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Anglican Churches on the Monaro
Christ Church | St Pauls | Country Centres | Rectors
Rev E Gifford Pryce MA
Residence of the Rev E G Pryce, 1843
The principal Anglican Churches on Manaro are St. Paul's at Cooma, St. Peter's at Nimmitabel, and St. John's at Adaminaby. Of these the chief is St. Paul's, a building which, in its external appearance, and the completeness and beauty of its internal furnishings, will challenge comparison with the sacred edifices of towns with far greater pretensions than Cooma. Up till the year 1845 the religious needs of the Anglicans of Maneroo were cared for by the Revd. Edward Gifford Pryce, M.A., who was the last of the Missionary Chaplains sent to Australia by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Mr. Pryce resided at a property for some years past known as The Grange, not far from which, along the Cooma Creek, is the burial ground of many of Cooma's pioneers. In 1845 Bishop Broughton, the Bishop of Australia, and afterwards the first Bishop of Sydney, in the course of a Southern pastoral visit, which included Cooma, met the Rev. Mr. Pryce at one of Mr. Bradley's stations. A discussion led to the determination to erect a place of worship. A site was selected on the Cooma Creek, adjoining the cemetery, and not far from Mr. Pryce's residence, and at Kirwan's Inn, on the banks of the Cooma Back Creek, the Bishop himself designed the proposed building, adopting the early English style of architecture. He immediately made all necessary arrangements for the erection of rubble walls for the new church. Some few days later the Bishop was again in Cooma, having in the meantime arranged for the building of a small wooden chapel at Gegedzerick, and on the 17th February, 1845, in the presence of what was termed "a large assemblage," he laid the foundation stone of the first church at Cooma. The building was completed - by Messrs. A. and D. McDonald. It was used for Divine Services until its distance from the growing township caused it to be regarded as inconveniently situated. So it came about that a movement grew, and was consummated, for the erection of another Sanctuary, the building of which was completed in 1872, the nave being consecrated by Bishop Thomas, the first Bishop of Goulburn, during the incumbency of the Ven. Archdeacon Druitt. Until 1891 the nave had no tower, - but on October 21st in that year, the last stone of the spire was laid by Mr. C. F. Welch, then Mayor of Cooma. Completion took place in 1892, the contractor being Mr. D. Montgomery, the architect Mr. Kent, and the clerk of works, Mr. G. D. Cochran.
|The First Anglican Church||The Anglican Rectory|
In the Church itself, each window of richly stained glass is an eloquent memorial to the faith of some devout Anglican now at rest, whilst the furnishings, beautifully designed, and carved out of English Oak, and complete to the minutest detail, bear testimony to the pride of the community in its House of God. There have been three Rectories provided for the use of the incumbents. The first on the Myalla Road, the second erected at about the same time as the present church near Cooma Creek, with a frontage -to Bombala Street, and the third and present one, adjoining the existing church, had its foundation-stone laid in October, 1906.
The Incumbents and their terms of office are as set out below:
|Rev. E. G. Pryce ..........
Archdeacon Druitt . 1856-1890
Canon Bevan .. 1890-1894
Canon R. J. Ross Edwards 1894-1899
Rev. H. F. Thompson .. 1900-1902
Rev. W. F. Wentworth Shields
(now Bishop of Armidale) 1902-1904
Rev. R. M. Turnbull .. 1904-1906
Rev, C. E. Burgess . 1906-1913
Archdeacon Ward .. 1913-1921
Canon Hirst (present Incumbent) 1921
St Paul's Anglican Church
A substantial Parish Hall was erected during the time of Archdeacon Druitt, but was reconstructed and enlarged during 1922.
