All Saints Church at Upper Orara.
All Saints Church at Upper Orara.

Moves to keep church

ALL Saints Church at Upper Orara should be the focus of a heritage conservation area, Bob Bray-Ferguson has told Coffs Harbour City councillors.

Mr Bray-Ferguson addressed the councillors at Thursday’s meeting, saying a committee had been established at Upper Orara to save the historic church and to keep it in situ.

He said the committee wanted the church to be part of a heritage conservation area which included the adjacent Upper Orara Hall and Upper Orara Cenotaph.

“It is a heritage-listed building alongside other heritage listed sites,” Mr Bray-Ferguson said.

“Upper Orara is a friendly place and the people are very supportive ... it’s a little piece of paradise.

"If (the church) is removed it will be like a smile with the front tooth missing,” Mr Bray-Ferguson said.

Consideration should also be given to including the Upper Orara Recreation Ground and Public School in the heritage area.

“We distributed a petition which has been signed by 69 people, some of them descendants of the people who built the church.”

“It is a unique church and becoming more unique by the day as these areas disappear.”

The Anglican Church wants to sell the timber church to Bishop Druitt College for removal to the college grounds in North Boambee Road, where it would be used as the school chapel.

But Mr Bray-Ferguson said as yet, no development application had been submitted to the city council.

The Mayor Keith Rhoades asked if the committee had corresponded with the council and Mr Bray-Ferguson said it had not, as the committee had formed quickly.

He said his wife had spoken to Coffs Harbour City council staff member Martin Boumer, who had told her the hall and the cenotaph would come up as part of the new Local Environment Plan.

The Mayor recommended that the committee should make sure that it corresponded with the council.

All Saints Upper Orara, considered the most beautiful of four small timber Anglican churches in the Orara Valley, celebrated its centenary last year, two years after the neighbouring hall.

It was built from timber sourced from the forests surrounding the church and the timber was hauled to the site by bullock dray.

Today All Saints is surrounded by liquidambar trees, providing a spectacular frame for the church in autumn.

The regular congregation for All Saints Church dwindled to a point where the Anglican Church abandoned regular services years ago, although it remains popular for weddings and is a frequent subject for photographers and painters.



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