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A South Coast gothic revival listed on State Heritage register

November 3, 2023 11:33 am in by

The NSW Government has recognised All Saints Anglican Church in Bodalla on the South Coast for its State heritage significance.

Designed by acclaimed architect Edmund Thomas Blacket (1817–1883) and constructed between 1880 and 1901, All Saints Anglican Church is a captivating example of ‘Early English Gothic Revival’ rural parish architecture.

Standing to the north of the historic village of Bodalla, the church commands panoramic views of the historic Bodalla Estate and the pastoral landscape which surrounds it.

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With its landmark tower and picturesque churchyard – adorned with mature trees and cultural plantings included as part of the listing – All Saints Anglican Church is a perfect example of the Gothic Revival style, reflecting this architectural trend of the nineteenth century, which left an enduring mark on the landscape of New South Wales.

The term ‘Gothic Revival’ refers to architects’ fashion of reusing designs from 13th and 14th-century churches, built during England’s Gothic period, in the 19th century.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe said she was delighted to announce the State Heritage Register listing of All Saints Anglican Church in Bodalla.

“With its landmark tower and picturesque churchyard, this remarkable church will now be preserved for generations to come.”

Member for Bega, Dr. Michael Holland said the church at Bodalla has stood the test of time.

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“It’s a revered place of worship, celebration and remembrance,” Dr Holland said.

“This is welcome news for the parish as this magnificent old church now graces the State Heritage Register.”

“It is a fitting tribute to the significant historical and heritage value that the All Saints Church holds in the local community and for the South Coast. It is also a testimony to the caretakers who have lovingly maintained the church for over 120 years.”

Executive Director Heritage NSW, Sam Kidman said All Saints was an outstanding illustration of building technology of the time.

“It was designed and built using mostly local materials – it is also a rare, intact example of a significant memorial erected outside of Sydney to one of Australia’s greatest figures of trade and industry in the nineteenth century.”

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The historical importance of All Saints Anglican Church is further elevated by its role as a lasting memorial to the visionary businessmen, Thomas Sutcliffe Mort (1816 –1878) and his wife Theresa (1820- 1869).

Mort’s grand vision for Bodalla Estate was pivotal in the development of wool, dairying, engineering, shipping and refrigeration industries throughout NSW and Australia.

Mort’s close friendship with prominent architect Edmund Thomas Blacket further cements All Saints Anglican Church’s historical importance, as Blacket designed it as a heartfelt tribute to his friend and patron.

Today (Friday November 3), All Saints Anglican Church remains not only a place of worship but also a venue for various religious services and cultural events. Its inclusion on the State Heritage Register ensures that its striking architectural features and profound historical importance will be cherished and protected for generations to come.

Rector Anglican Parish of Bodalla and Narooma, Reverend Tim Narraway, said the local community is delighted that the true significance of All Saints Church at Bodalla is now recognised with listing on the State Heritage Register.

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“It is so important that we as a community preserve and maintain the church’s heritage values, ensuring the building continues as a vital part of our local history and of the wider South Coast.”

Images: Heritage NSW

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