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St Mary's Anglican Church Complex


City of South Perth

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


9 Ridge St South Perth

Location Details

Cnr Ridge & Karoo St

Other Name(s)

Church Hall; St Mary's Church of the Virgin
St Mary's Close

Local Government

South Perth



Construction Date

Constructed from 1931, Constructed from 1936

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 14 Nov 2000
State Register Registered 31 Jul 2007 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994

Heritage Council
Anglican Church Inventory YES 31 Dec 1996

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

The following statement is drawn from the State Register Entry for Place 2385 St Mary’s Anglican Church Complex, prepared in 2007.

St Mary’s Anglican Church Complex, comprising the Inter-War Gothic style Church (1931, 1950, 1958), the Inter-War Functionalist style former Hall (1936, 1956, 1993) the Statue of Christ (1970), and the Garden of Remembrance (1980) has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
• the place is a landmark as a distinctive church building and tall monument located in a prominent position, clearly visible from many vantage points around Perth;
• the Statue of Christ donated by Stanley Lovelock and designed by architect Bruce Tomlinson, is a fine example of a monument using stylised representation, distinguished by its height and prominence the Church is rare as a church constructed of reinforced concrete in the 1930s, and was reported in 1931 to be the first use of this construction method for a church in Western Australia;
• the Church was designed by well-known Perth architect, George Herbert Parry, with additions and completion overseen by William T. Leighton, in accordance with Parry’s original concept; and,
• the former Hall is a rare, though modest, example of an Inter-War Functionalist style hall in the Perth metropolitan area.

The Parish Hall Complex (1993) and St Mary’s Close residential development (1993) have low significance. The Garden of Remembrance, has high value to relatives and friends of those memorialised there, and contributes to the cultural heritage significance of the place as a whole.

Physical Description

St Mary’s Anglican Church complex comprises the church (1931), church hall (fmr) (1936), Statue of Christ (1970), garden of Remembrance, the Parish Hall Complex and residential units of St Mary’s Close.

The complex is located on a prominent elevated corner site on the rise of the highest hill in South Perth. It is located at the intersection of Ridge Street and Karoo Street and is surrounded by residential development.
The Church is located on the corner of the lot with the Statue of Christ positioned in the garden adjacent to the church and the former Church Hall, now forming part of the associated St Mary’s Close residential development is to the south of the Church overlooking Ridge Street.

St Mary’s Anglican Church has been constructed on an east-west axis, running parallel with Karoo Street. The changing topography around the church together with the massing of the church building and prominence of the monument combine to emphasise the presence of the church in the locality making it a local landmark.

The Church is of reinforced concrete construction display design influences of the Inter-War Gothic style. The north and south elevations are divided into a series of bays creating a strong rhythm to the structure. Each bay is formed by buttresses and each contains four windows with tracery and leaded lights, each pane separated by concrete mullion. The placement of the windows creates a continuous glazed band throughout the middle of the elevations. The buttresses continue up above the roof line creating a pinnacle roofline. The top third of the north and south elevations is enlivened though mouldings, reflecting the pattern of the windows below. The lower section of the elevations contains four blank bays with centrally located decorative wall vents.

The east end of the church is of similar presentation to the side elevations with the exception of there being two rows of windows. The verticality of the façade is emphasised by the buttresses and pinnacles, the parapet wall and the windows.

The roof to the main body of the church is flat, obscured from view by the parapet walls. The north and south projecting wings, which present in the same manner as the east elevation, have obscured pitched and tiled roofs hidden by the parapet walls.

The church is set within a simple landscaped setting to the north and east elevations with a more formal setting to the south incorporating a driveway providing access to the residential units and the former St Mary’s Hall. The new parish hall is constructed close to the west end of the church, connected by a covered walkway.

The former St Mary’s Hall is a single storey brick and tile building with a rendered frontage of Inter-War Functionalist design, ‘streamline modern’, with curved walls divided into bands. The roof is hipped and tiled, part of which is obscured by the tall parapet to the main façade feature. “St Mary’s Hall” is inscribed on the pediment.

