Talbingo celebrates 50 ecumenical years

TALBINGO in the Snowy Mountains near Tumut, has been promoting ecumenism for the past 50 years.

So much so, that the different Christian congregations came together to celebrate the golden jubilee of their interdenominational church, the first of its kind in Australia, opened at a cost of $86,000.

Representatives from the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian Churches opened and dedicated the church in 1967.

During the service the then commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Authority, Sir William Hudson, read the petition and placed the keys, petition and deeds on the altar for dedication by dignitaries of all three churches.

With windows front and back, it was designed by Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis and MacLuran, chartered architects from North Sydney. The same firm designed several churches including the current St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Yass.

The church holds a register of all baptisms, weddings and funerals conducted over the 50 years.

Continuing in the multicultural theme of the Snowy scheme, the current priests are Fr Sijo Jose from India and Fr Luke Verrell who celebrate Mass on the second and fourth Sundays. A Liturgy of the Word with Holy Communion is conducted by Bruce Tuncks on the first and third Sundays. Other denominations still use the church.

Key dates in the history of St Paul’s Talbingo

  • 1967 – April 23: Australia’s first Christian Interdenominational Church dedicated as St Paul’s.
  • 1970 – Princess Anne visited the Talbingo Church on a royal tour of Australia.
  • 1991- The Church organisers became incorporated and the church is still managed by representatives of each church. Maintenance and costs are shared between the churches, with much of the money generated by the local community.