News Release

Wollongong Latter-day Saints Look Back on Last 50 Years

Saturday the 9th of August 2014 marked 50 years since the church building keys were handed over to the leaders of the Wollongong Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Latter-day Saint apostle, Elder Bruce R. McConkie.
The anniversary of the opening of the meetinghouse was celebrated by many of the original ward members, both men and women, who worked hard to make the building a reality.  

The ward celebrated the event with a 60’s themed dance on Friday the 8th of August.  Attendees were welcomed with wall-to-wall photographs of the early years of the ward.  
On Saturday a small group of past Wollongong residents, who were there for the construction of the chapel, traveled by bus to see many of the sights in the area, and talk about how much things had changed in the area in 50 years.
That evening, a memorial dinner was held where past bishops (lay leaders) of the ward shared their feelings of their time serving the members.
One bishop talked of his deep respect and love for the building and his desire to look after it because of how hard ward members had worked to build it. 
The next day, Sunday, stake conference was held and the current bishop of the Wollongong ward, Trevor Stewart, spoke about the legacy of those early ward members. A stake conference is a semi-annual gathering of Latter-day Saints and their guests coming from several congregations in one city or region.
Bishop Stewart shared how, 50 years ago, they held cake stalls almost every week to help purchase a block of land.  They purchased the land, cleared it of trees, and sold the timber in order to help pay for the completion of their building.
When the Latter-day Saints of Wollongong had finally completed their chapel, there were no more floors to sweep and bottles to pick up from parties the night before, as there had been in the old YMCA building they had previously used for their worship services.
The chapel was dedicated on the 9th of September 1964 by Elder Franklin D. Richards after all the construction bills had been paid.
The weekend of celebration was well attended and brought a wonderful spirit of unity as the members reflected on their past and looked forward to their future.


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.