St. John’s Anglican Church – Port Albert

Found: 18 Feb 2012

Not quite ready to go home, but not enough time to tackle the other multi at Port Albert… what to do, what to do. I suddenly remembered there was a Geocaching Australia cache down here at the Church.

Around the road we went, only to discover a car parked directly outside of the church, with someone waiting in the passenger seat. Could it be another cacher? Couldn’t see anyone in the Churchyard, so in we went to have a look around. The man in the car was watching us, so we started taking photo’s and discussing the architecture of the Church. We were still being watched as we disappeared around the back of the Church.

We checked the hint so that we could keep our search time to a minimum. Eventually we located what simply had to be the hiding spot, but we didn’t stand a chance whilst our avid spectator was around. As we were standing there trying to decide what to do, a voice behind us asked if we would like to come inside the Church and have a look around. Well… since we were playing at being tourists, why not?!?!

Say your prayers, cachers!

A lovely lady gave us a tour and running narrative about some of the more interesting items in the Church. The gorgeous stained glass window behind the altar is dedicated to the memory of Foster Griffiths, who died in 1872 aged just 6 months. His father was Griffiths Griffiths who lived at Port Albert for upwards of 20 years as a painter and decorator, before heading off to Foster to turn his hand to prospecting after gold was discovered in Stockyard Creek. After his infant son died, Griffiths had this window made and as there was no Church at Foster, Griffiths gave the window to the Rev. Betts, who brought it down to Port Albert and had it installed in this Church.

What I personally found more fascinating though were the altar chairs and the Communion rail. They’re absolutely gorgeous! They are 2 elegant saloon chairs, and the rail was part of a ships decking rail, and both are from the wreck of the ‘Clonmel’ – a luxury paddle steamer which was on only it’s 2nd inter-colonial voyage when it struck the sandbar just off the Port Albert entrance. After futile attempts by the crew the stern sank heavily into the sandbank and has remained there ever since. The crew and 80-odd passengers were rescued, and the steamer was stripped of anything salvageable before being left to the ravages of nature. The reports of the surrounding land and the bay were enthusiastically welcomed, and in the end the wreck of the Clonmel was instrumental in opening up the port at Port Albert, which became the centre of trade for south eastern Victoria throughout the 1850’s and 1860’s.

Yes the altar really is that cosy.

After thanking our tour guide, we headed back outside together and said our farewells. They hopped into their car and drove away, which left us to make a very quick find of the cache. YAY!! Our very first GCA cache!

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About Collector of Two Dollar Trinkets

I use multi-million dollar satellite technology to hunt for little hidden plastic boxes.
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