The window from William Edmond Bennett

St Andrew's 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 tell the story behind a window

On the front southern side of the church is a window, the gift of W. E. Bennett.

William Edmond Bennett was born on the 7th August 1845 to George Bennett MD FRCS and his wife Julianna. William was baptised on 1st January 1846 at St Lawrence's Church, Sydney.

According to the 'Government Gazette' of Saturday 8th August 1868, he was appointed as a Licensed Surveyor for the Government. On the 17th October 1876, he married Jane Isabella Bell at her home, Rimbanda Station which is between Tamworth and Armidale. Jane was the daughter of David Bell and Margaret (nee McGillivray).Mrs Bell had died at Bergan-op-zoom Station Walcha on 4th September 1870.

Three children were born, namely Margaret Miriam Bennett on 27th December 1877 at The Cottage, Walcha, Archibald Edmond Bennett in 1879in Walcha and David Hugh Bennett on 12 June 1881at Eyrie, Muluerindi, Walcha

The inscription is "'To the Glory of God. The gift of W.E Bennett".

The theme is St John in the left window and the prophet Elijah in the right. St John faces forward and Elijah to the right which creates a dissonance in composition compared to the similar window dedicated to Isabel Briggs where the subjects face each other. The windows were probably made at the same time.

Each window is constructed as a single light. The left hand side has some paint loss on the face of St John and some bowing. There is a crack in one leaf piece. The right hand window also has some cracking and a large piece missing.

The broken ivy piece will need to be replaced but the remaining cracks are cosmetic and easily repaired.

Thank you to the many people who have contributed to our funds. Donations can be transferred to BSB 932000 Account number 100284339