St Mary's Heritage Anglican Church, Parish Hall and Memorial | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


St Mary's Heritage Anglican Church, Parish Hall and Memorial

Item details

Name of item: St Mary's Heritage Anglican Church, Parish Hall and Memorial
Other name/s: Christ Church Anglican Church
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church Hall
Primary address: 3 Mann Street, Gosford, NSW 2250
Local govt. area: Gosford
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
3 Mann StreetGosfordGosford  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

St Mary's Heritage Anglican Church at 3 Mann Street, Gosford has state historic significance for its association with the colonial Architect, Edmund Blacket. It has rare local aesthetic and historic significance as a fine and intact example of a mid-nineteenth century sandstone church in the Victorian Gothic style. It has historic significance for its association with the early settlement and development of Gosford township in particular marking the shift to Gosford from the settlement at East Gosford. It has social significance as an early place of Anglican worship in the district. Although the church has been moved from its original site, this does not diminish its significance as the moving of the church is indicative of the shift of settlement away from east Gosford. The church is an important feature of a complex of church buildings.
Date significance updated: 16 Jul 13
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.


Designer/Maker: Edmund Blacket
Construction years: 1858-1906
Physical description: Set back on a large prominent hill site overlooking Mann Street, with views out to the harbour. To the south is a multi-storey modern apartment block. Single storey sandstone church building, pick-axed blocks, Ashlar line, featuring buttressed piers. Stone work appears weathered, re-pointed. Gabled roof has slate tiles and galvanised iron cappings. Stone bell tower to front, stone cross at centre. Exposed timber rafters and timber lining to eaves. Windows are generally timber framed casement, with pointed arched heads and sandstone sills, grouped in pairs. Triple windows to east and west gable ends, stained glass to east, modern coloured glass to west. Marble plaque to east reads, "This stone was laid on September 1904." Gabled portico at north west corner has solid timber pointed arched doors. Internal walls of portico are painted, timber panelled ceilings and exposed timber rafters, timber floorboards, stone thresholds. Stone addition to south has sawn-cut sandstone block walls, castellated parapet and similar pointed arched windows. Connected to main church by flat timber framed overhang. Extension was probably originally designed as the hall and currently houses offices. A stone cross in the foreground of the site provides a war memorial.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally sound
Date condition updated:29 Dec 13
Modifications and dates: Intact and in good condition.
Further information: The site includes four buildings with varying degrees of significance, rated in the following order: the early 1858 Church, the Vicarage, the Hall extension to the early church and the contemporary church.


Historical notes: Important sandstone building of 19th Century, designed by eminent architect, Edmund Blacket. The original site of the church on Peek's land marks the establishment of the Anglican community in the district. East Gosford was seen as the main settlement of the area originally. It was serviced by the schooner-rigged paddle boat "William the 4th". The first church was begun in 1842 but abandoned due to lack of funds. This building, at the corner of George and Webb Streets was begun in 1857 but was abandoned by 1885 as the population shifted towards "West" Gosford with the coming of the Great North Railway. It was later moved from East Gosford stone by stone and resurrected at the present site, next to the timber church "St Mary the Virgin" between 1904 and 1906. The timber church was demolished in 1959 for the building of the new St Mary the Virgin church and the Blacket designed church has operated as a church hall since. The moving of the church is important as it marks the shift in population centre from East Gosford to "West" Gosford and the establishment of the Anglican church in the district.

Until European settlement, the area around Gosford was inhabited by the Guringai peoples, who were principally coastal-dwellers and the Darkinjung people that inhabited the hinterland. Along with the other land around the Hawkesbury River estuary, the Brisbane Water district was explored during the early stages of the settlement of Sydney. In the early 19th century some pioneering European settlers began occupying the land, for timber-cutting (mainly ironbark and Australian red cedar), lime production and grazing.[citation needed]

Gosford itself was explored by Governor Phillip between 1788 and 1789. The area was difficult to access and settlement did not start before 1823. By the late 19th century the agriculture in the region was diversifying, with market gardens and citrus orchards occupying the rich soil left after the timber harvest. The road between Hawkesbury (near Pittwater) and Brisbane Water was a cart wheel track even in 1850.

Convicts once lived and worked in the Gosford area. In 1825, Gosford's population reached 100, of which 50% were convicts.

East Gosford was the first centre of settlement. Gosford was named in 1839 after Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford a friend of the then Governor of New South Wales George Gipps.

In 1887, the rail link to Sydney was completed, requiring a bridge over the Hawkesbury River and a tunnel through the sandstone ridge west of Woy Woy. The introduction of this transport link and then the Pacific Highway in 1930 accelerated the development of the region.

Gosford became a town in 1885 and was declared a municipality in 1886.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Example of an Architectural Style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Parsonage-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Church Hall-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Church-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
St. Mary's Church of England (Anglican) Gosford is of historic significance at a local level. The cultural landscape of the site retains the intact evidence of the full range of buildings designed to serve the Church community. The 1857 sandstone Church was relocated to the current site from East Gosford in 1906 and marks the impact of the railway in taking over from water transport as the dominant feature in urban expansion.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Anglican Church community highly value the site and the original East Gosford building. The building is the work of celebrated colonial architect Edmund Blacket.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building retains the original and distinctive features including the layout, sandstone walls, slate roof, gothic windows, stained glass and porch despite the relocation in 1906.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
St. Mary's Anglican Church has a high degree of social significance to the Anglican Church - formerly the Church of England, the parishioners and their families. The site is listed by a range of heritage agencies indicating the high regard for the place held by the community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Church estate at St. Mary's offers opportunities for investigating the changes in building design over successive generations including the vicarage, two churches and the hall.
SHR Criteria f)
Churches designed by Edmund Blacket are very rare within NSW as are stone buildings which have been relocated.
SHR Criteria g)
The site represents a substantial block which includes several buildings illustrating the differing functions required by the Church and the styles in accord with their periods and architects.
Integrity/Intactness: Good/Good
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.

Recommended management:

Recommend for retention on the Gosford City Council LEP. Heritage Report required prior to any proposals for alterations or additions which may adversely impact on the significance of the building and its curtilage. All materials not originally painted such as stone should remain unpainted. Those materials which originally had a paint finish may be repainted in complimentary colours. Window and door openings should not be enlarged or filled in. All future alterations should consider the retention of the form, scale and character of the building. The building should be included in a Conservation Area that conserves the character of the area and its relationship to the foreshore and to other items along Mann St which are indicative of the original development of the southern end of Gosford.


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentList on a Local Environmental Plan (LEP)21 Dec 13
Recommended ManagementConsult with owner and/or community21 Dec 13
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education21 Dec 13


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan 221 Dec 12   
Local Environmental PlanGosford LEP 20143311 Feb 14   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Gosford Heritage Study1999171Graeme BrookesGBA No
Gosford Community Based Heritage Study2013 David Scobie Architects Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1620185

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