Repairing the walls of Zion

Cathedral mason, Christian Frenzel with Zion Lutheran Church chairman, Gil Reimann and maintenance management committee member, John Kruger.

September 28 marks 80 years since Lutherans have occupied Angaston’s Zion Church which was built in 1855 when the old Union Chapel on Penrice Road was outgrown.

Built through community funds on land donated by the Angas family, the church’s stonework has been described as  “magnificent” by heritage groups.

But recently, Zion Lutheran Church property committee members have noticed some of the original soapstone which was quarried from Lindsay Park, is fretting away and repairs to maintain the heritage listed landmark are urgently needed.

Congregation chairman, Mr Gil Reimann said the last major work occurred in late 1978 when the front parapet and bell housing were repaired and in February last year, it was decided to repair the front façade of  the church using suitable stone sourced from NSW.

“The front facade will be what we call the first stage,” said Gil detailing the noticeable deterioration of the eastern tower and other areas.

“The western wall will be the second stage and the last stage will be the rest – we are doing the worst parts first.

“To do the whole church will cost about $100,000 all up.”

Williamstown based cathedral mason, Christian Frenzel was given the contract last July and work was expected to begin later that year, but plans took an unexpected turn.

“Work was due to commence in December then a car crashed into the front fence,” Gil explained.

Thankfully, insurance covered the fence rebuild, which included another unexpected issue.

“When the capping stones were taken off the top, a lot of the wall was quite unstable  inside, most of the lime mortar had deteriorated over the years,” Gil said.

“It turned into a bigger job than we thought.”

Last week, Christian was finishing the final details of the wall following nearly a month of work and said he was looking forward to beginning the first stage of stonework repairs on the church next week.

“Being a cathedral mason, it’s what I do,” Christian told The Leader.

“We’ll probably have a solid two months’ work for the facade. It’s quite time consuming because with heritage buildings you are opening up a can of worms, you just don’t know what’s behind or within the walls.

“It’s not quite as ornate as we have in Europe where you carve finials and buttresses and things like that, but I always say every heritage building, no matter where it is in the world, deserves the same attention as what a famous cathedral does.”

The Zion congregation has been setting aside funds for stonework maintenance since 2008 and are confident of completing stage one of the project.

Further fundraising and grants are needed to complete the remaining stages and donations from the community are welcomed.

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