Recently on a trip back to Canberra from Goulburn I decided to forgo the main Hume Highway and take the much more scenic rural route – Tourist Route 8 via Bungendore. About 10 kilometres out of Goulburn the sandstone and rubblestone church pictured above caught my eye. I took a slight detour (a few hundred metres) off the main Braidwood road for a closer inspection.
The church appeared to have been recently abandoned with no signs whatsoever that might have identified it. It was however fairly clearly a Christian church and I suspected Anglican, based on the look of the church itself and a wander around its rather overgrown graveyard.
From a closer look at the graveyard I could identify burials going back to the late 1800s with the most recent tombstone being a very simple wooden post in memory of Bill who passed away in 2010 and who had, presumably, a liking for birds.
Despite my being there in broad daylight this graveyard had a rather eerie feel to it. Perhaps something to do with the abandoned church?
Subsequent research has revealed that this is the Anglican Church of St Andrew’s in Tirrannaville.
In 1828 Alice and her husband, Dr Andrew Gibson, settled in the Goulburn area. Andrew was a doctor, one of the earliest in Goulburn, who had served as an army surgeon at the Battle of Waterloo. Clearly well to do, they built a grand house and garden that included European trees and shrubs on their property ‘Tirranna’ about 10 kilometres south of Goulburn. The adjoining ‘Springfield’ stud was owned by Alice’s brother.
St Andrew’s was built in 1860 at the instigation of Alice Gibson. In addition to funding its construction the family has donated generously to its upkeep over the years with some of its, apparently stunning, stained glass windows dedicated to Gibson family members. I was unable to get inside the church so am unable to vouch for how stunning the windows are.
From what I can ascertain, the church was built to service the spiritual needs of workers on the ‘Tirranna’ property, ‘Springfield’ stud and other rural properties in the area.
After 150 years of intermittent use the building has fallen into a state of disrepair such that insurance assessors deemed it unsuitable for use. As such, the building is now “boarded up” unable to be used until a benefactor can be found to fund the necessary structural repairs.
Such a shame, though at least Bill made it in – just month or two before the insurer’s assessment!
Location: Tirranna Lane (Tirrannaville)
Directions: About 10kms outside Goulburn on the Braidwood Road. Tourist Route 8
This is my last Goulburn review
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