IT was first flagged as a potential casualty in 2012 and now the Holy Trinity Parish’s bluestone hall is up for auction.
The auction, to be held on December 6, will help eradicate the $25 million debt the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst owes to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).
A NSW Supreme Court decision in March ruled the church had a legal obligation to repay borrowings and it could sell church property to do so, which will include 10 properties including All Saints’ College, the bluestone hall and eight more, which remain undisclosed.
Diocese Bishop Ian Palmer declined to comment on why the bluestone hall had been chosen for sale due to commercial in confidence agreements with CBA or how the Holy Trinity Parish would function without the rental income, in the order of $61,000 a year.
Four years ago, parishioners estimated the rent contributed a third of the parish’s income.
“That is an internal matter for the parish,” Bishop Palmer said.
“We all have every expectation that the parish of Holy Trinity will continue – the hall is an integral way of working constructively with the CBA to settle our obligations.”
Bishop Palmer declined to comment on whether the sale of the 10 properties would cover the debt.
A CBA spokesman said disclosure of the properties to be sold was a matter for the diocese and declined to nominate a deadline for repayment, only saying the parties were working together.
The hall was built in the 1850s and Orange Historical Society president Liz Edwards said it pre-dated Holy Trinity Anglican Church and had also been a school.
“Banjo Paterson was christened either in it or from it,” she said.
Ms Edwards said while the sale might be unavoidable due to the diocese’s financial problems, the facade had so far been maintained.
“The main thing from our point of view is preserving it in some way, whoever owns it,” she said.
The property will remain home to Barratt and Smith Pathology until at least August 2018 when the lease expires.
Regional manager Michael Flynn said the sale would not be a concern until then.
“We would be keen to stay here,” he said.
“A lovely building can have a positive effect on the patients who have testing done.
“There’s a certain amount of magic about it.”
Agent Nigel Staniforth said he was also unable to comment on the auction but the advertisement noted its central location, 15 parking spaces and potential for use by an owner-occupier or as an investment.