OPENING OF THE CHURCH AT FREMANTLE.
Inquirer (Perth), 1843.
The Church of Fremantle was opened for divine service on Friday last, the 4th instant, amid the thankgivings of hundreds of our brother settlers, many of whom came from distant parts of the colony to be present on this joyful occasion. It was a deeply interesting ceremony, not merely on account of the proceedings of the day, although these were, to the secluded inhabitants of this part of the world, both novel and striking, but with reference also to the future effects of that day's work; effects which we trust and believe will be beneficially felt throughout our little community for ages to come. Among those who testified by their presence the interest they took in the ceremony, were many of our very oldest settlers ; men who remember what Fremantle was fourteen years ago; and who, looking back upon the days when all around them was an unknown and mistrusted desert, must indeed have found their hearts glad at the glorious change, and in thus witnessing the highest proof of civilization and improvement that can be offered by man— the erection, viz., of a place of worship to his Creator. The present edifice, too, is the first Episcopal Church — properly so to be called — that has yet been completed either in Fremantle or Perth, and this, no doubt, served to make the occasion even more than commonly important and imposing. In the much to be lamented absence of the Bishop, there was of course no attempt at consecration, the procession set out from the house of the Government Resident of Fremantle, headed by the Churchwardens Messrs. Bateman and Davey. Next came the Governor, supported by R. McBride Brown, Esq., the Resident, and followed by the Clergy in full canonicals. A vast number of persons collected together from all parts of the colony brought up the procession, and in this order they reached the Church, which, although containing seats for nearly three hundred persans, was soon crowded to excess. The worship of the day was conducted by the Reverends J. B. Wittenoom, J. H. Wollaston, W. Mitchell, and G. King; the responses being audibly and feelingly pronounced throughout the densely crowded pews. We can not better express our own feelings on this occasion than by here reciting the words of the Rev. G. King, the officiating Chaplain at Fremantle, as they occur in a letter which that gentleman has written to us since the ceremony. Mr. King thus writes : — "Never did I feel more powerfully the pathos of that simple, rapturous exclamation, "Lord, how delightful 'tis to see a whole assembly worship thee," and then the beautifully sublime expression of our venerable liturgy, in spirit and in purity, as in the establishment of its divine and comprehensive adaptation, exhibiting not merely the impress of its heavenly founder's mould, but, carrying out the design conceived in its heavenly founder's first grand model formulary, seemed to inspire our souls with that devotion the Apostles felt, which is still the birthright of the Church of Christ, when "they lifted up their voice to God with one accord." O, if the worship of the Church were received in the spirit, as well as in the letter of her sanctifying service, there would be no scene in the created universe to equal the assembling of ourselves together in the holy sanctuary." The form of prayer consisted of the Church morning service, with the exception of the litany, for which was substituted a variety of prayers proper to the peculiar occasion. These being concluded, the Rev. G. King preached an excellent sermon on the text "Know thou the God of thy fathers" ; in which, after observing how much his gratification at the success of that high moment was mingled with a knowledge of the responsibility that now attached to him, he pointed out, in a forcible and feeling manner, the divine origin of our church establishment, and the great claim it had upon our regards. The building itself is very chaste and pleasing, and reflects great credit on the skill and taste of Messrs. Davey and Harwood, the contractors for the work. The internal arrangement is very complete, and approaches as near the old ecclesiastical design as circumstances would permit; the chandelier is a carving of native mahogany and cedar, presented to the church by Mr. B. Von Bibra. Externally, the structure presents a peculiarly modest yet harmonious form, and the justly-proportioned dome, surmounted by the triumphant emblem of our redemption, smiling back upon the wilderness beyond, strikes upon the eye, as well upon the mind, with a pleasing and salutary effect. The site of the church has been well selected. Standing in the centre of King's-square, it commands the entire view of the main street of Fremantle, at the extremity of which the majestic "Arthur's Head," with the various buildings on its summit, full in view, forms a prospect only to be surpassed by that which the beautiful church itself exhibits when viewed from the same bold headland. To the ladies and gentlemen forming the choir of the Perth Church, by whose exquisite performances the service of the day was admirably sustained, the warmest acknowledgments are due. Several very beautiful hymns were sung during the service, and one in particular, the celebrated "Denmark Hymn," we never expected to have heard so well executed in a choir having such small means at its disposal. Neither, assuredly, must we forget to record the disinterested and praiseworthy conduct of our fellow townsmen Messrs. Gray, Morton, and Dyer, in equipping and sending forth some half-dozen boats for the gratuitous conveyance of the visitors from Perth, and others living at a distance from Fremantle. Such acts as these, done by comparatively poor men, are indeed grateful evidences of the right feeling that was awakened by the occasion, and richly deserve a place in our humble records. The offerings collected in the Church amounted to £46 0s. 4d., which will be appropriated towards the discharge of the debt incurred in the building. The new church is to be called St. John's. We cannot conclude our notice of this most gratifying event without expressing a fervent hope that the great success which has thus attended the exertions of our friends at Fremantle may operate as a stimulus in hastening the completion of the new Church in Perth. Disguise it from ourselves as we may, we may rest assured that the want of a church in the metropolitan town of the colony is a national disgrace ; a disgrace to us as colonists and as Christians. By the word church, we of course mean a proper and sacred edifice exclusively set apart for the worship of God. Episcopal churches have been raised even in the most remote parts of the colony; but in Perth—while the Wesleyans have their proper and sacred place of worship— the Church of England is driven to take shelter where it may and its followers, all numerous and influential as they are, are still content to assemble in a building which, six days out of the seven, reverberates with law quibbles, and even with more unholy echoes. How long will our brother settlers consent that this worse than heathen neglect shall remain as a reproach to us! Latterly something more of activity has been shown, but much remains to be done, and many sacrifices to be made, before the inhabitants of this town can participate in the same pure joys as those which our friends at Fremantle now experience. Inquirer, Perth, Wednesday 9 August 1843: 3.
