Sikhs seek to convert former church into gurdwara in Australia
Canberra, Jan 24 (IANS) With an aim to establish their first place of worship in Geelong city of Australia’s Victoria state, Sikh leaders here are seeking to convert a former church building into a gurdwara to host daily prayers and weekly gatherings, the media reported.
An application has been lodged with the City of Greater Geelong Council and seeks to convert a former South Geelong Uniting Church building into a Sikh gurdwara, reported local daily Geelong Advertiser on Tuesday.
Applicant Prabhjot Singh Dhaliwal said Sikhs who had been living in Geelong for up to 20 years didn’t currently have their own local base and that people of the community have to go to Melbourne for worship and social gatherings.
The Moorabool/Fyans Street site, which included the church and the UnitingCare headquarters, was sold in 2013 for an estimated $4.5 million as the Uniting Church offloaded several assets.
The property was sold to help ease debt linked to the costly closure of Acacia College in Melbourne, with the church holding its last service in April 2014.
Under the new plan, the gurdwara would be established in the church’s old Sunday school building, which is accessed from Balliang Street, the newspaper reported.
Hours of operation would be from 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 9pm on Sunday. The weekly gatherings would be held on Sundays, attracting an estimated 100 people during both periods.
“All the activities will be held indoors,” the application stated. “No alcohol and smoking will be permitted within the premises at any time.”
A council decision is not expected to be made before February 8.