Restoration of historic church spire

Restoration of historic church spire




Goulburn’s historic Uniting Church spire rises again

In 2014, a serious storm hit the NSW regional town of Goulburn. The storm damaged one of the city’s oldest landmarks - the historic Uniting Church steeple. The spire was built in 1871 and is believed to be the oldest in the city.

Not only was the building of cultural significance, it was also a centre for worship for many of the locals. Because the spire was structurally unsound, worshippers were unable to attend church at the site until repairs were complete.

A few key facts

  • The church is a brick, stone and timber construction.
  • The spire is approx. 100 feet tall (30m), made up of 15m of stone work and 15m of spire.
  • There is one main spire and four minor corner spires.
  • The original spire was made from timber sheeted in pure zinc diamond shape tiles.
  • Due to storm damage, the spire had a slight lean.

The Process

Early in the process, and unable to locate the original spire plans, heritage architects were contracted to recreate the spire plans from scratch. The Advanced Buildings team were then contracted to undertake the restorations work.

  • The project required the demolition of the remaining spire structure down to the top of the masonry tower.
  • The team installed a temporary roof while the new spire was being put into place.
  • We were contracted to deliver the new spire structural frame, clad it with zinc tiles and lift it into position on top of the tower in one piece.
  • The new zinc tiles (99% zinc, 1% titanium) were imported from Germany. All joints were fully soldered - no silicon or mastics were used.
  • Construction of a new steel frame was made up of 9 pieces (manufactured off-site) and trucked from Mittagong to Goulburn. The structure was lifted by crane from within the church grounds and bolted together.
  • The corbelled brickwork (stepping out brickwork) was damaged by the leaning spire was also repaired by a church stone mason.
  • During the reconstruction, plywood and waterproofing were laid over the steel frame.
  • Once work was completed, the scaffolding was to be removed and we needed to clear and make good the site.

Five years later, the restoration work is almost done. Our team are currently restoring minor items to complete the works.

The timeline

Storm damage - December 2014

Steel design/manufacture - April 2018 - Feb 2019

Demolition - April 2018 – May 2018

Stonework construction - June 2018 – Feb 2019

Spire lift - Feb 2019

Cladding - March - May 2019

Minor work - June 2019

The Challenges

Sensitivity around heritage works required

Working on such an historic building requires the team to take care to avoid any damage to the main structure and contents. The project leaders needed to work closely with the heritage architect to ensure the integrity of the building was maintained.

Working safely and protecting passers-by

Working within any damaged structure always requires care. The team undertook all necessary safety precautions while onsite. As the church is located close to community facilities and residences, the team needed to take care when coming and going from the site.

Open communication with the community

Local residents were kept informed. The agreement required us to give 10 days’ written no

tice of any commencement of work.

Weather conditions were often extreme

Throughout the long process, the weather ranged from 48 degrees in summer to -4 degrees in winter (with snow), with winds sometimes reaching 80km/h.

Thanks to the team for a job well done

We’re proud of the team who worked on this project and would like to acknowledge their good work. They included:

Advanced Buildings Team    

Craig Walshaw - Site Supervisor

Matthew Gilmore - Project Manager

David Ware - Construction Manager

Nicole Gallagher - Safety Manager

Trades / Contacts            

Scaffolding - Dunbar Scaffolding

Structural Steel - Atomic Fabrication

Spire Cladding - Copper and Zinc Roofing

Stonework - Stone Restorations

Architect - Philip Leeson

Engineers - Northrop

Goulburn Uniting Church - Margaret Hall

For more information about this project, contact the Craig Walshaw on 0414 330 040.

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

  • Restoration of historic church spire

    Restoration of historic church spire

Find out more about this project

Phone Advanced Buildings

Find out more about this project


Phone Advanced Buildings