Greg Turner painting of Byng Church secured at auction in Bowral

BACK HOME: This painting of the historic Byng Church, by artist Greg Turner, found its way back to Orange and is now in the hands of Dr Simon Hawke and his wife Perri who were married at the church in April. They are with Byng Church caretaker Will Hawke and his wife Barbara. Photo: JUDE KEOGH         0903byngpainting

BACK HOME: This painting of the historic Byng Church, by artist Greg Turner, found its way back to Orange and is now in the hands of Dr Simon Hawke and his wife Perri who were married at the church in April. They are with Byng Church caretaker Will Hawke and his wife Barbara. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0903byngpainting

A YOUNG couple who were married at the historic Byng Church in April now have an original painting of the church by the late artist Greg Turner to remember their special day, after a friend secured the painting at an auction in Bowral.

The painting was completed by the Orange-based artist almost 40 years ago.

Dr Simon Hawke and his wife Perri had been liaising with the caretakers of the Byng Church, Will and Barbara Hawke, in the lead-up to their wedding.

In fact, Will Hawke had presented the painting to the NSW Premier Tom Lewis during a visit to Orange in 1975.

Mr Hawke was on the board of Ophir County Council at the time.

“When you think about it, what an extraordinary set of circumstances,” he said.

“On the day of the wedding I was called over to be shown the painting and I couldn’t believe it.

“Simon and Perri asked me to sign the back of the painting.”

Dr Hawke said it was his friend, Mittagong general practitioner Dr Richard Hanbury, who spotted the painting at the Bowral auction and thought it was be an ideal wedding gift.

“He wasn’t the only bidder there was another lady who really wanted it, but she eventually dropped out of the bidding,” Simon Hawke said.

Perri Hawke said in the lead-up to their wedding they had been living on a nearby property, sharing time between Orange and Sydney.

“The church was just a short distance away and Simon was absolutely insistent that we be married there,” she said.

“It’s such a beautiful little church.”

Will Hawke added there was a pocket on the back of the painting containing historical information.

It stated the Byng Church was built in 1872 to replace the former church, built in 1841. It was also to serve the Cornish Weslyan settlement.

“At the time the painting was presented to the premier, the Ophir County Council was hosting a reception for Mr Lewis and I was asked to present the painting and also asked to write a brief history of the church which I can’t believe is still on the back of the painting today,” Will Hawke said.

Will Hawke said it is a nice feeling to know the painting has found its way back to Orange.

“I believe Mr Lewis has gone into a retirement village and his family were helping him downsize, which is why it came up for auction,” he said.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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