Wednesday, 4 July 2012

St John's Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta

After visiting the old cemetery I thought I'd take a look at St John's Cathedral. It wasn't open so I have no idea what the inside is like. Some history:

On 23rd July 1802 St John's was declared an Anglican parish by Governor King. While the Reverend Richard Johnson, Chaplain to the First Fleet, came to Parramatta on the fortnightly basis to conduct a service on the banks of the Parramatta River, Reverend Samuel Marsden was the first resident minister of St John's. In 1796 he dedicated a makeshift building of two old huts at the corner of George & Marsden Streets as the first church building in Parramatta. These huts no longer exist.

The original church building on its present site in the Church Street Mall, was opened in 1803 but as the needs of the church family changed, so did the building. The twin towers which stand today were constructed by 1818 making them the oldest surviving part of any Anglican Church in Australia. They are built from handmade sandstock bricks, possibly by convicts, and overlaid with a stucco render giving the appearance of stone. The choice of design is attributed to Elizabeth Macquarie, the wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who was inspired by a ruined church in Reculver, Kent in England.

The church building of the early 1800s, except the towers, was demolished in the early 1850s after a severe storm and subsequent deterioration meant that the building was no longer fit for use.

The new building was opened in 1855 and by 1882, the church family had expanded so much that the building needed to be enlarged. The well-known architect firm of Blacket and Son was commissioned to design transepts which completed the building as it is seen today.

Nowdays the congregation is very different to what it would have been when the church was first established.


Jim said...

It's a beautiful design. It's been years since I've walked past there.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

These two beautifully symmetrical towers have quite a history Ann.

Julie said...

Great stuff, Ann. I love the arabic and the mandarin!