St Andrews Church in Walcha is the oldest building standing in the town and the oldest Church in the Armidale Anglican Diocese, and it is in desperate need of salvation.
The building is in a state of disrepair and has not been used since the 1990s; however, a group of residents want to change this and bring the building back to life, they have begun to raise $50,000 to put towards work to save the building and its historic stained glass windows.
Each week I will tell the story behind a window.
The Eastern triptych window was installed at the time of the building of the church in 1862 as a memorial to William Denne who died at Tia, New England on March 27th 1862, aged 52.
He and his brother Richard Henry Denne occupied Tia River Station from 1834. 'William Denne of Tia River, New England, on the Port Macquarie Road' placed an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald of 2nd October 1845 offering cross-bred rams for sale of the improved Kent breed at £1.
The brothers had come to the colony from Chislet in Kent and other memorials to the Denne brothers are also found in their church of St Mary the Virgin, Chislet. Tia River Station remained in the hands of these brothers until 1882 when it was sold to Augustus Hooke.
It is unique to Walcha's heritage and that of New England
The window was made by Hardman and Co. of Birmingham, England. Hardman windows grace St Andrew's and St Mary's Cathedrals in Sydney and St Patrick's, Church Hill. Many windows were being imported for other churches and residences from the 1860s. These windows in the Old Stone Church are believed to be the oldest in regional NSW.
The Denne window depicts the gospel in glass representing the life of Jesus Christ from his birth to his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Its scale sets it apart from the ordinary. It is constructed in miniature, with very small figures and very fine leads cleverly reinforced by brass braces.
The 160-year-old window has survived remarkably well given its exposure to the elements; however, it is very close to destruction unless urgent action is taken to protect and preserve it.