Fairbridge Farm Chapel to benefit from State Govt heritage places funding

Fairbridge Farm Chapel.
Fairbridge Farm Chapel.

FAIRBRIDGE Farm Chapel is one of 23 heritage places to share in $1.22 million in State Government funding announced today.

The chapel will receive $100,000 which will be spent on kick-starting work on the roof.

Fairbridge chief executive David Russell said the roof, replaced in the 1980s with American cedar, was deteriorating and in dire need of repair.

He said various studies would be needed to determine a whole range of necessary requirements.

Shingles were almost impossible to find in the required number which would also be impracticable as the chapel is in a bushfire zone.

Iron would be a difficult concept due to the shape of the roof.

Further studies would also include determining the weight of roof the chapel could support.

With costs, including materials and scaffolding, the final cost could be around $400,00 but the grant provided “a fabulous start”, Mr Russell said.

The art deco chapel was designed by architect Sir Herbert Baker in 1928, built in brick, jarrah and karri and completed in 1931.

Baker was a great believer in Kingsley Fairbridge and his work at Fairbridge Farm and when the Child Emigration Society approached him in 1928 about designing a chapel for the farm school he was more than happy to oblige.

He determined the best location by referring to maps and plans for the village without ever visiting Fairbridge and the chapel was build on the site of old stables.

The cost was mainly the gift of English ice cream manufacturer Thomas Wall who donated 6000 pounds.

The foundation stone was laid in February 1931.

Heritage Minister David Templeman said the grants, combined with owner’s contributions, would general more than $3 million in conservation work around WA.

“This partnership between Government and private owners helps ensure the long term-viability of WA’s cultural heritage and promotes local jobs and heritage tourism,’’ he said.

“It will also allow private owners to conserve and revitalise 10 regional and 13 metropolitan State Registered heritage properties and protect some of WA’s most valuable heritage assets.”

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