Conservation Work Update

Restoration work at St Peter’s is progressing at a great rate of knots, the builders assure us they will be substantially finished by Christmas, with the exception of the filling in of the external mortar joints. This has to be left until the return of the cooler weather (probably April), as the traditional lime mortar cannot be mixed in York’s summer heat.

Photo of the church with the original roof removed.
Replacement of the roof.

The roof was removed recently, believed to have been on since the 1890’s, the rafters underneath were in almost pristine condition none needing replacement – an expense we are truely grateful not to have.  Evidence of the nail holes from the original shingle roof could be seen.  A  small section of the removed roof has been replaced underneath the new roof for future generations to discover with the inscription:

Photo of a piece of roof iron with the following text handwritten underneath: "Roof iron replaced November 2017.  Section of original iron roof from 1890's.  Earlier roof even after 1880 renovations was shingles.  Eric Hancock - National Trust.  Glenyse Broadbent (Fleay) - Chairperson, Friends of St Peter's, Gilgering Inc.
Roof tile inscription.

Bisschop’s Stained glass are on track to have the windows finished by the end of January. Restoration of the windows will include the installation of security screens.

Photo of Vaughn Bisschop holding repaired window to the light. The diagonal patterns of yellow, green and blue panels are clearly defined.
Vaughn Bisschop and repaired window

Commencement of Conservation Work

Photo of plaster removal inside the church.
Plaster removal inside the church.

Wow, it’s hard to believe after all this time restoration work has actually commenced on St Peter’s, Gilgering.

We hope to keep you updated on the restoration’s progress with photos and snippets of information on the website, here are a few shots to whet your appetite and enthuse you for more.  All the furniture was removed and safely stored then the plaster stripped from the internal walls.  The windows are still in-situ here, but as you can see from the next couple of photos the windows are now at Bisschops workshop being lovingly restored.  Photos of the boarded up windows coming soon.



Curtin University Students, Night View of St Peter’s, Gilgering

Few members would have seen St Peter’s Gilgering at night, several of the diligent Curtin students visited one night and they have given us some stunning night photos photos of the church and cemetery.


Curtin University Students, Master Plan Final Submission

Friday 16th June was D-Day for our Master’s Students, as nine of them pitched the merits of their project to both the Friends of St Peter’s and their lecturers Katherine & Simon.  Each student had 20 minutes to convince their audience that their project was The One.

Artist's impression of view inside shelter toward cemetery and church.
Artist’s impression of view inside shelter toward cemetery and church.

The standard of work was exceptional and the students had clearly put a lot of time and effort into their projects.  Some students had not only mapped every single tree on the site, but by variety as well- even The Friends learnt a few things here, did you know the main three varieties of trees are generally grouped with their own sort?  There was a diverse range of final designs from subtle installations gently hiding in the bush to large pavilions cleverly melting into their surrounds to a seven-storey tower – what would the views be like from there!

Artist's impression of exterior of shelter looking toward the river.
Artist’s impression of exterior of shelter looking toward the river.

Key components of the brief by The Friends were; shade, toilets, power and a way for the memorialisation and internment of ashes.  Some students addressed the memorial need very well, by incorporating it into their pavilion structures or utilising the old fence line.  Most included solar power and rainwater harvesting, the toilets were many and varied.  Triangles and circles were popular shaped buildings.

Drawing of Teik Lean's swale design.
Drawing of Teik Lean’s swale design.

One student observed the water erosion at the back of the church and came up with a swale/ terracing solution with stairs turning it into a usable space and managing the erosion at the same time.  Another linked St Peter’s to walking trails along the Avon by diverting the pathway up to a picnic space and ablutions.  Several students incorporated camping facilities often on raised platforms.

Nearly every project had some element that could harmonise in a final design; walking paths, not only from the Avon, but throughout the site, relocated parking, low memorial walls, shaded pavilions, erosion control and circular toilets.  The students observed the site with totally new eyes and saw things that those of us who have spent our whole lives visiting had never noticed.

These projects have created many avenues for subtly reinvigorating this special place.


Conservation funding – Lotterywest Grant

It’s official in March 2017 Friends of St Peter’s Church, Gilgering became the proud recipients of their first ever Lotterywest Grant.  We have been awarded $81,422 which along with the generous donations from several members will go towards the complete conservation and restoration of St Peter’s Church.

We would like to thank Lotterywest and their staff who were incredibly supportive of us during the application process and are grateful to have been successful in our application for a Lotterywest grant.  We are hopeful the works will be completed by the end of the year, in time to celebrate St Peter’s 160th birthday next year.


Second site visit

Photo of foundations of the Rectory at St Peters Gilgering with students in background.
Foundations of the Rectory at St Peters Gilgering with students in background.

