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Whyalla Meetinghouse Celebration

Latter-day Saints in the Eyre Peninsula city of Whyalla organised a “Back to Whyalla” weekend recently to mark the 50th anniversary of their church meetinghouse.

Among the 120 people who enjoyed the celebrations were former building missionaries and others who had helped build the chapel, as well as families whose parents or grandparents had links to the building.

The church building is located on the corner of George and Jenkins Avenues and was dedicated for worship in June 1965.

It is representative of scores of similar meetinghouses built by Church members and missionaries across Australia.

Event co-organiser Alison Homes said that before 1965 Latter-day Saints had held their church meetings in hired premises such as the former Hockey House, and Whyalla Institute.

“I was just a child back then but I remember the excitement for everyone as they moved into a proper church that had been built primarily by their own hands,” Mrs Homes said.

“Lots of memories were shared at the weekend, and while some people return to Whyalla often, one or two had not been back for decades, and they came from as far away as Perth and Sydney, so it was a great reunion.”

Historical photographs of the building and the congregation were on display.  A special testimony meeting held on Sunday 16 August allowed the church members to express gratitude for those who laboured on the building and served and led the congregation fifty years ago.

The church building has been a hub of community activity across the decades.

“The Family History Centre at the church [is] open to anyone in the community interested in tracing their genealogy,” said Mrs Homes. “The meetinghouse also has been a centre for food collection of ongoing donations for Anglicare (a relief agency) locally, and a few years ago a group teaching life skills to young disabled youth used our hall and kitchen for their summer program because their own facilities weren’t air-conditioned.”

She added that when a pre-Christmas storm wiped out power in an area close to the church building for three days, local Latter-day Saints went door-knocking to invite elderly residents to a Christmas dinner at the meetinghouse. 

“We all had a wonderful time together,” she said.

For more information about the event see this article in the Whyalla News

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