Catholic Church of Christ the King | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Catholic Church of Christ the King

Item details

Name of item: Catholic Church of Christ the King
Other name/s: Church of Christ the King
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -34.4053676508 Long: 149.8214663780
Primary address: Macarthur Street, Taralga, NSW 2580
Parish: Guineacor
County: Argyle
Local govt. area: Upper Lachlan
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Pejar
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT3 DP816409
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Macarthur StreetTaralgaUpper LachlanGuineacorArgylePrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Archdiocese of Canberra and GoulburnReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

The Catholic Church of Christ the King, Taralga is of State significance as an excellent example and highly intact Inter-War Romanesque Church. Its exterior and interior quality of workmanship is outstanding and has the highest degree of integrity. The Church is made even more remarkable for the place and time of its construction in 1934, financially supported by an Irish-Catholic rural community following a period of severe economic depression. The Church is a local landmark and its history and visual prominence serves as a reminder of the churches role in the community. The Church contains a collection of significant moveable objects dating back to the construction of the Church. (Heritage Office 2003)
Date significance updated: 01 Jun 04
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Sydney Smith of Ogg & Serpell
Builder/Maker: R.M. Bowcock
Construction years: 1934-1934
Physical description: The Church of Christ the King is a red brick Inter-War-Romanesque structure approximately 31 metres long and by 12 metres wide. The nave consists of six bays with a large sanctuary at the east and an entry narthex and choir loft at the west of the Church. As a result the Church has a strictly correct liturgically geographical alignment and the sun rises directly through the sanctuary windows and sets directly through the Great West Window. The Church is the most prominent building in Taralga and can be observed throughout the towns and its environs.

The Romanesque style of the building is established by the asymmetrical massing and use of red brick to create homogeneous heavily textured exterior walls. There are 31 round-headed arched window openings. The western end gable is finished with a raking arches motif.

Above the western portico is an impressive sandstone circular or wheel window with sixteen outer surrounding semi-circles, sixteen spoked segments and a circular hub. The architectural elements around the wheel window, the spiral pillars, the semi-circular arches, the sandstone carved oak leaf motifs, are reiterated harmoniously in the front porch beneath the window.

The interior of the Church contains extensive ad sometime elaborate plaster work. Each bay has a corded plaster decoration around the full curve of the barrel vaulted ceiling, while Corinthian style capitals are prominent on the pillars and pilsaters.

Above the sanctuary , there is an impressive life-size Calvary, depicting the Scene "Woman, behold thy son; son behold thy mother", with the Blessed Virgin and the young and beardless Saint John flanking the Crucified. The sanctuary is generously decked with beautiful cream marble in the alter, elaborate reredo and pulpit - all generously decked with very fine brasswork in massive candlesticks, crucifix, sanctuary lamp, lecterns and votive candle stands. The free- standing Post-Vatican II altar was introduced without structural alteration of the sanctuary and tastefully matches the original high altar.

The alter is flanked with magnificent dioramas of the period depicting Our Lord's apparition revealing the Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary, and Our Lady's apparition revealing the Immaculate Conception to St Bernadette. Side altars are dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and St Joseph. There are shrines of St Therese of Lisieux and St Francis Xavier, the two patrons of Australia as a then 'mission country'. Original votive lamps are in place. The original altar rails are preserved in situ.

The Church windows consist of six stained glass, seven leadlight and approximately twenty mid-amber yellow double-rolled cathedral glass windows. The leadlight windows were commissioned and installed before the emergence of 'modern' tastes, the first four by Percy Barnard of Standard Glass Company, Sydney and the last two by Mark B Hill and D terry. This set of six windows all share a very strong common background, colours and style. They capture very well the hagiography of the period and in details locate the work in the religious culture of the period and the place. For example St Patrick's crozier is planted in Ireland, while the nearby Christ the King window has our Lord standing upon Australia. The Solemnity of Christ the King was but newly proclaimed when the Church as erected, St Therese of Lisieux not long canonised and her doctrine flourishing (as but recently manifest in her elevation to the title of Doctor of the Church), St Maria Goretti recently canonised and capturing the period of plentiful vocations to sacred virginity, and Pope St Pius X but recently canonised and his doctrine of frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist suffusing the interior of the Church and its present and unbroken heritage of Catholic spirituality. The glass communicates a great sense of congruence with the entire structure and gives it much brilliance and light.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is excellent.
Date condition updated:26 Jun 03
Modifications and dates: 1934 - Constructed
Further information: The Church contains a collection of significant moveable objects that are included in the State Heritage Register listing. A complete list is held with the NSW Heritage Office.
Current use: Church
Former use: Church


Historical notes: The Church of Christ the King was designed by Sydney Smith of Ogg & Serpell, 349 Collins Street, Melbourne on 17 January 1933.

The architectural drawings were completed by Clement Glancey, Bligh Street, Sydney.

The Church was constructed by R.M Bowcock, Ashfield Sydney in 1934. The Church was completed and furnished in six months.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Catholicism-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Church of Christ the King, Taralga is evidence of the growth of the Catholic Church in Taralga.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Church of Christ the King, Taralga is an example of a highly intact Inter-War Romanesque Church. The quality and craftmanship of the exterior and interior of the church is of the highest quality. The Church is a landmark building in Taralga. It can be clearly seen from the Goulburn Road approach and is observed throughout the town and its environs serving as a reminder of its role in the community. The Church contains a collection of significant moveable objects that adds to the intactness and aethsetic significance of the Church.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The construction of the Church of Christ, Taralga is remarkable for the place and time of its construction in 1934, financially supported by an Irish-Catholic rural community following a period of severe economic depression. The Church contains a collection of moveable objects, many of which were donated by parishioners and dedicated to their deceased relatives and friends.
SHR Criteria f)
Church of Christ, Taralga including its interior and moveable objects with such intactness and integrity is rare on a state-wide basis.
SHR Criteria g)
The Church of Christ the King, Taralga including its interior and moveable objects with such intactness and integrity is representative of inter-war Romansque architecture.
Integrity/Intactness: The integrity of the structure is uncompromised.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0169630 Apr 04 772288

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenPatricia Blay1983History of the Catholic Church in Taralga
WrittenRev Dr P A McGavin2004List of Moveables in Catholic Church of Christ the King, Taralga
WrittenRev Dr P A McGavin2003State Heritage Inventory Form

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5054618
File number: H03/00188

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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