was shot and captured between Siege and Church streets in Glenrowan just steps away from where St Paul’s sits.
“It’s really very close to the spot where Ned Kelly was shot and fell, the exact capture site, so there’s lots of history there,” Mr Gent said.
Handmade from local granite, St Paul’s Anglican Church in Glenrowan is an example of artisan building at its best.