Transcribed from "BACK TO COOMA" Felix Mitchell 1926 pp42-44 by Pattrick Mould 2003
From the History of the Diocese of Goulburn, Pages 255-263, Ransome T Wyatt, 1937. Transcribed by Pattrick Mould 2003
The Monaro district was first explored by Captain John Mark Currie, R.N., and Brigade-Major Ovens who, on 6th June, 1823, crossed the Bredbo River and reached a point near what is now known as Billilingra Hill. The settlement of the district soon followed upon this discovery. In 1827 Richard Brooks settled at Gegedzerick, near Berridale. In the early thirties, Wambrook Run was occupied by Ward and Bowler. In 1834 Michelago and Bunyan were recognised stations. There are eight baptisms and two marriages from "Maneira Plains" recorded in the registers of All Saints,' Sutton Forest, between 1833 and 1838. Nevertheless it was not until 1838 that the Church appeared on the scene and then only in the occasional itinerating ministrations of the Rev. Edward Smith of Queanbeyan from 1838 to 1842. Then followed the more regular itinerating ministry in the Maneroo district itself of the Rev. W. G. Nott in 1842. He celebrated marriages at "Pinchgut on Maneroo," "Mr. Power's station," "Murdering Range" and "Exeter Farm, S. Vincent." He resigned the "District of Maneroo'' on 24/8/1842.
In his first letter home (1837) Bishop Broughton regrets that he has as yet been unable to visit the district and notes that the whole area is without any ministrations whatsoever. The registers begin in 1842 when the district is described as "The District of Maneroo, in New South Wales, beyond the limits of location." Which explains why alone amongst the first parishes in the diocese there are few references to soldiers, stockades, convicts or assigned servants. They were nearly all free settlers and immigrants on the Monaro, although the Rev. E. G. Pryce reports to the Bishop "that class who are designated as 'old hands,' the convicts who have become free, or hold tickets of leave, are in a deplorable state" (1/1/1844) It was with the appointment of the Rev. E. G. Pryce in 1843 that regular ministrations were undertaken.
The Rev. E. G. Pryce was the last of the Chaplains sent to the Colony of New South Wales by Her Majesty's Government.
Pryce's journeys were incredible. He worked the whole of the area now comprised in the rural deaneries of Cooma and Bega. He did more than that for there are pages of his records devoted to baptisms, marriages and burials in Gippsland. The story of his first tour may be read in the S.P.C.K.'s "The Church in the Colonies," 1844. On the 12th February, 1845, Bishop Broughton first arrived on the Monaro and of the early part of the journey as he rode along with the Rev. E. G. Pryce, he wrote "no object was fallen in with except one deserted hut." With Pryce, John Lambie, the Commissioner of Crown Lands and McCabe, a Government surveyor, he chose the site for a church, designed the same (with pardonable pride but less accuracy, calling it the "Early English style of architecture"), laid the foundation stone and let a contract for its erection. It was Monday, 17th February, that he laid the foundation stone in the presence of "So large an assemblage that it appeared incredible that so many persons had collected." A Presbyterian present said that he had so enjoyed the ceremony that he asked the Bishop for a copy of the service.
"I report with regret that the church of which the foundation was laid by me during my visit to this district, has not been proceeded with. This defect is attributed to the want of labour, which unquestionably is oppressively felt. Still, I had reason to hope that the arrangements I had made, or authorised, if actively followed up, might have ensured the completion of an edifice so limited in dimensions as had been projected."
However by 1850 the church was ready for consecration, and on 23/2/1850 he consecrated both church and burial ground. This is the old church which still stands on the Myalla Road. It was in ruins for many years, but was restored in 1936 at the time of the Bishop Broughton centenary celebrations on the Monaro.
"Died from the effects of sleeping in a room in which there was burning charcoal."
"Died from the effects of being thrown from his horse."
"Struck dead by lightning."
"Rode into Cooma Creek and was drowned, being at the time not sober."
"Was killed by his own dray passing over him, he being not sober." "'Thrown from his horse and killed instantly."
"Killed by riding against a tree."
"Found dead 300 yards from this church."
"Killed by a fall off the coach near Bunyan.
"Died by exposure to cold whilst in a state of nudity at the time labouring under temporary insanity."
"Died in a cart whilst being brought to hospital."
"Lost in the bush 27th August, found dead 7th September."
"Drank carbolic acid by mistake."
"Died from exposure to cold and wet."
Of the occupations "Mariner at Boyd Town" occurs several times; "writing clerk and schoolmaster," "Cooper," "Shipbuilder," "Officer of the Customs" are others. "A stranger" appears several times amongst the burials,
Mr. Pryce, hearing that there was no clergyman of any denomination in Gippsland, made his way down the Snowy River and across the Black Mountain into that area. He returned with something over 200 sovereigns, which were devoted to the completion of Christ Church, Cooma. Thereafter he paid yearly visits to Gippsland, until a parson was stationed there.
