The Murray community has rallied to save one of Western Australia’s oldest church buildings, St John’s Church in Pinjarra.
Over $288,000 has seen to the conservation of the church, so that the community can once again enjoy this significant amenity.
Built in 1860, St John’s Church is one of the oldest existing church buildings in Western Australia, and an early example of a small rural church designed in a rustic British architectural style.
As one of the oldest structures in Pinjarra, St John’s Church and its churchyard are integral components of Pinjarra’s heritage area which among others includes Edenvale Homestead, the Old Schoolhouse and Teachers Quarters as well as the Exchange and the Premier Hotels. This area contributes considerably towards the community’s social fabric and sense of place.
The church is valued by the community for its associations with the district’s early settler families many of which are buried in the churchyard, along with several of the church rectors.
The church is also valued for its religious use, having had an association with the Anglican Church since 1843.
St John’s Church is listed as an asset of exceptional significance in the Shire’s Local Government Heritage Inventory, is included in the Shire’s Town Planning Scheme Heritage List and is classified by the National Trust of Western Australia.
In addition to its heritage importance, St John’s Church forms part of the Murray River Foreshore boasting a pathway, jetty, lighting, seating and trail signage and has significant community-use potential.
Damage to the church roof was threatening the building’s structural integrity and short term works were necessary to repair the damage, prevent further degradation and restore the building to a standard befitting of its significance.
Following informal discussions, it was apparent that the local community value St John’s Church and Churchyard and would be prepared to contribute toward restoration works.
In May 2018, the Shire of Murray launched an appeal for St John’s Church to raise awareness, garner community support and engagement and encourage community members to unite to protect a piece of Murray’s history.
$170,000 was raised through appeal efforts, with the Shire donating $118,000 to ensure the completion of conservation works concurrently rather than through a staged approach.
In order to facilitate the works and ensure the building continues to contribute to community life, the Shire of Murray took ownership of St John’s Church.
An agreement between the Diocese of Bunbury and the Shire of Murray was signed for its handover.
On 19 January 2019, the Bishop of Bunbury, the Right Reverend Dr Ian Coutts formally de-consecrated the Church and handed the keys to Shire President, Councillor David Bolt.
The service marked the end of over 150 years of Anglican worship in the Church of St John.
The Shire thanks the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury for its support. Its desire that the building continues to contribute to community life, has been instrumental in conservation efforts.
Public ownership enables a continuous foreshore reserve within the town and the ability to explore community beneficial, tourism and educational opportunities.
Conservation works commenced in February 2019 and concluded in May 2019.
The St John’s Church Fundraising Appeal has been proudly supported by:
- Douglas McLarty
- Gordon McLarty
- Jane-Anne McLarty
- Adams Family Ravenswood
- Mervyn Beacham
- G.P Riley
- Wally and Anne Barrett
- Anne Cubitt
- Gwen Atkinson
- Kevin, Jean and Family
- Ronald Richards
- Peter Bostock and Amelia McLarty
- Fiona McLarty
- Mervyn Williams
- William Austin
- Michael Eddy
- Leigh and Greg Angilley
- Malcolm John McDonald
- McLarty Brothers
- Blythewood Pastoral Co
- Josephine Douglas McLarty
- Bill Cook and Derk Luiten
- Norma Tuckey
- North Blythewood
- DA & V McLarty
- Owen McLarty and Family
- Brian and Caron Tisdale
- Ella Middleton
- Anthony Devitt
- Leon Griffiths
- Julie Gray
- Stuart McLarty
- Dr Fred Lovegrove
- Judy Trembath
- Brian Cotterell
- Theone Anne Maloney
- David Bolt
- Justin and Kim Taylor
- Merv and Anna Cox
- Emily McLarty
- Rebecca McLarty
- Helen McLarty
- Lloyd Parker
- C and S Lane
New Beginnings for Pinjarra’s St John’s Church
Pinjarra’s much-loved St John’s Church has been reopened to the public following recent conservation works, undertaken to address damage to the church roof and walls that was threatening the building’s structural integrity.
On Thursday 30 May, with a little over a year since the fundraising campaign for the St John’s Church Heritage Appeal commenced, over 100 donors, sponsors and members of the public with strong connections to the community significant building, gathered to celebrate the milestone.
Among attendees was Member for Murray-Wellington Mrs. Robyn Clarke MLA and representatives of Pinjarra’s founding families, many of whom assisted in raising $170,000 as part of the Appeal efforts coordinated by the Shire of Murray from May to June last year, which together with an ultimate $130,000 Shire contribution enabled the conservation works.
Also present was the Bishop of Bunbury, the Right Reverend Dr Ian Coutts who in January this year, formally de-consecrated the Church and handed the keys to Shire of Murray President Cr. David Bolt, following the signing of an agreement that named the local government as the new owners.
According to Cr. Bolt, the event was a toast to the successful outcome of the collaborative efforts of town stakeholders, who sought to ensure an asset of considerable sentimental value continued to contribute to the community’s social fabric and sense of place.
“The St John’s Church Conservation project is an apt example of what can be achieved when the community and Shire work together to deliver community-driven initiatives.
“Residents advocated for the conservation project and together with local businesses, groups and organisations, supported the Appeal.
“The Diocese of Bunbury gifted the Church to the Shire and the desire of the leaders and members of the Local Pinjarra Anglican Church that the building continues to contribute to community life, was instrumental in reaching this milestone,” Cr. Bolt said.
The Shire will now work to activate the building through hire opportunities including weddings, christenings and networking events.
“The Shire is also collaborating with Edenvale Homestead User Groups and founding family representatives, to explore other community beneficial, tourism and educational opportunities.
“As one of the oldest structures in Pinjarra, St John’s Church and its churchyard are integral components of the Edenvale Homestead Heritage Precinct,” Cr. Bolt said.
Members of the public wishing to book the charming, 1860’s-bulit building for their event should contact the Shire of Murray’s Community Development team on (08) 9531 7777.
Thanks is extended to all purchasers and sellers of tickets for the St John’s Church Fundraising Appeal Raffle.
Over $4,800 was raised through raffle efforts.
Raffle winners were selected during the Appeal Quiz Night, held at the Pinjarra Civic Centre on Friday 15 June.
The winning ticket numbers drawn from first to fourth, are shown below.
Five night stay for two adults at The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali including breakfast daily, return hotel transfers and a AUD1000 Flight Centre voucher
Twelve Month Murray Leisure Centre Gold Membership
“Full Steam Ahead” Artwork by Stephanie Boyle
Six Month Murray Leisure Centre Gold Membership
Quiz Night Efforts
The St John’s Church Fundraising Appeal Quiz Night took place on Friday 15 June at the Pinjarra Civic Centre.
Over 274 people, a total of 34 teams, participated and helped make the event a grand success.
The event was a sell-out with 274 people across 34 tables raising over $7,650 toward the appeal.
Thank you to all participants and sponsors.
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