Church marks her­itage role

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Roe­bourne’s for­mal 150th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions came to an end on Sun­day af­ter a busy week of ac­tiv­i­ties com­mem­o­rat­ing dif­fer­ent as­pects of the town’s rich his­tory.

Af­ter open­ing speeches and the spec­tac­u­lar in­ter-cul­tural Tjaabi show, res­i­dents paid their re­spects to an­ces­tors with a ceme­tery memo­rial day.

On Fri­day there was a town open day that wel­comed vis­i­tors to Roe­bourne, while on Satur­day a free com­mu­nity day was held with live mu­sic, food and mar­ket stalls on for lo­cals’ en­joy­ment.

The cel­e­bra­tions were capped off with two out­door church ser­vices on Sun­day.

The Old Re­serve was the site of a spe­cial morn­ing ser­vice for the Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal Church, or­gan­ised to pay trib­ute to a place with great sig­nif­i­cance for indige­nous Roe­bourne res­i­dents who grew up there.

Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal Church Pas­tor David Stevens, who set up the church upon ar­riv­ing in Roe­bourne in 1961, spoke about its his­tory and chang­ing for­tunes over his 55 years in town, as peo­ple gave trib­utes and sang hymns go­ing back to days at Sun­day school.

Later in the evening, more res­i­dents gath­ered at the his­toric Holy Trin­ity Angli­can Church, the old­est church in the Pil­bara orig­i­nally built in 1883, for an out­door night-time ser­vice to fin­ish the an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

A slideshow of his­tor­i­cal pho­tos of the Roe­bourne com­mu­nity were shown and Wick­ham com­mu­nity chap­lain the Rev. Richard Goscombe also took the chance to unveil the new church sign.

Mr Goscombe said hold­ing a ser­vice un­der the stars at Holy Trin­ity had been a fit­ting way to close the town’s an­niver­sary week, at a build­ing that had been part of some of the most im­por­tant times of res­i­dents’ lives. “It is part of a con­tin­u­ing story of Roe­bourne,” he said.

“It’s been won­der­ful tonight to ac­tu­ally have the church lit up, to have pulled all the pews out, to be sit­ting there with the flood­lit church as the back­drop and un­der the stars to be able to re­mem­ber and … to look for­ward.”

Long-term res­i­dent Ruth El­lis said the lo­cal churches had been an im­por­tant bea­con of hope for res­i­dents through­out the town’s some­times dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ences. She said the 150th cel­e­bra­tions had been a good op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to re­flect on the his­tory of their town over the last few gen­er­a­tions and how things had changed.

“It’s taken us back to when we came here, to what the town was like, to what we did, what build­ings, what shops, what busi­nesses were in town,” she said.

“It was very dif­fer­ent to what it is to­day.”

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Roe­bourne res­i­dents sing hymns at a Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal Church ser­vice at the Old Re­serve.

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