Saturday, December 20, 2008

St Jude's "wooden shanty", 1907

In 1907, the parish of St Jude's Church in Avondale finally had enough money to get their long-planned Sunday school building/Parish Hall underway at the rear of the church, built in 1884. According to the following Observer article from the time, however, the weather wasn't kind to the parishioners -- and neither, in a way, was the Observer, describing the wooden building as a "shanty". Well, shanty or not, the Parish Hall has stood the test of time (101 years to date) through at least one extension, housing overflows of pupils from the Avondale Primary School, local Scouts and Girl Guides, parish fairs and formal gatherings.

"Moore Richard" is the Observer's arch way of referring to Bishop Neligan.

Observer, Volume XXVII, Issue 43, 13 July 1907, Page 16
The St. Judeans of Avondale were taught a rather severe lesson in connection with a "wooden shanty,"' which they are raising to the glory of Avondale and the good of the church. They announced that the ceremony of laying the foundation stone would take place on a certain day and that Bishop Neligan would shed the light of his countenance and pour out his episcopal blessing upon the undertaking, which goes to show that Moore Richard is inconsistently kind, or, perhaps it would be more correct to say, kindly inconsistent.

Perhaps, however, it would be still more correct to say that Moore Richard draws a fine distinction between a parish hall and a church, in which case it may also be presumed that the episcopal blessing is not quite so powerful in the former case as in the latter. However this may be, the Avondale Judeans neglected to qualify their announcement by inserting the proviso "weather and other circumstances permitting." The consequences were disastrous. The winds blew, the rain descended, the floods came with such emphasis that the function had to be postponed. In the meantime, the foundation stone was nicely fixed by the contractor.

The postponed ceremonial was announced for a day later, and this time the St. Judeans, who had evidently taken their lesson to heart, stated that the function would eventuate on the day fixed, "D.V." Then things panned out all right.

To be sure the stone was already laid, but it looked just as well as if the orthodox benediction had been duly bestowed upon it. But Moore Richard came, with a number of the lesser lights and dignitaries. The weather was propitious, for Jupiter Pluvius honoured the occasion with his absence. The indispensable benediction, albeit somewhat belated, was duly poured out, and the erection of the wooden shanty of St. Jude's Parish Hall is now proceeding apace.

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