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31 October 2008
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts Peter Garrett have congratulated the Raukkan community on the official re-opening of the historic Raukkan Church in South Australia.
The church that famously features on Australias $50 note was re-opened today at a community event in the small, remote location of Raukkan, the site of the former Point McLeay Aboriginal Mission, after extensive conservation works.
Ms Macklin said the mission church, which was first opened in 1869, has an important place in Australias history, particularly for its connection to Indigenous Australians.
The church is not only an historical icon in the community, it is also significant to the people of Raukkan for its presence during the years of the Aboriginal Mission and as a memorial for local Ngarrindjeri Anzacs, Ms Macklin said.
In recognition of its importance to Australias heritage, the Australian Government contributed almost $240,000 towards the restoration of the church, with almost $180,000 coming from the Indigenous Heritage Program.
Mr Garrett said the Indigenous Heritage Program provides grants for community groups and individuals to identify, conserve and promote places important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The restoration of the church is an example of the positive results that can be achieved through this program, which encourages communities, local organisations and governments to work together to preserve our important heritage, Mr Garrett said.
The funding helped to restore the historic church by providing a new roof, windows, replacement wiring, stonemasonry, drainage work and restoration of the bell tower, skirting and pews. A special feature of the restoration was the replication of a stained glass window installed in 1925 in memory of four Ngarrindjeri Anzacs from Raukkan.
Now restored, the church has recommenced services and the community will celebrate its official re-opening today.
Mr Garrett said Australias heritage includes the Indigenous stories and events that have contributed to the character of our nation and that continue to be an integral part of our lives today.
Its vital we protect, preserve and promote these places so that future generations can share and pass on these stories for years to come, Mr Garrett said.
The funding was provided under a Shared Responsibility Agreement between the Raukkan Community and the Australian Government.