The Sesquicentenary of the Consecration of St John’s Anglican Church Newcastle

Petition to consecrate St. John's Church, Newcastle, 1860 (Bishop Tyrrell)

Day Shift – 16/02/2010 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, Newcastle University

University of Newcastle Archivist Gionni Di Gravio discusses the sesquicentenary of the Consecration of St John’s Church Cooks Hill Newcastle this Saturday 20 February 2010 through original archival documents of the Church held in the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections Auchmuty Library.

Broadcast Notes:

This weekend celebrates the 150th anniversary of the consecration of St John’s Anglican Church Newcastle.

The Church, schoolroom and associated buildings were constructed with funds raised by the Directors, Chairman and shareholders of the Australian Agricultural and Peel River Land and Mineral Companies. The idea to construct Anglican churches and schools on the companies’ estates for the moral benefit of their employees and families was originally initiated by Mr Walter Stevenson Davidson, who personally contributed £5,000 to kick start the campaign back in 1854. With Company providing the land, by 1856 the Foundation stone for the School was laid, and Parsonage and Church finally completed in 1860.

The following are are series of milestones from the original records in A7064(xi) Material from the Archives of the Australian Agricultural Company relating to the construction of St. John’s Church, by Rev. Robert Howell, 1990 and the Year Books.

1 January 1854

“A greatly enhanced value which the Mineral discoveries, increased Emigration and other well known causes have given to the Estates of the AAc has made the shareholders” to adopt measures to provide for the moral and religious improvement of the Population on their properties, and a “more liberal and extended scale than was justified by the previous position of the Company.”
Memorandum prepared for Private Circulation among the past and present Proprietors of the Australian Agricultural and Peel River Land and Mineral Companies 1st January 1854.

28th July 1855

for the “Newcastle Estate” we propose the erection of  a school room suited for Divine Service on Sundays with Masters’ Cottage attached 850 pounds, a parsonage 850 pounds and endowment of school 500 pounds.
Marcus F. Brownrigg General Superintendent (AACo) and Philip Gidley King General Superintendent Peel River Land and Mineral Co. to John H Ravenshaw et al

1856 – 1857 St John’s Church is being erected at cost of 3500 pounds

1857- 1858 Newcastle has been divided into two Districts of Christ Church (the mother church) and St John’s. In St John’s a Parsonage and school has been completed. The Rev. L.H. Rumsey appointed its Clergyman. Church is nearly completed.

20th February 1860 – Opening of Church
“St.  John’s  Church was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Newcastle on 20th ult. I was unable to attend; the church is now open for Divine Service.
AACo. Ref: 78/1/33 p.91 Despatch no.124 dated 12 March 1860 from General Superintendent Hodgson to Court of Directors.

A5308 Petition to consecrate St. John’s Church, Newcastle, 1860 (Bishop Tyrrell)

Petition to Consecrate St John the Evangelist Church Newcastle 1860


Census of St John’s Parish conducted by Mr John Dixon (later Rev. John Dixon around 1871/2).

The 1871 Census of St John’s Parish Newcastle

B16117 Minute Book labeled ‘Sunday School’, of which a major portion contains the Minute Book and Income and Expenditure Books, combined, of the Teachers of the Sunday School, 1882-1892 (41v-168r), with the first 38 leaves (1v-38r) consisting of a Survey of the Parish of St John’s conducted between January and March of 1871 and encompassing the areas of The Glebe, Wickham Railway Village, Honeysuckle Point, The Pottery and Junction, Mosquito Island, Dempsey Island, and the following streets and roads, Lake Macquarie Road, Darby, Blane, Lower Church, Dawson, Railway, Bull, Bruce, Melville, Polly and Corlette.

We present the complete digital version of this remarkable 1871 census manuscript here:

1873 Parish of St John’s spit into two Parishes of Newcastle, and Waratah and the Islands becoming part of St Jame’s Wickham under the charge of the Rev J. Dixon – (that is how we obtained the census and Sunday School Minute book).

