Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Tuesday, 13 January 2015

St Werburgh's Chapel, Mt Barker, Western Australia

Years ago we visited St Weburgh's Chapel not far out of Mt Barker and north of Albany on Western Australia's south coast.
I wanted to visit again, and this last weekend we took a side trip to Mt Barker and St Werburgh's on our way to Denmark.

St Werburgh's Chapel is nestled in a small grove of trees on a hill surrounded by farming land and overlooking Hay River. It is one of the few church buildings in Western Australia which have been built by a landowner on their own estate.  

Dedicated to Saint Werburgh (English Abbess 7th century AD) the chapel was built from clay pug and completed in 1873.

Please click on "read more" to read more!

I love old country churches. There is something about the feeling of peace and calm they spread over you. We enjoyed wandering through St Werburghs and around the church graveyard containing the graves of the Egerton-Warburton family as well as other local families. 

I would think that the very steeped pitched roof and the wide verandahs would have been built to help withstand the hot Australian conditions. The original shingles have now been replaced by an iron roof. The interior of the church is simply but beautifully decorated. There is a decoration of grape vines at the front, relating to grape growing of this region. I don't know if these are the original stain glass windows. The church has never had power and services, held once a month, are still lit by candlelight today. 

In 1836 George Edward Egerton-Warburton, a young Lieutenant of the 51st Regiment arrived in Albany. When he married, he sold his commission and settled in Albany for the schooling of his children and so they could attend Albany’s St John’s Church.  Gradually the family spent more time at their property at Saint Werburgh’s, particularly after the death of George’s wife Augusta in 1871.

In 1872 George received 550 Pounds from his eldest brother, the squire of Arley Hall and rector of Northwich in Cheshire, England, for the building of a Chapel at St Werburgh’s for the local settlers.  The walls we built by Samuel Swift using local timber and clay pug dug from a nearby hole. David Brown, a carpenter from Albany built the shingle roof and George did all the plastering himself.  Most of the interior woodwork was completed by Thomas Rogers using local Sheoak and Jarrah and the ironwork was made in the family forge.

 The simple wooden posts you see in the image above mark graves, mostly unnamed. Some of them have metal plates telling who lies there, like the one in the collage below for a 6 week old baby girl who died 24 May1886.

The building was completed in 1873 and was consecrated and dedicated to St Werburgh by Bishop Hale on 21 June 1874. Saint Werburgh was a female Saxon saint who died in 690. She was the daughter of Wulfere, King of Mercia and the third Abbess of Ely.

I love this little view of the desk through the doorway of the little side room. Wouldn't you just love to be sitting writing at this desk in this beautiful peaceful environment?

 There are 32 religious buildings dedicated to St Werburgh, 29 of which are in England, one in Zimbabwe, one in Ireland, and this one at Mt Barker in Western Australia.
Services are still celebrated at the church on the fourth Sunday of the month.  Weddings and Baptisms can also be arranged. 
St Werburgh’s Chapel can be seen on St Werburgh’s Road along a 30 kilometre heritage drive through the area.  Preservation and restoration work is an ongoing concern, so please leave a donation in the box provided.

Do you have a little country church that you like to visit?  Perhaps you would like to share in the comments.
Thank you for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

You might also like -
Peace in a country church, Mourambine 
Cathedral Avenue and Australind Cemetary


  1. A charming little church with an interesting history. We have a few quaint churches in our rural area but of course not nearly as old -mostly from the late 1800s.
    Thank you for linking with Mosaic Monday Jill.

  2. A very unique little church Jill and what dedication by the land-owner ...it would not have been an easy task in those days to organise the build. No telephone - internet - express delivery !!
    Thank-you for taking us along on your journey to pretty St Werburgh's chapel.

    "Adelaide and Beyond"

  3. Such an interesting and adorable little church! I love old buildings with a story!

  4. What a lovely unusual church. It was obviously built for harsh Australia conditions with its shady verandah all the way around. There were two churches that stood out while we were touring around Australia. One was at Raukkan an Aboriginal Community on Lake Alexandrina in SA which is featured on the $50 note. The other was the impressive gothic All Saints Church in Bodalla on the south coast of New South Wales. They were both very intriguing.

  5. very nice! I love historical buildings.

