UPDATE 14 October 2021
An auction to sell the church was held on Saturday 9 October 2021. There was quite a lot of interest in the property and the highest bidder was successful in purchasing it. We thank you for your interest.
Expressions of interest can be given to Luke Moloney at Moloney Real Estate in Corowa.
SALE OF ST STEPHEN’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, BALLDALE
It is with sadness, but also with a strong sense of gratitude to the pioneers of the Balldale district, that we announce the sale of St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church.
Our regular church services in Balldale stopped over six years ago, and the last time the church building was used was for a wedding in 2018. Since then, it has stood empty and, admittedly, a little neglected. The leaders of Corowa Presbyterian Church were asked to look into the future use of the property, and after a consultation process with the Balldale community and with the former members of St Stephen’s, they decided to recommend that the church be put on the market and put to better use as a family home.
Rev Richard Keith, minister of Corowa Presbyterian Church, said,
“I was nervous about talking to people about selling the church. I know that the closure of schools and banks and churches in rural towns is a very sensitive issue. I didn’t know what to expect. But the members of the Our Town Balldale Committee were very understanding. There was no real opposition to the sale. In fact, there was some excitement about putting an unused building to better use and about possibly attracting a new family to the town in the process.”
The current red brick church building was constructed in the 1960s to replace the original timber church.
Rev Keith said,
“It’s probably fair to say that the church has a lot of personal value to the families who invested their lives in that congregation, and we hope to honour that as we get the property ready for sale. But there isn’t a lot of heritage value in a 60 year old brick building. It did its job and it did it well. But it’s time for it to begin a new phase as a family home.”
St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church stands on a half-acre block in Kavanagh Street, Balldale, and is zoned “Rural – Village” by Federation Shire like the other residential properties in the town. It will be open for public viewing one last time in its original state with the pulpit and pews still in place on Sunday 20 June 2021 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. This will be followed by a cup of tea in the Recreation Hall, Balldale.
Rev Keith said,
“We hope a lot of people come on June 20 and share some happy memories or just have a look around, but we won’t be accepting any offers on the day. We will be engaging a local real estate agent to handle the sale. I’m expecting a good old fashioned “For Sale” sign out the front of the church with contact details. I’ve been answering about a phone call a week from interested buyers, but we are also expecting some interest from capital city residents. People have discovered that if they have to work from home they can live anywhere, and rural properties away from COVID hotspots are very desirable. I’m hoping the agent can take all those calls now.”
There are no plans to make retaining the church building in its current state a condition of sale. The proceeds of the sale of the church will go towards funding the Presbyterian Church’s continuing mission in the border region.
Rev Richard Keith
Corowa Presbyterian Church