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When the Revd Geoffrey Cheong returned from working in Canada, sometime in the 1980s, he became vicar of St Augustine’s, Mentone. At that time, they were trying to save the Retreat House in Cheltenham from sale. The Retreat House had been in use for generations in Melbourne, so feelings were strong about its preservation. Geoff came up with the idea of a calendar as a fundraiser for the Retreat House. This idea was inspired by a similar calendar being produced annually in Canada. That calendar is still being produced, though we don’t need to worry about the text being bi-lingual in English and French.

Those interested in saving the Retreat House, who would have included members of the Community of the Holy Name next door, adopted Geoff’s proposal. The calendar started being published out of the Mentone parish, the primary beneficiary from sales being the Retreat House and its work. When the Retreat House was eventually sold at the turn of the century, proceeds were directed to AngliCORD, or Anglican Overseas Aid. Management and publication went with Geoff Cheong after he became vicar of Holy Trinity, Balaclava and Elwood. Jenny and Stuart Allen took charge of production. In 2018, responsibility for production came to St Peter’s Eastern Hill, under the management of Helen Drummond. Then in 2021, the St Peter’s Bookroom, under the guidance of its Manager Carol O’Connor, adopted the Calendar as a publication project of the Bookroom.

 

Robin and Jenny Page have travelled Australia-wide, taking photos of the featured churches. Robin is the photographer and Jenny maintains an excellent catalogue of Robin’s extensive collection. This is just as well considering the travel restraints due to the pandemic. In the 2002 Calendar, the tenth in the series, Robin wrote, “In my travels around Australia in search of Calendar stock it has been rewarding to see the great love that parishioners have for their churches and the efforts made to maintain the fabric and surrounds of these cherished buildings. I see my mission as going well beyond the commitment to providing images for the Calendar and more as one of preserving the wonderful heritage of our Australian Anglican Churches in some small way. My aim is to show these in their landscape and I thank the many folk who have understood my philosophy and written or spoken to me so supportingly over the years. For the technically minded all images are shot on 6cm x 6cm transparency stock using a Rolleiflex 6008 camera and, almost invariably, a Schneider 55mm Shift lens.”

Contact details of the AACC

Address: PO Box 742, Macleod, VIC 3085

Mobile: 0400 334 882

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