News Release

Groundbreaking of Historic Chapel Celebrated in New South Wales

On May 12 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Doonside and Blacktown, NSW, paid tribute to pioneer members whose sacrifices provided the meetinghouse used now for nearly half a century.

Honoured guests at the event were John Robertson MP, leader of the NSW Labor Party and Member for the Blacktown electorate, and Blacktown Councillor Jacqueline Donaldson, who is a lay minister in another local church.

Olive McCartin, about to reach her 80th birthday, recounted the fundraising efforts of the handful of members. “The men would do heavy work, and we sisters would pull old nails from timber to sell for scrap metal. For us there was also endless jam and cake-making to sell in the community.”

Dave Innis, a lifetime member of the Blacktown Ward, remembers branch leaders and building missionaries turning the sod on what was then remote farm land. He was seven years old. His father, Croyle Innis, and other Church members took turns standing guard at night to protect the building site.

“They were armed with a gun,” said Dave, “and terrified of ever having to use it!”

Other speakers further outlined the proud history of the Church in Western Sydney.

Mr Robertson expressed appreciation for the contribution Latter-day Saints have made to the community over the last fifty years and said, “I hope you will continue your efforts for the next fifty.”

The dignitaries toured the meetinghouse, received copies of The Book of Mormon, and each planted a tree along with pioneer members.

Today money for new meetinghouses comes wholly from the general building funds of the Church, which result from tithing (10% of increase) paid by members worldwide. Now, as fifty years ago, ground is not broken until all funds for the structure are in place.

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