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PostPosted: 30 Aug 2004, 08:24 
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This is terrible news for a fantastic high-gothic polychrome church design.

Four walls are left standing - hopefully there will be a local apeal to re-build it, with some funding/support from Heritage Victoria (suprisingly the church has never been listed on the register) - or at the very least, convert what is left into apartments for posterity.

I think this highlights a need for better funding from Heritage Victoria for fire detection, sprinklers and security to protect our historic churches.

------------------------------


Arson destroys church
Holly Ife
30aug04

ARSONISTS destroyed a 107-year-old church in Melbourne yesterday, devastating its small congregation.

Parishioners arrived for the 10am service at Ascot Vale Uniting Church to find the building destroyed, with only its four walls left standing.
"It's like a part of my life has been taken away," said a tearful Bonnie Addison, 12, who was baptised at the church.

MFB firefighters were called to the blaze on Maribyrnong Rd about 12.30am. Two houses on adjoining properties were evacuated amid fears the fire would spread.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Kerr, of the arson squad, said the blaze was suspicious.

"We believe a brick has been thrown through a window and a burglary has occurred. During the burglary, a fire has resulted," Det-Sgt Kerr said.

The Rev Ron Rosinsky, who has been the minister at the church since June, said it was unlikely the church would be rebuilt.

"We are insured but in a time of shrinking congregations and budgets, it is hard to see . . . how it would happen," he said.

Mr Rosinsky condemned the actions of the arsonists as "cowardly".

"I just hope they can get the help they need to change the way they are going," he said.

The cost of the damage was hard to estimate. "If you can put a value on a 100-year-old building, it would have to be a million dollars," said MFB station officer Cliff Streete.

Iris Wright, 82, has been attending the church since 1939. "It's just so sad. I was married here 57 years ago -- I'm really feeling it very much today," said Ms Wright.

Organist Tim Baker was shocked to find the church destroyed when he arrived yesterday morning.

"They are absolutely sick -- they have shocked and devastated a largely elderly congregation, ruined a historic building and destroyed irreplaceable items," Mr Baker said of the arsonists.

A 100-year-old pipe organ, an antique clock, historic church records and century-old stained-glass windows were destroyed in the blaze.

About 30 parishioners joined hands in prayer beside the church before going to Mr Rosinsky's home to discuss future arrangements.


Last edited by williampitt on 30 Aug 2004, 08:40, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 30 Aug 2004, 08:38 
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That's absolutely sad and hopefully the church will be rebuilt. They can never replace the likes of the Organ, but overall the church and it's impact upon the local community certainly be rebuilt.


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PostPosted: 30 Aug 2004, 18:37 
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I wrote to the National Trust Victoria about the fire, asking if it was classified and so on and here is a part of the response I received.

Quote:
Currently the National Trust has not classified the Ascot Vale Uniting Church nor do we hold a file on it. If the parish desires we could consider hosting an external (tax-deductible) appeal for the repair and restoration of the church, although as it is not classified by the Trust it would first need to be nominated to us and then assessed for it's historical and architectural importance.


It seems a positive response for the parish, and hopefully something can be done!


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PostPosted: 31 Aug 2004, 08:20 
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Way to go Daniel ...

That's a very quick response from them.

I think that there are probably just as many people concerned about Victorian architectural heritage as there are people in that parish anyway - it probably wouldn't matter what religion the building is for.

Good to see that people at least consider rebuilding these days - even if it is costly - only 20 years ago people wouldn't have blinked at knocking the rest down.


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PostPosted: 31 Aug 2004, 08:48 
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I'll try contacting Heritage Victoria as well. I guess it's also a matter of contacting the Rev. Ron Rosinsky.


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PostPosted: 26 Sep 2005, 20:37 
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Strangley, sometime ago I received an e-mail about my comments on this forum. It was something about a church fire and Satan. Disturbingly strange.

Thankfully this chap has been before our courts;

Quote:
A HEAVY metal music fan who set fire to a century-old church in Melbourne has been sentenced to three years in youth detention.

Novak Majstorovic, 19, of suburban St Albans, appeared for sentencing today in Victoria's County Court before Judge Jeanette Morrish.

Majstorovic, a fan of Burzum, a Norwegian rock band which advocated the burning of churches, has pleaded guilty to torching the 1896-built St Albans Uniting Church, in 2004.

In sentencing, Judge Morrish said Majstorovic's crimes of burglary and arson were serious and had caused more than $3 million in damage.

She said Majstorovic was an impressionable young man, that he had admitted his guilt early and that he had apologised to parishioners.

"I am now satisfied that you have taken very positive steps towards your rehabilitation," Judge Morrish said.


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