The Rev Rob Buchan and his Kiama Uniting Church congregation are praying the community will get behind their campaign to raise $150,000 to complete the restoration of Kiama’s oldest operational building and the first permanent church of any kind built in the Southern Illawarra.
Opened for services in 1851, within a decade a new larger church (destroyed in a storm in 1969) was needed and was placed in front of what became known as the Lecture Hall. It was extended towards Manning St in 1889 and was used for Sunday School classes.
A $100,000 grant by the State Government helped get the restoration ball rolling, but costs increased once work started and the full extent of the remediation was made evident.
“The convict bricks are in very poor condition, and the salt and moisture needs to be drawn out of them before the render can be applied,” says Cliff Mason.
This is in addition to the roofing, insulation, painting and restoration work that needs to be done.
“It is important for our community to restore its oldest building before it is lost to us. It was conceived at a time when Kiama had only 18 permanent dwellings, two stores and a jetty.”
The Fundraising Committee is hoping that the money can be raised by the end of the year, as work is already well progressed.
Once fully restored, the Lecture Hall will become an important facility, not only for the Church but for the wider community.
Details: Contributions can be direct deposited to the following Westpac account: BSB 032689 A/c 220359 or send a cheque to the UCA—Kiama Heritage Restoration Fund to PO Box 140, Kiama