St Paul's Church and Cemetery

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St Paul's Church, Canterbury ca 1900.

"St. Paul’s Church at Canterbury, New South Wales, was commenced in the month of June, A.D. 1858. The corner stone was laid on August 16. The Church was completed in October, 1859. The Church, together with the land on which it stands, was presented to the lord Bishop of the Diocese, Dr F. Barker, in trust for the Church of England, by Miss Sophia Ives Campbell.”

So begins the Minute Book of the Parish of St. Paul, Canterbury. It is an important page in the story of Canterbury.

St Paul's Church is built on part of the original Canterbury Estate, on land donated by Sophia Ives Campbell, daughter of Robert Campbell of Campbell's Wharf. It is located on Church Street, Canterbury. The Church was designed by Edmund Blacket, the most famous architect of his day, and built from the local sandstone. It was completed in October 1859, and consecrated by the Bishop of the Diocese on April 12, 1860. The first rector was the Rev. Percy Jennings Smith.

The Campbell family were responsible for the foundation and much of the financing of this Church in Canterbury. The church building cost £1848.19.6 and the money was donated by Miss Sophia Ives Campbell; her brothers George and John gave the communion vessels, font, and furnishings. On its Consecration on April 12, 1860, Miss Campbell made a further donation of £2,000 as endowment.

The first Incumbent was the Rev. Percy Jennings Smith, (1860—1868), then came the Rev. James Carter, D.D U.D„ (1870-1905), then the Rev. Richard Heffernan (1906-1926).

The Rev. (later Bishop) G. A. Chambers M. A. B. Ec. was Acting Rector 1926-28, the Rev. David Creighton (1928-30), the Rev. E. C. Knox (1930-33), the Rev. 0, S. Fleck, Th. Schol. (1933-37), the Rev. W. N. Rook, Th. L. (1937-49) the Rev. R. A. O’Brien (1949-57) and the Rev. N. G.Robinson B.A. Th.L from 1957, have been the Rectors of the Parish.

St Paul's Church, Canterbury ca 1900.

The interior fittings and appearance of the Church have altered over the years. The furnishings were originally of cedar. In 1930, a new altar of light oak was installed, and in 1933 the reredos was built and erected by the late Mr. B. 0. Crook.

The pipe organ was dedicated on June 21, 1939, by Bishop Picher. It is understood that the organ was formerly owned by the Lutheran Church, Melbourne. The East Window, depicting the Martyrdom of St. Paul is a World War 2 Memorial and was unveiled on Sept. 3, 1950, and murals which had been completed under the direction of the Rev. R. A. O’Brien were dedicated. The name of the Church was repainted in 1951. New pews were placed in the Church by various interested people, mostly as memorials and were dedicated on April 26, 1953. A new roof was given in 1958.

St Paul's churchyard has many examples of the local stonemasons' art in the headstones. Many of the early pioneers of Canterbury are buried there. The precinct containing the Church, two schoolhouses and Beulah Vista is classified by the National Trust.


"Historic Site of Canterbury", Canterbury and District Historical Society (n.d.)

Canterbury and District Historical Society Journal, Series 1, No. 1. "St Paul's Church Canterbury". pp 19-21