Celebrations return to cathedral

ST Paul's is praying its Australia Day lunch will be the first of many moments shared in the cathedral. 

The Anglican church has been closed since 2009 due to concerns the roof could collapse.

Restorations began in 2012 but works were later brought to a stand still when funds dried up. 

Dean John Roundhill said the congregation had been unable to celebrate Australia Day in the cathedral for the past five years. 

"Works will begin on the floor of the cathedral next week," he said. 

Works will begin on the floor of the cathedral next week. - Dean John Roundhill

St Paul's marks Australia Day

"It is incredibly exciting to be in here."

The church is unsure if there will be enough money to finish the restorations. 

Mr Roundhill said the church trusted the generousity of the Bendigo and international community to help get the restorations finished. 

"We are not 100 per cent sure we will be able to finish the restorations or whether the work that is done will allow us to use this space again."

Church member Eva Jan said she was happy to be back in the cathedral.

"It is stunning," she said. 

"I have not been in here for a long time."

Ms Jan said Australia Day was an important time to reflect on Australia's rich history and heritage. 

Back in 2012, Anglican Bishop of Bendigo Andrew Curnow told the Bendigo Advertiser that he was hopeful money would be raised soon. 

We’re about a third of the way along already,” he said in 2012. 

“So far the money that’s been raised, has been from the church and a $750,000 grant from the government."

Bishop Ron Stone told the Bendigo Advertiser in 2012 that the 145-year-old building was of significant historic importance to Bendigo.

“We want to restore it to its former glory but also make it a modern building. We've got to find that balance, bringing a 19th century building into the 21st century," he said. 

Bishop Stone said there were many hurdles to jump before the cathedral could reopen. 

Bishop Stone said the church was millions short of the estimated $5 million repair job, but parishioners were chipping in.

“There’s been a small grant of about $700,000 from the state government and the rest is so far being raised by people across the diocese of Bendigo,” he said.

In October St Paul's hosted its Art Prize show, selling a record number of paintings from artists. 

Art Prize co-ordinator Ian Smith said 164 paintings in a wide range of styles from 48 artists in the Bendigo region were exhibited at St Paul’s in Myers Street. 

Seventy-five people attended the opening night and about the same number had visited during the show, Mr Smith said.

The parish was pleased with the show, he said, which attracted entries from established and little known artists. 

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