Pinjarra’s St John’s Church could be saved with ownership switching to Shire of Murray

Murray Shire president David Bolt and chief executive Dean Unsworth outside the historic church.
Murray Shire president David Bolt and chief executive Dean Unsworth outside the historic church.

THE structural integrity and historical charm of Pinjarra’s St John’s Church could soon be saved, following a proposal to transfer ownership of the site to the Shire of Murray.

The council has approved supporting the transfer from current owners the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury for nil consideration, subject to comprehensive building inspections including design and restoration costs being formally presented to the council.

A heritage appeal for the site is expected to be launched soon.

The Anglican Diocese of Bunbury has indicated the church and churchyard, which forms part of the Murray River foreshore, are no longer fit for purpose, recognising the nature of the site and costs associated with restoration requirements.

Shire President David Bolt said the site was an integral part of Pinjarra’s heritage precinct and contributed to the town’s social fabric and sense of place.

“St John’s is one of the oldest extant church buildings in WA still used for religious purposes and is an early example of a small rural church designed in the Victoria Gothic style,’’ he said.

“The site has been listed on the Shire’s Local Government Heritage Inventory as holding exceptional historical value, while associated conservation efforts align closely with its 2025 Strategic Community Plan.”

A transfer to Shire ownership would further contribute towards continuous public ownership of the foreshore reserve and greater access for the community.

In 2015, a structural engineer inspected the premises and identified termite damage on the timber wall plate as well as structural issues with the roof.

Cr Bolt said the council’s heritage architect undertook a brief physical inspection of the building in 2017, identifying damage to external brickwork and the need for damaged timber doors and windows to be repaired or replaced.

The council has held discussions with the WA National Trust regarding their Heritage Appeal Program.

The church is adjacent to historic Edenvale homestead and glebe land.

Cr Bolt said the possibility of linking those areas would allow the council to further explore opportunities to open the site for community enjoyment, tourism and commercial prospects, providing supplementary income to help with ongoing maintenance costs.

He said the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury planned to built a new church on the corner of Murray and Henry streets.

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