After the land was granted to the Anglicans in 1879-80 a simple building was erected on the land.
The precise date of this little building is not known. The first heritage report commissioned by the developer Stephen Bartlett said that in the 1880s ‘a small church was erected at the northern end of the overall site’.[i] There are reports of the Reverend J Best giving a service at 11am on February 8th 1885 at Huskisson and although it does not say where this service was held, it was almost certainly in this little hall.[ii] Until 2019 this was possibly the oldest building in Huskisson. We say that more research should have been carried out before the church hall, that contained the remnants of this original church, ringed in red on the old photograph, was demolished in September 2019. It was extended and altered over time, but this building told part of the historical story of our village. Originally this old church was known as the Union Church as it was used not only by the Anglicans, but for meetings of local Methodists, Presbyterians and so on. As the only hall in the area, it was also possibly used by the Aboriginal Welfare Board to distribute rations of food and clothing. We don’t know this as fact, but we do know that some of the early rectors were sincere in what they believed to be essential missionary work with the local Aboriginal residents and we also know that there was no other obvious place in the village for this hand-out to occur. As we say, more research would undoubtedly uncover more of our shared village history.
After the Blacket church was built in the 1930s this old building was used for Sunday school, for church and community meetings and social gatherings.
In the 1940s the shingled roof was replaced with galvanized iron and in the 1970 the whole building was moved a short way south on the block to make room for the brick rectory that currently stands on the corner of Hawke Street and the laneway. A large extension doubled the size of the building and a kitchen was added. Later a veranda was added along the whole of the southern side of the building.
It continued to be used for kindergarten classes and social gatherings of the congregation up until the time it was demolished. The DA that permitted its demolition cited issues with asbestos, although locals watched its destruction by wreckers who did not wear protective clothing except for a brief time. For the sake of the Tiny Tots we hope there were not asbestos issues, but for the sake of the community we wish the Shoalhaven City Council would insist on a little more rigor in its DA processes.
[i] GBAHeritage, ‘Heritage Management Strategy, Holy Trinity Anglican Church Site, Huskisson’, August 2018, p. 8.