A well known corner gem forgotten
As the most significant wooden heritage building left on the foreshore of Lake Wendouree, the former Jubilee Methodist Church, on the corner of Wendouree Parade and Forest Street, is languishing in a state of utter disrepair and dilapidation. This deliberately-simple little church was privately funded by one of the city founders, James Russell Thomson, as his local place of worship, in the early days of the founding of the city. Thomson, is the same benefactor who left 3000 pounds (a fortune in the 1880s), for the erection of the Botanical Gardens Statuary, the magnificent marble sculptures it contains, as well as the Wallace statue, just outside. I believe we owe it to the legacy Thomson bequested the people of Ballarat, to save a building that clearly meant so much to he and his family. As a small child, attending the Jubilee kindergarten, I well remember this wonderful building, annually used for the kindergarten fair. In keeping with the Methodist penchant for unpretentiousness, it is lined with splendid tongue and groove timber and glorious gothic stained glass windows.
It is the oldest Methodist wooden church in Ballarat. The City of Ballarat, surely should take some responsibility for allowing the present owner of this heritage gem of a building to allow it to fall into its current state of dilapidation.
I remember when planning permission was refused by the City Council, for its conversion into a café/reception centre some 20 years ago, and believe the building has not changed hands since such planning permission was refused. In an ideal world, some effort would be made by the City Council, to ensure the future of the building and commence negotiations with its current owner as a matter of urgency. Personally, I would love to see this charming building purchased as a community facility for the people of Ballarat. The kindergarten could again enjoy occasional use for meetings and special events.
The space would lend itself to intimate theatre performances, much along the lines of La Mama Theatre in Carlton. It seats a mere 27 people, but plays a major role in allowing the development of new Australian theatrical works and fringe performers. It has the potential to complement and become a jewel in Ballarat's performing arts heritage. It could equally be used for acoustic music performances, with minimal impact of noise, or nuisance to nearby residents. To preserve a building so rich in its connection to the city's early establishment, and find a way to rebirth this heritage building to conserve its place in the city's architectural and cultural heritage, through a viable contemporary use should be a matter of urgency. I hope The Courier and other local media, might do some further sleuthing to discover why a building of such local significance has been left to rot for over 20 years and assist in a campaign to save the Jubilee Church.
Fiona Ludbrook, Wendouree
CHFL split should have come long ago
I have been touting a split for four years now, and mostly it has fallen on deaf ears, until AFL Goldfields started making some noise. All of a sudden, surprise surprise; League president, Eddy Comelli proposes a solution to the over-population problem. While Eddy's idea has some merit, one premiership for two divisions will not work, as it still denies the battlers a flag.
The solution is to keep it all under the CHFL banner; two divisions, two premierships, and either one or two clubs promoted and relegated each year based on the performance of the whole club, i.e. championship points accrued in football and netball. It would take a little sorting out, but alas, I feel it will be in vain, as I think AFL Goldfields may have a bigger plan for all of us. A sad case of apathy and application of 'too little, too late" syndrome.
Russell Dooley, Sailors Falls