Since being in the country, I’ve become far more aware of the importance of churches locally. They play a large role in adding to the local fabric of society – and much more than spiritually. Many social networks and activities revolve around the church and they also continue to provide a safety net for the disadvantaged – as they have always done and well before social services were envisaged. Many of the churches have integrated themselves into the local community by offering venues for a wide variety of non-church activities – one of the primary ones being hosting local markets. Every weekend in Mudgee seems to be a different style market often held at one of the churches.
The churches themselves are so varied. From little modest weatherboards to impressive cathedrals. Here are a few from the area.
The most impressive would have to be St Margaret’s, Mudgee with its recently repolished copper spire. This is the Convent’s “parent” church and hosts the Farmer’s Market every third Saturday in its spacious grounds. The Rectory is also a beautiful sandstone building. You can’t see it in the picture, but St Mary’s also has a Grotto – just not quite as nice as mine 🙂 The other related Catholic church is St Malachy’s at Rylstone, which is a pretty sandstone church on the main street.
One of the most picturesque in the area has to be Havilah which is an old stone church tucked away in the countryside just past Lue on the way to Mudgee. When I drove in, a large kangaroo was quietly grazing. The headstones bear testimony to harder times, recording the deaths of toddlers in the area.
Some of the churches are very modest. Some have also been taken over by other spiritual or religious groups and I’m sure some have been turned into private homes. An old sandstone church is on the market currently in Rylstone. Below is a quirky church I passed in Bylong Valley. Not sure of the background but I’m sure the services would be less traditional.
The Mid Western region has an eclectic mix of the old wealthy grazier economy as well as more industrial/mining industry which is reflected in the vast range of architecture.
Just finishing this post off with ‘my’ church, pictured at the top, St Dominic’s,which frames the view from my backyard. Built in the early 1900’s, it reflects a ‘worker’s church’ and was originally a school by weekday and church on weekends. Whilst not an elaborate church, it has enormous charm and is just lovely inside. I feel it is representative of the town of Kandos, although I’m probably biased.