"On Sunday, 3rd June, 1855 (Trinity Sunday) I arrived at Twofold Bay from Sydney on my way to Cooma, to enter on the ministerial duties of the Maneroo District by the direction of the Bishop of Sydney (Dr. Frederic Barker). His Lordship arrived from England to assume the duties of the See of Sydney on Friday, the 25th May, 1855 On my journey up from "the Bay" to Cooma I held service wherever practicable and baptised whatever children were presented; a register of these baptisms I have made in this book, commencing at page XV. from No. 844 to No. 866 (both inclusive). I arrived in Cooma on Friday, 22nd June, 1855: held service the following Sunday in the Court House: and on the next Sunday (July 1st) held service in the church."
The service register for 1856 shows quarterly communions only, with attendances varying from four to nine. In 1856 Archdeacon Druitt began his 34 years' ministry. There is a curious reference to the ordination of Druitt in the report of the Sydney Diocesan Committee for 1850:
"The Rev. Thomas Druitt was admitted to Priest's Orders on the 22nd of September, 1850 - the Bishop being assisted in the imposition of hands by the Lord Bishop of New Zealand."
Druitt was headmaster of S. James' School in Philip Street, Sydney.
"Donation from Gegezerick church of two pieces of gold which realized at the Commercial Bank, Cooma, 11/6. Remitted in Bank Draft of this date, 11/6."
The branch association was formed on 10/8/1857 the Rev. T. Druitt presiding, and the Rev. Edward Synge attending for "the purpose of pointing out and explaining the objects of the Society." This and subsequent meetings were held in the Court House. At this time the morning services were held in the church, the evening services in the Court House. Bishop Barker presided at a meeting on 14/6/1858 called to guarantee a stipend of £200 and to establish a denominational boarding and day school. £125 was subscribed for this object before the meeting broke up.
Archdeacon Druitt's service register is complete. In 1862 the Holy Communion was celebrated three times, the numbers of communicants being 7, 6 and 4. In 1863 there were celebrations at Easter, Whitsun and Christmas, the numbers being 7, 6 and 8 respectively. Bishop Thomas paid his first visit to Cooma on the 29/1/1865, the collections jumping from an average of £1/10/- to £13/-/3 for that occasion.
The first church having proved inconvenient in situation and somewhat inadequate, the present church was undertaken during the incumbency of Archdeacon Druitt.
"The foundation stone of this church of S. Paul was laid by Mrs. R. H. Blomfield, on Tuesday, the 29th day of August. Governor of the Colony - the Right Honourable Sir John Young, K.C.B., K.C.G., etc., etc., Bishop of the Diocese - the Right Reverend Mesac Thomas, D.D., Pastor of the District - the Reverend Thomas Druitt, Trustees - Messrs. G. H. Blomfield of Coobington; Robert Dawson, P.M. of Cooma; James Litchfield, Springwell; and John James Ryall of Nuarmaralonglar, Architect - the Rev. A. D. Soares, incumbent of Queanbeyan; Builders - Messrs. Mawson, Potter and Scarlett."
"Judging from the delapidated (sic) condition in which he observed the parsonage to be - which he would remind them was church property, he did not think they had taxed themselves very heavily for parochial purposes."
The collection realised £50/5/6. (Church Chronicle, 8/1/1866, page 13.)
The heading "S. Paul's Church" appears in the register for the first time on 7/3/1869. At the morning service the Rev. A. D. Soares was the preacher, and the collection was £20/15/6. A later rector has added: "Evidently opening service of a new church." On S. Paul's Day, 1872, Bishop Thomas consecrated it.
In Archdeacon Druitt's incumbency too the second rectory was purchased and the school hall built.
The delightfully casual nature of church finance of these days is shown by the treasurer's accounts for the year 1875:
1875 - July 19 Mrs. Perry, cleaning church ............................................£3
Sept- 4: Paid for new Parsonage in Cooma, for formerly
the Residence of Dr. Merry weather, and known as "The Poplars".....£500 £503
1875 - Sept. 13: To Cash £131/4/6 received at offertory
and for sale of Christ Church Parsonage to Rev.
