All Saints Anglican Church, Canberra

Paul Chubb

Ngunnawal, Australia

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Artist's Description

This church has an interesting history. In the 1850s, Sydney ran out of cemetery space and a new cemetery was commissioned in Rookwood some 17 km outside the city. The journey to the cemetery by horse drawn hearse over bad roads was lengthy and difficult. A spur line was created off the Sydney to Paramatta rail line and a funeral train service was started. This continued until 1948. An elaborate receiving house was built at the cemetery. After 1948, this house was abandoned and was later damaged by fire. The All Saints congregation purchased the stone work and a parishioner/builder- Stanley Taunton – rebuilt the house to become the church.
The huge arches front and back, originally accommodating trains, now host entry way and stained glass. The bell was originally an engine bell belonging to the first engine owned by the Commonwealth Oil Corporation. It was later used as a fire bell in Clyde before finally being housed here.

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