The Church Guest Home
|Also known as:||Main North Road 37A|
|Town or Locality:||Willaston|
THE CHURCH & I
I stepped into ‘THE CHURCH’ in February of 2010, when it was last for sale and it captured my heart at “Hello”. On Friday 28 March 2010, I became the official owner. Yes, adding that unique opportunity to my life’s resume, was certainly the most spontaneous thing I have ever done. I simply fell in love with its uniqueness as a home and the value of the property as a landmark in the history of Willaston and the Town of Gawler. My family history hails from Gawler, Willaston, Wasleys, Mallala, Clare and Port Pirie and albeit I have been in Adelaide for a number of decades, I still call the country of SA, my home.
I decided to purchase a property in Gawler, as my career plan was to move with the progression of the company I worked for at that time. Alas, their plans changed due to timing measures and so my plans had to be reviewed. However, I was adamant I would retain my new home and what a journey has unfolded since. Firstly from 2010 to 2014, I leased the property. In 2012, I was bestowed the good fortune of meeting my soulmate in life and so in 2014, David and I decided not to re-lease the home, but to enjoy it for ourselves. During this time, we refreshed both the inside and outside of the property, in a long list of ways and we just loved spending every moment here together. I had family at the time living in Gawler and David also had business connections in the township and so between our personal and professional circles, we considered ourselves as becoming ‘local’.
For the longest time I had a dream of having a guest home somewhere in SA. It just so happened by a change of plan, that I ‘gathered’ a historic building in my travels here in the Town of Gawler, that perfectly fitted this script. After 6 months of planning, we decided to hit the ‘publish’ button and on 25 April 2016, we launched ‘THE CHURCH’ online to the world to book as a guest home. Why this date? In our blessed abode, is a magnificent leadlight window dedicated to the local soldiers of this Church and Sunday School, who served Australia in WWII. Having a family history steeped in service in WWI & WWII, we thought it ideal to launch its next chapter in tribute. As I type this, the sun has just come out on this sunshiney wintery day, to lay its light upon and through the window. How meaningful and how magic!
‘THE CHURCH’ brought the greatest of happiness to us, when on 30 July 2016, David and I were married in our beloved building, surrounded by our families and friends. We then celebrated with a lovely sit down luncheon, in the marquees we had set up, in the rustic and character flair, complimenting the property itself. So many of our guests on the day commented on the warm ambience and love that ‘THE CHURCH’ emanated and still to this day, I believe these walls and the space within them, have a strength, a love, a peace and a happiness, that extends far deeper than the rock it is built with and upon. Let me tell you, it has sustained all of these elements for me now, as David sadly passed from metastatic prostate cancer, only 16.5 weeks after our amazingly beautiful day. Each and every year, I do something at ‘THE CHURCH’ to commemorate the date. Something that adds to its latest chapter and that of my own life and in tribute to the life that David and I shared.
‘THE CHURCH’ has been wonderfully received by the incredible response I have had from local, the greater South Australian, national and international guests. The reviews online, comments and feedback verbally and via cards, smses and messages and on occasion a gift left for the host or another empty wine bottle to adorn the ledge in the living room (empty may I say!), have been heartwarming and most welcome. ‘THE CHURCH’ has provided once in a lifetime experiences and some truly magic occasions from our family events through to school reunions, birthdays, local fundraising gatherings and a place quite often that locals book for their visiting families to stay, to enjoy getting together. Whatever the reason, ‘THE CHURCH’ continues to gather its people together and in some way to celebrate life, as we should do!
I say it many, many times, but I have been blessed in this life and I never take my good fortunes for granted. You can be assured as history buffs, that I have maintained ‘THE CHURCH’ without compromising its historic integrity and it is my passion to preserve it for the longest time. It holds my heart in its presence and its presence will always be set down indelibly, in the pages of our local history.
Thank you to the Gawler History Team, for the opportunity to share my story of ‘THE CHURCH’. It is in tribute to my beloved husband, David Joseph Vial. Our dream came true.
KAREN VIAL – Owner
30th July 2019
Click Here to see more photos.