Posts tagged ‘Ebenezer’

March 1, 2011

Feel like afternoon tea with the interred?

Have I got the place for you – and, no, it’s not as morbid as it sounds! On the banks of the Hawkesbury river, about a fifteen minute drive out of Windsor lies the sleepy little town of Ebenezer, famous for being the home of Australia’s oldest church. I know… I was surprised when I found out too, what about all those old piles in Tasmania? But apparently it’s true, and the street sign says so, so it must be true. There is a slight caveat in that it’s Australia’s oldest Presbyterian church, but that’s a small distinction really when you have a historical landmark practically on your doorstep!!

It has been used as a church continually from 1809, and reminds me somewhat of a doll’s house:

Of course it is free to look at, wander around in and soak up the atmosphere, and the graves surrounding it are really interesting in a sad kind of way. The oldest one is for poor little Sarah Gilkerson who died at 3 weeks old on May 14th 1813. The churchyard has a lovely peaceful vibe and the pretty scenery of the bushland and the river adds to that.

Adjoining the church itself is the old schoolmaster’s house, (even more like a doll’s house than the church), it now houses a miniature museum and a shop with all sorts of interesting bric a brac, locally made goods and souvenirs for sale. They even have those silver teaspoons with a picture of the church on the top, speaking of which, I found some girls up in Byron Bay who make bracelets out of those spoons – they are so cool! Anyway, enough of jewellery, back to the subject – the house is an interesting combination of museum and historical display. Up the steepest set of stairs I have ever come across, (and my sister used to live in a terrace house in Paddington), lies the attic bedrooms all made up as if the poor convict servant girl had just gotten up.

Finally, here comes the bit about afternoon tea, (sorry to make you wait for it), outside the schoolmasters house in a paved courtyard with views down to the river a few tables are set up and Devonshire tea/coffee is available for $5. A lovely volunteer lady sets up a tray with all the fixings and you can relax and have a nice spot of tea… and don’t worry, the graves are all on the other side of the buildings. The church still runs as a Uniting Church and is open for services at 8.30am, whilst the house is open from 10am until 3, (or 4pm in the warmer months), on all days except Christmas and Easter.