Sunday, 23 March 2008

St David's Anglican Church

The original St David's Anglican Church is in Hirst St, on part of the land granted in 1833 to convict overseer Reuben Hannam by Governor Bourke, as a reward for developing the sandstock brick much used in early colonial building.

Reuben’s son David made the land available to the Church of England from his father’s estate and a small primitive chapel was erected on the site sometime prior to 1861.

In 1875, the Rev Stanley Howard, Rector of the Parish of St Peter’s Cooks River visited the church and left this description:

“We rode for about a mile and a half to Arncliffe Church, which was certainly a remarkable edifice. The vestry is an old clothes horse done up with canvass and white wash. Ove the (prayer) desk is a hole in the ceiling from which frequently appears a large green tree snake, hanging down over the preacher’s head. On the walls are tacked pieces of bent tin supporting ‘patty pan’ to hold the candles. Very old-looking table and a few clean benches complete the ecclesiastical furniture of this Cathedral Church!” (Rathbone p 58)

The new church (seen above) was built in 1879, and served for the next thirty years. The following description appeard in the Town and Country Journal if 27 August 1892:

“It has not much pretension to architectural beauty but is not unpicturesue and what there is of architecture is of an early English character. The weather stained shingle roof gives a good bit of rich brown grey and the primitive belfry is, in its way, not uncomely.” (Rathbone p. 58)The brick nave of the present building, an example of the style known as ‘Commissioners’ Gothic’ was erected about 1879 by Samuel Jeeves, a local builder, the project receiving considerable support from Mrs David Hannam. It was named St David’s in memory of her husband who had died in September 1872. The transept, entrance porch and chancel were added by Samuel Jeeves in the early 1890s.The original cedar seats and the lectern were removed in 1915 to furnish the new Anglican Church on Forest Road."

Old St David's Church has, since 1974, been the home of the St George Potters.

“In March 1906, a larger more prominent location in Forest Road was obtained….the foundation stone of the new church was laid by Archbishop J.C. Wright in January 1910, and work was proceeding to erest the walls when, on July 18, Sydney was hot by hurricane force winds which caused widespread damage. …blew out the back wall of the partly completed St David’s, resulting in a protracted court case for damages which delayed completion of the first stage of the church until January 1915.” (Rathbone p. 99)

n June 1919, St David’s became a separate parochial district (it had previously been part of Bexley Parish), and in 1920 it became a full parish. Professor Leslie Wilkinson of Sydney University was engaged to modify the original plans and preparations were made to finish the building. In 1934 it was completed, and opened by the Governor of NSW, Sir Philip Game, on St David's Day, 1 March 1934. (Rathbone p. 139)

Nowadays St David's, still an Anglican church, styles itself a “Cross-Culture Bible Church. . . a church for people from all backgrounds, cultures and ages….a Bible-believing church that wants everyone to hear of God’s great love shown in Jesus Christ .”

St David's website.


Unknown said...

Hi Sally,
Im part of the St Davids congregation and was wondering if yo would allow us to use this lovely photo of yours on our website

Sally said...

It would be my pleasure, Hans - go ahead!

Kathleen said...

Hi Sally,
Could you give me the reference for 'Rathbone'? I'm researching stained glass in various churches including St David's.

Sally said...

The Ron Rathbone book is called "A Village Called Arncliffe", ISBN 0 646 32627 9.

Published through Wild and Woolley, 16 Darhan St, Glebe NSW 2037.

Not sure you can get it anymore other than through libraries.