J. Druitt, £250 ......................................................................£381 4 6
Balance 121 15 6
£503 0 0
There are occasional references to the country centres in the service register, e.g., Coolrington (1868), Nimitybelle (1875) In 1878 Goodwinsvale, Dog Kennel Creek, Arable and Coolrindon have regular services. "Micilago," Bredbo, Nimitybelle and Rock Flat occasional ones. From time to time a curate is in charge of the country centres, e.g., the Rev. J. H. Williams from 1873-1876. On 12/3/1876 the collections were given to the Jingera church. From 1876 to 1888 the name of Richard Leigh occurs frequently and E. G. Pryce's occasionally until 1866.
A centre was opened at Goodwinsvale. A stone church, S. Mark's, is listed in the diocesan records from 1885/6 to 1890 This would appear never to have been church property or a church in the real sense of the word. It was a stone hut on the Goodwin's property, at one time used as a school and later as a church. The stone ruins of this building stand on the Numeralla Road about 7 1/2 miles from Cooma near the bridge over the Toll-bar Creek.
From February, 1885, to March, 1986, the Rev. J. H. L. Zillman was locum tenens. For months afterwards the churchwardens' minute book contains little but letters and resolutions with reference to a dispute about a horse which Mr. Zillman claimed was his and which the wardens held to be parochial property.
"Mr. Beazley explained that he was offered £4/7/6 cash for a £5 Oriental bank note, which he held on account of the Organ Fund. He agreed to accept this value in exchange and this would leave a small balance. It was deemed advisable to carry that balance forward to the Horse Fund."
A private Act of Parliament was promoted in 1886 and another in 1888 to sell glebe and other lands and to apply the proceeds in the purchase of other lands, in the completion of church buildings and in the discharge of certain debts. The property fetched £565/I5/-. £300 was applied in the extinction of the general account overdraft, £50 in extinction of the School overdraft, £170 towards repairs and improvements to the parsonage, and £30 was paid off the parsonage debt. The proceeds of the glebe were directed to be utilised for a parochial endowment. Only part was so set aside and this appears to have disappeared after a time. Charles Wiley was assistant curate from 1886 to 1887, and A. R. Shaw from 1888 to 1887. The Rev. J. Lintott Taylor was locum tenens in 1889.
"Disapproving of apparent ritualistic innovations introduced into Cooma Church during the absence of the incumbent, which innovations are teaching ritualistic practices, the noticeable one of (i) Standing up of the congregation during the offertory; (2) Bowing at the name of Jesus and (3) the minister raising his hand above his head in pronouncing the benediction while the other hand is across his heart; (4) turning his back on the people after the sermon, are the chief."
(i) "Standing during the offertory sentence" -
'I fail to understand what of ritualism lurks behind this practice. It is always done in the Cathedral."
(2) "Bowing at the Name of Jesus"
"This is designed to be a reverent recognition of the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ and is enjoined by the Laws of our Church."
(3) "Raising the arm at the time of pronouncing the final benediction"
(4) "Turning the back on the congregation" -
are ceremonies which I do not understand and do not defend."
Canon Bevan was rector from 1890 to 1894. As usual the service register blossoms out during his incumbency into comments, some pertinent and some extraneous, on all sorts of matters. He began services at Maffra and Bunyan. In 1891 he records: "Decided this week to proceed with spire and accept contract of Montgomery." On 21/4/1891 the foundation stones were laid and £120 laid upon the stones. The total of the contract for the spire and the re-roofing of the church was £1558. In 1891 he had a curate, John Penfold, and in 1893 a stipendiary reader, J. D. Nicolson. He was later replaced by the Rev. G. Jennings, who took charge of the "bush" districts. It would appear from the registers that the "bush" centres were Badja, The Peak, Nimitybelle, Rock Flat, Little Plain, Maffra, and Bungarby. Other centres nearer Cooma were ministered to by the rector. These were Coolrington, Bunyan, Forest Lodge, and Goodwinsvale. In January, 1894, he launched a scheme for building a church at Bungarby. In 1893 Cooma set an example to the rest of the diocese in a campaign for free sittings. The reformers did not have it all their own way but fought for their principles at successive annual meetings. The 1893 meeting also expressed its approval of the incumbent's practice of celebrating the Holy Communion in the evening.
