THE UNION CHURCH (1899)

8_The_Union_Church

Was built in the late 19th Century Carpenter’s Gothic Style for the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodists, hence the title Union Church. The land was given by Mr Cale an Anglican; the builders were the Methodist Brown Brothers and Mr Parker who was Presbyterian. It has a timber altar, made from a simple table with legs added from an old dresser. Plywood from packing boxes in this case, boxes containing “produce from Java” was used as infill on three sides. Crosses are hand carved in each corner of the altar “table” top with a larger cross in the centre.

The Sunday School room was added by the Methodists and built by Mr Martin, a local, in 1963. The church is used for Ecumenical services, concerts and community meetings. It has an unusual and restored World War 1 Honour Board with names and photos. It also contains the honour board which was once in the Rydal School. The complete war records of the soldiers on the restored Honour Board are in the church as well. The church is cared for by Rydal Union Church Incorporated.

One of the most interesting and memorable ceremonies in the history of Rydal was performed in the Union Church, when a roll of honor to perpetuate the names and memory of the lads who had responded to the Empire's call was unveiled. The Revs. F. Dixon (Methodist) and C. Maitland Elliss (Presbyterian) of Portland were present and jointly carried the service through. The board contained the following wording: "Pro Rege et Patria. Roll of Honor, Rydal Union Church. Our Boys. European War 14-15-16-17." The names appear in order - Pte. R.J. Freeman, Pte. H. Cale, Pte. H. Griffiths (killed), Pte. W. Featherstone, Gunner J. Macrea, Pte.B. Baumbert, Trooper W.S. Thew, Pte. W. Adshead (killed), Pte. J. Ford, Pte. A.A. Cale, Pte. L.L. Thew, Pte. R.J. James, Pte. S. Griffiths, Pte. J. Williamson, Pte. F. Travers. Mrs. R, Cale, president; Mrs. E. Cullen, treasurer; Mrs. S. Mays, hon. Secretary. May 2, 1917"

This article appeared in the “Bathurst Times of 5 July 1917 long before the war had finished. There were several locals who joined the armed services after this date and their names were added at a later date.