Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust
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A full account of the Elm Grove Story is currently being written by Br. Edwin.  This account, begun in 2002, continues and ultimately it will need to be edited and condensed before publication.  We will keep you posted re this.


mudbrick house, Elm Grove, near Tumut    Elm Grove Sanctuary at Goobarragandra near Tumut in the Snowy Mountains was founded by Laurel & Edwin Lloyd-Jones in February, 1983 so as to provide a place of demonstration of responsible environmental sustainability and a place for retreat and renewal. The Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust was formed and the land and buildings were gifted by Edwin and Laurel to the Trust.

During the following nineteen years the sanctuary provided a valuable resource and support for guests, families, groups, schools, educational institutions, training programs for long-term unemployed, church groups, the local indigenous community, cancer patients, those facing life-threatening illness and people experiencing challenge in their lives.

timber house, Elm Grove, near Tumut    Mud-brick and timber buildings for guest accommodation were built; a widely ecumenical chapel built from granite stone and mudbrick; and a nature chapel under the majestic elms beside the Goobarragandra River (both delightful venues for marriages, baptisms, naming ceremonies). All provided a nurturing environment for the many thousands of guests who visited the sanctuary over the years.

A Franciscan Spirit

- Elm Grove gave birth to the first ecumenical Franciscan community in Australia working closely with the churches and people of other faiths or none. The Community of The Little Followers of St Francis is a member of the Franciscan Federation of Australia www.rc.net/ffa/ and was founded at Elm Grove on Easter Day 1991.

The community is non-residential with the Franciscan ethos expressed through personal commitment to the care for all people and all of creation and to 'teaching by example'. Members of the community live in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. There are four Life Professed members - Br Edwin Thomas Lloyd-Jones, Sr Laurel Clare Lloyd-Jones, Sr Mona Jeshua Tyler (UK), Sr Anne Christina McLeod-Nibbs and several Associate Members. The community's Bishop Protectors are - Archbishop Francis P. Carroll (Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn and Bishop George V. Browning (Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn).

Due to age and the failing physical stamina of the founders and administrators, the EGS Trust sold the sanctuary and moved the work of the Trust to Bermagui on the south coast of New South Wales in June, 2001.

Elm Grove Mountain Retreat continues as a place of retreat now under the custodianship of Blair & Rhonda Montague-Drake who are continuing the vision for Elm Grove as a place of physical and spiritual celebration and healing, providing meaning for all who feel fractured by modern society.

Clare's Chapel window

Both chapels will be maintained and used by guests and Blair and Rhonda intend to create a walk along the river edge with resting places for reflection and meditation. This will be a 'poet's walk' offering scripted inspirational wisdom at these resting places.

They have plans for a biblical herb garden and a bush tucker garden involving the local indigenous community of the region.

There are plans also to build a small museum for ancient manuscripts and monastic artefacts. There will be special theme days such as A Celtic Christmas, A Bush Tucker Day, A Goobarragandra Gathering, A Literary Luncheon, and an annual Elm Grove Rememberance weekend. Elm Grove Mountain Retreat is a registered Wildlife Refuge and guests please note - no dogs are allowed. Guests continue to be most warmly welcomed. Bookings - phone/fax 02 6947 5766  http://www.elmgrovemountainretreat.com.au/

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