Sunday, 12 June 2011

An architectural treasure south of Perth

I came across this book recently - "The Fairbridge Chapel : Sir Herbert Baker's labour of love" by David Dolan and Christine Lewis and it reminded me that I was intrigued by this chapel when I saw it for the first time last year on a visit to Fairbridge Farm. The architecture looks so unusual compared to the style of most Australian colonial church architecture (not that I am an expert at all). It certainly has a Cape, as in Cape Town, look about it.

The Fairbridge Chapel is known as the Chapel of the Holy Innocents and was designed by the famous architect Sir Herbert Baker who also designed buildings all over South Africa.

"Baker was a great believer in Kingsley Fairbridge and his work at Fairbridge Farm that when the Child Emigration Society approached him in 1928 about designing a chapel for the Farm School, he was more than happy to oblige. In his autobiography Architecture and Personalities (1994) Baker explained, " I have such admiration for the work of Kingsley Fairbridge, inspired by Rhodes and a Rhodes Scholar, in his farm schools that I gave designs of a chapel for the first Farm School at Pinjarra in Western Australia."

More about Herbert Baker architecture in South Africa here

Baker designed the Union Buildings, the official seat of the South African government in Pretoria, South Africa.

It is well worth a visit to Fairbridge Farm just to see the chapel. It is less than a 60 minute drive south of Perth, near Pinjarra.

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