St. Augustine's Church Pinjarra

St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, Pinjarra. This picture was probably taken in the 1930s when the building was still located in Forest St. (Courtesy Battye Library, BA 779/22)
The orginal Roman Catholic Church in Pinjarra was located in Forrest St. It was built and dedicated to St. Augustine by the local community in 1912.

 

The design was an imitation Gothic style and made of Jarrah weatherboard. It was built at the cost of £450 pounds, which was a considerable amount in those days. However, by the time Fr. Fahey left the district in 1914, the building was debt free.

 

The follow extract concerning the opening of the church appeared in the South Western Advertiser (Perth, WA : 1910 - 1954), on Friday 4 April 1913, page 5

 

"Last Sunday witnessed the consummation of the hopes and efforts of the Catholic population of Pinjarra, when the new building erected by the adherents of the Church was opened.

 

The Vicar-General, the Rev. Father Verling, arrived at Pinjarra soon -after 10 a.m., having, motored from Perth, and the ceremony of blessing the new edifice began at 11 o'clock. The attendance taxed the accommodation to the utmost, and many were unable to find seating room and had to remain standing in the porchway.

 

The church itself is situated to the rear of the Recreation Ground, a few chains from the Mandurah road. It stands upon a block of ground owned by the Church authorities upon which it is hoped a Convent and School will shortly be erected. The building is of weather board, lined with jarrah and varnished. The altar is of soft wood, fashioned in the Gothic style, and is a beautiful piece of work.

 

At the close of the ceremony; of blessing the sacred building, Holy Mass was celebrated, Father Verling assisting the pastor, Father Fahey. The sermon was preached by the former, who referred very highly to the manner in which the work on the building had been carried out. It was the third church, he said, which he had had the pleasure of opening during the past few Weeks. The building was rather a surprise to him, both in dimensions and finish. He had not expected to find so nice a church among the small Catholic population of Pinjarra. The question was often asked, he said, why they erected such magnificent buildings and beautiful altars when others less costly would serve the same purpose. Their reply was that in erecting a building for the service of God and the preaching of the Church's teaching, they did not consider the cost to a great extent, contending that for such a purpose nothing could be too costly, nor too beautiful. Father Fahey briefly expressed his thanks to all who had assisted in the work of erection, or providing the funds, especially to the non-Catholic residents who had given their support to the various efforts made to raise money for the church. He particularly desired; to thank the architect and builder, Mr. Green, who had taken the whole matter in hand and carried out his work faithfully and well. He was pleased to be able to state that the debt on the building was a small one, being only a matter of £155. The friends who donated the altar cloth (Dr. Lovegrove) and part of the fencing (Mrs. Foley), he also mentioned, and thanked them for their gifts; and also thanked those who had taken places in the choir for the opening service, several of them not being members of the Church."

 

Priest: Fr. Tom Gaine. Tall girl at back: (?) Furfaro Nun: Sr. Concilio. Middle row: Andrew Silbertson. Martin Buckland. (?) Steven O’Brien. Damien Ardagh. (?) Greg Silbertsen. (?) Silbertson. (?) (?) (?) Paul Bennett. Front row: (?) O’Brien. Kelly Buckland. Sheree Doyle. Anna Capriotti Karen LaFontaine. Ian Hogan.
In 1951 St Augustines church was moved from Forrest St, to George St, to the 16 acrea site that Mr. Perrit had purchased from the Cornish family, and placed next to the presbytery. The Blessed Sacrament was then reserved permanently in the Church. The Alter was donated by Mrs. Cooper, and Mrs. Murray donated the baptismal font.  The church was painted cream, and the roof green.  The inside was lined with plasterboard.

 

In 1952 Brass was donated for the alter adornment.  Mrs Pierce donated green wall drapes, and green carpet. 50 pounds had been saved for a new church.

 

To support the needs of a growing Parish a new brick church was built alongside the old building in 1980 at an estimated cost of $110,000. As with the original church, much of the finance for construction was raised by local members. The new St Augustine's Church Pinjarra was officially opened and consecrated by The Reverend Myles McKeon, the Bishop of Bunbury on Sunday 5th April, 1981.

 

After serving the community for almost 70 years, the old wooden church was finally demolished in December 1981.

 

In 1951 St Augustine's Church was relocated to George Street. In 1981 it was eventually demolished after the current brick church was constructed along side the old building.

In 2005 the new Church was further expanded with the addition of a large function centre. The new extensions were opened and blessed by Reverend Gerard Holohan the Bishop of Bunbury on the 16th of Oct, 2005. In 2015 the Centre was named "The O'Conner Parish Centre" in recognition of the outstanding contribution of Sister Maureen O'Conner to St Augustine's Parish as the Pastoral Leader from 1996-2014.

Murray Districts Historical Society • Old Schoolmaster's House, Henry Street • Edenvale Precinct • Pinjarra Western Australia

Phone: 0408 846 567 or 0407 422 771