Other archives of importance relating to the Parish include:

B9699-B9702 Service registers, 1872 – 1972.

B5998a Confirmations, 1927 – 1961.

A6561(i) Parish reports, 1874, 1876 – 1881, 1886.

A7796(vi)    (a) Photostat copy of illuminated address presented to Bishop Pearson by the incumbents and parishioners of the parishes of Christ Church, St John’s and St James, Newcastle, on the occasion of his arrival in the Diocese, August, 1880. Original at A5310(i). 4pp.
(b) Photostat copy of manuscript entitled “The Genesis and History of Christ Church, Newcastle” (13pp).
(c) Covering letter from Denis Rowe, Archives Officer, University of Newcastle, to Rev. Keith Clark, to accompany the two above items. 17th November, 1978.

NEWCASTLE – (St. John’s)
Note: Parish registers for the years before 1900 are available on microfilm A5856.
NEWCASTLE     B5985     Baptisms     Dec. 1870 – Dec. 1871
NEWCASTLE     B5998     Baptisms     Aug. 1857 – Oct. 1874
NEWCASTLE     B5999     Baptisms     Oct. 1874 – Feb. 1923
NEWCASTLE     B5999A     Baptisms     Mar. 1923 – Mar. 1955
NEWCASTLE     B5985     Marriages     Apr. 1860 – Feb. 1886
NEWCASTLE     B5986     Marriages     Apr. 1886 – Oct. 1887
NEWCASTLE     B5987     Marriages     Nov. 1887 – Dec. 1894
NEWCASTLE     B5988     Marriages     Mar. 1895 – Feb. 1897
NEWCASTLE     B5989     Marriages     Mar. 1897 – June 1898
NEWCASTLE     B5990     Marriages     June 1898 – May 1908
NEWCASTLE     B5991     Marriages     Mar. 1908 – Apr. 1916
NEWCASTLE     B5992     Marriages     Apr. 1916 – Feb. 1924
NEWCASTLE     B5993     Marriages     Feb. 1924 – May 1934
NEWCASTLE     B5994     Marriages     May 1934 – Oct. 1941
NEWCASTLE     B5995     Marriages     Oct. 1941 – Aug. 1947
NEWCASTLE     B5996     Marriages     Aug. 1947 – Apr. 1956
NEWCASTLE     B5997     Marriages     May 1956 – Aug. 1963
NEWCASTLE     B5997A     Marriages     Sept.1963 – Jan. 1967
NEWCASTLE     B5997B     Marriages     Jan. 1967 – Sept.1969
NEWCASTLE     B5997C     Marriages     Sept.1969 – Feb. 1973
NEWCASTLE     B16207     Marriages     Mar. 1973 – Sept. 1981
NEWCASTLE     B16208     Marriages     Oct. 1981 – Oct. 1990
NEWCASTLE     B16209     Marriages     Oct. 1990 – Feb. 1996
NEWCASTLE     B5998     Burials     Nov. 1862 – Apr. 1936
NEWCASTLE     B5999B     Burials     Apr. 1962 – May 1968
NEWCASTLE     B16110     Burials     May 1968 – Dec. 1962
NEWCASTLE     B5999B     Confirmations     Apr. 1927 – July 1961

B5998 Original Parish Register for St John's Newcastle

First page of Baptisms beginning in 1857

Baptisms circa February 1860

First page of Burials beginning 1862

C918/296 Photograph, St. John’s Church, Cooks Hill

Photograph of St John's Cooks Hill (John Turner papers)

Same view taken recently (Courtesy of Google Earth)

Holy and soully..ours - Herald Article on the Sesquicentenary Celebrations

One thought on “The Sesquicentenary of the Consecration of St John’s Anglican Church Newcastle

  1. Could you check that the reference above for 1855 is for Philip Gidley King or should it be Philip Parker King? (Maybe there were two Philip Gidley Kings, but one died in 1808 I think).
    PP King was a Chief Agent of the AACo. around the 1840s


    Dave Benson

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