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St Mary's Anglican Church and Graveyard


City of Busselton

Place Number

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39 Peel Tce Busselton

Location Details

Cnr Queen St & Peel Tce

Other Name(s)

Hall site
includes: Church, Graveyard, Rectory &

Local Government



South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1984, Constructed from 1845

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List YES 13 Aug 2014
State Register Permanent 07 Feb 1997 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 20 Jun 1996 Category 1

Category 1

Category 1 places are the most important places in the Shire with the highest cultural heritage values and generally have built features that are part of their significance. Some of these places have been included in the State Register, and are afforded statutory protection under the Heritage of Western Australia Act. Other places in Category 1 should also be assessed by the Heritage Council for possible inclusion in the Register. All places in Category 1 should be included in the Town Planning Scheme, given protection under he scheme, and incentives developed to assist with long term conservation. Incentives might be financial in the form of low interest loans and grants, or non-financial, such as development incentives and conservation advice.

Classified by the National Trust Classified 07 Aug 1961

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Permanent 28 Sep 1982

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

St Mary’s Anglican Church and Graveyard, a Victorian Gothic Revival style church constructed in stone with a shingled roof, and graveyard with historic grave markers, has cultural heritage significance as one of the oldest graveyards in the state and a place associated with the founding of Busselton. The place has links with the founding families in the region, including the Bussells and the Molloys who helped to raise funds for its construction and participated in its construction. The place has high aesthetic value as a picturesque Gothic church in a pleasant setting alongside the Vasse River. The cemetery contains much information on prominent early local families who attended services there and were buried in the graveyard. The place remains significant as a place of worship and contributes to the community’s sense of place.

Physical Description

St Mary's Anglican Church and Graveyard is an Old Colonial Norman Revival church with stone walls and a shingled roof. It includes one of the oldest churches and graveyards in the State. Foundation laid by Mrs Bussell. Settlers quarried stone and carted timber. Floor boards and beams pit sawn nearby. A bellcote, vestry and entrance porch added later. First service 11 April 1845. Church, surrounded by graveyard shaded by large peppermint trees is well sited close to the Vasse River.


St Mary’s Anglican Church opened in 1845 by early settlers of the Vasse district. Following early settlement in the 1830s, the need for a church was mooted in 1841. The initial financing of the project was raised from friends and relatives including the Bussell, Carter and Bowker families and by 1843 work had commenced. The trustees were John Bussell, John Molloy and Henry Chapman. Mr. F. Brabazon Forsayth prepared plans. Mrs Frances Bussell laid the foundation stone in March 1844. The construction was a community effort with free contributions by men like George Blechynden, the district carpenter.
Although incomplete, the church opened in April 1845 and at that time had a beaten earth floor. It was named St. Mary’s after a church of the same name in Portsea, England, where William Bussell had been curate. The place was finally completed in 1848 and a harmonium installed in 1859.
A bell and bell tower were added in 1902 and a vestry added in 1906, and finally the porch in 1924. Major repairs were undertaken in the 1950s and in the 1970s plain glass windows were replaced with stained glass donated by descendants of the pioneering families. The shingles were placed with aluminium tiles and in 1982 these were removed and replaced during conservation works in 1989 programme.


Integrity Notes: The place remains in use as intended, though burials in the graveyard have long since ceased. The place retains a high degree of integrity.
Authenticity Notes: The place was made in stages and there is authentic material relating to all stages. Overall the place retains a moderate to high degree of authenticity.

High Degree/High Degree


Generally the church is in fair to good condition, but many of the gravestones are deteriorating and require conservation.

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
10138 S.A. Mounted Constable John Brabazon Forsayth (c.1882 - 1852). Gentleman architect shot dead in an affray with a snake. Electronic 0

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church Hall
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Original Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters

Architectural Styles

Other Style

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Limestone
Roof TIMBER Shingle

Historic Themes

General Specific
PEOPLE Early settlers

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.