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Old Church Enjoys Mural Makeover

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Artist Willie Nelson with St Anne’s parishioner Tania Fitzsimons who helped organise the fun day

June 18, 2018

Nanango has a new attraction on its mural trail with the official unveiling on Saturday of the re-decorated Churchyard Shop in Burnett Street.

Local artist Willie Nelson, who did most of the murals that decorate buildings and laneways throughout the town, has added to the outdoor gallery with colourful paintings on the historic building.

The “Churchyard Shop”, on the corner of Drayton Street, is the former St Anne’s Anglican Church dedicated in 1881.

The congregation now gathers in a later church, built just next door.

The Churchyard Shop was established in July 2011 as a place where lonely and isolated people in Nanango could meet once a week to enjoy a cuppa in a safe environment, as well as browse through bargains.

It proved very popular.

In 2013, the storage area was expanded to include a new shed to store donated furniture.

Parishioner Tania Fitzsimons said the shop was now open six days a week, the 2013 shed had been turned into an extension of the shop, and two new storage sheds had been added this year.

A visit by Bishop Cameron Venables, Bishop of the Western Region, provided a great excuse for the Parish to put on a fun day at the Churchyard Shop on Saturday.

There was live music, a giant slide, face-painting and market stalls, as well as the official opening of the murals.

The paintings include a Nativity scene, Noah’s rainbow and scenes from everyday Nanango life, including schoolchildren, a lollipop lady, native animals and Coomba Falls.

Also featured are portraits of soldiers who are linked to the parish in some way:

  • Flight Sergeant Bob Morris – World War II, Sergeant, RAAF Command (and former Nanango Shire Clerk)
  • Private Tom Springate – World War I, Gunner, 7th Australian Field Artillery Brigade
  • Private Harry Templeton – World War I, Gunner, 5th Australian Divisional Ammunition Column

Willie said the murals took about three months to complete because he could only work on them for a couple of hours a day.

The Churchyard Shop hosts a market at the site on the fourth Sunday of every month, from 8:00am to noon.

Some of the military portraits on the building … the weatherboard slats created some issues for artist Willie Nelson, who had to design the paintings to be seen clearly from afar

Parish volunteers Noela Sirett and Lyn Hood, from Nanango, were looking after sales inside the Churchyard Shop

Neil Rose, from Rosie’s Fun 4 All, brought along his giant slide

Country singer-songwriter Rowley O’Brien was providing the live entertainment at the family day

Leith Humphreys and Alicia Netherwood, from Blackbutt, had a stall … their first time at the Churchyard Shop markets

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

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