Southern Ranges Parish Profile

 

 Our mission is to know Christ and make Christ known

 

Who we are:

Southern Ranges Parish is a caring friendly parish with four worship centres.  The Parish was inaugurated in 2006/7 with each centre maintaining its own identity. It combines the congregations of All Saints in Mount Barker, Saint Oswald’s in Cranbrook, Saint Mildred’s in Tenterden and Saint Werburgh’s Chapel. The history of each church dates back to the late 1800s and the buildings date from the early 1900s. The exception is St Werburgh's Chapel, on which building began in 1873 and ended the following year.

Over the years all these churches have had vibrant family oriented congregations and have experienced a variety of worship styles. Church attendance has reduced as the rural centres have declined and people have moved away. The exception is Mount Barker town and area, which is experiencing some movement of people from Perth to the country.

Mount Barker is the seat of the Shire of Plantagenet in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, and has around 2000 inhabitants. It is a farming town with a full set of facilities. The school, Mount Barker Community College, caters for children from pre-school age to Year 12. There are four doctors practising from a health centre and a district hospital. Aged care facilities cater for the full range of care from independent units to frail aged and full care. A large range of sporting activities are catered for by shire maintained grounds, together with a skate park and a full length half size olympic swimming pool. This multicultural town has a full range of shopping facilities, including a supermarket and two pubs.

The people of each congregation within the Parish have a strong desire to follow Jesus, to grow in faith and to make Christ known. In spite of the reduced energy levels that come with age or from busy jobs, farms, family and community involvement, we believe God is working His purposes out for our Parish and we will see spiritual growth.

 

Where we are:

Our parish is situated 350 kilometres south east of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia. It is about a four hour drive. A twice daily airline flight takes an hour from Perth to Albany Airport. Albany is the regional centre, 50 kilometres to the south of Mount Barker, a 40 minute drive away.

St Oswalds, Cranbrook, is a half hour drive north of Mount Barker; St Mildred's is just south of Cranbrook; St Werburgh's Chapel is west of Mount Barker. It is an historic old church, the oldest in the parish and was built by convicts. All Saints is located in Mount Barker and its rectory is the dwelling place for full time parish priests.

All churches in the Parish are located in rural centres within agricultural areas of the Great Southern region. The region has been a general farming area but is now tending towards horticulture. Northwards, many farming practises such as beef, sheep and crops abound. To the south east and west there are beef and sheep, dairies, vineyards, olive groves and orchards. A large part of the area was planted to trees in the late 1900's for wood chipping. Some of this is now being returned to farming.

The natural beauty of the Porongurup Range to the east of Mount Barker is a popular tourist attraction as are the many vineyards along the way. The Stirling Ranges, to the north east of Mount Barker, are renowned for their flora and fauna - and occasional snowfalls on the summit during winter. The south coast with its beautiful beaches and the city of Albany are only 40 to 60 minutes easy drive away.

Albany is an historic town dating from 1826, the first European settlement in Western Australia. It is an important port for grain and woodchip exports. It has a small fishing fleet and is a thriving tourist destination. It is also where the ANZAC tradition of the Dawn Service was born, being the port where the first fleet of troops congregated before sailing for the Middle East during World War One. The city of Albany has a full range of shops and services, and the region's only cinema complex.

 

Parish Facilities:

Our buildings include the church building and a rectory in both Cranbrook and Mt Barker. The Cranbrook rectory is rented out. The Mount Barker rectory is four bed-roomed and has been recently renovated. The original All Saints rectory now serves as a hall for parish activities.

All Saints also runs an Op Shop that sells second-hand clothes, which is located in Mount Barker. This is run by church volunteers with help from local community volunteers.

 

Church Activities:

Prayer Meeting & Evening Prayer - weekly

Bible Study Home Group - weekly

All Saints Fellowship - monthly

Cranbrook Fellowship - monthly

Mt Barker Community Markets - monthly

Cursillo group meetings - monthly

See the Coming Events page for more details.

Other Events are for fund raising for specific missionary endeavours or societies. 

 

Thanks to Sue Gillam and Reverend Audrey Payne for this article. (2016)

More about Cranbrook

Cranbrook is situated 300 kilometres south east of the WA capital, Perth. A three and a half hour drive will generally bring you close to the Perth central business district. St Oswalds is one of the localities within the Southern Ranges Parish, which was formerly known as the Southern Ranges Ministry District. 

St Oswalds endeavours to hold a regular Sunday service each week, except for the fifth Sunday in any month, when the service is held at St Mildred's church, Tenterden, ten kilometres south of Cranbrook.

Cranbrook, as a town situated four kilometres to the east of the Albany Highway, is small in size and its population would average approximately 300 people. It is the centre of a quite large rural shire, which in total would comprise around 1200 people.

The town population is made up of retirees in the main and the rest are shire employees and farm workers. Cranbrook depends entirely on the surrounding rural economy, but does enjoy a reasonable level of tourism, mainly people accessing the Stirling Range National Park, which begins about fifteen kilometres to the east of the town.

The Park affords many walk and climb trails and is very popular during spring, in particular, due to  the large number of wildflowers to be seen in this season.

In town there is a hotel, caravan park, three general stores, a new sporting club and various other interests.

Thanks to Susan Gillam for this article.