St Peter's Anglican Church - Full LEP listing - Description in Further Comments | NSW Environment & Heritage

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St Peter's Anglican Church - Full LEP listing - Description in Further Comments

Item details

Name of item: St Peter's Anglican Church - Full LEP listing - Description in Further Comments
Other name/s: St Peters Church of England
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Primary address: 331 Old South Head Road, Watsons Bay, NSW 2030
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
331 Old South Head RoadWatsons BayWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

St Peter's Anglican Church is one of the earliest surviving churches that survive in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, dating from 1864. It was designed be a notable colonial architect, Edmund Blacket and is recognised as one of his smaller important churches. The buildings survives in its original condition and forms a notable landmark in the Watson's bay area. It is a building and part of a precinct of rich historical associations and is a significant part of Christian religious activities relating to the Anglican faith in the Eastern suburbs. (Sheedy 1996) The organ was built in London in 1796 and was once in the possession of Napoleon Bonaparte and it passed through many owners after his fall in 1815, and was placed in St Peter's as a memorial to local sailors and soldiers who fell in the First World War.
Date significance updated: 07 Apr 04
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Edmund Blacket
Construction years: 1847-1864
Physical description: A simple sandstone Gothic Revival Chapel built of dressed Sydney sandstone to the walls and gables having a timber framed roof supported on simple arched timber roof trusses and boarded ceilings. The roof is dominated be a tall decorative sandstone bellcote surmounted by a copper cross finial. St Peters was described in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' of 28th December, 1864. 'It is a neat and commodious structure, in the Early English style, built of stone, and named after St. Peter the Apostle. From the ledge on which it stands there is a magnificent prospect of the waters of Port Jackson, and a fine view of Sydney in the distance, perhaps on of the most beautiful in the vicinity. It is close to the road, and of easy access both to the residents of the upper portion of the village and those whose houses are nearer to the shores of the bay. It is in length rather more than sixty feet, by about eighteen feet in the clear. The walls are elevated twelve feet above the base course, the roof which covers them being lofty and well proportioned. In the nave of the church there are three lancet - shaped windows on the southern aspect and four on the northern. The porch facing the road adjoins the southwest angle. The chancel is raised three steps above the body of the church, and at the eastern extremity of the roof is a bell turret similar to those still in use in some of the ancient village churches of the mother country. There are two windows in the chancel besides the oriel, which is a window of three lights. The vestry is on the north of the sacrarium opening into the building near the lectern or reading desk. The roof is open, the wood being painted so as to resemble oak. Although this little church is characterised by a severe simplicity, its interior is extremely elegant. As a new architectural object, it was much admired by those who came down from Sydney to be present at the consecration. The choir vestry mentioned earlier was added as an organ chamber opposite the vestry at the turn of the century, and in 1940 a new roof was installed. The organ gallery at the end of the church, with access by a spiral staircase, was added in 1939. (Hall 1998)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:07 Apr 04
Modifications and dates: 1864 - Church consecrated 1902 - organ vestry added to the south side of the Church From 1910 - stained glass windows inserted as memorials to persons and events associated with the Church 1939 - small organ gallery built in the west end of the nave to house an organ 1940 - tiled roof installed (Sheedy 1996)
Further information: Full LEP description - St Peter's Anglican Church - church, bushland to the west of the church, "Greycliff" memorial gates.
Current use: Religious Worship
Former use: Religious Worship

History

Historical notes: St Peter's Church at Watson's Bay was consecrated by Bishop Broughton on the 27th December, 1864 and was designed by the noted colonial architect Edmund Blacket, who was responsible for the design of many fine 19th century churches in Sydney and N.S.W. The church was a branch of the St. Mark's Darling Point parish and came into being to serve the needs of the ships pilots, fisherman, and signalmen and their families who were rightly regarded as living in a an isolated part of Sydney Harbour at that time. In 1912 a small brick church hall was erected and subsequently enlarged in 1926 and in 1925 the present brick rectory constructed and the sandstone 'Greycliffe Memorial gates' dedicated in 1929 following the tragedy of the sinking of the ferry and subsequent loss of life. In 1902 an organ vestry was added to the south side of the church and in 1939 a small organ gallery was built in the west end of the nave to house an organ said to have been at one time in the possession of Napoleon. In 1940 a tiled roof was installed and from 1910 the stained glass windows were inserted to be memorials to persons and events associated with the parish history. (Sheedy 1996).

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
St Peters Church is one of the earliest surviving churches in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, dating from 1864. It was designed by a notable colonial architect Edmund Blacket. The organ is said to have been at one time in the possession of Napoleon Bonaparte. (Sheedy 1996)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is a simple sandstone Gothic Revival Chapel and forms a notable landmark in the Watsons Bay area It is dramatically sited above the Gap and surrounded on one side by natural bushland and the other by grassed park space. (Sheedy 1996) (Australian Heritage Commission)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It is a building and part of a precinct of rich historical associations and is a significant part of Christian religious activities relating to the Anglican faith in the Eastern Suburbs. It is a a place of worship and community activities that has been in continual use by the community since 1864. It is much sought after as a venue for weddings from couples outside the parish. (Sheedy 1996) (Hall 1998)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
An example of Blacket’s architecture.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
It represents one of Blacket’s smaller important churches.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199510 Mar 95 281354
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 201444923 May 15   
Within a conservation area on an LEPWatsons Bay HCALEP 199510 Mar 95 28 
Heritage studyWoollahra    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAustralian Heritage Commission19891/112/002
WrittenC J Sisley BALLB1964St Peters Watsons Bay
WrittenCedric Emmanuel1973Watsons Bay Sketchbook
WrittenD A C Hall1998NSW State Heritage Inventory Form
WrittenDavid Sheedy - Architect1996St Peters Anglican Church Heritage Report
WrittenJane Ferguson1980Woollahra A History in Pictures
WrittenMorton Herman1963The Blackets An Era of Australian Architecture

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: 2711319
File number: MPP98 149, H9701149


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