Rays of sunshine through heritage listed windows

Months ago, Dr Fiona Bush, a heritage consultant, contacted Cannington Uniting Church as she was interested in two stained glass windows that were installed in our building during its construction in 1963: one depicting the Methodist Youth Fellowship and the other depicting the Rays, which were a Christian group of young girls.

Fiona informed us that the artists who made and installed the windows were Ted Gowers and Albert Brown, who traded as Gowers and Brown. They operated in WA between 1954 and 2003. The technique they used in the manufacturing was using concrete and glass. Unfortunately, the technique they used was never passed on and went with Ted and Albert to their graves. Other buildings where you can see their work in Perth are the St George’s Anglican Cathedral, and the chapels at Trinity and Aquinas Colleges.

Fiona told us that the two windows in our church were heritage listed. Rays were a Methodist Christian girls fellowship which continued in our church well after the union of the Uniting Church in Australia. The Methodist Youth Fellowship again kept going after union, but changed its name to Cannington Youth Fellowship. The foundation plaque tells us the church was opened on 16 February 1963. Rev FC Sampson was the Minister, and the builder was HL Clarke. Since then, a hall and kitchen has been added. A courtyard between the church and hall has been brick paved and a glass door entrance has also been added. Four other church groups now also use our facilities.

Dr Fiona Bush OAM obtained a BA degree, majoring in archaeology from Sydney University, followed by a Masters’ degree in Building Conservation from the University of NSW. Fiona then headed west with her husband in 1984, where she found that, at that time, the heritage industry was in its infancy.

To learn more about heritage in WA she joined the National Trust’s Built Environment Committee in 1985 and has remained on it ever since – although the name has changed over the years. Fiona has worked as a building archaeologist and heritage consultant in WA for over 30 years. She has a broad spectrum of heritage interests. She is a member of the Mundaring and Hills  Historical Society and a Councillor with the Royal Western Australian Historical Society. She served on the State Heritage Office’s Register Committee from 2005 until its disbandment in 2019. In January 2017 she was award an OAM for services to community history and heritage conservation.

Bruce McGregor

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