Pera Bore Closes
The End of an Era - Back of Bourke
21 December 2004
After an eventful 27 years in Bourke, the original Cornerstone Community campus located at Pera Bore, west of Bourke, has completed its operation.
Begun as an entirely home-grown initiative to help train Australians in a practical brand of Christianity, Cornerstone has spread from this unlikely location across four states and has also developed an international focus.
Over seventy staff and a thousand students have invested time working and studying on the red ridges along the Wanaaring road since 1978 as guests on Darling Farms, operated by the well known Boone and Buster families.
Co-founder and Assistant National Director, Mr Paul Roe, says that their early plans to blend hard work, serious study, genuine community and energetic mission have succeeded far beyond his expectations.
“I came to Bourke” he admits, “with very tentative faith that people would venture into the Outback to a college. But the Bible is the story of God doing unlikely things with unlikely people in unlikely places, so we fit the bill I suppose.”
Mr Roe estimates that the staff alone have probably invested in excess of $30 million in the Community over the years by seeing their work as a vocational calling. Many of them have also lent their professional skills to the town as doctors, teachers, accountants and so on.
“Cornerstone has brought a great deal of creative energy to the Bourke region” he notes. “Many have expressed both their thanks and their reluctance to see us go.”
Cornerstone has also made a strong pastoral and welfare contribution through teams of students working among the town’s young people. Its members have also been strongly involved in the business community, providing contract labour teams, running the Tourist Centre, building up a Backpackers Hostel and Indoor Sports Centre.
Further, they have been enthusiastic in contributing to numerous community events and in developing the cultural life of the region.
“Bourke has been our biggest single investment of manpower” Paul Roe observes. “I couldn’t begin to estimate the amount of man hours our staff, teams and individual members have poured in to the district in 27 years.”
So why move? Paul explains:
“We originally had a vision to serve the whole of Australia. Bourke has been a fantastic launching pad.”
“The colour and culture of the west are integral parts of our origins, but we felt it was time to move closer to population centres, schools and colleges that provide the dynamic we need to expand.”
“We‘re moving to Swan Hill, Victoria, in 2005 where we expect to replicate what we have done in Bourke and later in South and Western Australia.”
“We’re deeply grateful to the whole Bourke community and in particular, the farming families who’ve lent so much support over the years. We’re also leaving behind our best equipped, most professional team at Pera Bore School.”
The Cornerstone Community was established 25 years ago with the vision of giving practical expression to, and teaching in, the Christian faith as a ‘whole of life’ experience. It currently operates Training Centres in Bourke, Dubbo, Broken Hill and Canowindra. Next year 10 mission teams will be placed in five States across Australia.
Vacancies still exist in Cornerstone’s intensive discipleship program for 2005.
For more information:
106R Bunglegumbie Road
Dubbo NSW 2830
Postal: PO Box 1151 Dubbo NSW 2830
Phone: (02) 6884 0402
fax: (02) 6881 6450