ALBURY’S St Patrick’s Catholic Church is undergoing one of the biggest revamps in its 142-year history.
Tradesmen are working around the clock to have the renovation completed by the end of next week ahead of back-to-back weddings and the lead-up to Easter.
The original baptistery, which has been out of action for decades, is being resurrected with 19th century tiles imported from a castle in Belgium being used.
Carpet fitted in the 1970s in the main seating area and sanctuary has been ripped up and existing timber floor boards will be polished.
The terrazzo centre aisle will also be brought back to life and a confessional area under the choir loft, which was riddled with termites, is being given an overhaul.
The high altar, which was created in the 1950s, is also being repaired.
Timber pews which seat more than 450 parishioners have been temporarily removed and given a touch-up before being put back in place.
The church’s extensive collection of stained glassed windows will also be pulled out and cleaned.
Father Joel Wallace said the revamp had been estimated at $100,000, but the final bill would come in under $30,000 due to a high level of voluntary labor from local tradespeople.
“It was quite obvious the place needed an overhaul,” he said.
“It has been in the planning stages for two years.
“The whole place certainly needed freshening up.
“But we’ve been mindful of respecting its heritage elements.”
The project is being bankrolled by donations and fund-raising and a separate bequest for the sanctuary restoration.
Renovations have been a major focus for Father Wallace since he joined the church two years ago.
The works have been done in close consultation with Suttie Rofe Architects and other heritage experts and daily oversight from a WorkSafe officer.
Lighting will also be fitted into the timber roof.
Regular services are being held in the St Patrick’s Primary School hall during the 2½ weeks the church is being renovated.