The Parish is centred on Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley, 180km north of Melbourne. The City of Greater Shepparton has a population of approximately 64,000, of which about 3.4% are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. The original inhabitants of the area were the Yorta Yorta people.
We are a multicultural community with significant populations from Europe, India, the middle east and, more recently, refugee populations from Africa. There are many different Christian denominations, as well as significant Muslim and Sikh faith communities. Shepparton abuts Mooroopna (part of the Bendigo Diocese) which has a more evangelical Anglican community.
The major employment industries in Shepparton are health care and social assistance, closely followed by retail and manufacturing, then agriculture, forestry and fishing and education and training. It is a rich fruit-growing and dairying area with the Goulburn River and much natural bushland on the western boundary of the city. There are many primary and secondary schools, a TAFE and campuses of LaTrobe University and the University of Melbourne.
There are many sporting venues including facilities for swimming set next to the beautiful Victoria Park Lake. Sporting and cultural events attract large numbers of visitors eg the Easter tennis tournament and the Australian Piano Awards.
The area has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers, cool dry winters and a wet spring (usually!).
The parish church of St Augustine (of Canterbury) in its current site was designed by Louis Williams and opened and dedicated on 4th April 1927. It has a later addition (1986) of a narthex, vestries, offices, small kitchen, choir loft and two side vaults with baptismal font and children’s space.
St Augustine’s also has a rectory (built 1953), updated in 2016. Within the grounds of St. Augustine’s is a Memorial Wall and Garden for the interment of ashes, as well as two tennis courts and four units owned by the Parish. St Augustine’s hall (dedicated 1967) is rented out for community activities and is an asset for whole-of-parish functions or Diocesan functions.
St Augustine’s church, hall and rectory are heritage-listed and the gardens received a Greater Shepparton City Council Cultural Heritage Award for a well maintained heritage property in 2013.
Amongst the many beautiful and significant adornments to the Church and grounds are the modern tapestries created by a current parishioner and the internal and external Stations of the Cross.
Shepparton is a vital, thriving and well-developed city with a population of about 64,000. It is the ‘capital’ of the rich Goulburn Valley, 175 kilometres north of Melbourne ‘and is a rich fruit-growing and dairying area, as well as having a large health-care sector and catering for all levels of education, including campuses of two Universities.
It is the centre of one of the largest irrigation schemes in Australia. Geographically flat, demographically it is fascinating with a rich ethnic diversity surprising in a rural city. The significant Macedonian community uses St Augustine’s Church and its clergy as their own and contribute mightily to the life of the parish. In the city too are significant Aboriginal, European, Indian and African communities. Italian, Iraqi, Greek, Aboriginal and Albanian communities.
The Parish Church is a very fine building indeed. Built of warm coloured local brick it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and is surrounded by tranquil, well treed and lovely grounds. It was designed in 1926 by Louis Williams, but his ambitious original design which included a spire, was beyond the means of the parish at the time and never fully realised. However in the nineteen eighties the incomplete Church was imaginatively and sensitively extended and refurbished into the lovely and practical building that it is today.
It is notable for a very beautiful baptistry, some excellent stained glass, a lovely Lady Chapel, a large sanctuary brought forward from the original design and with altar rails all the way round it, and a multi purpose and well designed narthex. It also possesses some fine embroidery.
Shepparton parish is a lively and caring one, involved in all sorts and varieties of worship and activity. It attempts to be true to the tradition from which it springs while being open to what is new and fresh.
We acknowledge that our Parish Churches stand on traditional Aboriginal Lands. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and affirm our commitment to the work of reconciliation.