Works to restore St John’s Church will be rolled out in two stages, with stage one anticipated to commence by early 2019.
At the September Council Meeting, Councillors endorsed the advertising of a Request for Tender for conservation works on the St John’s Church building, following finalisation of the transfer of ownership to the Shire of Murray.
In May, Murray community members rallied through the St John’s Church Fundraising Appeal, to raise a determined overall target of $400,000 for conservation and adaptive reuse works, to protect and activate the significant community and heritage asset.
A total of $230,000 was raised through fundraising campaign efforts, including a community contribution of $170,000 and a $50,000 Shire allocation.
According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, the Shire anticipated that half of the overall amount required would be secured through grant funding, but informal discussions were unsuccessful.
“With the current condition of the building and the substantial community contribution, it was prudent that the Shire proceed with conservation works to secure the building from further degradation, and with the intent that building amenities including a kitchenette, toilets and storage, could be added as and when needed or when additional funding becomes available.
“It is anticipated that the tender will be advertised and the successful contractor selected in December, which will enable sufficient time for the works to be approved by the Heritage Council and undertaken in the dry summer months,’ Cr. Bolt said.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been entered into between the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury – the current owners, and the Shire of Murray, in relation to the transfer of the site for nil consideration.
Transfer documents have been prepared and the transfer process is underway and expected to be completed by December.
Architectural and structural engineering documentation has determined that in order to preserve the integrity of the building, conservation works should include repairing wall cracks, installing an external drainage system, replacing the roof drainage system and existing roof tiles with lightweight cladding, restoring brickwork, replacing wall plates and upgrading the roof structure to meet current standards.
“The former St John’s Church is an important community asset with strong sentimental ties for many members of Pinjarra’s immediate and surrounding localities as well as a key component of the town’s heritage precinct.
“The Shire is committed to ensuring its survival and thanks the community and Anglican Diocese of Bunbury for the support to date,” Cr. Bolt said.
The Heritage Appeal established through the National Trust of Western Australia enabling tax deductible donations over $2, is still open.
Donations can be made at murray.wa.gov.au/donation.