Push to add St Johns Church to national heritage register

Community members are rallying to have the iconic St John's Anglican Church in Camden added to the national heritage register.

The local landmark was added to the state heritage register last year.

However many locals would like to see the church recognised nationally.

Councillor Cindy Cagney raised the issue at last night's council meeting.

She called for councillors to write to the Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley and the Australian Heritage Council to add the site to the next national heritage register priority assessment list.

"St John's is a part of the legacy left to us by the Macarthur family," Cr Cagney said.

"It is an integral part of the town which sets us apart from any other town in NSW.

"St John's is not just a regional landmark, it is of national significance so I think it should be added to the national register."

Narellan resident and St Johns parishioner Neidre Hill told councillors and meeting attendees that she had been a regular worshiper at the church since 1975.

"I love Camden and I love my church," she said.

"The church precinct was gifted to the people of Camden by the Macarthur family for all time.

"It was built to be the visual, social and spiritual focus of the region.

"The open space surrounding the church is vital to our community.

Tall order: Residents, community groups and historians fought hard for the listing of the St John's Anglican Church precinct. Picture: Jess Layt

Tall order: Residents, community groups and historians fought hard for the listing of the St John's Anglican Church precinct. Picture: Jess Layt

"There are so many stories at St John's - you only need to take a stroll through the cemetery to see that.

"St John's needs to be protected from being broken up, divided and sold - because once it's gone, it's gone."

The entire St John's Anglican Church precinct was added to the state heritage register after a huge push from community groups and heritage experts.

Former church warden Fletcher Joss nominated the precinct for inclusion on the register.

He said a national listing would be of great benefit to the community.

"I spoke to Debbie Roberts from the Camden Region Economic Taskforce the other day about what they are trying to do to make Camden a tourism destination," he said.

"A national heritage listing would help to underpin those efforts.

"St John's is worth a national heritage listing - and it would help the economic future of the area."

Councillors voted to defer their decision to send a letter regarding the heritage listing as councillor Lara Symkowiak raised various questions about the idea.

"I would like to know what St John's thinks of this idea and what implications it could have," Cr Symkowiak said.

"I have heard a lot of the positives but I would like to know if there are any potential negative impacts."

The Camden Resident Action Group has also launched a petition to be presented to the NSW Legislative Assembly.

The petition needs 10,000 names before it can be submitted.