  6. What a precious church and such a serene place your photos give us of the church xxx

  7. Oh look how lovely your blog page is, all bright and cheerful. I need to fuss with mine too and see what I can come up with, yet it always scares me a bit to change anything and then you cannot have it exactly as it had been before. Just changing the banner a month ago for me was a big step. The little chapel is really charming and those simple grave markers, all very touching. The little baby, so young, the feet to never touch the earth, gave me a moment's pause. Very lovely share as you always give to us my friend. Cheers from KY, USA~

  8. It reminds me a bit of "Little House on the Prairie" for some reason. :) Thanks for sharing the back story to this, too.

  9. Now that's a cool place to see! It's quite different and so charming!

  10. What a beautiful place and such an interesting story! Loved the shot of the flowers through the open door.

  11. What a delightful chapel.

  12. It is an unusual building. I am not a lover of churches but I do like this one. I think simple churches are what I do like the best, but as I write that I remember the interior of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona which is possibly the closest thing to heaven on earth :)

  13. Interesting building and history. The building itself reminds me of a hat! Being settled by the British, my home city, Halifax, has quite a number of historical churches and graveyards. I have visited and photographed a number of them over the years. Thanks for linking up this week #TPThursday

  14. I recognised that shot/place! I had a visit there as part of a photography weekend a few years ago...it POURED rain...I mean POURED for the entire day!! We spent quite some time at the Chapel where at least we could stay dry of a while! Nice memory thnx Jill

  15. What an unusual looking building, it's so charming. I love the deep verandahs

  16. What a beautiful building and I love knowing a bit about the history. It is nothing like any other chapel I have seen.

  17. I like little country churches, too, but I've never actually stopped to explore one. From what I can see from the road, most Texas country churches don't have pretty stained glass windows like the one you photographed. St. Werburgh's is so charming. Is it still privately owned? Sitting at that little desk by the window would be so peaceful and a wonderful little place to clear one's mind.

  18. Oh my...I am smitten! These are just wonderful photos. I collect photos of old churches over at pintrest. I love your new look for the season!

  19. Jill, what a lovely chapel.. It is unique with the verandah going around.. I love the cemetery and the grounds with the big trees are lovely too. Thanks for sharing, have a happy day and week ahead!

  20. I love the tiny little chapels in country WA, and St Werburgh's is my favourite that I've come across in my travels so far. A couple of other little churches I've seen in recent times include St Luke's chapel in Westonia (I wrote about it here - http://www.westernaustralia-travellersguide.com/st-lukes-anglican-church-westonia.html), and another one that wasn't open to look inside on the road from Goomalling to Wongan Hills whose name escapes me. And then there's the "Chapel of the Flowers" on the Swallows Welcome property near Witchcliffe, built by the owners and adorned with wildflower drawings by Patricia Negus, the woman who illustrates many of the Margaret River guidebooks and things.

    About 10 years ago when staying on a school friend's hobby farm on Osmington Road near Margaret River we went for a wander down the road and found the tiniest little chapel I've ever seen with a tiny church organ thing that you could play... but I've been back in search of it and it seems to have gone :-(

    And of course there are so many beautiful and interesting churches around Geraldton built by Monsignor Hawes, and the New Norcia buildings too.

  21. This is fascinating! Especially given the eponymous saint lived in the 7th century - that's a staggering fact in itself. My favourite church find (although I'm not one for much religion) is the Point Pass church in rural South Australia's mid-north. It's got a very tall steeple that's covered in gilt so it shines for miles on a sunny day! And all the better for being so unexpected - it's a one-horse town in the middle of nowhere!!

  22. what beautiful, peacful surroundings for my Great, great grandparents, the Coopers to have been laid to rest.
    one day I hope to visit from South Australia.

  23. This is my Mother Anne's family Church ,my Father and other Family Granny,Grand dad ect are buried there was built by My great ,great great Grandfather..we are very proud of it.Jo Collins Mt Barker .Only direct decendants can be buried there, that were born before the government changed the laws about being buried on private Farms was changed .
    Joanne Collins .Mum was Anne Vera Egerton Warburton now Collins

    1. I've just seen your message Joanne. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and tell me more about the history of the church. Such a beautiful church and setting. Thanks so much.


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