Catholics in Hughenden in Far North Queensland face a future without their own place of worship, with the town’s 1960s church to be demolished in the next few months. Source: ABC News.
Townsville Diocese confirmed the removal of the Sacred Heart Church, which closed in late 2018 after 50 years of serving the Catholic community.
Townsville Bishop Tim Harris said the problems with the building foundations caused by cracking, reactive soils meant it was too dangerous to allow Mass to continue to be held at the church.
Bishop Harris said the church will be demolished in May or June, at a cost of around $140,000, with the diocese contributing $50,000 to assist with the parish's bill.
With the Church’s insurer unwilling to cover the building without significant works, the bishop said he was left with no choice.
The Church has had a physical presence in the town since 1885, with 28 per cent of the town’s 1,100 population identifying as Catholic, well above the 22 per cent national figure.
Retiree Paul Franzmann, a long-time volunteer with the parish, was critical of the demolition. The cost of repairs has been a point of controversy, with Mr Franzmann citing a former builder in the town who believes the repairs could have been done more cheaply.
But Bishop Harris said band-aid solutions would not assist in the building’s long-term viability, which would come at a high price.
The church held regular weekend Masses until it closed, and now Masses are held in the local Anglican Church.