Canberra church’s doctrine-based architecture earns heritage status and preservation fund

Ken Woolley's profile of the main building.

Keep family and friends informed by sharing this article.

After gaining the prestigious heritage listing by the ACT Heritage Council in June 2022, Canberra National Seventh-day Adventist Church (CNAC) established a Trust Deed for a tax-deductible Conservation Appeal Fund in May 2023. This achievement follows a year-long collaboration with the National Trust ACT, the South New South Wales Conference and the South Pacific Division.

“Establishing this Deed was a journey,” recalled Dr Irena Ali, a CNAC conservation and renovation team member. “But seeing it finally signed after almost a year of work was a truly rewarding experience.”

The church building, designed by renowned architect Ken Woolley, was completed in 1971 and is lauded for its intricate design that symbolically reflects key Seventh-day Adventist doctrines.

“The design beautifully incorporates symbolic elements, turning the church itself into a visual representation of our beliefs,” said Dr Ali. “Sunlight reflecting from the pool’s surface filters through the windows, casting a delicate glow inside the church—a visual representation of God’s boundless grace. It’s a sight to behold when you see the building emerging gracefully from the water, mirroring the buttresses rising from the courtyard pool.”

Pastor Ben Kosmeier, who leads the church, views the heritage listing and the establishment of the Conservation Appeal Fund as a special moment in the church’s history and an opportunity to connect with the community. “As community members visit our beautiful church building, we hope they experience God’s presence in His sanctuary and appreciate the architectural masterpieces He has created in us as His heritage.”

The establishment of the Trust Deed ensures that this architectural masterpiece will continue to symbolise the spiritual values of the church and serve the community for generations to come.

The National Trust (ACT) now lists the Canberra National Adventist Church Conservation Appeal Fund among sites of heritage significance that it supports. For more information and to contribute to the fund, visit the National Trust’s website.

Tax-deductible donations can also be made via e-Giving by searching for National Trust ACT on

Related Stories