Holy Trinity Church and Cemetery | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Holy Trinity Church and Cemetery

Item details

Name of item: Holy Trinity Church and Cemetery
Other name/s: Anglican Church
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Category: Cemetery/Graveyard/Burial Ground
Primary address: 72,75 and 81 Gilmour Street, Kelso, NSW 2795
Parish: Kelso
County: Roxburgh
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
72,75 and 81 Gilmour StreetKelsoBathurst RegionalKelsoRoxburghPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

This was the first church built west of the divide.
Holy Trinity church, dating from 1835, is historically highly significant in being the first permanent church west of the Blue Mountains; the church consequently has a close association with early settlement west of the Great Dividing Range. The adjacent graveyard contains the graves of many of the Kelso/Bathurst district’s pioneers, and many of the church’s fittings and fixtures have been donated by these pioneers and the descendants of early families. The church has religious importance for the community for its lengthy association with Anglican worship in the area. The rectory is a very good example of the more modest domestic creations of leading colonial ecclesiastical architect, Edmund Blackett. The church, graveyard and rectory are picturesquely sited and form an excellent ecclesiastical group.
First burial in the graveyard of the church is that of Lt. J. Fennell, Commandant of Bathurst dated July 1826.
Date significance updated: 20 Dec 05
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1830-1835
Physical description: The Holy Trinity Church group at Kelso consists of the church, the graveyard, and the rectory. The Rectory has a faint Gothic flavour; it is a very good example of Blackett’s more modest domestic creations.

The group as a whole is picturesquely sited and forms an excellent ecclesiastical group. A number of alterations have been made to the Holy Trinity Church since it was constructed. In 1840, when application was made for a faculty, various external and internal changes were made (among these changes were closing of the entrance doors either side of the tower and the creation of a new, larger door at the base of the tower). In 1874 the iron roof was removed; today the roof is clad with asbestos cement shingles. Also in the 1870s the tower’s height was increased and the tower was rendered and the pinnacle removed. It was also at this time that the buttresses were added.

Two buildings each used as a vestry were constructed in 1933 and 1957. Of Gothic design, the church is constructed of brick and has a rectangular nave and sanctuary. The tower is square and topped by a pinnacle on each of the top corners. In keeping with the gothic design, the roof is gabled, and the bargeboards (at least those at the tower end of the building) are traceried.

Openings are generally of the pointed arch type and some have label moulds. The stained glass window above the oak altar, designed by Burne Jones, is particularly notable. A hammer beam roof has replaced the original flat ceiling. Other interior features include a carved reredos, a Hunter organ, choir stalls, a stone pulpit, a brass lectern, a stone font and oak pews (many of these fittings and fixtures have been donated by descendants of early settlers and their families).

The rectory is constructed of face brick and is two storeys, and the roof is gabled and clad with corrugated iron. Designed to a T-plan, the house has a verandah running around the three sides of the lower part of the T. Windows are double paned sashes and there are brick flat arches over. Most doors are four panelled. The building has chimneys, one of which is external and is a prominent part of the building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally good.
Some urgent work required including repairs to timber windows and their shutters on the rectory, also disabled access to the church.
Date condition updated:20 Dec 05
Modifications and dates: The buttresses were added in 1899.
Two buildings used each as a vestry were constructed in 1933 and 1957.
Further information: There is currently a DA in with Council for the disabled access.
Current use: Place of worship and burial ground
Former use: Place of worship and burial ground and residence (rectory)


Historical notes: Governor Macquarie was recognised as a man who gave credit to the transportee’s for their hard work, and the part they played in opening up the new settlement. He often rewarded their good conduct with tickets-of-leave and free pardons, and Governor Brisbane followed his example.
During the rule of Gov. Brisbane, Charles William Wall was appointed to manage the settlement at Bathurst. (1827-28)
Governor Wall continued to govern the settlement until Major General Stewart of Mount Pleasant, Bathurst, arrived two years later (1828).