The main façade element, is a rendered projecting bay with curved return walls divided into bands and three tall multi-paned windows to the Ridge Street frontage. Similar curved and banded walls form the entries into the two units.

The monument, Statue of Christ, is a tall refined concrete tower in three sections, the bottom two each containing three piers and the top section being the cross. The monument sits high above the church and is thought to be over 30m in height contributing to its landmark status in the locality.


The growth of South Perth was slow until the 1880s, the discovery of gold in Western Australia from 1885 led to an increase in the
population of Perth, with land facing Perth Water progressively sub-divided between 1886 and 1904.

After the mid-1890s, a speculative element entered into the sale of South Perth suburban land. In 1892, the South Perth Roads Board District was formed, and, in 1902, the suburb became a municipality. By the turn of the century there were four jetties at South Perth, the Zoological Gardens had opened (in 1898), and a school and postal facilities were established.

The first Anglican Church in South Perth was St Mary’s, a wooden building consecrated on 5 February 1899, on the corner of Onslow Street and Suburban Road (now Mill Point Road). Plans were made to acquire two blocks, one near Coode Street and the other near Mends Street, to move the church to one location, and build a mission hall on the other. Towards the end of October 1901, Anglican Bishop Riley dedicated the Holy Trinity Mission Hall in Douglas Avenue, South Perth. At the end of the same year,
Bishop Riley returned to rededicate an enlarged St Mary’s Anglican Church, with a new sanctuary, on its new site in Labouchere Road, South Perth.

Around 1919, the Holy Trinity Mission Hall was removed from its Douglas Avenue site and re-erected in the space behind St Mary’s Anglican Church in Labouchere Road. The Hall was now used for a Sunday School and a meeting place for the Ladies’ Guild and other groups.

On 25 April 1929, a large group of Parishioners attended a meeting at St Mary’s to discuss a proposal to build a new Anglican church. Not long afterwards, the Rector of St Mary’s, John Bell, arranged the purchase of an acre of land on the corner of Karoo and Ridge Streets, on a prominent hill in South Perth. However, this site was unpopular with many parishioners, as they considered that the climb to the top of the hill was too physically demanding. Nonetheless, the plan to establish a church on the Karoo Street site was endorsed by the new Archbishop of Perth, Henry Le Fanu. In December 1930, planning for the new church, to be constructed of reinforced concrete, commenced, under the direction of the architect, George Herbert Parry.

Parry (1882-1947) was born in Perth, the son of Anglican Bishop Parry. He was educated in Perth and later, in England. In 1911, Parry started his own practice. He had a particular interest in ecclesiastic work probably stemming from his family background, and subsequently designed many churches in Western Australia.

Although reinforced concrete was a relatively cheap form of construction, the Parish only had sufficient funds to proceed with an initial section of the building. In March 1931, A.T. Brine and Sons’ tender of £2,333 was accepted for constructing the nave, a temporary sanctuary, two vestries, a porch to a height of 16 feet, and an elaborately detailed west end. Part of the expense was to be met by selling the Parish land on Labouchere Road.

The foundation stone for the new church was laid on 3 May 1931 by the Governor of Western Australia, Sir William Campion, in the presence of Archbishop Le Fanu and Rector Bell.10 Seven months later, the church was consecrated over the two days of 7 and 8 November 1931, before a large crowd of 400 people in the church and 200 to 300 outside.

The Parish Building Committee had wanted to relocate the old parish hall, which was the former St Mary’s Anglican Church from Labouchere Road beside the new church, but the South Perth Roads Board refused permission.

In 1935, the church committee began planning for a parish hall and a rectory and, on 30 September 1936, the foundation stone for the Parish Hall was laid by (retired) Canon P.U. Henn. The completed Hall and Rectory were dedicated by the Archbishop on 5 November 1936.

Construction was by W. Ralph and Son, with the project supervised by local parishioner and builder, E.W. Grigg, there being insufficient funds to engage an architect. It is likely that the St Mary’s Hall was, in fact, designed by William G. Bennett, then working with the architectural firm of Eales, Cohen and Bennett.

