296. Dearly Beloved, We Are Gathered Here Today…

As regular readers will no doubt be aware, we (or more correctly, I) enjoy hitorical sites in the towns where we travel. When I was in high school, history was my least favourite subject and I suppose like most teenagers then, as now, not much interested in anything really. Tastes change as you get older and I found that I tended to absorb historical information and sites somewhat like a sponge. All the information got stored and only starts to re-appear when the sponge is too full or it got squeezed. We like the old banks, post offices, courthouses and civic buildings. Those old buildings are often beautifully designed and constructed. We also visit old cemeteries to gather information. The other old buildings we look for are the churches. Some are grand masterpieces of architectural design. Others are basic designs built with limited funds to serve isolated communities. Generally when arriving in a new town, the churches are usually the buildings which stand out and catch the eye. Regardless of any religious feelings, these buildings are viewed as historical in their own right. Therefore the time has come for another visit to some of the churches which caught our eye. Mostly these photo’s have not previously appeared in any of our posts. The photos are in no particular chronoligical or sequential order. They were selceted randomly.

First church is St.Francis Xavier at West Mackay Qld.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Francis_Xavier_Parish,_Mackay

This is a church which is modern in design and construction but was built at a time when churches were not modern in design. It is included in the collection because grandson Chris was christened there. Photo was taken with the Panasonic NV DCF7 Digital camera. In fact several photos in this collection were taken with the older digital camera. The amazing thing about the camera is the 1.1 Mp capacity per photo. The average iPhone camera these days is 8Mp and better quality cameras are around 16Mp. Photos on the older cameras can be a little grainy, particularly when enlarged or zoomed.

Francis Xavier Catholic Church, West Mackay. Qld

Francis Xavier Catholic Church, West Mackay. Qld

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In 2009 on our three month visit to Tasmania we stopped in the Hunter Valley on our way home to Airlie Beach, Qld. As luck would have it we had planned to visit friends Roy and Katherine who lived near Maitland. Our starter motor decided to die on us on the Friday afternoon. Roy and Katherine graciously offered to accomodate us while repairs were being carried out on our Coaster. As it was a Friday, the Auto Electrician would not be working until Monday. Parts could not be ordered until then. It was another 5 days before the Coaster was repaired and we were once more on our way. Thank you Roy and Katherine. Part of their hospitality involved driving us around the Hunter Valley and visiting the sights. One of which is the Hunter Valley Gardens and Chapel at Pokolbin.

http://www.huntervalleygardens.com.au/hvg/function-rooms/christenings-baptisms-venues/

Hunter Gardens Multi Demoninational Chapel, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, NSW.

Hunter Gardens Multi Demoninational Chapel, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, NSW.

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When we first started on the road in 2010 we found ourselves in Lightning Ridge, NSW in mid October. This was a place I had wanted to visit ever since I heard about it as a schoolboy. For some reason it had a sort of romantic self sufficient aura. I was not disappointed. By and large many of the locals are self sufficient and live in homes dug into the ground or homes built from hand made mud bricks, houses made of bottles and mud or even strange humpies built out of corrugated iron somehow attached to a caravan. More elaborate places exist so the local Chamber of Commerce got together an idea to turn the mines and interesting houses into a tourist attraction. Several self guided tours were laid out in what is called Car Door Tours. Each tour had a different set of car door colours. Just follow the self guided map and look for the coloured car door with arrows pointing the way.  As the official blurb puts it,…

“The Ridge is famous for its Car Door Tour so be sure to drop into the Visitor Information Centre for your guide to this special experience. These quirky journeys are Lightning Ridge’s answer to ‘self drive’ tours and are a great way to start your visit to The Ridge. Four tours are demarcated by colour coded and numbered car doors.

Strung in trees and leaning in easily seen places, the car doors will lead you to some of the Ridge’s greatest attractions.

You will find Charlie Nettleton’s first hand sunk shaft at the end of the green car door tour, take your cheese and nibbles and stop for the sunset at this great ridge location! On the red car door tour you will find Amigo’s Castle and the Astronomers Monument. These monumental constructions are a testament to Lightning Ridge’s self taught architects and builders, be sure to keep an eye out on the fields for all the other unique homes. Departs At your leisure.”

On one of the tours was the church built for the movie, “The Goddess of 1967”   On reflection it was probably not the best time of year to visit “The Ridge” as it was in October, summer was knocking on the door and The Ridge has a summer like climate for 9 months of the year. Regardless, we would go back again as we thoroughly enjoyed the town and always recommend it to others thinking of going there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goddess_of_1967

The Goddess of 1967 movie set church, Lightning Ridge, NSW.

The Goddess of 1967 movie set church, Lightning Ridge, NSW.

