Nothing’s sacred to termites
One thing we know about termites is they don’t care about heritage listings.
Sacred Heart Church at Calwell in Canberra’s south is heritage listed; sacred in name, sacred in purpose, but not sacred to the tiny critters.
The little chapel-sized church was built in 1902 from wood in the pioneering days when parishioners wore their Sunday finest and rode to church from their sheep stations in horse and buggy.
It’s one of eight churches in the region constructed before the federal capital era and one of only two made of wood. It’s also significant for representing the federation-era Carpenter Gothic style.
After almost 120 years, it’s still a much loved place of worship for Corpus Christi parishioners not far from the parish’s main church in Gowrie.
Parish priest Fr James Antony was very much aware of the church’s background and, when he recently discovered termites in its sacristy, he knew he had to act quickly.
“If I didn’t do something it would haunt me forever and I’d have sleepless nights,” Fr Antony said.
He called in pest and heritage experts who gave him the bad news; the termite damage was worse than first thought, extending beyond the sacristy to the church’s front door, wooden posts and other areas.
Repairs are now under way but the full extent of the fix required, and its likely cost, is not known.
Government heritage funding may help clear some of the costs but the goodwill of parishioners and the community will be needed to make up the shortfall.
No longer surrounded by sheep stations, the little church sits quietly under care amid the suburbs as one of the national capital’s lesser known landmarks.
Corpus Christi parish has set up a special fund for repairs to the Sacred Heart Church. Donations are welcome and further details are available from the parish office, (02) 6291 6688) or the following link: Sacred Heart Church