Herald (Fremantle) 3 May 1873
The sales of valuable freehold property in the above towns were held according to advertisement in Perth on Tuesday, in Fremantle on Wednesday last. The high prices fetched by some of the lots is worthy of notice, and significant not only that there is some money still in the colony, but that those who have it are willing to invest it in land, thereby demonstrating their faith in the vitality of the country. We all know that long unoccupied grant walled in, situated at the corners of Cliff and High Streets. It was divided into three lots, the lower one, or that which faces Cliff Street being purchased by Mrs. King for £350, while the remaining two lots were bought for an aggregate of £510 by Messrs. Pearse and Owston. The cheapest lot knocked down was perhaps, the one last sold, a corner block in King's Square which was purchased by Mr. Jas. Herbert for £75. The sale of the whole seven lots in Fremantle realised £1245. The Perth sales realised £945 under the accomplished and waggish auctioneering of Mr. Michael Samson, who at each sale " jollied" his bidders into making advances, which under a duller salesman they would never have dreamt of. The highest price given at the Perth auction was £400 bid by Mr. S. H. Parker for lot 1, a valuable property in the neighborhood of Mr. Landor's residence. Lot 2, knocked down to Mr. W. J. Loton fetched the high figure of £335. We can only repeat that the result of these sales shows that those who have the greatest interest and largest stake in the colony have faith in its present vitality and good hope for its future prosperity.
Inquirer and Commercial News, May 1878
It may be well to remind the Parishioners that the Committee consists of the Chaplain, Churchwardens, Vestrymen, and Messrs. H. M. Lefroy and George Pearse. We have to mourn the loss of our Treasurer, Mr Munro, by death. We regret, too, that resignation has deprived us of the services of Messrs J. J. Harwood and W. D. Moore, and absence in England of Mr W. R. Fauntleroy. Fr. R, C. Hare has kindly consented to take Mr. Munro's place and give his services as acting Treasurer. The Committee have held 12 meetings during the past year, with an average attendance of 8 members. With respect to the condition of affairs, your Committee feel warranted in speaking hopefully of the prospect of bringing the work to a successful issue. On Jan. 1, 1878, the Trustees of Diocesan Church Property, acting on the recommendation of the Building Committee, sold a right-of-way through the Church Grant in King's Square as a continuation of High Street, and also a block of land at the S. W. corner of the grant to the municipality for the sum of £500; the Government having previously, with the approval of the municipality, granted the strip of vacant land lying outside the boundary wall to the Church. The church site is now held on a lease from the municipality for three years, terminable on Jan. 1, 1881; while certain numbers of the Committee have made themselves responsible for the payment of half the interest on the purchase money (viz., on £500 at 7 per cent.) for the years 1878 and 1879, and for the whole of the interest for any portion of the year 1880 which may elapse before the municipality take possession. The authorities of the Convict Department have been good enough to undertake to provide stone at the Bridge Quarry free of expense, only requiring that the Committee should supply fuse and powder. Financially, the sum of £1351 9s. 4d. is now in the Bank on fixed deposit; the Sunday offertories applied to this purpose during the year amounted to £82 12s. 7d.; the donations paid, in excluding a sum of £50 from the C & C. Church Society, have not been very considerable; but the Committee believe that when the work is begun the promised subscriptions will come in more rapidly; the grant of £400 from S.P.C.K. will be paid on the completion of the work, while the Perth Diocesan Grant of £60 will be paid when the foundation stone is laid. Lastly, the Committee would make two recommendations, viz : 1.- That some additional members be elected to supply the vacant places. II.- That no parishioner or friend of the Church in this Parish should despond of success in this matter because of the great delays which have unavoidably occurred. The Committee are unanimous in the opinion that no further delay should be permitted, but that active steps should now be taken. April 26, 1878. Inquirer and Commercial News Wednesday 1 May 1878: 3.