The students returned with their lecturers for their second formal visit to St Peter’s Gilgering, many had already made informal return visits to further explore the site.  They were accompanied by Glenyse, Caroline and Emma from Friends, also Julie Wray and Kerry Feeney from the York Society/ Archives who talked and answer any further questions the students might have.  Philip Narkle deferred his talk for that day to the following Wednesday, when he visited Curtin University and spoke about the pre colonial history of the St Peter’s area also introducing them to the local Aboriginal concept of 6 seasons to the year.

Photo of the Curtin lecturers inside the church sitting at the front of the group
Curtin lecturers inside the church sitting at the front of the group
Photo of students and lecturers reviewing the site.
Photo of students and lecturers reviewing the site.

This second visit was a much cooler day although the flies seemed stickier than before.  Several of the students camped the previous night at Avon Ascent Gwanbygine and extensively explored the surrounding district, including a spooky midnight visit to St Peter’s.  It was lovely to see groups of students scattered among the trees working on their designs, lecturers Katherine and Simon had a trestle table set up under the jam trees, where each group of students brought their work in turn for discussion and advice.

We had secured permission from the neighbours Lyn & Frank Matthews to visit their property to view the remains of the St Peter’s Rectory built in 1875, where Reverend Lynch and his family lived, the ruins no longer belong to the St Peter’s site.  Just before lunch the group walked along Great Southern Highway to the Matthew’s place to explore the ruin’s, even Friends hadn’t seen this before.  Frank explained the layout of the foundations including a post office and a second site which was the stables with forge and separate outside toilet.

An enjoyable day was had by all and we are looking forward to seeing the development of the student’s designs.


Masterplan for St Peter’s, Gilgering

Friends of St Peter’s Gilgering have engaged Curtin University’s School of Built Environment’s Masters of Architecture students to develop a Masterplan for St Peter’s Gilgering.  They will be guided by lecturers Katherine Ashe and Simon Pendal.  The students are going to spend the next 4 months developing whole of site Masterplans which will include; mapping the site as it exists now including the probable location of unmarked graves, plans to rebuild the old schoolhouse, ablution facilities, storage space, scope to inter ashes or erect memorial plaques and the possibility of the provision of power and water.

The students will be focusing on Architecture as more than just designing a building:

The objective of this speculative project is to examine how the understanding of place can act as a catalyst for strategic intervention.  The Gilgering Church and former school site is significant culturally, historically and environmentally …. The project will attempt to unlock the latent potentials of this place through provision of new infrastructure.

Each student will be required to develop their own Masterplan including working drawings, building and planning permits.  Their designs will need to meet the requirements of: Friends of St Peter’s, Gilgering, The National Trust Australia (WA) and the Shire of York’s building and planning rules.

The students will receive further input from; The National Trust Australia (WA) on heritage buildings generally, Ron Bodycoat, heritage architect who prepared the original Conservation Plan for St Peter’s in 2002, archaeologists on working in an historical site, landscape architect Pip Munckton and Curtin’s Department of Sport and Recreation on building cultural corridors to engage and activate spaces in a community.  We will finish up with approximately 20 different designs to choose from.  We are endeavouring to have two events during the design process for members of Friends’ of St Peter’s, Gilgering to view and comment on the students’ work.  One will be mid-way through the semester and the other the final presentations.  Details of these events are yet to be finalised, it is hoped to hold one in York and one in Perth.


First site visit

Photo of Curtin students standing around old school site listening to the archaeologist
Curtin students standing around old school site listening to the archaeologist.

Nineteen Masters of Architecture students and their lecturers descended upon St Peter’s Gilgering for their first glimpse of the place, an introduction to their Integrated Buildings Research Studio and to receive the brief from  Friends of St Peter’s Gilgering.  It was a typically hot Gilgering day, lots of flies and not much shade, environmental factors that will hopefully help inform their designs.

Photo of Curtin students measuring inside wall of the church beside the font
Curtin students measuring inside wall of the church beside the font

The students received an introduction to the studio from their lecturers and Stuart Rapley an archaeologist, who educated us on how to look at a site through an archaeologist’s eyes, covering both the aboriginal and colonial significance of the general location.  Glenyse and Emma from the Friends committee gave a brief history of the church itself and then outlined the scope of what was wanted from a Masterplan, with emphasis on reactivating St Peter’s as a place of interest and to make it a place people can come and participate in a range of activities.  The students were then let loose outside with tape measures and laser measures to document all possible dimensions of the church (inside and out), tombstones, probable location of unmarked graves, trees, school site, well, bell, sundial and roads.  They even launched a drone with camera to get a bird’s eye view of the place.

As the day progressed the stories of St Peter’s helped the students developed a deeper
understanding of the complex layers of cultural and social history imbued there and the changes it had witnessed over the last 159 years.