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  • Writer's pictureRobin Page

From Jamestown to Burra: Op Shops and Memorial Windows

All good things must come to an end and it was with a little sadness that Jenny and I farewelled the desert and its big skies and continued South on the bitumen through Hawker to Jamestown and, a day later, Burra. This Last Supper scene is from the face of the marble altar at St James, Jamestown. The Glasgow Stores in Jamestown has been a favourite stop for me as they always have some Lanella/Vyella/wool mix shirts in stock. I find myself wearing these almost year round at home in Port Fairy. Just around the corner in Jamestown is St James, Jamestown. A small and beautiful church where the Op Shop just happened to be open and I was able to photograph the church interior. The church has a beautiful and quite unique marble altar, given many years ago by a parishioner in memory of his wife.

There are also interesting stained glass windows including WW1 and WW2 memorial windows. This was a happy find for me as I have begun photographing war memorials found in our travels for The Australian War Memorial’s ‘Places of Pride’ website, which is the National Register of War Memorials. Whilst I enjoy my photography for its own sake I like to know that some of my work will be of lasting value. The memorials photography complements my work for our calendar.

Our next stop, in Burra, was equally productive. St Mary’s Burra is known to many as the 'church of stained glass’ with most spectacular windows and those on the East and West ends of the church very large and particularly impressive. The Great East Window was made in London in 1892. There is an excellent descriptive folder in the narthex giving details of each window. An interesting feature of the St Michael's window is the ‘maker’s mark’ or signature, a small monk on the lower part of the window. The maker was James Powell of Whitefriars in London. My calendar images are obviously embargoed but I can tease you with a couple of photos from both of these lovely churches.

The ‘Children’s Window’ in St Mary’s Burra was one of a pair from the original St Mary’s and were the first stained glass windows in South Australia.

The window is in memory of 9 children who’s died in the district between 1865 and 1872, almost all of them infants. The names of 8 of them perpetuate memory of them. Unfortunately one of the name disks was damaged and was replaced with coloured glass.

One can imagine the depth of grief around these deaths that resulted in the making of this window.

Burra and Jamestown are well worth visiting by anyone interested in our historic churches and stained glass

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