Friday, September 30, 2011

Can I tempt you with a little alter whine...?

As I couldn't tempt you to sweep yourselves into a real life Monopoly game by buying up some Ballarat hotels how about buying up some Bendigo churches?

This little missive wended its way into my inbox a few weeks back and it came to mind as the auction is to be held tomorrow at St Andrews Uniting Church in Bendigo (St Andrews is just playing host for the auction, it isn't actually on the menu) so I thought I'd see if any of you could be tempted to the other side of the coin of the pubs.

To begin with we have this little aluminium clad weatherboard number at Korong Vale..... followed by this delightful brick outfit to be found in Raywood.....along with this fabulous pre-WW1 slice of history in Carisbrook.... rounded out with this gorgeous turn-of-the-century collectable at Barnadown.

Those umpteen gazillion renovation shows I seem addicted to have shown a few church conversions in the UK that have worked well as family homes -albeit some with their own dead bodies in the attached churchyard but that's just an added extra UK kids get to play with as few churches in Oz have dead 'uns so you don't have to fret about maintaining the moss and lichen on the headstones.

Think of the history, the sad farewells, the joyous celebrations, the gatherings and community the walls of those churches have witnessed!
Throw a mezzanine floor through one end for loft bedrooms (those are HIGH ceilings!), possibly install an outdoor architecturally-sympathetic wrought-iron balcony around the upper windows  (wrought iron won't block natural light), get permission to install SUBTLE skylights to increase light into upper floor - family home, art gallery, offices, dance studio, bookstore....the sky's the limit to reusing such well-built, historic buildings!


  1. The sky is the limit for the cost of a suitable conversion too. Hard to heat, hard to cool, hard to light. If you can get it right though ... Oh wow.

  2. I can see you in an old church, but you would have to ensure it had been deconsecrated lest hell fire and brimstone happen when you enter. However, I fear Elephant's Child is right, very hard to heat and cool, especially heat.

  3. A couple of laps of the baptismal font might help in summer, but cold weather is not my cappucino.
    Converted churches are great places to visit people, though.

  4. I guess a church might be cheaper than converting a loft - with FAR more character!! While lofts are a bit thin on the ground in rural Australia, churches are more likely to still be used for their original purpose!!

  5. I used to think converting a church would be a great idea, then I started thinking about heating and cooling costs, these were bad enough in my regular home! Church conversion dreams went the same way as Living In An Old Castle dreams. I'll stick with my little one bedroom flat now.

  6. I'd love to reno an old church. However, I think I'd better finish the reno I have started first.

  7. Spelling correction yelled at us very diplomatically, Anonymous.

    Ro, friends of our did renovate an old sandstone church, It was beautiful, amazing and a wonderful place to stay in summer. Outrageously expensive. They got some unpleasantness from the local community, as well. It was gorgeous, though.

  8. Dear Anon,
    It was a play on words, as in 'alter-ations' (y'know, renovations?), the same as 'wine/whine', sorry if this wasn't obvious to your pedant mind.
    Thank you for screeching the correct spelling at us all, next time I grace church with my presence I'll make sure I chant the letters.

    So, apart from a few laps about the baptismal font I can't tempt any of you into back-breaking and bank-breaking ALTER-ations of a former church?