Huskisson community members have launched a petition to save the Huskisson Holy Trinity Family Church.
The church, built by Shoalhaven resident and architect Cyril Blackett in 1931, and the surrounding land is set to be sold by the Anglican Church.
Located on Hawke Street, the church was deconsecrated some years ago after the community outgrew the small, weatherboard building, according to parish committee member Ian Deck.
“Our last official service was held at the church in January 2014,” Mr Deck said.
“Our congregation outgrew the space and we now use the Vincentia Public School hall for our services every Sunday.”
While Mr Deck said the congregation was “moderately happy” to keep doing that, they wanted a space to call its own.
“This will wear us out, cleaning and packing up every week,” he said.
“We want a space to call our own and we are hoping to have a space at the Vincentia Marketplace in the future.”
After consultation with the congregation, the parish committee made the decision to try to sell the church, in order to pay for a new premises.
However, a group of residents are doing all they can to prevent a sale.
“It’s not just the church that will be sold, it’s the acre and a half of land attached to it that will also go,” Save Husky Church member Shirley Fitzgerald said.
“This site is precious, it’s one of the only wooden places left that demonstrated that this was one a small fishing town,” she said.
The land surrounding the church, partly owned by the Jerrinja people, also houses the old church, built around 1890, and another building, as well as huge spotted gums planted by dignitaries in 1938.
Save Husky Church is also worried about how the sale would impact several grave sites known to be located on the land.
“They still haven’t been properly assessed and we don’t know how many are actually there,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
Save Husky Church members started a petition, which gained more than 300 signatures over the weekend, to have the church heritage listed, due to its religious, cultural, social, environmental and aesthetic significance to the town.
“This is not a new campaign, and it’s not religiously motivated, we’ve been trying to save the church for years,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“We gave an open letter [about saving the church] to the parishioners on Sunday and although the church is all for selling, some of them signed it.”
In 2005, Shoalhaven City Council voted to remove the church from the heritage items listed on its Local Environment Plan.
However, the Huskisson Foreshore Precinct Master Plan Report noted that the Huskisson Church and its grounds, was “dense with established native trees… an urban oasis in the midst of a developed residential area”.
Ms Fitzgerald said it was “crunch time” and the group had lodged an Interim Heritage Order (IHO) with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).
An OEH spokesperson said the application was “at the very early stages of assessment”.
“There is no statutory time frame for consideration of IHO requests,” they said.
“If approved, an Interim Heritage Order provides up to 12 months for a full assessment of heritage significance to be completed.”
While a heritage listing would not prevent the sale of the site, it could prevent it from being demolished.
Despite the Save Husky Church group labelling the Church “the heart of the old Huskisson community,” Mr Deck disagreed.
“[The parish] is not of that opinion,” he said. “I think like art, heritage is in the eye of the beholder.”
Mr Deck said the parish had been working with a property adviser, and it was his understanding there had been a number of expressions of interest.
“We are of the impression that the site will be developed,” he said.
“What specifically they will do is not known to us.”