Australia's Bush Orchestra is a ministry of the Specialised Life-Orientated Ministries Inc., Tourism Ministry.
SLMs Tourism Ministry was established in 1988 with SLMs founder Dr Mark Tronson, a Baptist Minister and the Reverend Terry Ayling, a Uniting Church of Australia minister who were both alert to the possibilities of Tourism as a valid Australian Ministry.
Terry Ayling comes from a family travel business and has travelled the world in that capacity. He has consulted widely with churches in tourist receiving areas. Tourism is now Australia's largest import business.
When Mark Tronson established SLMs Sanctuary Lodge ministry in Moruya, on the south coast of New South Wales, the ten acre block was only partially utilised. More so, it was a remarkable haven for bird life. The bellbirds for instance sing from sun-up to sun-down.
Mark recognised that here was something very special amongst the tall ironbark trees and rain forest area on this acerage.
As a church historian and theologian, Mark began to develop the idea in 1995 of a Tourism Ministry on this site, walking through this most beautiful area. Why not, he considered, a path through the iron bark trees and reading plaques of some of the great Christian spiritual leaders since the time of Christ.
This soon became a reality. Several fellow church historians were consulted, and a list of 14 was eventually agreed upon. Then an associate came up with the idea of carving their busts into the iron bark, and with several trees felled for a building, this iron bark was sliced into 10 inch / 23 cm slices. Noel Glover set to work and carved the busts.
The selected great spiritual leaders are:
The Apostle Paul, Justin Martyr, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, Francis of Assisi, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Samuel Marsden, Caroline Chisholm, Billy Graham.
Four large garden beds were prepared by Arthur Hawkins with beautiful flowing native plants, a climbing vine timber set near the entrance and a bottlebrush plant was planted beside each plaque.
An optional walk was also prepared through the rain forest area. An open-air chapel area was also prepared with a stump as the pulpit and logs as seating.
Australia's Bush Orchestra seemed the ideal name with the bird life. Already visitors have enjoyed this spiritual experience, although the official opening is set for Sunday 3.00pm October 27th with the former Australian Cricket captain Greg Chappell, a strong supporter of SLM ministries.
AUSTRALIA'S BUSH ORCHESTRA
corner of Cheetham Street and Ted Hunt Tce, MORUYA, N.S.W. Australia
Open every day - colour brochures in the Eurobodalla Shire's Information Centres and motels
You are welcome to visit
There is now a "Historical Moruya Tour Bus" than runs daily at 2.00pm during the peak holiday seasons, and available for groups at any time, which takes 1.5 hours. The first hour is the historical tour with taped commentary on the attractions of old around the district. The final 30 minutes is a visit to Australia's Bush Orchestra. To find out more, email, or phone 61 (Australia), 44 (local regional code), 743554 - phone number.
A video of Australia's Bush Orchestra is now available.
"Compass" the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) weekly religious television program has done a story on Australia's Bush Orchestra. The four person team stayed in Moruya two days to film the segment and do the interviews.
An additional display has been set-up, the "1851-1872 BUSHRANGER AND ARALUEN GOLD RUSH DISPLAY" - this display has 12 plaques detailing the history of the period and the vivid Christian community on the gold fields.
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