As the City Beach part of the metropolitan area developed in the period following World War II, the Roman Catholic Church recognised the need to establish facilities for members of their community. In 1960, Archbishop Prendiville sent Father Thomas Phelan to establish the new Roman Catholic Parish of City Beach and in 1963 the site at 2 Keaney Place was purchased.
The Holy Spirit Church was designed in 1972 by Forbes and Fitzhardinge Architects. It is a very fine representative example of Late Twentieth Century Organic style architecture, featuring sweeping curved brick walls and an overall irregular curved floor plan; the place demonstrates technical proficiency in its use of steel reinforced curved brickwork, and the finished building received the 1975 Clay Brick Award.
Besides the street view showing two major columns rising out of what was once sand dunes, the additional feature aspect of the building is the sloping visible roof form that culminates in a fanned skylight window, parapet wall and feature cross. This aspect of the church can be seen in long views across City Beach. The church is a landmark feature, with the view from above bearing a resemblance to a shell, and it is believed the church was dedicated to the Australians who served in the various conflicts (the 1974 church plaque is titled ‘Holy Spirit War Memorial Church’).
In 2009, a Conservation Plan for the church was prepared by heritage consultants. One of the urgent works that the Conservation Plan identified, was the need to restore the deteriorated brickwork of the walls of the church. Due to the coastal location of the church, considerable erosion had occurred to the external brick mortar joints over the years. Re-pointing of all the external walls of the church were completed by the parish over a 10-year period, as funds became available.
Although the roof of the church was completely replaced in the early 1990’s, there continues to be water leaks in the church, especially during storms. The parish has earmarked a project that focuses on several other areas identified by the Conservation Plan, that need attention on the roof of the church, such as the repair or replacement of the skylight windows, the upgrading of the roof plumbing to stop water leaks, the replacement of broken tiles, etc. Due to the costs of the repairs to the brickwork of the church, the parish now lacks the funds required to resolve the roof issues.
Please consider making a donation to our Heritage Appeal, so that this unique striking landmark in the western suburbs of Perth can continue to be a place of worship for future generations.
All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.