Over the Easter weekend we visited the St Patricks Anglican church in Mourambine during our return drive home from a few days staying with our family in the central Western Australian wheatbelt.
This church holds a place in our family history.
It sits on a small rise overlooking undulating grain fields which are drying golden in summer and sprouting green and fresh in winter.
The town of Mourambine developed around 1860 and the townsite gazetted in 1884, but it has disappeared over the years - it's fate sealed when the railway line came to nearby Pingelly in 1889. All that remains of Mourambine now is the church and its small cemetery, the rectory (now a farmer's home), the old inn (also now a home) and the house where my father lived between 1939 and 1942. He has told us many stories of his life there.
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"At the end of 1939 we left the farm at Kulyalling when it was sold after the death of my Grandfather. We moved to Mourambine six miles east of Pingelly. The house was built around 1872. It had two main rooms with walls 18 inches thick made of local stone. There was a veranda all the way around with the kitchen on one corner and bedrooms on the other corners. Originally the house was built with a thatched roof, but had an iron roof when we were there. Over a hundred years on the house is still lived in and is now Heritage listed." - Norman Lesley Clayden
Entering the gate of the church, the path is flanked by two large olive trees. I seem to recall that read somewhere years ago that these were planted by the Benedictine monks from the New Norcia Monastery north of Perth. A simple bell hangs between two tall uprights in the church yard.
A sheltered alcove protects the heavy wooden door. The church was built from local stone and was consecrated by Bishop Hale. in 1873.
The rows of dark wooden pews face towards the alter at the far end, a simple wooden cross stands on the window sill, there are three stained glass windows also of simple design, and on the side walls are glass lamps. My father told me that his grandmother played the organ for the church services. Church services are still held here and my Dad noticed on the weekend that they had new hymn books.
In the church yard lie pioneers of the district - including my grandparents (Frederick Robert & Roma Clayden nee Fairhead - my father's mother and father) and my great grandparents (George and Florence Fairhead (nee McBurney - my grandmother's parents), and many other members of his family, including our ancestor, my great great grandparents - James Fairhead arrived in Western Australia on the ship Pyrenees, as a convict in 1853. He was given Ticket of Leave on 1 May 1853, pardoned 15 September 1855, acquired land in Beverley in 1880, married Mary Welsh 1 December 1859 and fathered twelve children.
Note 2023 - I have been trying to find out information about Mary Welsh - how did she come to be in Australia and marry James - but up till now I have not been able to find anything, note even a photograph. I need to do more research.
You can read information from the State Heritage Council about the church here - State Heritage WA - Mourambine Church
Here is the church again which I have processed with a texture
Are there any little churches that you feel a connection with?
Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week. And for those of you who celebrate Easter, I wish you blessings.
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