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Fire destroys 92 year old north Queensland church

The building's blackened external concrete walls, all recently painted, could not adequately prepare residents yesterday for the extensive damage that lay inside.

Pastoral leader Kate Nesbitt said it was sad to see something which so many people had put so much love and hard work into destroyed.

"It's a huge loss," she said.

She said all of the furniture inside was destroyed, some of which was irreplaceable.

"There was a magnificent sandstone altar," she said. Some furniture, including a large carved chair, was handmade for the church by a deceased parishioner using mango tree timber.

The loss was even more disappointing because the congregation had recently carried out $15,000 in renovations after a fundraising appeal.

"We put on a new roof and painted the outside," she said.

But Ms Nesbitt said she believed something good came from every situation. "We will rise from the ashes," she said.

Bowen Mayor Mike Brunker said the church was a strong part of the community, with generations of family members having been christened, married or given a final farewell in the building.

Parish council chairman Tony Cameron, who is also a Bowen police sergeant, said the church was vulnerable to any fire, deliberate or otherwise.

Bowen CIB Detective Sergeant Mark Inmon said the fire was being treated as suspicious.

Townsville Bulletin

Fire destroys 92-year-old church (Townsville Bulletin)
Church burns to the ground (The Advertiser)
Bowen suffers another blow (Townsville Bulletin)
Diocese of Townsville | St Mary's Parish, Bowen

7 May 2003