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Bannockburn Loses Historic Church


Many people in our community would be aware that we recently lost our Church, a much loved and historic building; part of the Parish of Meredith. 


Its not just the loss of a historic landmark building - turn right at the Catholic Church, its next to the school; it’s the loss of the place of memories - as babies were welcomed, sacraments taken, marriage vows exchanged, for those who made their last earthly journey from its doors, and the chosen few who dedicated themselves to the service of God. 

A place of comfort, of solace, peace and of anticipation as countless kids prepared for their faith journey; even to the day we lost our Church building - a group of kids to make their first reconciliation that afternoon - that right taken away. 

The anticipation of the Christmas Celebration, and the solemnity and wonder of Easter. St Johns certainly a starting point for many in their faith journey. 

Familiar families over generations come to mind, Lowndes, Rowe, Turnley, Davies, Moreillon, Guinane, McPhillips, Harmon, Smith, Mc Ritchie to name a few. 

For those families who had special memorial records displayed for those gone before - a greater sense of loss; an historic plaque linked to our district history; how much can be remembered? How much is lost forever? 

We were so grateful that our tabernacle survived, though scorched, in-tact, and the altar cross, about 15cm long, was retrieved from the devastation by a firey, a bit the worst from its ordeal - a sign of the new beginning!

Having celebrated the 140 years of the Meredith Parish on Sunday 16 August, it is strange to reflect on the publicised notes of “St John the Evangelist Bannockburn”; “Very much a presence in the town”, on the 14th of October a vacant block flanked by security fencing! And the chalice inscribed “Leigh Road”, as Bannockburn was known when the Church opened in 1901, is no more - lost forever.

In time the building will be replaced by something new, probably something bigger. The pioneering spirit remains the same! Though we are sad at the loss of our “home” and all of those familiar and comforting surroundings, our Spirit is strong!

Currently our 9am Sunday Mass is being held at the Sacred Heart Church Inverleigh, and we are very grateful to the Catholic community at Inverleigh who have been so welcoming. They are also very happy to have regular worship in their town! Welcome mat is well and truly out!

As a faith community we have been so comforted and encouraged by so many; the sadness of the school kids as they saw the smouldering ruins - it makes no sense to them and we could give them no answers. To all those who have offered words of comfort, the Primary school for their understanding, to the other faith groups for ensuring our needs were met and for the community in general who mourn the loss of a land mark - was something stable, something safe.

Yes just a building, but it was ours and we loved it.

Denise Giles.

Father Herman and the Parish of Meredith and in particular the parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Bannockburn wish to thank most sincerely the members of Bannockburn CFA, the Police, Rob Nelson and staff of Bannockburn Primary School, Liz Bufton and members of the Bannockburn Anglican Church, Bannockburn Presbyterian Church, the Lethbridge Hall Committee, Bannockburn playgroup, those working on the site and the community in general for the caring, compassionate and sensitive way in which they helped us face the tragedy of Wednesday, October 14th. 

It was a very sad day for us but also for the whole community to lose a beautiful and historic church which has been such a prominent part of the Bannockburn landscape for 114 years. 

May God Bless you all.