Tag Archive | “Religion”

Zero tolerance to religious diversity in Perth's deep south.

Anti-Muslim neighbours slam new mosque


EXCLUSIVE: Residents of Mandogalup in Perth’s deep south have slammed a mosque planned for their rural residential neighbourhood.

Mandogalup Road residents Robert Donald and Anita Stacey say they are “concerned about safety and security due to the influx of non-familiar people to the rural area”.

City of Kwinana documents reveal that Mr Donald and Ms Stacey have also expressed concern about purported “violence and sexual deviancy of Muslims”.

They say they are concerned the city cannot guarantee that the planned mosque (pictured) will be peaceful.

They lament that no information has been provided on where the congregation will sit on the “spectrum of Moderate to Extremism”.

Mr Donald and Ms Stacey say Mandogalup residents have not been given enough information to assess the “potential danger” associated with the mosque which is being planned for a 1.5-hectare site at 23 Mandogalup Road.

They claim a sudden influx of “numerous men, very likely to be residing at the proposed development”, which is within 50-metres of their house, is “a real problem and potential safety risk”.

Kwinana council planners have hosed down such a suggestion, advising their political masters that “it is not anticipated that this development would pose a security threat”.

“There is no reason to suggest that the development would bring any negative social impacts, but ultimately these are not matters which this planning assessment should consider,” the planners advise.

Mr Donald and Ms Stacey say they are concerned that no advice has been provided by the council on where the congregation originates from and why they have chosen Mandogalup, “given there are very few Muslims in the vicinity”.

They say they “will not tolerate any religious chanting, music, broadcasts, etc”.

In response, the council’s planners have advised that the congregation does not intend to broadcast a call to prayer.

Clement Road residents Graham and Sandra Owen claim there is “no mention of the [congregation’s] denomination in the application”.

The Owens have told the council they are “concerned about the city considering outsiders or a group of whatever’s [sic] that are not prepared to state their religion”.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 atThe city’s planners have responded that while a council letter to residents did not mention religious denomination, documents submitted to the council did indicate the religion was Islam.

“It should be noted that the religious denomination of an applicant is not a relevant planning matter under the town planning scheme,” the planners advise.

Nevertheless, the planners have recommended the mosque be refused – not on religious grounds as urged by the above objectors, but largely because the block of land is in a planned industrial buffer zone.

Mr Donald, Ms Stacey and the Owens are among nine locals to have objected. The location of the objectors’ properties is pictured, left, in relation to the site of the planned mosque.

Not one neighbour supported the mosque.

Kwinana city councillors are scheduled to debate the planners’ recommended refusal on January 20.

Picture of the mosque: Harley Dykstra Planning & Survey Solutions

Posted in SouthComments (0)

Watch what happens next at historic park in a bustling Chinese city ...

Shanghai goldfish girl


With a population of 24 million people, Shanghai is a socialist metropolis that’s crawling with capitalists.

Amid all the humanity, materialism and ideology, a solitary young woman approaches a pond in a popular park.

From a plastic shopping bag she releases dozens of goldfish.

Watch what happens next at a historic reserve in a bustling Chinese city …



Posted in WA NewsComments (1)

New HQ for Perth Scientologists


EXCLUSIVE: The Western Australian headquarters of the Church of Scientology is set to move from Murray Street in the Perth CBD to the inner eastern suburb of Belmont.

oneperth.com.au can reveal that the church plans to spend $6 million converting a warehouse at the corner of Belmont Road and Cleaver Terrace.

The City of Belmont has recommended that a state assessment panel approve the new Scientology HQ at a meeting on March 31.

If approved, the project will see a chapel, cafe-cum-restaurant for parishioners, classrooms, book store and offices occupying the converted warehouse.

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A “purification room”, bookstore-cum-library, film rooms, and “community activation admission room” for staff and parishioners to review church programs such as anti-drug programs are also planned.

A maximum 196 people, including 46 office staff and teachers and 150 parishioners, would occupy the building at any one time.

During the city’s consultation phase for the project, no objections were received.

A Belmont council report on the planned church concludes the project “will make a positive contribution to the locality and City of Belmont”.

Renders: From development plans submitted by Rowe Group town planners.

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Chaplain banned from WA prisons


EXCLUSIVE: A prison chaplain banned from all Western Australian jails after being accused of trafficking information handed to him by an inmate has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.

A decision published online last week by WA Industrial Commissioner Stephen Kenner reveals that on February 6 last year prison chaplain Chacko (James) Varkey was leaving Woorooloo Prison when a prisoner gave him a handwritten note.

After leaving Wooroloo with the note in his bag, Mr Varkey attended Casuarina Prison on February 12.

