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Anglican Church

Page history last edited by Dawn Juers 9 years, 11 months ago





(CHURCH WITH THE TOWN CLOCK, cnr Cadell & Crocker Sts)


In 1857 land was granted to the Church to be used as a site of divine worship. After several years, legal ownership was held was held in trust by the Bishop of Adelaide and three local men. It remained that way for over a hundred years and  was only changed in 1971 to the synod of Church of England in the Diocese of the Murray.


The church building of native limestone with brick quoins and buttresses, was built entirely by volunteer labour with work beginning in June 1866, when plans were drawn and foundations laid.


 The foundation stone was laid by Rev Dean of Adelaide, James Farrell on 9th January 1867 with a service being held for the first time in 1868 – albeit without doors or windows.


The building – 66ft x 25ft with a lofty ceiling of 18ft, with a roof, originally slate, but renewed in 1987 with colorbond corrugated iron.


Prior to all this, Goolwa and Pt Elliot were part of the Willunga parish, with the minister traveling by horseback and holding services in private homes. Then St Jude’s Church, Pt Elliot, was built and Goolwa parishioners travelled on the new railway horse tram to attend church in the town. This brought much criticism in the newspaper ‘Southern Argus’ on the sinfulness of working the horses on the Sabbath.


The clock tower was built over several decades and the clock was presented “to the people of Goolwa” by Thomas Higgins on 20th December 1915. The bell, which weighs 350lbs had been presented by Lieutenant Col. T.W. Higgins in 1897. The Higgins family were very involved with the church with Mrs Higgins providing funds for the completion of the clock tower, in memory of her husband.



The clock, imported from England in 1915, is on the south-west corner of the tower, and chimes on the hour – ( except at 9am on Sundays when the church service is on). A special floor was constructed in the tower to take the weight of the clock mechanism.


Each week Anthony Presgrave and Brian Jones climb the ladder to wind and maintain the clock, a job they have done for many years.


The spire on the tower was repaired a few years ago with money received from a heritage grant.


Lofty timber ceilings are a feature of the building along with the furniture, including a table from the boat ‘Lady Augusta’ which had left Goolwa on her maiden voyage under Capt Francis Cadell on 25th August 1853.


In 1982, the lights of the church were converted to electricity after having been acetylene gas.


The boundary wall, donated by a parishioner, is of similar age and construction as the church. The churchyard wall, church and a fig tree on the property, are all registered items of State Heritage.  Originally the three trees mentioned in the bible – fig, olive and pomegranate were planted, but the fig is the only survivor.


Back in 1885, the land on the corner of Crocker and Farquhar Streets was donated to the church by Sir Arthur Blyth and plans were drawn up for the building of a “Sunday School Room,” which was duly erected and opened on 8th June 1885, later, a kitchen, storeroom, porch and toilet were added.


 For a few months in 1891 the Rev T.M. Boyer conducted a private school in the building. An op-shop was conducted in the building for a while, but in the last few years a new shed has been erected for this purpose.



W.A. Pretty Collection 


Dawn Juers, Local & Family History Room Volunteer

(talk 2nd October 2009)



back to Mostly Goolwa







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