Soldiers give outback church a facelift

The renovated  Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Windorah, Queensland (ABC News/Facebook/Windorah Community Events)

A tiny outback church in Queensland has undergone a facelift, thanks to Australian Defence Force personnel deployed at a remote COVID-19 control point. Source: ABC News.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church at Windorah, 1,200 kilometres west of Brisbane in far south-west Queensland, has served the town of just 60 residents for 80 years and was in need of much-delayed repairs.

Windorah Development Board treasurer Peta Geiger said the ADF troops’ efforts had been a great morale booster for the town, which is struggling with a lack of tourists since Queensland closed its borders in March.

The troops joined police to establish a checkpoint on the road from Birdsville and the South Australian border, just over four hours’ drive west.

“There’s not much traffic passing through Windorah,” Ms Geiger said. “That [church] was just one of those projects we weren’t getting to. We needed manpower. There’s 60 of us that live here so it’s been on the back burner for quite a few years.

“We needed some painting done on the interior, we had the pews finished off, being sanded and coated, the floor varnished and the garden looks schmick out the front.”

With plenty of spare time, the ADF was happy to help finish the church restoration.

The building’s new lease on life was celebrated by a congregation observing social distancing.

“With the restrictions in place we couldn’t have everyone in the community come, unfortunately,” Ms Geiger said.

“We did have the men that were involved in the project from the ADF there. The priest from the ADF took the service and a few locals were there also.”

A bigger celebration will be held when restrictions are lifted but it will be hard to beat the church’s opening in 1939, marked by a double wedding.

FULL STORY

Soldiers on coronavirus checkpoint duties delight tiny outback town with church makeover (ABC News)

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