He told Commissioner Kenner that when he arrived at Casuarina and looked in his bag he realised he had the note and handed it to Reverend Wright, the coordinating chaplain at the jail.

Reverend Wright realised that trafficking information out of or into a prison was a serious offence. He spoke to the head of security at Casuarina who told him the matter allegedly seemed to involve trafficking of information and that he would need to speak to the Casuarina superintendent, Ian Clark.

Before Commissioner Kenner, lawyers for Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe successfully argued that the subsequent decision by Superintendent Clark to ban Mr Varkey from Casuarina and, as a consequence, from entering any prison throughout the state, meant the church had no alternative but to terminate Mr Varkey’s employment.

Mr Varkey testified that, on February 18 at Casuarina, Superintendent Clark had told him he had breached security protocols and could be charged with the offence of trafficking information.

However, Reverend Wright testified the superintendent had told Mr Varkey he did not intend to bring charges.

Reverend Wright said Superintendent Clark had also asked whether there had been other matters in the past, and Mr Varkey said there had not been. Reverend Wright testified that he intervened to remind Mr Varkey that on a previous occasion Mr Varkey had allegedly brought a thumb drive into the prison.

Reverend Wright described Mr Varkey’s attitude when being questioned by Superintendent Clark as “belligerent”.

On February 27 the Chief Executive Officer of the archbishop’s office wrote to tell Mr Varkey of his immediate dismissal from the archbishop’s chaplaincy service.

Before Commissioner Kenner, Mr Varkey complained that he received no support from Archbishop Costelloe.

Mr Kenner concluded the archbishop: “could have handled the cessation of Mr Varkey’s employment better”.

“In my view it would have been more appropriate for the archbishop to have met with Mr Varkey and to have explained to him the consequences of what occurred arising from the Superintendent Clark’s decision,” he noted.

Mr Varkey had been a prison chaplain since July 2011.

Photo: Leon Brooks, Wikimedia Commons

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Art Deco church listed


An Art Deco church that has provided a place of worship for the Anglican parish of Nedlands since 1937 has been added to the state heritage register.

Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the pictured St Margaret’s Anglican Church, in Tyrell Street, designed by renowned Western Australian architect William Bennett, had high cultural and heritage values and was a worthy addition to the register.

“Bennett’s decorative design for St Margaret’s was directly influenced by the then Archbishop of Perth, Henry Le Fanu, who believed that God should be worshipped in beauty and therefore in beautifully designed churches,” Mr Jacob said in a release penned by someone with heritage expertise.

“St Margaret’s displays many of the classic elements of the Art Deco style including bold geometric shapes, vertical fins and a stepped skyline.

“The two-storey church also includes Gothic elements, particularly in the decorative window tracery.”

The three other Inter-War Art Deco churches recognised through their inclusion on the state heritage list are St Mary’s Anglican Church in South Perth (1931); the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Perth (1939); and Our Lady of Montserrat, Southern Cross (1936).

“Art Deco emerged in the 1920s and 1930s as a response to rapid industrialisation, and the imposing design of these four churches would have been a radical departure from the more traditional style of churches that most West[ern] Australians were used to at the time,” Mr Jacob was credited with saying.

“St Margaret’s was also testament to the importance of the Anglican faith to the history and development of Nedlands.”

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Salvos’ on steroids


The Salvation Army is rolling out the first of several supersized ministries to cope with a growing number of worshippers and welfare clients.

The public has until Friday to comment on the pictured plans for the Salvos’ new digs on Willmott Drive in the Rockingham suburb of Coolongup.

If eventually approved by Rockingham City Council, the 1350sqm building will be the first of several regional hubs in now planned by the Salvos in Western Australia.

The project would include a worship hall-cum-auditorium with seats for 260 people and a cafe-cum-lobby.

Two other halls, a commercial creche, thrift shop, office space for 16 staff, commercial kitchen with servery and delivery capability, and public car park with 57 bays will round out the development.

The existing Salvation Army building at the site would stay open while the upsized one was being built.

The centre would operate from 8am to 6pm Tuesdays to Thursdays, 9am to 5pm on Mondays, 8am to 10pm on Fridays, 9am to 11am on Saturdays and 8am to 8pm on Sundays.

In 2013, the Coolongup facility attracted an average of 73 Sunday worshippers a week – up from 58 in 2012.

The Salvos hope the new hub will attract a larger congregation over time, with the target being 250 Sunday worshipers.

Also on the cards for the hub are additional services including mental health support, more religious tuition, emergency services, cooking and budgeting classes, and establishment of a congregation comprising young families.

The Salvos also plan to lease space to a range of groups including counselling services and Centrelink.

