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St Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Convent of Mercy & School


Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes

Place Number

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102 Roe St Bridgetown

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Ain Karim

Local Government



South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1925, Constructed from 1904, Constructed from 1903, Constructed from 1940

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 18 Mar 1983

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - To be assessed Current 12 Dec 2003

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 29 Mar 2018 Management Category B

Management Category B

Conservation of the place is highly desirable. If not already, to be included on the Local Heritage List. Development proposals to be assessed pursuant to State Planning Policy 3.5 Historic Heritage Conservation; a Conservation Management Plan (if one exists); and to reinforce the significance of the place. Record prior to redevelopment, recognise and interpret if possible.

Municipal Inventory Adopted 28 Jun 2001 Category 1

Category 1

Highest level of protection appropriate: recommended for entry for entry into the State Register of Heritage Places; provide maximum encouragement to the owner to conserve the significance of the place.

Statement of Significance

The cluster of buildings is significant for their social, historic and aesthetic value within the Catholic and local community.
The post 1950 additions to the school are of little significance.
Aesthetic Value
The three impressive and differing buildings facing Roe Street (side by side) have been a cultural streetscape of Bridgetown for over ninety years. When these were built, Roe Street was intended to be the main street of Bridgetown. The old Terminus Hotel, across the road on Steere Street, was a hub of social life. The Catholic Church buildings looked out over the original Agricultural Grounds on the south side of Roe Street, with the Bridgetown Railway Station newly built nearby off Steere Street, hence forming a strong cultural landmark at this major intersection.
Historic Value
This group of buildings has high historic value as the original and continued meeting place of the Bridgetown Catholic community and as an education centre for both adults and children. Also for its many associations of high ranking Clergy who have formally Blessed the buildings in the past, and association with the Sisters of Mercy WA.
Research Value
Social Value
Very High Social Value. Particularly for farming families, as Sunday was often the only day of the week women and children would make the trek into town, being for church and the enjoyment of seeing fellow community members, often picnicking for lunch afterwards. St Brigid’s School has always been of very high social value to its day students and past boarders.

Physical Description

The Church (1903) is constructed of brick and iron with cement render to the front elevation. Internally, the building has Jarrah trusses and Oregon pine linings. The building is simple in form with a steeply pitched gabled roof and has undergone a number of internal alterations. Stained glass windows date from the 1950s.
The Convent (1904, extended 1940), situated on the corner of Roe and Steere Streets, is a two storey brick and iron residential development with a prominent gabled-hipped roof, a symmetrical façade distinguished by a pair of two-storey bay windows, and a separately articulated return verandah, supported on slender, timber posts and faced by vertical timber balustrading.
The School Hall (1925) is constructed of brick, with a deep rendered eaves panel. The building has a prominent gable hipped roof with a separate raked roof over the projecting entrance bay.
Extensive additions to the school were constructed in 1956. 1984 and 2011.


The Parish of Bridgetown was declared in 1903 and placed under the protection of St Brigid of Ireland. However, the Parish records show that the church had already begun its work in the town before the turn of the century.The first Catholic Church/school was built on the corner of Steere and Roe Streets in 1894. This was replaced in 1904 by the present St Brigid's church building which also served as a school with an opening enrolment of 33 pupils.
The separate weatherboard building to the rear was the Infants School. In the same year the ground floor of the Convent was built and occupied by four Sisters of Mercy from Bunbury. Prior to this, two Sisters had lived in a cottage close to where the present presbytery stands.
The second storey was added to the convent in the early 1920's to admit boarders from outlying districts and, for many years, was used in the school holidays to accommodate children from "Bushie Schools".
The present Parish Hall was built in 1925 as a school to serve the growing number of students seeking Catholic education. The present school was built in 1956 and has been extended three times. It now has an enrolment of 178 students and a staff of lay teachers.
The first resident priest for Bridgetown, Fr William Tracey (1899-1901) lived in Roe Street. The present Parish House in Steere Street, which is occupied by Fr Wally Kevis, was built as a Presbytery in 1939. From 1897 there have been twenty-three Parish Priests in Bridgetown.
In the beginning the Parish included Manjimup and Donnybrook but, with a growth in population and the availability of more priests, the boundaries were reorganised. Because of thriving mills and settlements at Donnelly River and Yornup, Mass was celebrated in these places for many years as well as at Bridgetown, Greenbushes, Nannup, Boyup Brook and Kulikup. However, since 1986 the Parish of Bridgetown has included Balingup, Greenbushes and Nannup.
The Sisters of Mercy left Bridgetown in 1989 and the Ain Karim Retreat House was established in the convent building in the same year. Throughout the year retreats used to be run on a one, two or three week basis and, from time to time, day retreats were also offered. (


The Church remains in constant use by St Brigid’s School and the local Catholic community. The Hall remains in use as both the school hall and church hall. The Convent, which has always been a multi-purpose building, still houses the office and meeting room for the Church Board. The dormitory and living quarters, originally housing the Sisters of Mercy and then also children boarding for the school, is still used to house people in times of need and visiting guests.
Moderate to High
A second storey was added to the Convent in 1940. At some stage the brickwork on the Church was rendered and painted white. The layouts of each of the three buildings however have not been altered.




Name Type Year From Year To
AB Rieusset Architect - -
MF Cavanagh Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Fran Taylor Bridgetown The Early Years
West Australian ( 3/05/1903

Other Reference Numbers

Ref Number Description
A4157 Assess No (Shire Ref)
No.B30 MI Place No.

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5706 Bridgetown : a selection of historical buildings. Report 1989

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Housing or Quarters
Original Use EDUCATIONAL Combined School
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Two storey residence
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Primary School
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel

Architectural Styles

Federation Filigree
Federation Free Style

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Handmade Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Other TIMBER Other Timber

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

16 Jul 2019


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.