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Nov 5, 2014

Great support from the Sunbury and macedon ranges Leader

Great support from the Sunbury and macedon ranges Leader

The parishioners of St Mary's Anglican Church in Woodend will be celebrating the church’s 150th Anniversary on Sunday, 9 November at a special service led by the Rt. Rev’d Andrew Curnow, Bishop of Bendigo, commencing 10.30am.

During the service Bishop Andrew will also officially license Rev’d Heather Vander Reest as the new Associate Priest for the Parish of Woodend.  Heather lives in Woodend and is an active member of the community.

“I’m thrilled to be taking up this role,” said Heather

“I’ve recently been working as a Locum Priest in Castlemaine and am thoroughly looking forward to coming home to Woodend to serve the community and worship in this beautiful building,” she added.

Anglican worship in Woodend dates back to1859 and the Little Blue Stone Church on the Hill, as St Mary’s is affectionately known today, was built in 1864 by a team of committed parishioners.

 “When we started planning for this event one of our first points of call was the Woodend and District Heritage Society,” commented parishioner Susan Gillis.

‘We came across an article from the Kyneton Observer dated 10 November 1864 giving a very matter-of-fact description of the bluestone church as we know it today” she added.

The new church is a very chaste bluestone building, with slate roof, and stained glass windows in the early English Gothic style, and is seated to hold about 150 persons – the cost about £1000 it measures about 25 feet in width by about 40 feet in length, exclusive of the chancel and porch.

 The complete history of the church has been put into a small booklet; copies will be sold on the day.

The Parish Council is still keen to see if there are any descendants of those men and women who built the church. If you have a story to share please get in touch via

After the service Bishop Andrew Curnow and the people of St Mary’s will officially dedicate the new rose garden in the church grounds.  The Peace and Papa Meilland roses have been selected to compliment the red and cream colours of The Norma Richardson Hall and the Parish.

“It has been a real pleasure working on the design of this garden,” said parishioner Mrs Joy Daymon.

“In years to come people will see these beautiful roses in the background of their wedding photos and be able to tell their children and grandchildren that they were planted to celebrate 150 years of the church,” she added.