The Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Huskisson on Jervis Bay is just a little building. A little building with great charm, designed with attention to fine detail by famous architect Cyril Blacket and built in 1931 for a struggling little community during the Great Depression. The boat builders and timber getters of Huskisson bequeathed some lovely timber buildings to their community, and this is one of the few that remain. There is also an older church building, dating from perhaps the 1890s. This has been altered and extended over the years, but its steep roof and simple lines recall this earlier time. It stands on an old- fashioned block of trees, some of them up to 140 years old, many of them ceremonially planted by parishioners and dignitaries in the 1930s.
In its unmarked graveyard there are graves of an unknown number of people, including James Golding, also known as King Bud Billy II, King of Jervis Bay, who was given a Christian funeral and buried there in 1905. Back in the late nineteenth century the colonial practice of designating local leaders as ‘Kings’ was often done without too much seriousness, and acts of kindness to Indigenous people were predicated on a belief that these people were dying out. The Aboriginal people took it seriously though, and those of the Shoalhaven have not only survived, but they are now proudly embracing this history. Today, respect must be given seriously.
Currently, the Shoalhaven City Council supports an increase in the density of buildings in Huskisson, now designated a ‘town’. There are plans to remove the Blacket church and cover the large block of trees and the gravesites with three and four storey apartments, shops, a conference center and car parking. This is being resisted by a great many people who have a vision for something more sympathetic on this oasis of land that could form a wonderful historical centre to a denser, more populated Huskisson.
Check out the community position on Facebook at @savehuskychurch and for press coverage Google “huskisson church” and hit the news tab.