St George’s Anglican Church has installed and named a bell in honour of Walpole & Districts pioneering nurse Sister Jane Anderson.
Sister Jane from Ireland came to Walpole in 1930 under the auspices of the Colonial and Continental Church Society to provide nursing services for pioneers and their families in Group Settlement 116 (Tinglewood) and 138 & 139 (Hazelvale).
Having found an abandoned farmhouse between Hazelwood and Tingledale, Sister Jane obtained permission to establish a Mission House in the building. This was subsequently relocated to where St George’s now stands. A strainer post restored to the corner of Pier St and Cooper Lane is believed to be part of the original mission fence.
The photo is from a display prepared by historian Lee Hunter. It shows Sister Jane greeting two Davies children at Mission House circa 1931.
The children had visited the Mission House to have a wound dressed.
“Life on the farms and in the saw mills was hazardous,” said Lee Hunter. “There were shooting accidents, sickness and dental problems.”
Sister Jane Anderson is recorded in the WA Roll of Honour for Pioneer Women, which is linked to the Pioneer Women’s Fountain in Kings Park.
She is remembered locally though the dedication and ringing of the “Sister Jane bell” at St George’s Anglican Church.
Donations and fund raising enabled the purchase of the bell as well as construction of the bell canopy by Warwick and Josh Clark.
The bell and canopy was blessed during a service at St Georges on Sunday, November 9, 2014 by Reverend Sue Lodge-Calvert.
Rev Sue said: “The local vision was that a bell might ring out to let the people of Walpole know that they are loved and invited into the love of God.
“Sister Jane heeded the call of God upon her life; a wise young woman who gave her all so that she and those she worked and lived with might know the love of God in practical
daily ways by providing for the physical and spiritual needs of the locals.”
Rev Sue described Sister Jane as “an utterly fitting individual” and her lifestyle as “an example of Christian life”.
She added: “For many years to come, may the Sister Jane Bell ring out the good news that God is inviting us into a loving and life-giving relationship; that this little church is a place where that certainty is proclaimed and the faithful of God are free to worship.”
This post was adapted from November 2014 Walpole Weekly reports, which were in turn based on contributions by Lee Hunter and Harold Luxton.