Mildura Weekly : Friday June 20 Vol 8 No 33
Mildura Weekly – 20/06/14 9 www.milduraphonebook.com.au YOUNG Underbool couple Matt and Jane Palmer aren’t all that religious, but they are still looking forward to spending the rest of their life in church. Matt, a carpenter, and Jane, a dentist, recently bought the original Under- bool Uniting/Methodist Church, and will be renovat- ing it as their family home. They will be in elite com- pany, with high-profile com- munity leaders and some celebrities, including the leg- endary bushman R.M . Wil- liams, having worked on the church in the early years. With attendance figures gradually dwindling over recent years, church lead- ers reluctantly agreed to put the building up for sale, and Matt and Jane were in the right place, at the right time, to make an offer. The current congregation of around 30 people, most of them now elderly long-term residents of Underbool and district, will celebrate the life of the church with a closing service at 10.30am on Sun- day. The following Saturday, June 28, there will be an auc- tion of surplus church furni- ture, including 20 pews, the pulpit, tables, chairs, stools and other items, starting at 9.30am. Matt, 30, said he and Jane were looking forward to renovating the 89-year-old church, including the addi- tion of a mezzanine floor for bedrooms for themselves and their twin two-year-olds Ted and Charlie, but would be careful to keep the building as original as possible. “It already has its own kitchen, and plenty of room, with five-metre ceilings, so apart from the mezzanine floor we shouldn’t have to do much at all,” he said. “We had been looking for a house in Underbool, but heard that the church might be up for sale, and were very happy when our offer was ac- cepted.” The Underbool Uniting/ Methodist Church was of- ficially opened on Sunday, November 15, 1925, and chairperson of the current congregation, Nita Wandel, said there was apparently great rejoicing, with General Secretary of Home Missions, Rev. Colonel A. Holden, preaching to large and appre- ciative congregations in the afternoon and evening. The celebrations contin- ued on the Monday, when an evening tea meeting was held in the public hall, followed by a church concert, with both well attended. Colonel Holden, in a public address, congratulated the people of Underbool and district on having built such a fine church. Special credit was given to a Mr Hunt, “for the way he pushed to build the church.” There was also special mention of the contractors, Kennett and Daniell of Ad- elaide, who apparently carried out the work because of their interest in the Underbool area. It wasn’t a money-mak- ing job for them. Those early years also rate a mention in the R.M. Williams autobiography “Beneath Whose Hands,” which tells of his first job as a 16-year-old, working for contractor known as ‘Peter the Dane,’ burning lime for the new church. Nita said the Uniting/ Methodist Church had served the people of Underbool and District well. “Congrega- tions through the years have always been strong in faith,” she said. “The present con- gregation will worship in the Underbool Anglican building, and continue their success- ful merger of 20 years within Central Mallee Co-operative Parish.” Matt and Jane will take possession of the church after the June 28 auction, and say they are more than happy to make Underbool their home, despite Jane having to com- mute daily to either Ouyen or Mildura in her work with Tan- kard Dental. Theirs is an interesting story, Matt born and raised in Swan Hill, and Jane in Un- derbool, meeting by chance, doing their respective training – Matt in Melbourne and Jane in Adelaide, and each travel- ling back every weekend to Underbool, where Matt was playing footy. They married in Byron Bay in 2011, lived for a while in Mildura, later buying a small wheat farm at Under- bool (1300 acres) and living with Jane’s parents until they found the right accommoda- tion – and from the end of the month that will be the old church. Underbool is a pretty little town on the Mallee Highway between Ouyen and Murrayville. It’s a tightly-knit community, houses don’t come up for sale very often, and one young couple and their twin boys were having trouble finding a home, until... Their prayers were answered • MEMORIES: Some of the early church workers, including a very young R.M .Williams on the right, with contractor Kennett and employee Alex Smith. That’s the foundation stone, LEFT, and the current congregation after a recent service, BELOW. Christie Centre nomination THE Mildura Christie Cen- tre Inc. has been nomi- nated for the Prime Super Community Group of the Year Award as part of the 2014 Victorian Regional Achievement and Com- munity Awards. The awards encourage, acknowledge and reward the “valuable contribu- tions individuals, commu- nities and businesses are making throughout re- gional and rural Victoria.” The Christie Centre will know after Wednes- day, September 10, if they are finalists in their cate- gory, with nominations to remain open until July 23. More information about the awards is avail- able by contacting the Awards Office on 9720 2277, or emailing vic@ awardsaustralia.com. www.milduramotorcycles.com.au LMCT 8145 733 Fifteenth St Mildura Ph. 5023 2046 ACT NOW! For a limited time only, while stocks last. Prices are ride away but freight may be extra. *Commercial primary producer loans only. No application fee but other fees and charges apply. Finance is to approved purchasers only. 24 and 36 month terms only.
Friday June 13 Vol 8 No 32
Friday June 27 Vol 8 No 34