North East Living Magazine - - Contents - words Leah Coles photos Marc Bongers

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.

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