An opening date is finally in sight for the owners of The Church at Campbell Town.
Their path to converting the church into a cafe and function centre has been a rocky one.
Roadblocks came in many shapes and sizes: planning issues, followed by a breast cancer diagnosis for Mrs Graham.
With all hurdles now overcome – health and otherwise – the Grahams are speeding towards an October opening date for their project.
Their dream for the sandstone character is a harmonious colloboration between heritage and modernity; a reflection of Tasmania with a Scottish influence.
Last month, the Grahams advertised locally and internationally for a Scottish chef to join their business family, who will be integral to the overall feel of the site.
“They’ll have a big PR role. They’ll really be encouraged to come out and get direct feedback from the customers, and we’ve advertised that as a big part of the role, ” Mrs Graham said.
The Scottish influence was included for a number of reasons: the country’s historic influence on Campbell Town’s beginnings, and Mr and Mrs Graham’s ancestry.
While The Church will look to the future in offering modern conference facilities, it will also embrace its history.
Mrs Graham said the church, which she predicted has not been open for at least 15 years, was brimming with history.
“There is a lot of war memorials for the parishioners that died in the wars… There’s a lot of history,” Mrs Graham said.
As well as a cafe and history centre, the Grahams will hire the church out for events – like weddings – and are converting the adjacent church hall into a function centre.
The hall has had several lives, as Scout and Girl Guides hall, and a pre-school.
“Lots of people in the community have said that they used to go to pre-school here, or that their parents got married in the church,” Mrs Graham said.
Preserving the history of the building, and surrounding district, is something that has become more and more important to the Grahams as they continue to embed themselves in the community.
Mr Graham is a life guard at the town’s swimming pool, and drives the local school bus. He’s also on the Anzac Day and Campbell Town Show committees.
Mrs Graham is a beyondblue ambassador, and regularly speaks at events throughout the state. She also sits on the board for the Northern Midlands Tourism Region.
“We’ve made lots of friends here in the community,” Mrs Graham said.
“The last country town that we lived in, we were there for seven years, and it never felt like we were part of the town.
“But when we got here it was ‘Take us out of the box, we’re home’.”
The Grahams are interested in collecting more history of the church. Anyone with information, photographs, or stories can contact the Grahams at Facebook.com/thechurchtas