ARARAT - The Ararat West Uniting Church will celebrate a milestone this weekend.
Past and present congregation members will return to celebrate the church's 85th birthday on Sunday.
While the church will celebrate 85 years at Ararat West, its history actually goes back much further, to a church at Mullock Bank.
The church first opened its doors as a Sunday school at Mullock Bank in 1894 and after three years of services in a private home a church was built on Stawell Road where McAdie's garage now stands. The church opened as Mullock Bank Presbyterian Sabbath School in 1897. Children under seven years could not walk more than two miles to school so the church also served as Mullock Bank Primary School.
In 1915 parents petitioned for and eventually obtained government funding for a larger separate school, Morella State School which opened in 1927 on the west side of Stawell Road opposite the church.
It was decided to move the church building to a suitable site on Picnic Road (Banfield Street) to bring it closer to town and it was reopened as the Ararat West Presbyterian Church in June 1929.
While the building served the community for many years it was eventually decided a new building was required and it was demolished to pave the way for a new multipurpose church and hall, with the first service held on December 13, 1987.
Many families have had long associations with the church, however, the Powell and McKinnis families stand out.
Five generations of the Powell family have attended the church both at Mullock Bank and Ararat West including Ararat's Robin and Lesley Powell, while Betty Hutchison's family, the McKinnis' have also worshipped at the church since its early days at Mullock Bank.
A reunion of past and present members will take place on Sunday with the service, to be lead by new minister Reverend Colin Honey, commencing at 1.30pm followed by an afternoon of celebrations. For information contact Betty Hutchison on 5352 3631 or Gloria Bull on 5352 2599.