The catchment area for the new hub would stretch as far south as Mandurah, out to Kwinana and Baldivis, and up to the Cockburn suburb of Hamilton Hill.

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Curvy new look for Playhouse site


A curvy new structure has been mooted for the revolving design door which is the site of the now-demolished Playhouse Theatre.

Back in 2011, oneperth.com.au revealed striking plans for the site by Palassis Architects.

But the planning approval for that structure lapsed in February and landowners the Anglican Diocese of Perth decided to run a design competition for the site instead.

Now it can be revealed that Fremantle-based Kerry Hill Architects has won that design competition – with the curvilinear office block pictured.

If built to plan, the $14 million structure will have nine levels of offices, mainly to house staff of the diocese which alongside its more solemn duties is a big property developer.

A ground floor cafe with an outdoor plaza dining area would give the office workers their daily bread.

The building is now before the City of Perth for approval.

Initial indications are good for the Anglicans, with a city design committee commending them for running a good, old-fashioned design competition.

Overall, the committee has also commended the design for further consideration by the city’s planning bureaucrats.

The planned building is an obvious architectural homage to the new City of Perth library due for completion nearby in late 2014. Kerry Hill Architects designed that structure too and as project architect will pocket $3,112,600.

Posted in Inner PerthComments (1)

Highgate’s Serbian church heritage listed


Australia’s second oldest Serbian Orthodox Church, and the first to be built in Western Australia, has been added to the state heritage register.

The newly-listed Serbian Orthodox Church of St Sava, on Smith Street in Highgate, comprises a church built between 1954 and 1955, bell tower built in 1974 and Sunday school building erected in 1984.

State heritage minister Albert Jacob said the buildings told the story of the thriving Serbian population in the post-World War II period and the growing need for a place of worship and education.

Although there were Serbian communities throughout Australia from as early as the late 1800s, the first Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia wasn’t built until 1953 in New South Wales.

The first Serbian Orthodox church service in Western Australia was held in 1951 in a Greek Orthodox Church.

By 1954, the Serbian community had raised enough money to build St Sava, Australia’s second Serbian Orthodox Church.

Mr Jacob said the church was an exceptional example of Christian Orthodox church design and highly significant because all original elements were intact.

“The dome topped church roof and bell tower provides an impressive interior space that houses ornate artworks, finely painted wall icons and mosaics,” Mr Jacob said.

The Serbian community is set to celebrate the church’s 60th anniversary in 2014.

Posted in Inner PerthComments (0)

Mercy, mercy me


One of the longest operating Sisters of Mercy institutions in Western Australia has been added to the state heritage hall of fame.

The newly-heritage-listed St Brigid’s Catholic Church Group comprises a simple church (built in 1902), the pictured two-storey convent (1906), a school (1919) and a modern church (1967).

The church is the third-longest operating Sisters of Mercy convent school after Mercedes College and the Catherine McAuley Centre.

The church is a significant landmark on Great Northern Highway.

WA heritage minister Albert Jacob said the Sisters of Mercy became an important teaching order within months of their arrival in the former Swan River Colony in January 1846.

Mr Jacob said the sisters were recognised for their quality of teaching, thoroughness, good order and refinement.

“The inclusion of this place in the state [heritage] register helps tell the story of the order’s expansion throughout the state and the important role the sisters played in educating young West Australians,” he said today.

The Sisters of Mercy withdrew from St Brigid’s in 1973 and the school relocated to Middle Swan in 1991.

The 1967 modern church continues to function as a place of worship with the local parish using the original church and school as a hall, offices and presbytery.

The red brick convent with its elaborate and decorative chimneys has been occupied by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate since 2001.

The convent is now called House of Immaculate Stella Maris.

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Churchscraper thumb’s up




A 22-floor CBD office block, put on hold by the Uniting Church in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, is back on – in modified form.

St Andrew's Place PerthThe Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust has lodged plans for the pictured, $21.5 million tower with the City of Perth.


If the so-called St Andrew’s Place project is approved, the skyscraper will soar into the CBD sky behind St Andrew’s Uniting Church on St Georges Terrace.

Two buildings of minimal heritage value on Pier Street would need to be demolished to make way for the tower.

However, the heritage-listed St Andrew’s would be renovated.

In April 2009, the city approved different plans for a 22-level tower on the site. The church never acted on that approval.

The church has engaged Willoughby Property Group to erect the skyscraper.

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Catholic city


The business arm of the Catholic church has applied to build two shiny office blocks across the street from its heritage-listed St Brigid’s church in Northbridge.

If approved when a state government planning panel next meets on Thursday, the pictured building will have an eight-storey and a six-storey component.

