South Perth MLA John McGrath hopes a $185,000 Lotterywest grant to St Mary’s Anglican Church will lead to further State Government funding to save the heritage listed landmark building.
Mr McGrath and representatives of the Church in South Perth have petitioned the State Government for support in restoring the church walls, which has been diagnosed with concrete cancer.
The total cost of the repair work is $1.5 million.
The church has started an appeal, which has been boosted to $632,000 by the Lotterywest grant.
The Federal Government has made a conditional grant of $250,000 that will be made available if the target of $1.5 million can be raised.
More funds are still needed, however, and the Church is appealing to business and industry to support the restoration.
St Marys’ rector, reverend John Meagher said when the Lotterywest grant was announced last Sunday during the church services, the news was met with applause.
“This assistance has been the source of great encouragement to the people of the parish, who are struggling under the burden of being faced with the important task of restoring the church,” he said. “This grant has brought the parish much closer to being able to commence the work that is so urgently needed.
“Since Easter, the parish has had to have several sizable pieces of masonry removed from the pinnacles of the church, as they were loose, and in danger of falling.
This has focussed our attention on the urgency of getting the work done, before the church becomes uninhabitable.”
Rev Meagher said the Lotterywest grant would be used to replace the current asbestos roof.
“The existing roof has to be taken off so that the walls can be braced as part of the rectification of the concrete cancer,” he said.
Mr McGrath said he had visited the church with Heritage Minister John Castrilli and had also discussed the matter of financial assistance with Treasurer Troy Buswell.
“I am hopeful of a positive outcome so that this marvellous heritage icon can be restored to its former glory,” he said.
“The cancer threatens to irreversibly destroy the Church’s structure. If the condition is allowed to continue untreated, the outcome could be devastating.
“Without intervention the building will be unsafe within three years, at which point demolition will be the most likely outcome.”
The Church is a distinctive and significant structure which was built in 1931 and entered into the Register of Heritage Places in 2007.