Parishioners of St Paul’s Catholic Church in Clarence Valley in the NSW Northern Rivers were left devastated after arriving for Sunday mass to find their historic place of worship burnt to the ground.
A piece of Glenreagh’s history was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 5am.
The fire is currently been treated as suspicious and the Crimes Unit is investigating the cause.
Senior Deputy at Glenreagh Fire Brigade, Peter Cram, said there was very little left of the church and what is still standing will have to be pulled down.
“It’s quite an icon for the village and there’s a lot of shock and surprise especially for the parishioners who turned up this morning.
“It’s not the kind of thing that normally happens around here.”
Local resident Erica Shen said she heard the fire “crackling” and “exploding” in the early hours.
“People were crying and in disbelief,” she said.
The church was originally built by Irving and Shepherd of Nana Glen and was opened in May 1931.
It was used every second week for services.