11 February, 2023
St Ambrose set to be stabilised
For a currently-unavailable historical church that was founded from British gratitude to Gilgandra’s sacrifices in World War I, there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
Services and celebrations have been unable to take
place at Gilgandra’s Anglican St Ambrose Memorial Church
for nearly six months now, due to continuing problems
with the building’s structural integrity.
However, the town’s only state heritage-listed building
is thankfully set to be reclaimed for parishioners, after the
NSW government recently injected more than $137,000
towards the cause.
“It is such a significant building, especially to our community,
but more so at a state level with it being heritagelisted,”
parishioner Stuart Border said.
The building celebrated 100 years just last year, however,
once it was detected that the building was moving laterally,
it became unable to be occupied.
Local topography and the building standards of the early
20th century, simply made the church unsafe for services.
“Most people in Gilgandra are aware of our black soil,
and a building of this nature, with the weight of bricks on
tiny foundations that would have been considered satisfactory
100 years ago, are just starting to let us down,” Mr
The new funding will, however, ensure that the building
can be stabilised before restoration works can begin.
won’t fix anything as such, but it will make it safe and be
propped so we can now get back into the building. That will
hopefully be by Easter,” Mr Border said.
Management Plan (CMP) has also been created in partnership
with Bendigo Bank and the Gilgandra Shire Council,
to ensure that the much-loved church can eventually return
to its former glory, if full funding is forthcoming.
“They have helped us find the funds of this project, and
we are just so grateful,” Mr Border said.
“It gives you an
idea of just how significant this is to our community,” he
“We have had so many people already who have wanted
to be a partner in this, and they want to make sure we
preserve, restore, and maintain this building so it’s there for
Initial funds for initial work from the NSW government
comprising $137,609, came via the Stronger Country
Communities Fund with the announcement last month by
the minister for regional transport and roads, Sam
“This enables us to leverage other grant applications,”
Mr Border explained.
“We are just hoping to continue to raise the profile of the
situation we are in, why our building needs this urgent
restoration work, and to continue to get the wider community
involved outside of Gilgandra, into the higher places of
government, war memorial people, RSL, and all these different
people,” he added.
Despite the Anglican Church of Australia owning the St
Ambrose Church building, the people on the ground in
Gilgandra, are the actual stewards responsible for its maintenance
and to ensure that all work is carried-out correctly.
“So, running through 2023, I would like the whole community
to be aware that there will be opportunities for them to
actually support this fund-raising program, and I’m just
really confident that I know that Gilgandra will get behind
it, that they love this building,” Mr Border said.
“It’s so important as a faith journey, but also a significant
thing to really bind this community together,” he
As an almost unique gift, St Ambrose Church was established
after a £1200 “peace and thanks-giving donation”
made by parishioners from St Ambrose Church in
Bournemouth, England, a century ago.
The English church had judged Gilgandra as: “the town
in the British dominions with the greatest record of
achievements in the war,” happily passing on the donations.
In true Gilgandra spirit, locals then rallied to raise
enough funds to add to the Bournemouth donation to rebuild
the-then existing church.
The foundation stone was laid in 1920 with the church
consecrated on July 26, 1922.
The original dedication stone from 1920 states:
“To the Glory of God - Nov 22nd, 1920. This foundation stone was laid by His Excellency — Sir Walter Davidson KCMG — Governor of New South Wales — and blessed by The Lord Bishop of Bathurst — George Merrick — A memorial to the fallen and a thank offering for peace.”