The Rev. R. J. (afterwards Canon) Ross-Edwards followed Canon Bevan and was rector for five years. Then in quick succession came the Rev. H. E. Thomson, the Rev. W. F. Wentworth-Shields (afterwards Bishop of Armidale), and the Rev. R. M. Turnbull.
The Rev. H. E. Thomson died in Cooma and was buried there. The parishioners erected a tombstone over his grave and put a memorial brass in the church.
Canon Burgess was rector for seven years. During his incumbency the third and present rectory was built. £800 was borrowed and £600 came from the sale of the old house, and from subscriptions.
Archdeacon Ward was rector for eight years, during which the church was thoroughly restored and furnished as no other church in the diocese is furnished. Gifts were literally showered upon it. All debts were extinguished. The country centres were shed, at first to two mission districts, Nimmitabel and Michelago. Later Michelago took over Nimmitabel and later still Cooma resumed Nimmitabel.
Canon Hirst was rector for nine years. In 1922 the parish hall was enlarged and restored. The Rev. H. C. Russell succeeded him in 1930.
From the History of the Diocese of Goulburn, Pages 255-263, Ransome T Wyatt, 1937. Transcribed by Pattrick Mould 2003
CHRIST CHURCH, COOMA.
A substantially built stone church on the Myalla Road now situated a long way from any real settlement. The church was designed by Bishop Broughton himself and consists of, a nave, chancel, tower and spire. Quite early in its history its situation must have proved remote because by 1955 only the morning services were held in the church, the evening services and all meetings being held in the Court House in the town.
The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Broughton on 17/2/1845. He consecrated it on 23/2/1850. It did duty for some twenty years until S. Paul's Church was built in Cooma itself.
For many years the church was a sad sight. It gradually fell into ruins. Stockmen used it to shelter their horses and stock. The roof gradually decayed and large parts of it fell in. The windows were destroyed. Larrikins cut their names on the plastered walls. Even the stone flags comprising the floor began to disappear until a few years ago the parochial council removed the remainder to the new rectory.
In February, 1926, the church, then a complete ruin, was used for a special service during the "Back to Cooma" week.
in 1936 the Cooma and District Chamber of Commerce suggested that steps should be taken to restore the church and a sub-committee of the Chamber co-operated with the council of S. Paul's Church in carrying out the idea. On Sunday 4th October, 1936, in the presence of a congregation drawn from every part of the Monaro, the Bishop of Goulburn "reconciled" the church from all profanation, restoring it to the status it enjoyed under Bishop Broughton's consecration of it. It was a memorable gathering, 300 cars and 1500 people being present. There was a Sung Eucharist in the open air outside the church, at which Dr. Micklem, rector of S. James', Sydney, preached. In the afternoon the Archbishop of Sydney preached to another large congregation.
The restoration included the re-roofing in redwood shingles of the Church and spire. It has not been refurnished for worship but restored only as a memorial to William Grant Broughton, Bishop of Australia, Edward Gifford Pryce and Thomas Druitt, priests, and all the pioneers of the Monaro.
This photo supplied by Michael Povey
St. PAUL'S CHURCH, COOMA.
S. Paul's Church was built from 1864 to 1869. The foundation stone was laid on 29/8/1865. It was consecrated on 25/1/1872. It is a large stone church with tower and spire. The contractors for the church in 1869 were Messrs. Mawson, Potter and Scarlett; the spire was added in 1891, Mr. Montgomery being the contractor. Canon Soares designed the church. Its furnishings are of a richness and size commensurate with a much larger building. The altar and reredos are memorials to James and Ann Litchfield; sanctuary lamp to Joseph and Ann Hain; the sanctuary chair to Joseph Hain; the altar rails to Amy, Ethel and Edward Parker; the prayer desk to Elizabeth Blaxland the litany desk to John and Eleanor Hain; the font cover and ewer to the memory of Francis and May Ann Quail; the choir stalls to Mary Ryall; the chancel screen, from designs by Mr. Louis R. Williams, is to the memory of George Clarke and Granville George Clarke; the Rood Cross is in memory of Lieut. James Spencer and Corporal Joseph Bottom. The lectern is in memory of Henry Dyball. The west doors are in memory of three Garnock children.
