Small piece of WA history restored

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Heritage church committee chairman Kerry Hawley, former Harvey shire president Maidee Smith and committee member Suzanne Saunders were thrilled with the restoration.
Camera IconHeritage church committee chairman Kerry Hawley, former Harvey shire president Maidee Smith and committee member Suzanne Saunders were thrilled with the restoration. Credit: Callum Hunter

WA’s smallest church was re-opened at the weekend by a group of parish and community members, marking the end of a six-year project.

St Nicholas Anglican Church in Australind was severely badly damaged in 2007 and again in 2012 when an out-of-control car ploughed into the heritage-listed building.

Heritage church committee chairman Kerry Hawley said external protection from cars was the top priority in the church’s restoration.

“We didn’t want to restore it again and then have it smashed up by some vehicle crashing into it,” he said.

One of the few features to remain unscathed during both incidents was the original, century-old organ, a unique piece of history that Mr Hawley described as “irreplaceable”.

The project was awarded one of 23 State heritage grants in January.

The building itself dates back to 1844, making it one of Australind’s earliest buildings.

Long-time Australind resident and former Harvey shire president Maidee Smith’s late husband Morgan was one of the driving forces in getting the church heritage listed, with Mrs Smith saying she had no idea how it would ever be repaired.

“I’m so pleased to see it come to fruition now,” she said.

Mr Hawley added: “Morgan would be ecstatic if he could see what’s been achieved here.”

The tiny structure measures just 3.6m wide and 8.2m long and was originally built as a two-room cottage before being consecrated and renamed St Nicholas Church in December 1915.

Services will resume at the parish from 7pm on Christmas Eve.

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