Catholic Church Group Recognised on Heritage List

Friday, October 4th, 2013
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Brigids Church Perth
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St Brigid’s Catholic Church Group in Perth has been recognised on the State Register heritage list.

Heritage Minister Albert Jacob announced that the St Brigid’s Catholic Church Group had been entered in the State Register of Heritage Places. The group of buildings comprises a presbytery built c.1902, a church built in 1904, a two-story convent completed in 1897, and a school built in 1919. A new sanctuary was added to the complex in 1967.

St Brigid’s Primary School was opened on 3 April 1921, designed to accommodate 450 pupils, in a two-storey building in the Federation Arts and Craft style. In 1974, the school moved to a new site east of Perth.

The Bell Tower

The Bell Tower

“St Brigid’s stands proud as the third-longest operating Sisters of Mercy Convent School after Mercedes College and the State Registered Catherine McAuley Centre,” Jacob said.

He noted that the site has functioned continuously as a place of Catholic worship and is a significant landmark in Northbridge.

While the foundation stone for the church was laid in May 1904, construction took almost a full year. The church was officially opened to the public on February 1905.

Built in Federation Gothic style with red brick walls, the structure is roughly 18 metres wide by 35 metres long, with a 12-metre ceiling. It features three aisles and can seat 700 to 800 people.

choir gallery

View of the choir gallery and organ from the front of the church.

The main entrance is located on Fitzgerald Street and has a large rose window, while a secondary entrance exists on Aberdeen Street. The stairs leading to the choir extend up to a tower containing a campanile with an original bell imported from England. The building’s roof is made of Green Welsh slate.

On both sides of the building, the windows are mullioned and traceried, and bordered by freestone. The church furniture was custom-made from solid polished jarrah timber. The church continues to function as a place of worship.

The Sisters of Mercy left St Brigid’s in 1974 but returned in 1998 and established their current administration centre in the Convent. A grant of $75,200 was awarded in 1997/8 through the (State Government’s) Heritage Grants Program for conservation works designed and supervised by John Taylor Architect.

choir gallery

Close-up of the church organ

“The Sisters of Mercy became a key teaching order within months of their arrival in the colony in January 1846 and were recognised for their quality of teaching, thoroughness, good order and refinement,” Jacob said. “The inclusion of this place in the State Register helps tell the story of the order’s expansion throughout the State and the important role the Sisters played in educating young West Australians.”


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