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During winter 2012 we stayed with friends Geoff and Margaret C at their home in Bomaderry, NSW. They took us on a drive up into the mountains (actually the mountains is part of the Great Diving Range which stretches from near Cooktown northern Queensland all the way through NSW and into Victoria tapering out near The Grampians, another range. Total distance about 3,500 Klms). We planned to visit Belmore Falls in the upper reaches of Kangaroo Valley. The back road to the falls took us through the little community of Myra Vale the most prominent building, in fact one of only about three buildings is the church and cemetery across the road.

http://www.hawkesbury.net.au/cemetery/southern_highlands/myra_vale/index.html

The church is now a private residence, listed for sale at $749,000. This historic sandstone Church circa 1874, islovingly restored & extended in 2003 for residence and including original lead light windows.

It is isolated on a country road, no shops or nearby neighbours, no take away, no movie theatres but lots of views through the valley and decidely cold in winter. If ya wanna escape from the rat race this is the place for you.

Myra Vale ,NSW.

Myra Vale ,NSW.

***   ***   ***

December 2000 Donnis took off to visit family in Canada and I started my own journey to visit Norfolk Island. I left Brisbane Airport New Years Eve. While browsing the duty free shops I bought my first digital camera, the Panasonic Lumix NV DCF7 which was quite advanced in its time. Norfolk Island is an historically interesting island and I joined many organised tours visiting ruins and other significant sites. I also hired a small car and drove around the island doing some exploring on my own. I discovered a small Catholic church which regretably I could find no history at the time. Nothing has changed. Even with the wonders of the Internet I can still find no useful information. I was able to find information about the man whom the church is named after.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Howard,_20th_Earl_of_Arundel

Unlike most of the other churches on the island this one does not stand out and looks rather drab.

St Phillip Howard Catholic Church, Norfolk Island.

St Phillip Howard Catholic Church, Norfolk Island.

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The last time we visited Kuranda north Queensland we had just attended a motorhome rally at the nearby town of Mareeba. Kuranda is a small quirky village sitting atop the escarpment above the Cairns coastline. Most of the houses are old weatherboard and tucked into the ever encroaching rainforest. Kuranda is well known as a junction for the railway with a couple of ancient steam engines which chug their way up and down the escarpment. It is also end of the line for a Skyrail experience. Tourists use one method or the other to arrive at Kuranda, visit the markets, (open every day) then take the other method to return to Cairns. mid all the hustle and bustle of people and traffic, the little St.Savious Anglican Church, tucked away in the main street is a haven of quiet and peace.

http://www.kuranda.org/?p=72

St. Savious Anglican Church, Kuranda, Qld.

St. Savious Anglican Church, Kuranda, Qld.

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The ancient crumbling church and accompanying graveyard at Gretna in the south central of Tasmania is rather typical of several churches in the area of Hamilton, Ouse, Gretna, Ellendale, Macquarie Plains and Osterley. All are quite old and all are beginning to crumble and much in need of repair or restoration. Typically none have a large enough congregation to attract funds. That said, the architecture and construction, particularly the internal fitout and stained glass windows are worth seeing.

http://www.poidb.com/poi/poi.asp?poiid=317908#

St. Mary's Anglican Church, Gretna, Tas.

St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Gretna, Tas.

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This church is one of my favourites. There is no architectual style. The building is non existent. There is no congregation. Upkeep and maintenance is minimal. We first saw this chapel in February 2003  when on a road trip to Forster, the Hunter Valley, Katoomba and Jenolan Caves. We even considered this as a location for our wedding in 2009. Link to the internet site to get a better explanation  of this calm, serene and spectacular scenery site.

http://www.greatlakes.org.au/spaces/scenic-highlights/pacific-palms/the-green-cathedral

Open air Green Cathedral on Wallis Lake near Forster / Seal Rocks, NSW.

Open air Green Cathedral on Wallis Lake near Forster / Seal Rocks, NSW.

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Another of the old churches in the hamilton Valley, Tasmania is this equally crumbling but full of character church at Ouse. Only a dozen Klms from our base at Hamilton. Just like the companion church at Gretna it has an accompanying graveyard.

St. John The Baptist Church at Ouse, Tas.

St. John The Baptist Church at Ouse, Tas.

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We visited Beechworth, Victoria about February 2012 when based at Culcairn while the CO-PILOT worked at the Henty Hospital. On this day we had a long day trip to Yakandandah then to Beechworth where we first discovered the Beechworth Bakery and their Sourdough Rye Bread. I digress. Beechworth is an historic town with lots of places to visit. We were on a tight schedule to get home before dinner but the church caught our eye. That’s easy to do really, considering its size and proximity to the main road.

http://on-walkabout.com/2007/08/14/on-walkabout-in-the-historic-churches-of-beechworth/

Christchurch Anglican Beechworth, Vic.

Christchurch Anglican Beechworth, Vic.

As always please double click on each photo and enlarge to full size.

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2 Responses to “296. Dearly Beloved, We Are Gathered Here Today…”

  1. placestheygo Says:

    Love all the different churches, especially the ones that don’t resemble classic churches…very interesting! I had to bring up a map of Australia to see where each church was located.

    Like

    • frankeeg Says:

      Hi Pam, thanks for visiting again.I use Google maps every day especially when I am reading blogs such as yours. It gives me a good idea of locations and surrounding towns as well as what is around the site. I also use the street view. The other suggestion is to open the links I provide to obtain more information. Cheers,

      Like

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