Historical information

St Laurence O'Toole church and cemetery is located in a rural setting at 801/821 Creswick-Newstead Rd, Sandon. Originally a small wooden school (22’x14’) was erected in Sandon by Father Patrick Smyth (who was involved in the Eureka Stockade movement) in 1859. It was also used for Mass and became known as a chapel. In June 1882 tenders were called for the construction of a brick Church by the Castlemaine architect, T.F. Kibble, and it was built at a cost of 1000 pounds. The church was blessed by Archbishop Goold on 06 May 1883 and dedicated to St Laurence O'Toole.

The brick building demonstrates original design qualities of a Victorian Rudimentary Gothic style, including the steeply pitched, parapet gable roof form, together with a central steeply pitched, gabled porch that projects slightly from the main gable end. Other intact qualities include the
exposed brick wall construction, lapped galvanised corrugated iron roof cladding, minor gabled porch at the rear, small ventilation dormers nearby the roof ridgeline, series of stone steps that lead to the central porch with its double pointed door opening and vertical boarded doors, simple rose window in the main gable end, pointed windows, brick buttresses with double lower copings, and the light masonry detailing (the banding marking the floor level within, buttress copings, window and door surrounds and quoins,
and the drip moulds).(Shire of Mount Alexander: Heritage Study of the former Shire of Newstead, 2000)

The visually connected cemetery demonstrates important visual qualities formed by the regular rows of graves and cemetery architecture, and the grassed and treed rural landscape. It is a rare and substantially intact example of a Victorian Catholic Church with a cemetery in its churchyard. Many headstones and cemetery architecture, date from the 19th century and represent some fine examples of masonry craftsmanship.

Some refurbisments occurred during the 1940s and in 2002 a major restoration project was undertaken from roof to footings, by a dedicated band of volunteers and trades people. Work was completed mid 2003 and in November 2003 St Laurence’s was re-dedicated with the celebration of Mass and a picnic tea.

Physical description

Colour photograph of a long drop toliet at the Catholic Church, Sandon, Victoria.