Cyclone-damaged church demolished

The church is demolished (The Morning Bulletin/Chris Ison)

A Rockhampton church was demolished this week after damage from a cyclone in 2015 was deemed too expensive to repair. Source: The Morning Bulletin.

With an estimated repair cost of $500,000, the call was made to demolish the St Vincent de Paul’s Church in Wandal church five months ago, after it was damaged by Cyclone Marcia in 2015. 

The church first opened in 1974 at a cost of $211,000. It was designed by local architect Neil McKendry, who also designed the Pilbeam Theatre and was the father of Mary McKendry, the former Rockhampton ballerina who married Li Cunxin (of Mao’s Last Dancer fame).

The basic concept of the design was that of a Roman clerical hat. It was scheduled to be completed within 26 weeks, however due to wet weather and shortage of materials, the project was delayed.

Many donations were made to the building works, and over $35,000 was raised by the community through functions in the 12 months leading up to its opening.

Parishioner Janette Dobson said there was a lot of sadness when it was announced the church would be demolished, but said it was inevitably a part of life.

“Some people have found it very difficult to move on from that which is understandable,” she said. “It is just such a big part of your life.”

Financial administrator for the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton, Dean smith, said there were no plans for the site.

“That will be for the parish to determine its future,” he said.

“There was quite a bit of unhappiness about the closing, within the community which is very understandable.

“It’s not something we like to do but unfortunately mother nature had a hand in it and there wasn’t a lot we could do.”

A liturgical ceremony to mark the decommissioning of the Church was held with the community at the site last week.


Church demolished as cyclone repairs deemed too expensive (The Morning Bulletin

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