Boyd Mural, Morwell
January 10th, 2017
‘The Ascending Christ’, a mural by Arthur Boyd was originally installed at St John’s Anglican Church in Yallourn in 1960 and unveiled at the dedication of the newly refurbished church on Sunday 8 May of that year.
St John’s was first opened in 1924 and was one of the first churches built at Yallourn to minister to the SEC workers and their families. After opening it became a frequently used hall for Yallourn residents for meetings, dances and screening pictures. This role continued until the late 1950’s when it was decided to refurbish the original building and construct a new Sunday School complex. With £800 raised by the St John’s Ladies Guild, Arthur Boyd was commissioned to paint a mural on the theme of the Ascension.
The mural was found to be too big at the time of its installation and the bottom panels, including the artists signature, had to be trimmed. Fortunately, Meg Sims, secretary of the sanctuary guild was present and kept the off-cuts, which she returned to the church when she left Yallourn.
St John’s was demolished by 1976 as the town of Yallourn met its demise. The Parish of Yalloum ceased to exist and the Diocese of Gippsland took control of the mural. As many Yallourn parishioners began to worship at St Mary’s, Morwell it was decided that a new church planned for that parish would become the home of the ‘Ascending Christ’. The mural became the focal point of the design of the new church and it was installed complete with the restored botto1n panels so thoughtfully salvaged by Mrs Sims. The new church and office complex was dedicated by Bishop Delbridge in 1980.