During World War Two all works were put on hold the Parish Hall was blacked out. Furthermore, Roads Board workers dug trenches on the vacant land beside the Parish Hall, as a refuge for the congregation in the event of an air raid.

On the occasion of the Victory in the Pacific celebrations in August 1945, the Rector of St Mary’s proposed that the chancel and the sanctuary of the Church should be completed as a memorial to those who had died in war. However, he did not pursue the matter further until 1950, when an appeal was launched to first clear the Church’s debt. In 1950, a new porch was built on the Church. The building work was carried out by parishioners working under the supervision of architect William T. Leighton, who lived nearby on Ridge Street, to a design in accordance with Parry’s original concept. This addition was dedicated by the Archbishop of 30 May 1950.

In 1955, extensions to the Parish Hall were commenced. For a cost of £2,625, builder, Tom Lees erected the addition, and furniture, fittings and landscaping were provided. The extended Parish Hall was dedicated and renamed the Henn Memorial Hall by the Archbishop on 21 March 1956.

Later in 1956, plans for the completion of the Church were made. In December of that year, sketch plans for the extensions to the Church prepared by William Leighton for architects, Hobbs, Winning and Leighton, of which he was a partner, were placed on display at St Mary’s. In September 1957, the winning tender of £16,550, from T.W. Lees and Sons, was accepted and work commenced. On 3 November 1957, 400 people gathered for the laying of the foundation stone by the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner.

On 13 July 1958, Assistant Bishop of Perth, Rev R.E. Freeth, consecrated and opened the additions. On 9 November 1958, Robert Moline, Archbishop of Perth, dedicated a War Memorial Chapel in the north transept. Flanking the Chapel Altar were two stained glass windows, one of St Mary and the other of St Mark. Later in the year, a third window, depicting St Francis, was installed. Already on the north wall was a window depicting St Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Music.

In May 1968, a proposal was put forward by Stanley Lovelock, a retired farmer living nearby, that he would bequeath $20,000 to St Mary’s Anglican Church to build, during his lifetime, a monumental statue of Christ in the Church grounds. Apparently, Lovelock had been inspired by the statue of Christ overlooking and blessing Rio de Janeiro and wanted something similar for Perth. Parishioner Bruce Tomlinson, an architect and town-planner, was brought in to advise on the practicality of the project. Tomlinson designed a structure built of three slender columns of reinforced concrete, 300 feet high, and surmounted by a symbolic, rather than a figurative representation of Christ. After Tomlinson more accurately costed the idea and the support of the congregation was assured, the height of the proposed structure was reduced by half. While technical difficulties delayed construction at first, on 8 March 1970, Archbishop Sambell blessed the completed Statue of Christ.

Restoration works were undertaken to the exterior and interior of the church during the early 1970s because of ongoing problems with the concrete construction.

In 1979, money was donated to the Church to build a Garden of Remembrance, as a place for the ashes of cremated parishioners.

In 1993, an aged care complex was constructed on the site which required the demolition of all buildings on the site except the church and church hall.


High / High




Name Type Year From Year To
Herbert Parry (main Church) Architect - -
William G Bennett (Church Hall) Architect - -
Hobbs, Winning & Leighton Architect - -
Bruce Tomlinson (external cross) Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Martin, GJ. "By Water and the Word: A Centennial History of the Parish of Saint Mary the Virgin, South Perth" Curtin University of Technology Printing Services, Perth 1998

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
6752 South Perth : the vanishing village. Book 2003
8523 The church of Saint Mary the virgin, South Perth, Western Australia: conservation plan prepared for the Church Council. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2006
9733 Church of St Mary the Virgin, 9 Ridge St, South Perth WA 6151 Conservation works report 2011
8792 St Mary's Anglican Church, South Perth : report on facade and structure. Heritage Study {Other} 2007
7603 By water and the word : a centennial history of the parish of St. Mary the Virgin, South Perth. Book 1998

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


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

Architectural Styles

Inter-War Gothic
Inter-War Functionalist

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall CONCRETE Reinforced Concrete

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

23 Apr 2021


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.