From Little Things
L - R: Rev Geoff Pittaway - Rector St. Mary's; Gil Trease - Trease Builders Meeniyan;
Rev Kay Goldsworthy - Bishop of Gippsland; Danny O'Brien MP (Nationals Gippsland South);
Russell Broadbent MP (Liberal Party Gippsland).
St. Mary’s Anglican Church opened its new facilities on 28th April 2016 in the presence of a number of church and political dignitaries. This was the culmination of many years of thinking, attempts, setbacks, and planning.
The need for new toilets at St. Mary’s was great and urgent, and the process began with a simple sketch drawing submitted to Parish Council in 2010.
In 2011 the church approached the Mirboo North and District Community Foundation for a seeding grant of $2000 to help kickstart the planning process for new toilets. We had also approached the Diocese of Gippsland to see if there was any funding for building - at the time that was not possible.
Initial plans were drawn and much discussion and suggestion followed. Along the way there was the constant awareness that we couldn’t build even if we agreed on plans and obtained approval from the Diocese and the Council.
The draftsperson that we had engaged initially eventually pulled out of the project because of a combination of disagreement about parts of the building plans and a perceived inability to complete the project from a personal perspective.
During this time we had considered selling the church at Mardan South (through the Diocese, and after two years of trying to re-engage the church community there), and this came to fruition in 2012 when the church building was deconsecrated and put up for Public Tender. It was sold the following year and (most of) the funds put it Trust for the Parish to use for capital works. The purchase price was much higher than we had reasonably expected to get, and this enabled us to think more pragmatically about the alterations at St. Mary’s, Mirboo North.
We engaged a new architect who - after many consultations and redrawing - came up with a plan that seemed to suit all our needs. Along the way we were able to expand our horizons and include not just new toilets and storage facilities (our initial thinking), but also renew and extend the kitchen, create a new foyer, decking, and large storage room in place of the small garden shed. All of this was initially costed within our (newly funded) budget, but because the architect had somewhat underquoted some aspects of the build the costs blew out and caused us another setback. After consideration with our builder (Trease Builders, Meeniyan) we were able to make changes so that, not only could we do the renovations as required, we could also add a few items that would take care of future maintenance needs and spruce up the buildings adjacent to the new part.
The building started in earnest in October 2015, and was completed (barring a few small items) by the opening date in April 2016.
Without the seeding Grant from the MNDCF this project may never have got off the ground. Thanks to who provided this funding initially, and to all who assisted along the way.
(Rev. Geoff Pittaway)