This appealing stone church is set back off the Henty Highway at the locality of Condah, between Branxholm and Heywood, on the way to Portland. It is entirely surrounded by a ‘sea’ of pasture, bringing new meaning to the term ‘pastoral care’. It appears to have been decommissioned, and naturally I have daydreamed about living in it!
A last-moment left turn took me up past a wonderful, volcanic stone church in a tiny village along the Glenelg Highway today. Circling round the back, I was surprised to pull up beside a very long established, spiky, succulent crouching by the front.
Looking up, I was delighted to see a crowd of gargoyles circling the tower.
This charred shell of a grand old country church sits on a low rise in the Goldfields town of Tarnagulla, west of Bendigo.
The foundation stone was laid in October 1864, and the church opened in 1865 with a seating capacity of 300. It was damaged by fire in 2000, and is now privately owned – presumably by someone with a sense of humour, as there is a flock of pink plastic flamingos posted around the front.
Years ago, when I was a churchgoer, our minister had a term I liked: churchianity; I guess it referred to all that’s destructive about organised religion. (Please don’t think I’m passing comment on personal faith – it’s personal, and people are entitled to believe and worship whatever and however best suits them, me included.)
In another church in my past I came to love one (and only one) particular hymn, and when I picked up a hymnal in this little Uniting Church nestled beside a lake, I dug around in the index of first lines to find it – it’s pictured at top right. I always thought I’d love to have it played at my funeral.
In this church, I was there to admire the architecture and soak up the blessed serenity of the space. And take one or two photos.
Though I am not religious, I am partial to traditional church buildings. My earliest memory of being in a church is around age four, in my childhood town’s tiny white weatherboard Catholic church. As I grew up, I longed to have that church for my very home, but it was not to be: after its doors had remained closed for some time in my late teens, it was sold at auction to people who moved it to a seaside town and painted it a hideous landscape-sensitive colour, where it is now self-contained accommodation.
The church pictured here is situated beside a lake, and I long to have it for my very home, also! Inside, on a quiet, sunny spring afternoon, the ambience was serene and comfortable.