Murray community desperate to save St John’s Church in Pinjarra

Pinjarra founding family members Ward Adam, Ian Beacham,  Cr Doug McLarty and Geoff McLarty at the launch. Photo: Josh Cowling.
Pinjarra founding family members Ward Adam, Ian Beacham, Cr Doug McLarty and Geoff McLarty at the launch. Photo: Josh Cowling.

THE Murray community is pulling out all the stops to save St John’s Church in Pinjarra, one of WA’s oldest churches.

A fundraising appeal was launched yesterday to raise $400,000 for restoration work and repairs to the church roof which is threatening the building’s structural integrity.

Shire president David Bolt said the work would prevent further degradation and restore the building to a standard fit for community services.

For some while, services have been held in the church hall.

Among other funding sources, including a $50,000 commitment from the Shire of Murray and a funding application to Lotterywest, a heritage appeal has been established through the National Trust of WA to enable tax deductible funding for donations of more than $2.

Donations of more than $500 will be acknowledged on the St John’s Church Fundraising Appeal sign at the entrance to the church grounds.

A raffle with prizes including a Bali holiday, an artwork by artist Stephanie Boyce and Murray Leisure Centre memberships, as well as a quiz night on June 15, with the winning team each taking home a Hotham Valley Tourism Railway double dinner pass and a bottle of Drakesbrook wine, will also bolster the appeal.

Cr Bolt said it was apparent the community valued the church and was prepared to contribute towards restoration works.

St John’s is listed as an asset of exceptional significance in the Local Government Heritage Inventory, is included in the council’s Town Planning Scheme Heritage List and classified by the National Trust.

Built in 1860, it is an early example of British-style architecture and the third oldest church in WA.

The church has associations with the district’s early settler families, many of whom are buried in the churchyard along with several of the rectors.

Cr Bolt said the Shire was finalising ownership of the church from the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury, to ensure it continued to contribute to Pinjarra’s social fabric and sense of place.

He said public ownership enabled a continuous foreshore reserve within the town and the ability to explore community beneficial, tourism and education opportunities.

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