This enchanting little travellers’ chapel is in the Megalong Valley, a few kilometres from Little Hartley.
It was created by Sherry Weller, inspired by the many tiny roadside churches she saw along highways in the USA. Places for weary travellers to stop and rest, perhaps even a haven to retreat to after an episode of road rage. We could do with a few in Sydney.
They can also be found in Europe along with many ancient roadside shrines. Perhaps they are a gentle reminder that travel can be both dangerous and joyous. Inside, this small ecumenical space is lit by the sun through leadlight windows depicting native flora.
On my visit, I sat on the lovely old wooden bench, looking through the central window which folded open, onto bright green paddocks. The drought had only recently broken and I was grateful for the rain. This was still in the time before the pandemic and the devastating floods of the last two years. But bushfires had ravaged the Blue Mountains to the north of where I sat and so the fact that the Megalong Valley, and this tiny church, had narrowly escaped seemed like a small miracle.
As I sat, in quiet contemplation, a mob of grazing kangaroos moved into view. It was like being in a wildlife watching hide, secretly observing these furry lives amongst the serene hills of this beautiful valley.
While I can’t wait to visit again, I often fly there in my imagination, particularly when I’m having trouble getting to sleep. I imagine this little place in mist and snow, under the summer sun, or bathed by moonlight, letting it lull me into that curious other place that we retreat to each night. And I often think of the two donkeys whose paddock abuts this tiny church and who reward those who stop here by allowing them a pat. Next time I’ll be sure to carry a sweet treat with me.
This post is part of the Spirit of Place series: