St Mary’s is a small timber framed building sitting in a shady nook in Pioneer Park, Bussell Highway, Cowaramup. The old wooden church is adjacent to a rose garden and a wall of remembrance commemorating some of the original settler families in the area. Nearby is a stage and amphitheatre, play equipment, creek, Lions public picnic area, the Lions Op Shop, and public toilets.
St Mary’s is also significant for its social value to members of the congregation, those associated with important personal services at the church, and the descendants of these people. It is the last remaining church in Cowaramup and is a favourite for brides as it is of such classic lines. St Mary’s is open during local fairs, with registers of baptism and marriages available for perusal.
St Mary’s Anglican Church is significant as a relatively rare surviving example of a Group Settlement church still in use. It is representative and a highly intact example of the many small churches erected by the group settlers in the south west as evidence of the community spirit and activity of the group settlers and later members of this farming community. The first Church of England services in the Cowaramup area were held in the local school by the Ven H J Adams, Rector of St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral Bunbury. The early Anglican committees raised funds with old-time dances in the local Cowaramup Hall, with suppers provided by members of the Mothers Union.
Many of the Group Settlement churches were built for £100; monies donated by the Confraternity of Divine Love (CDL) in Britain. The CDL supported the Sisters of the Order of St Elizabeth of Hungary (OSEH) who were in the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury at that time. The Sisters had a convent at Margaret River.
Through the generosity of an English friend of the Reverend Mother Elizabeth OSEH, money (£100) was given to build a small weatherboard, iron roofed church, the Church of St Mary, Cowaramup. In 1929 it was reported that a new Anglican Church was in the course of erection in Cowaramup.
St Mary’s was licenced for public worship on 18th January 1929 on Reserve 19989. Bishop Wilson dedicated the church on 7th April and wrote, ‘it was a great day for Brother Bernard and his people. On Sunday we held four services in different centres and in the evening motored to Cowaramup where I dedicated another Group Church.’ An article in the Anglican Messenger May 1979 tells of the Golden Anniversary Service held in St Mary’s ‘… by candle light … to recapture the atmosphere of the original dedication in 1929.’
St Mary’s Anglican Church is a small rectangular, timber-framed building (roughly 8m x 5m) with a small gabled porch over the main entrance (south-east) and a skillion lean-to at the rear (north) corner. The walls are clad with oiled, bevelled-edged weatherboards and feature two pointed-arched windows to either side (all fitted with plain clear glass). There is also a pointed arch to front door, which is board and brace with decorative hinges. The red gable roof has modern, flat profile gutters and rectangular downpipes. Internally the church has a plasterboard ceiling, which exposes the plain bottom beams to the 2 central roof trusses. The walls are also plasterboard (with a plain painted chair rail) and the floor is timber with a plain, square profile timber skirting. Furnishings include the original plain timber pews