Inquirer and Commercial News, Sept 1878
Tenders are invited for the erection of a Church in King's Square, Fremantle. Plans and specifications may be seen on application to Mr. Webster, from whom all necessary information can be obtained. Tenders will be received up to November 14 next. No tender necessarily accepted. Fremantle, Sept. 10, 1878. Inquirer and Commercial News, Wednesday 18 September 1878: 3.
Western Mail, March 1914
With a view to helping the re-roofing fund of St. John's Church, Fremantle, and stirring up interest in the effort, the Rev. Canon Moore secured some time ago an interesting photograph of the original Fremantle church, and with the assistance of Mr. P. H. Anderson, stationer, of Fremantle, has had this picture reproduced on a postcard in conjunction with the picture of the present church, and giving the dates on which they were built, etc
The old church was completed and opened for service on August 4, 1843. It stood for nearly 40 years in the middle of King's Square, at the top of High-street, the west door facing right down the street, at the other end of which stood and still stands the "Round House." which served as a "lock-up." The fence in the picture was of much later date, and enclosed all that area now bounded by William, Newman, Queen, and Adelaide streets. In the left hand corner of the picture may be seen the present rectory, which stands in Cantonment-street. The rectory was built for the Rev. Zachory Barry about 1855, and this photograph must date from the sixties, and was taken from a spot about where the present Federal Hotel stands to-day, the town hall site being then vacant and enclosed as part of the church yard. It was owing to the tireless energy of the late Archdeacon Watkins, who came as a young man to Fremantle at the end of the seventies, that the new church was built and consecrated in 1882. Mr. Watkins resolutely resisted every suggestion for enlarging the old church, and put all his efforts into the erection of a new building, and posterity must applaud his determination. After the demolition of the old church, High-street was continued diagonally through "King's Square" and a right of-way for the purpose together with the site for the present Town Hall was sold to the municipality on January 1, 1878, for £500. The rest of the block was afterwards sold in lots, bringing in apparently another £1,900 for the building fund. The total cost of the church was close on £7,500, of which about £500 represented outside grants. Since its consecration 32 years ago many additions have been made to the fittings and furnishings. The organ, which was built by Mr. Cecil Clifton, cost £600 30 years ago, and only last year was re-built by the firm of Messrs. J. A. Dodd, of Perth and Adelaide and fitted with a modern hydraulic blower at a cost of £300. Prior to that a beautiful Caen stone Reredos was erected as a memorial to Archdeacon Watkins at a cost of about £300. A little more than a year ago the family of the late W. D. Moore presented a massive brass "eagle" lectern in memory of their father, and a few months later the trustees of the late Mr. John Thomas put in a glass window in the north transept. The east window is a magnificent work, the three main lights respectively depicting "The Appearance in the Upper Room," "Stilling the Tempest," and "Christ and the Magdalen," and was erected many years ago in memory of Henry Maxwell Lefroy, 1879; Thomas Brown, 1863; and Daniel Scott, 1865. There is also a beautiful little window in the south transept, without any inscription, and two others in the nave said to be transferred from the old church. After thirty odd years, the shingle roof has become completely worn out, and considering the quality of the building the vestry felt that they would not be justified in adopting any other than the best materia for re-roofing, and, acting on advice, they have arranged to carry out the work in best Welsh slates. The contract for this work, which has been arranged through Millars' Trading Corporation, will absorb considerably over £500, and it is expected that about £600 will be required to complete the work. Of this sum the greater portion has been aiready subscribed, and the remainder is arranged to spread over two years. When the heavy claims of the two previous years in connection with the Reredos and the organ are taken into account, it must be admitted that the parishioners of St. John's have shown a very practical interest in their church's affairs. And it should be noted that, in addition, all the other finances of the church have been receiving particular attention, and the debts which three years ago totalled upwards of £2,700 are now below £2,200, while upkeep, current expenses, and repairs have been kept well up to date. Nor is the strain likely to slacken for some little time, owing to the fact that within the next few months a large sum, ranging between £300 and £500, will be required to sewer the properties in connection with the deep drainage scheme. From the foregoing it will be seen that the rector and his vestry have before them a task which calls for energy, skill, and tact, and it is gratifying to know that the congregation are in full sympathy with the efforts put forth and the arrangements devised for carrying on the work. The postcards here reproduced are being retailed at threepence each, and each one sold is reckoned to equal the price of one slate on the new roof. Western Mail, Friday 27 March 1914: 33.
Herald (Fremantle) 3 May 1873
Inquirer, Perth, Wednesday 9 August 1843: 3.
Inquirer and Commercial News Wednesday 1 May 1878: 3.
Inquirer and Commercial News Wednesday 18 September 1878: 3.
Garry Gillard | New: 9 April, 2012 | Now: 9 April, 2016