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By CASEY NEILL

A DANDENONG North nativity scene has been drawing crowds and sharing the true meaning of Christmas for the past 12 years.
Creator Wilson Fernandez started working on the display at St Elizabeth’s in July, and has spent 250 hours maintaining and expanding the scenes.
He uses soils, clay, straw, plants and barks to give the nativity scene the most traditional and authentic impression of being in Christ-era Bethlehem.
The scenes feature handmade huts, stables, buildings, bridges, palaces, houses and temples surrounded by mountains, rocks, lakes and rivers.
Mr Fernandez said the scene had a weekly theme that told the Christmas story.
It starts with a township filled with regular villagers, traders, travellers and farmers carrying out their normal life. Animals too are seen in a village setting.
From week two, Mary and Joseph enter Bethlehem, find no room at the inn but manage to stay in a stable.
Jesus Christ is born, an angel announces the good news, shepherds visit, three wise men visit the baby and in the final scene, the holy family flees to Egypt.
The nativity scene will be on display at St Elizabeth’s Parish, 107 Bakers Road, Dandenong North, until 10 January.
It’s open from 9.15am to 10.15am Monday to Friday, 7.30pm to 8pm Saturdays, and 9.30am to 10am, 11.30am to noon, and 6.30pm to 7pm Sundays.
Make an appointment for an alternative time with Cheryl Hayes on 9795 6217 or Wilson Fernandez on 0428 927 110.
Visit www.australiannativityscene.org for more information.

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