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Philanthropist wanted: to buy historic church

The saga of the sale of the East Trentham Sacred Heart Church in rural Victoria recently attracted national television coverage. Now the local residents have begun emailing news agencies in a desperate search to find a philanthropist who might buy the building from the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The Age reported last April: "When the Irish-Catholic potato farmers of the Trentham district disagreed in 1890 over whether their new church should be built in East Trentham or Fern Hill, they resolved the debate by building it between the two hamlets. They erected the church in fields donated by two farmers, and for more than 100 years it was a meeting place for the community." The subject has been raised in the Victorian Parliament a number of times last year, and now this is the email request that CathNews received yesterday:


The Sacred Heart Catholic Church, East Trentham, Victoria, Australia 3458 is over 112 years old. The rendered brick structure is located in an East Trentham paddock "in the middle of nowhere", about 6 kms east of the town of Trentham. The Church was built with land, materials and labour provided by pioneer Irish-Australian families.

The Church is located about one hour's drive from Melbourne.

Regrettably the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Melbourne has resolved to sell the Church early this year.

A Business Plan dated 20 April 2002 provides various business options and models for maintaining the historic link between the local community and the Church. This is available on request by emailing Andrew Kincaid at the email address below. A published history of the Church is also available.

The Sacred Heart Church Preservation Committee now urgently seeks a genuine philanthropist. He or she may wish to approach the Archdiocese directly, alternatively bid at any auction or tender conducted by the Archdiocese with a view to purchasing the property (with or without community financial support) so that this historic link might be maintained.

Would interested persons please ring Andrew Kincaid on Australia (03) 5424 1864 or mobile (0412)239749 or email

Any enquiry will be treated in absolute confidence.

SOURCE: Andrew Kincaird/The Age/ABC Online/Victorian Hansard

8 Jan 2004