St Mary’s Church, Leederville, has hit on a creative way to raise needed funds.
By Anthony Barich
Eighty years of wear have finally caught up with the roof tiles on Leederville’s iconic landmark, St Mary’s Church, at the top of Shakespeare Street.
Every tile on the roof must be replaced at a cost of over $300,000, and to raise funds for the roof restoration, parish priest Fr Ossie Lewis has announced a Buy a Tile for St Mary’s campaign in which tiles are being sold to donors for $5 each and the names of the donors recorded in a commemorative book to be displayed in the church.
The severe condition of the roof tiles was discovered during the first stage of restoration work on the church last year.
Fr Lewis said workers had just started on what was to be a $1 million restoration project – that involves fixing the stained glass windows and the church’s foundations, plus re-polishing the pews and floor, as well as new lighting, sound system and carpet – when the dangerous tiles were discovered.
“The replacement of the roof has now become our major priority as a severe storm could completely destroy our heritage listed building, and pose a risk to parishioners” Fr Lewis said.
The new $300,000 bill for the roof brings the total funds still needed to $800,000, as $500,000 has already been raised through a $300,000 grant from the Archdiocese of Perth and parishioners fundraising $200,000.
Fr Lewis said he was hopeful of receiving assistance through a grant from Lotterywest through their Heritage Grants program and is applying for Federal Government funding through the recently announced heritage funding in the $42 billion economic stimulus package.
“We hope the wider community in our district, especially those who have had an association with St Mary’s through school, weddings or baptisms support our Buy a Tile program,” he said.
Tax-free donations can also be made for the restoration and conservation project through the National Trust account established for the church. Donation envelopes are available at the church office.
The tiles are being sold before and after each Mass or can be bought at the parish office in Franklin Street from 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday.
Fr Lewis can be contacted on (08) on 9444 9624.