Church conservation group helping to preserve our history

Church conservation group helping to preserve our history

St Mary's Cemetery Conservation Group's Noelene Tuck and Janet Hearne at the Grave of Alexander Buckingham, one of the early pioneers of Kelmscott. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

Few may know that Kelmscott is home to the oldest church organ in the southern hemisphere, but the Kelmscott Cemetery Conservation Interest Group hopes to change that with a special event on Saturday, May 12 at St Mary’s in the Valley Anglican Church.

The event also serves a more serious purpose in raising support for the degraded historical cemetery attached to the church.

The 18th century organ, which arrived in Kelmscott in 1971 from a redundant church in Kent in England, was restored in 2013 by Graham Devenish of Pipe Organs WA, and now takes pride of place in the church.

The conservation group hopes to continue the work of preserving the historical landmark through community awareness.

“We started the conservation group approximately a year ago now,” group member Kath Coulthard said.

“If you go down and have a look at the cemetery, you’ll see some of the very earliest grave sites are unfortunately caving in at this point.

“We just thought they were too important to be left in that state.”

Ms Coulthard said the cemetery in particular was of great historical significance to the area, as it marked the origins of the region.

“You may not know unless you’re local, but there’s some very important names from the Kelmscott and surrounding areas there, families who were the first settlers to arrive here.

“Thomas Buckingham is buried there, as well as the Cockrams, who were very important to early Kelmscott.

“We’d really like to see people come along and take part, because we know there’s a lot of interest in the history here.”

The event will be held from noon with afternoon tea provided.

Call Kath Coulthard on 9390 0804 for more information.