On a recent trip back from the River Murray, we passed through an old gold mining town called Tarnagulla. Tarnagulla was originally called Sandy Creek. It is a town founded on the excitement and hope of the Victorian Gold rush and quickly developed into a thriving community. Over the years the gold became less plentiful and many turned to farming and other pursuits. With a colorful history, Tarnagulla today is a quiet town with a population of only a few hundred.
One street back from the main road, the remains of a very impressive Church building stands – Unfortunately in September 2000, a fire swept through the old church and all that remains is the outside shell of the building.
The origins of the building goes back to September 1858 when a preacher visiting from Sandhurst came to Sandy Creek to preach. Following the first sermon, the congregation grew and the first Church building consisted of slab sides and calico and a bark roof. This opened in March 1859. The next church building was a little better than the first.
The new church building had its foundation stone laid on October 19th, 1864, and the Church opened for public worship on Sunday, 9th April, 1865. The main structure of the church was 55 feet by 32 feet, to accommodate 300 people.
With the serious decline in population in Tarnagulla it was found necessary to close down the church, which was maintained in very good condition by public subscription. The Methodists and Presbyterian congregations having combined as the Uniting Church in 1975, meet in the old Presbyterian Church.
Not withstanding the fire in September 2000, the outer shell of the building is very impressive. The building is privately owned.
For more information about Tarnagulla