In 1828 the settlement was then governed for a short time by Major-General Stewart.
Bathurst was growing strongly under the Squatters who took the leading life in these Colonial times. Development of self government was carefully managed by the Squatters. In 1828 a Council formed from this powerful squatting class were empowered to even veto the Governors decisions, if they so wanted. (Originally the Governor chose the Council members himself, but by 1842 this Council became two thirds elective). On this background it was natural that it was the Squatters who were the principal builders of the buildings that have survived from that period in Bathurst.

These early buildings include the original portions of the 1830's homesteads of Walmer, Westbourne, Blackdown, Alloway Bank, Ardsley, Strath or Mount Pleasant, Rainham (1833), and closer to the urban centre: Kelsoville. Also ‘The King William Inn’ (1835) now the offices of Evans Shire Council, and The Holy Trinity Church (1835) Kelso were built at this time. This was the first church built west of the divide.
The Anglican Parish had been established earlier in 1825.

Holy Trinity Church is historically highly significant, dating from 1835 (1835 was the year of dedication and the building was consecrated the following year, though parish and cemetery records date back to 1825).The church was the first permanent church built west of the Blue Mountains. The adjacent churchyard contains the graves of a number of the Kelso/Bathurst district’s pioneers, and many of the fixtures in the church have been donated by descendants of early families. Holy Trinity’s rectory was built in the 1878 to replace an earlier rectory built in 1827.

The following material is referenced from Shipping Arrivals and Departures 1826-1840 Courtesy David Murphy, Wellington.- The Reverend John Espie Keane, later the Church of England Incumbent at Kelso c.1830’s. arrived at Port Jackson Sydney 3 December 1825 per the convict ship HENRY PORCHER from Dublin, Ireland. Left Ireland on 6 August 1825, a voyage of 120 days. (Source Bateson’s Convict ships.)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Anglican-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Church cemetery-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This was the first church built west of the divide (1835), and the first consecrated by a Bishop in Australia. Extremely early graveyard (1826) west of the divide.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Important historical associations with the rule of Gov. Brisbane, and Charles William Wall who was appointed to manage the settlement at Bathurst. (1827-28). One of his commandants is the first recorded burial here.
The Rev. John Espy Keane of Kelso: the first clergyman appointed here.
Archdeacon Broughton who laid the foundation stone of the church.
The Rev. Samuel Marsden , the Senior Chaplin of the colony, and later first Bishop of Bathurst, came for the first service held on Easter day 1835. Keane’s bible used for the service and printed in 1772 is still in the possession of the church.
Edmund Blacket designer of the Rectory. Canon Arthur Russell Blacket, a nephew to the Architect, was the first Australian rector, and came to serve in Kelso in 1876- 1884.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The rectory is a very good example of the more modest domestic creations of leading colonial ecclesiastical architect, Edmund Blacket.
Important colonial church structure with interesting and unique interiors.
Graveyard contains a myriad of grave markers from timber board stele to stone tombs set around the church in ‘English Church Graveyard’ style.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
This church has served for almost 170 years as a place of worship, a residence for clergy and a cemetery for almost 180 years.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Enormous research potential of burial customs and materials, along with research into church structural development.
SHR Criteria f)
This was the first church built west of the divide, and the first consecrated by a Bishop in Australia.
Integrity/Intactness: Well recorded history of the building and its fabric has been kept by the church.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanHoly Trinity Church group15719 Nov 14   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Bathurst Regional Council Heritage Review2005F/N 46Hickson in assoc. with Bathurst Regional CouncilHickson & Croft Yes
Bathurst City Council Heritage Study1990A592 & A593Hughes Trueman LudlowHughes Trueman Ludlow No
State Heritage Register2002Item 11Architect and Heritage Advisor B.J. Hickson and Bathurst City CouncilB.J. Hickson Yes
BRC City Conservation Area Heritage Review2006 Hickson in assoc with BRCB.J. Hickson Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Shipping Arrivals and Departures 1826-1840
WrittenCarol Churches1996A Pictorial History of Holy Trinity Church Kelso
WrittenHarold W. Wells1981Holy Trinity Church Kelso A short story

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1080060

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