Crucifix makes long trip to Toowoomba's oldest church
FROM 1850s France to Second World War England and eventually to Crows Nest and Toowoomba, it's been some journey for the Coventry Crucifix.
The crucifix has finally found a permanent home on the wall of the recently restored Holy Name Catholic Church in Bridge St, one of Toowoomba's oldest churches built early last century.
However, the crucifix is even older.
Parish priest Fr Ray Johnson said the timber crucifix was sculptured in France in 1857 before it was transported to Coventry in England.
"The church was badly damaged and the roof caved in," Fr Johnson said.
"But the crucifix survived the bombings though it still has the scars of damage on the back of the wooden cross."
For safe keeping, the crucifix was put in storage 150km away from Coventry in north east England and kept in a barn.
In remained out of sight, until Crows Nest antique dealer Roger Salt visited the UK in the late 1980s and learnt of it being in storage.
He bought the crucifix which was then shipped to Crows Nest.
"I was importing goods from the UK and I still am," Mr Salt said.
"I bought it from another dealer and transported it back here and then I sold it to a lady who donated it to the church."
The Coventry Crucifix was placed in the church foyer where it stood virtually unnoticed by many parishioners for years until restorers placed it inside the church proper where it has become a prominent feature.
Mr Salt said the timber carving was finished in plaster and painted with polychrome.
He has another similar, though not as large, crucifix in his antique store in Crows Nest.
The Holy Name church has recently undergone extensive restoration work to return it to its former glory.
The church was rearranged in 1970 with the altar repositioned in the middle of the church on the eastern wall.
However, Fr Johnson and parishioners were keen to see the altar returned to the southern wall and the church restored to its former state.
It was then decided to place the Coventry Crucifix on the eastern wall inside the church.