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Historic church preserved for future generations

Historic church preserved for future generations

Friday, June 16, 2023

An important piece of the region’s past has received a new lease of life courtesy of a painstaking relocation and restoration project. 

The heritage-listed Wollert Methodist Church was officially unveiled on 21 April at its new home at the Carome Homestead in Mernda. 

To mark the occasion, City of Whittlesea Coordinator Heritage Strategy and Programs Colleen Lazenby presented Working Heritage Committee of Management Chair Kerry Anderson with the church’s original iron key. 

Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny, Member for Yan Yean Lauren Kathage, Major Road Projects Victoria representatives and descendants of the church’s founding members were also in attendance. 

Built in 1878, the Carpenter Gothic-style church, featuring distinctive timber cladding and lancet windows, had stood for more than 140 years on the corner of Lehmanns and Epping roads in Wollert. 

However, in 2018 the announcement of the Epping Road upgrade clouded the future of the church, which had fallen into disrepair following its decommissioning in 2006. 

The City of Whittlesea and Major Road Projects Victoria formed a partnership to preserve the church and ensure its historic, social and architectural value was not lost forever. 

From March to May 2022, the church was carefully disassembled and then transported in pieces by truck to Carome Homestead at 10 Hathfelde Boulevard. 

Upon arrival at its new home, the church was meticulously rebuilt and restored to its former glory using traditional materials and finishes. 

In a stroke of good fortune, Council officers carrying out a sweep of the Wollert site discovered the original 19th century key buried in the ground. 

The 13.5cm long key, thought to have been lost since the late 1800s, was professionally restored and will now take pride of place in the restored church. 

City of Whittlesea Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said the project was a fantastic example of two levels of government working together to honour and preserve our local heritage for future generations. 

“It is gratifying that members of our community will have ongoing access to this building and that it will be cared for in perpetuity by asset managers at Working Heritage Inc on behalf of Parks Victoria,” Ms Wilson said. 

“This charming church has been given a second lease of life and I congratulate everyone involved for their hard work and dedication.”  

The Victorian Government’s Epping Road upgrade will add additional lanes and upgrade key intersections between Craigieburn Road East and Memorial Avenue. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.