St Andrew’s Anglican Church Mullewa celebrates centenary

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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St Andrew’s Anglican Church Mullewa minister Don Miller, centenary celebrations co-ordinator Judy Critch, City of Greater Geraldton Deputy Mayor Tarleah Thomas, Cr Jenny Critch and artist Helen Ansell at the unveiling of the church mural.
Camera IconSt Andrew’s Anglican Church Mullewa minister Don Miller, centenary celebrations co-ordinator Judy Critch, City of Greater Geraldton Deputy Mayor Tarleah Thomas, Cr Jenny Critch and artist Helen Ansell at the unveiling of the church mural. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken

The tight-knit congregation of Mullewa’s Anglican church have marked a proud moment in their town’s history with a poignant tribute.

St Andrew’s Anglican Church was constructed from local stone 100 years ago, with the local parish launching its centenary celebrations by unveiling a mural depicting local wildflowers to tell Jesus’ parable of the sower.

The 1921 opening of St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Mullewa.
Camera IconThe 1921 opening of St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Mullewa. Credit: Supplied

The biblical story tells of a farmer who sows seeds in a variety of terrains. Some seed falls on the road where there is no soil, some among rocks, some on soil with thistles, and some on good soil.

St Andrew’s minister of eight years Reverend Don Miller explained to attendees at the unveiling that in most places the seed failed to grow, but on the good land it took and yielded 100-fold.

He said Jesus told the story to explain to his disciples that the seed represented the gospel, the sower represented anyone who proclaimed it, and the various soils represented people's responses to it.

“Jesus really was summarising in terms of what he was doing and what sort of response he was getting, and a lot of that wasn’t positive, that there were forces that were working against him or people just weren’t taking any notice,” he said.

“But the fact he was willing to persevere through that and that perseverance has brought some incredible results, and like at the very end of it a whole word away, 2000 years later, we are here celebrating (the church’s centenary).”

The fact (Jesus) was willing to persevere...at the very end of it a whole word away, 2000 years later, we are here celebrating (the church’s centenary).

- Rev. Don Miller
St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Mullewa.
Camera IconSt Andrew’s Anglican Church in Mullewa. Credit: Supplied

The Gothic-style church’s foundation stone was laid on August 3, 1921, with the church built before the end of the year and consecrated three months later in November.

“It’s incredible the fact the church has been here for 100 years; when it started, Mullewa was very much in its infancy. Mullewa itself was only about 25 years old,” Mr Miller said.

“Fortunately over the years there have been people who have done a tremendous job (maintaining the building).”

The mural was created by Mr Miller’s daughter, local artist Helen Ansell, who also facilitated children from Mullewa District High School and Our Lady of Mt Carmel to paint a mural on the side of the town’s old pharmacy, now an art gallery, to celebrate the upcoming wildflower season.

He said the mural also related to the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme of Heal Country, saying it was important introduced weeds plaguing wild-flowers were addressed to enable them to flourish for generations to come.

Tamryn Galby, Taelarni Mourish, Kelsiarna Anderson and Clarence Merry, all 10.
Camera IconTamryn Galby, Taelarni Mourish, Kelsiarna Anderson and Clarence Merry, all 10. Credit: Supplied

“It’s an almost impossible thing to imagine how on earth we can address it, it’s not just here but all through down to the south west that weeds are a real problem,” he said.

“But hey, if we don’t do something about it we’re going to lose an incredible sort of thing. Mullewa is virtually the wild-flower capital of the world, it’s got the best wild-flowers of anywhere and people come to it because of that.

“That is a really important resource we need to be doing something for. The whole NAIDOC (theme) of healing country is a tremendous idea, it’s just the fact it really needs something practical to make it happen.”

The church will hold a thanksgiving service on August 29, the same week as the Mullewa Agricultural Show, to further mark its centenary.

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