For the first time St Andrews Seventh-day Adventist Church has been included in the Bundaberg (Qld) “Open House” Heritage Walk, the fourth year the event has been held.
Some 75 visitors came during the open day, with a few, noting a church service was in progress (it being Sabbath), opting to return later in the afternoon so they could walk around without causing a disturbance. Five people decided to take a seat and hear what the minister had to say.
Various comments were heard from the visitors in regard to the beauty of St Andrews and how pleased they were to have access to the church. Church pastor Dan Kewley had the opportunity to speak with a large number of folk regarding the church’s history and incorporate into the discussion the stories depicted in the numerous magnificent stained-glass windows.
Pastor Kewley liaised with the local council, providing information in the form of a short promotional video that was uploaded to the Bundaberg Council Facebook page.
One man who showed particular interest was invited to attend the church’s weekly Excelsior Club meetings. The club is for members of the community who desire to make new friends, hear interesting and stimulating talks from a large variety of guest speakers, do a craft if they choose and go on exciting bus trips. Morning tea is also provided.
When church members heard about the church’s inclusion in the heritage walk, a “working bee” was quickly arranged. Special flower arrangements adorned the dais, a welcoming committee was organised and brochures prepared to provide information on the history of St Andrews.
“This year we were caught a little by surprise, however next year we plan to have appropriate gift-packs prepared to distribute to our visitors,” shared church member Fay Greive.
St Andrews was purchased by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2004.
Queensland architect Lange L Powell designed St Andrews Presbyterian Church in 1932, using a “broad free gothic style” that was reminiscent of the 14th century.
Complete with stained-glass windows, exposed arched trusses in dark stained pine and internal furnishings made from silky oak, the church is reputedly the first Presbyterian church in Australia, and one of only seven Presbyterian churches in the world to have a carillon. This can be found housed in a 25.5m tower of “battlement design” and contains a “peal of bells” which were manufactured in England—one of which bears the Presbyterian symbol of the burning bush.
These bells are played each Sabbath morning at 11am to announce the beginning of divine service hour, and again at the close of the service. The church cost more than £12,000 to build, however the flourishing sugar industry in the 1920s and ’30s enabled the Presbyterian congregation to provide the necessary funds.
Another feature that attracts visitors from time to time during Anzac celebrations is a First World War Honour Board located in the tower entry. Later memorials have since been added.
The organ pipes are screened behind a tracery plaster panel above the dais.
St Andrews has installed a new lighting system this year, which helps the majestic church stand out during the dark hours of the night.