Heritage church in Williamtown under threat from development

St. Saviour’s has been on this site since 1927.

ST SAVIOUR’S ANGLICAN CHURCH – a heritage listed site in Williamtown – may become lost to its congregants due to development of the surrounding land.

The chapel, which has stood at its site on Cabbage Tree Rd since 1927, falls within the Williamtown Special Activation Precinct, a plan intended to ‘deliver jobs and growth to the Williamtown area by capitalising on the emerging aerospace industry around Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown and Newcastle Airport’.

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Rev. David Davies said that when plans were first announced and the church was contacted, they were told their heritage status and the active congregation would be taken into consideration.

A spokesperson for the Department of Regional NSW stated, “The draft master plan identified the locally heritage listed church as potentially being impacted by the proposed flood mitigation strategy and further work will be required to determine the best long-term outcome.

“Engagement was undertaken with the community on 7-8 February 2023 to discuss the draft master plan and included discussions on the church.”

However at a scheduled meeting with representatives from the Department of Planning, discussing the subject of working to preserve the building for continued use, Rev. Davies said he was told simply “We all know that’s not going to happen”.

Rev. Davies said the meeting was scheduled to run for 30 minutes but ended abruptly after six, when it was announced the Department’s representative had another meeting to attend.

“They said they would work collaboratively with us,” Rev. Davies said.

“It seems clear that they’re not interested in doing that.”

Rev. Davies, who has served the congregation at Medowie for six years, said, “This is not just about a building.

“This is a congregation of people, and these decisions impact their lives.”

Rev. Davies is now discussing the matter with the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle in order to determine what are the most appropriate next steps.

The department spokesperson said, “The precinct is still under investigation and no decisions have been made on implementation of the precinct.”

By Lindsay HALL

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