The original St Oswald's.
The first recorded Anglican church service at Cranbrook was held on Easter Day 1906, when Reverend J.K. Stansfield came on horseback to conduct services at Cranbrook, Ballochmyle and Tenterden. However, there is evidence of a confirmation service having
been held in Cranbrook in February 1902, when the Bishop of Perth, later Archbishop C.O.L Riley, visited the district. Services were first held in a small wooden hall which stood at the rear of the present Shire hall.
Funds were gradually raised for
the building of a church, and a start was made on February first, 1918, when the foundation stone was laid by the Venerable Archdeacon Louch of Albany, assisted by the then Rector of Mount Barker – of which the Parish of Cranbrook was a part –
the Reverend Henry G. Barnacle. In a cavity prepared for the purpose, there were deposited a record of the proceedings, together with a copy of the parish magazine and coins of the realm.
The contract for the building was in the hands of Mr Jack Haese
of Mount Barker, but the work was carried out by Mr Davies (Snr), assisted by his son Ray and grandson Gordon, who were from Albany. Stone was quarried about two miles south east of Cranbrook on the property later owned by Mr Ron Lathwell.
completed, the first service was held on March 10th 1918, when 60 people were present at Evensong, conducted by Reverend Barnacle. The consecration was not carried out until November 23rd 1919 when the Bishop of Bunbury, Dr Cecil Wilson,
visited Cranbrook for the purpose. The wood carving on the altar and choir stalls was done by Reverend Barnacle. It is thought that the reredos was sent from England.
In 1954, when the Reverend Ross Ball was Rector of Mount Barker, it was decided that
Cranbrook, with Tambellup, Tenterden and Frankland, form a new parish. This was inaugurated on December 15th 1954 and the Reverend Frank Todhunter, newly arrived from England, was inducted as Rector. He and his family lived at Tambellup until the
completion of the Rectory at Cranbrook. This was opened and blessed by the Right Reverend Donald Redding M.B.E. on 10th March, 1955.
As the church building became far too small for the needs of the district, it was extended. This involved
the addition of the vestry and the extension of the nave. On Sunday 12th November 1978, Bishop Stanley Goldsworthy consecrated the additions to St Oswald’s.
[This history is an edited version of a document
which is framed and currently hangs in St Oswald's. The photos of St Oswalds are courtesy of Patricia O'Halloran.]