Existing warehouse buildings would be demolished to make way for the $42.5 million office block, which has frontages to Fitzgerald, Aberdeen and John streets.

Perth City Council has recommended that the state planning panel approve the building.

Only one local has objected to the plans, claiming the building is too high and will lower property values in the St Brigid’s Church precinct.

However, city planners say the building has a high quality design that will contribute to the area’s “activation”*.

The Catholics’ latest property foray follows recent ones by the Anglican church which wants to give Cloisters Arcade a massive facelift, and build a $2 million song school at St George’s Cathedral.

* bureaucratic buzzword for encouraging people back into a dead area.

Posted in Inner PerthComments (1)

Mushalla makeover


After more than a decade in a donga, Perth’s biggest gathering of fast breakers during the Islamic month of Ramadan will finally get a brick mushalla to meet and pray in.

oneperth.com.au can reveal that earthworks have commenced on a permanent mushalla at Curtin University to replace the existing one which occupies a mining town-style demountable shed at the south of the university’s Bentley campus.

The new mushalla is ready to rise on a sandy patch of land not far from the current mushalla.

Curtin Muslim Students Association president Mahmoud Assan says the new brick-and-mortar mushalla will be safe, clean and spacious.

“It will obviously be nice to have a permanent structure to pray in, and we are very grateful,” Mr Assan says.

He says the mushalla, due to open in May 2013, will be funded by Curtin University and run by the CMSA.

Mr Assan says the new mushalla will be able to cater for 170 worshippers at a time, up from the 80 able to fit in the current one.

Although this is a significant increase, the new mushalla will still be unable to fully cater for Curtin’s 3500 Muslim students, he says.

“During the semester, the number of people who come to pray far exceeds the legal capacity, so we take turns,” Mr Assan says.

“That is also going to be a problem with the new development, even though it is nearly doubling the capacity.”

Curtin student, and former CMSA secretary, Muzzammil Tarin says the current mushalla has been inadequate for some time.

“The new mushalla will be a huge improvement,” Mr Tarin says.

“The current wudu [ablution] area is outside and has no cover, which makes it difficult to wash on rainy days.”

The new mushalla will feature a detachable wall that will increase the maximum capacity to 900 people during busy periods such as Ramadan.

“It will certainly be better and more practical than the current site,” Mr Assan says.

“It is very evident we need this new building on some days when you see people praying outside in the courtyard or the sandy area around the building.”

On evenings during Ramadan, the Curtin mushalla hosts feasts and other activities for up to 500 people a night.

oneperth.com.au recently published the first pictures of a Muslim cultural centre planned for Murdoch University and to be funded by donations.

“There is no connection I know of between the two projects,” Mr Assan said.

“Perhaps it is a bond we can look at strengthening in the future.”

Photo: Abdullah Muhamed Ali, and Adnan, at the current mushalla. By Ken Holmes

Posted in East, WA NewsComments (1)

Eyesore cloistered



One of Perth’s ugliest buildings is set to get a $50 million makeover courtesy of the Anglican Church.

A state government development assessment panel will next Thursday decide whether to endorse a Perth council recommendation that the pictured building – proposed by the business arm of the Anglican Church – be approved.

The $50 million building at 863 Hay Street would partly obscure the 19-level QBE House which has jutted up from behind the 1858-built Cloisters building and blighted St Georges Terrace since 1971.

Also gone would be the eyesore, two-level concrete-brick monstrosity where Cloisters Arcade emerges onto Hay Street.

The project would see the arcade jazzed up, and realigned to exit the building across Hay Street from Shafto Lane – which the city’s planners reckon would improve the area’s “legibility”.

The church, which owns the site, has another CBD project in the pipeline – a $2 million song school for St Georges Cathedral revealed last week by oneperth.com.au.


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Anglican song school shrinks


The Anglican Diocese of Perth has packed in plans to build a stunning, copper-clad song school and lodged an application to erect a more middling one instead.

Last February, oneperth.com.au revealed the Anglican church was planning a copper-clad, eight-level office block and two-level ‘song school’, and pedestrian plaza partly on the site of the now-demolished Playhouse Theatre.

The planning approval for that ambitious project – which would have complemented St George’s Cathedral – expires on February 22 next year.

Through Palassis Architects which had drafted the initial copper-clad plans, an application has been lodged for a more modest song school, as pictured.

The $2 million, two-storey school would adjoin the existing Burt Memorial Hall.

Enclosed in floor to ceiling glass, the ground floor would house the song school.

The upper deck would link to the ground floor of St Georges Cathedral.

A translucent, white-glass spire would adorn the entrance of the building.

City of Perth planners have recommended that the song school be approved. Their recommendation will be debated by city councillors at a committee meeting on Tuesday night.


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