A community fundraising effort to restore the Avenue Range church has been launched, with calls for volunteers and donations to repair the church following recent bushfires.
On January 11 2021, the iconic 120 year old Avenue Range Church fell victim to the bushfire, burning 17 000 hectares in the area of Lucindale and Avenue Range.
Owner of the church in Sally Williams is currently seeking funding to return the church to its prior state.
Ms Williams bought the church in 1988 at auction and has strong familial ties with the property - her grandmother taught at the church when it was a school before WW1.
She would relish in telling the tale of writing the date 12-12-12 on the board in the classroom.
Ms Williams many descendants gathered at a family reunion at the church to celebrate the centenary of that date in 2012. Her mother Rosemary attended the school in the 1940s, along with her two sisters Kathleen and Vida.
The girls would walk, share their bikes or ponies, or even occasionally catch a ride on the train to get to school from their home in "The Valley" to the west of the school.
Following the recent fires, the church roof needs to be replaced, trusses and windows need to be restored, and in addition to that, the stonemasonry needs to be assessed and protected from the weather.
Work is underway to repair the structural integrity of the church, with some local volunteers offering their services.
Greg Ingham and his son Charlie, plus the Blaze Aid Lucindale group have already replaced the fence-line, and the fallen trees have also been cleared.
Ms Williams said there has been an outpouring of support and interest shown in the old building, with many locals and people further abroad sharing their level of regard and connection towards the building.
Ms Williams brother, Andrew Williams from Lucindale, is helping to coordinate the renovation project which so far has been pledged a grant from the local fundraising auction.
A fundraising bank account has also been created, and all funds raised will be put towards the restoration project. The account details are BSB: 633300, ACC: 183455526 (under Andrew Williams).
Ms Williams said she is grateful for any financial or physical assistance provided to repair of the iconic historical site, and she is committed to returning the church to its former glory. This will enable the Avenue Church to continue to be a place for the community to hold functions and local events.
Contact Andrew Williams on mobile 0427 662339 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone is interested in providing some assistance.