Bush Churches

Cooyal: First Sunday in the month, 11.30am
Hargraves: 4th Sunday, 11,30am.
Windeyer: 4th Sunday, 11.30am.
Wollar: Special Wollar Services will be advised during the year.
Havillah: Special services to be advised.

 

 

Anglican Bush Churches

There is something special about a Church Service in a small bush church. Often called ‘God Boxes’, the churches are living testimony of the small village centres of long ago, when horse and carriage transport over dirt roads, travelling through dust, heat, and flood to the nearest town took many hours, or even a day’s journey.
 
The villages have all but disappeared over time with the onslaught of modern cars and good sealed roads giving quick access to big business centres, but these localities still retain their identity with the surrounding farming families, and often the church is the only remaining sign of that solidarity and sense of community and belonging.
 
Many bush churches have been vacated and sold over recent years, some becoming private homes, so the bush churches that remain are very special. Most have a monthly service, the town Priest or a Licenced Lay Minister coming from the mother church to take the service. Numbers, of course, have dwindled at most, and how long these little bush services continue is anyone’s guess, but one hopes the opportunity of a worship service set in the peaceful rural landscape will not disappear altogether. 

The Church of the Redeemer, Windeyer.

The first church and rectory was built at Windeyer in 1859, but by 1865 had fallen into ruin.  A benefit to build a new church was held, a public tea party at Frederick Wingrave’s Hotel at Pure Point, raising £17/9/0. Plans and specifications were prepared by Henry Tebbutt and on Sunday, 24th November, 1963 Bishop Ernest Kenneth Leslie visited Windeyer to celebrate the present church’s 90th anniversary. Windeyer celebrated its centenary in 1973.
 
More fundraising, including ‘Juvenile Subscription Cards’, where children collected money for the church building, raised the £256 needed to build the new building by 1866, to be completed by 1st January 1867. At a meeting held in the Court House at Windeyer on Monday, 9th April, 1866, it was decided that the foundation stone of the new church should be laid by Stephen Tucker of Long Creek. Rev James Ross, Rev GEC Stiles of Sofala and Rev James Gunther of Mudgee, with JHS Scott, PM of Hargraves enjoyed a dinner at Mulholland’s Hotel Windeyer. Dinner Tickets were 10 shillings and six pence.
 
People came from all around, with a considerable proportion from the Meroo district, to the laying of the foundation stone on White Monday, 21st May, 1866 by Stephen Tucker. Celebrations took place that night at Mulholland’s Hotel. But building was slower than planned and fresh tenders were called for the completion of the contract, the contract petering out in 1868 and being taken up again in 1871 when TH Price asked for £45 due to him for erecting the church. In 1873 a meeting at the Parsonage decided the church would be furnished with the acceptance of Mr Thomas of Mudgee’s tender for making and erecting the seats, pulpit, reading desk and Communion rail in cedar for £35/10/0.
 
The church was consecrated on 21st November 1873 by Bishop Samuel Edward Marsden.
 
Bertha Wells was a central figure to the Windeyer church. She was also postmistress and performed a multitude of good deeds for the community. Windeyer church is one of the oldest in the diocese. The Toovey family was also a source of great strength, Mrs Toovey being organist for many years. Mrs Hooper later played the organ, with Harvey Adams secretary of the church.

 

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