There are a large number of tablets in and about the church, too many as a matter of fact. There are brasses to the memory of David Ryrie, Major Harold Stuart Ryrie, Hilda Brayshaw, the Rev. H. E. Thomson, and a marble tablet to the memory of Helena H. C. Druitt. On the base of the tower there are brass tablets (four), recording the laying of foundation stones on 21/4/1891 by Hugh Stewart, Joseph G. Beazley, James Litchfield and David Ryrie.
In the churchyard is a trellis work with another brass plate to the memory of Neil Mackay Reid. Another on the main entrance gates commemorates Florence Hain. To the south of the main entrance is a lych gate. This was formerly at the Monaro Grammar School and carries two bronze tablets commemorating old boys who fell in the Great War. Another tablet commemorates the laying of the foundation stone of the lych gate in its present situation by F. Blaxland on the 18/4/1923
There are some very good stained-glass windows in the church, and one or two of inferior glass.
The east window, subject "The Easter Tomb," was given by Rosalie Harnett, "for mercies received." Two windows in the sacrarium depict the worship of Heaven, their titles "Holy, Holy, Holy." That on the south is in memory of James and Ann Litchfield, the one on the north is also to their memory. A window in the chancel, on the north side, subject "S. Agnes," commemorates Caroline, Jeffrey and Anne Victoria and Emma Mary Anne Eliza Dyball. One on the south, subject "S. Alban" is in memory of Bishop Barlow, and another "S. James," is in memory of Victor Correlli Ryall.
On the north side of the nave, a window, subject "S. George," is in memory of Samuel Hain, and another, "S. Paul," of Selina Jose. An older window, "The Good Shepherd," is to the memory of Archdeacon Druitt, and another "S. Michael," is to the memory of Victor Corelle Ryall. The west window, three lights, "S. Paul," "Our Blessed Lord" and "S. John," is in memory of Charles Garnock. The windows on the south side of the nave are "Madonna and Child" to the memory of Harry Harrison; "S. Christopher," commemorating Joseph, Alfred William, and Sydney Hain, and "S. Elizabeth" to the memory of Mary Alice Luton The window in the vestry, subject "The Crucifixion," was the gift of Messrs. Smith and Worrall. There are two Pictures on the west wall, one entitled "All things bright and beautiful," the other a reproduction of three old masters.
The west screen, which also encloses the baptistery, is to the memory of Mary Sands. An alms box commemorates Henry Albert Smith, the pulpit desk was a parting gift of Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey Marshall and Valerie.
THE PARISH HALL.
The old school built in Archdeacon Druitt's time. A substantial stone building. It was enlarged as a parish hall by Canon Hirst. A foundation stone of the extensions was laid by Mrs. A. Hain on the 6/9/1922
THE COUNTRY CENTRES.
Up to 1913 the Michelago mission district was all part of the Cooma parish. Since then various experiments have been made with this area. At present the country centres worked from Cooma comprise Nimmitabel, Chakola, Numeralla, Holt's Flat, Bredbo and Kybean.
A stone Church with a shingle roof, completed in 1880. There is no record in the registry of its licensing, dedication or consecration.
A wooden Church of which nothing is known in the diocesan registry.
A new weatherboard Church hall was built here in 1934.
This centre was reattached to Cooma in 1936. The former wooden Church was demolished and re-erected at Chakola. The present Church is of brick with a tiled roof, built in 1929 at a cost of £618. It was dedicated and licensed on 16/9/I929. The altar (from the old Church) is a memorial to Mr. Bowerman.
LIST OF RECTORS.
Rev. W. G. Nott 1842 Wentworth-Shields, W. F. 1902-1904
Pryce, E. G. 1843-1854 Turnbull, R. M . 1904-1906
Riky, W., Synge E. (L.T.) 1855-1856 Burgess, C. E . 1906-1913
Druitt, Archdeacon 1856-1890 Ward, Archdeacon 1913-1921
Zillman, J. H. L. (L.T.) 1885-1886 Ward-Thomas, E. (L.T.) 1929
Taylor, J. Lintott (L.T.) 1889 Hirst, Canon . 1921-1 930
Bevan, Canon 1890-1894 Russell, H. C . 1930
Ross - Edwards, Canon 1894-1899
From the History of the Diocese of Goulburn, Pages 255-263, Ransome T Wyatt, 1937. Transcribed by Pattrick Mould 2003