Christ Church Anglican | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Christ Church Anglican

Item details

Name of item: Christ Church Anglican
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -34.8592122892 Long: 149.9435208860
Primary address: King Street, Bungonia, NSW 2580
Parish: Bungonia
County: Argyle
Local govt. area: Goulburn Mulwaree
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Pejar
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT173DP758184
LOT183DP758184
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
King StreetBungoniaGoulburn MulwareeBungoniaArgylePrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
St Nicholas Anglican Church North GoulburnReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

Christ Church, Bungonia is an appealing and largely intact example of Early English (Gothic) church architecture as adapted to rural Australia in the mid-late Victorian Period. With its parsonage, Glebe, and cemetery, it provides one of the few largely intact groups of linked heritage places that can be associated with the southward expansion of the Church of England beyond Sydney after 1820. The cultural landscape of which the church and its grounds are an integral part, retains the appearance of a nineteenth century rural village. The present church was opened in 1878 and consecrated in 1893. It is the latest of three Colonial period churches to occupy the site and partially overlies the archaeological remains of what is arguably the first (1836) stone church to be built on the Southern highlands. The church has strong links with virtually all early Colonial Period properties in the Southern Highlands and many important Colonial Period personages. It mirrors many of the political and social forces which have shaped European settlement in southern New South Wales, in particular the seminal role played by the challenging location of major road and rail links between Sydney and Melbourne. (Macphail, Christ Church Conservation Management Plan, 1996)
Date significance updated: 04 Jun 99
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: William Kemp
Construction years: 1877-
Physical description: The walls are made of a visually attractive local rubblestone with smoothly dressed sandstone used for buttresses, quoins and surrounding the single, double and triple-light lancet windows and arched doorways. The lichen-covered, shingled rood includes a Bell Tower and Celtic Cross (both made of sandstone). Entrance is via the high-gabled stone porch or similar but larger stone Vestry on the northern side.

The interior of the church is divided into the traditional sectors of nave, Chancel-Sanctuary by a corbelled chancel arch made of dressed sandstone. The walls are coated with a thin plaster (white ash) and modern white paint. Al interior doors, windows and archways are lined by unpainted sandstone quoins. Most windows are infilled with stained glass. The ceiling is of simplified hammer-beam construction with diagonally set ceiling boards. Inset into the Sanctuary side walls are distinctive Gothic niches (piscinas) outlined in tracery. The stained glass triple-lancet Alter Window lacks tracery.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The external fabric is in good condition. Exceptions are the boundary fence (intact but decayed), the Nave floor (badly affected by dry rot) and one interior wall (signs of rising damp - said to have been fixed).
Date condition updated:07 Jun 99
Modifications and dates: Plain glass windows have been replaced by stained glass. (Burne-Jones/William-Morris-designs) commemorating past rectors and local families during 20th century.
The original hardwood shingle roof was replaced by fibro shingles about 1935.
The foundations of the 1836 church (visible at the western end of the 1870s building) offer an excellent opportunity for historical archaeological research. It is unclear whether the foundations of the 1840s wooden church are preserved.
Current use: Place of worship and related community functions
Former use: Place of worship

History

Historical notes: Bungonia:
One of the largest land owners, Robert Futter of Lumely Park, donated 320 acres in 1832 for the township. He was one of several major pastoralists, including Dr David Reid of Inverary Park and James Styles of Reevesdale.
Bungonia predated Goulburn and Marula and was originally slated as a major settlement on the Great South Road. Goulburn eventually assumed that primacy but it was not before significant stone buildings sprung up at Bungonia (Thrower, 2015).

Gazetting of the Bungonia Township in 1833 included dedication of sites for a church, parsonage and glebe, and a base course for stonework was laid in 1836 on the designated site. The contractor however withdrew and fresh tenders were call in the same year: The advertisement notes that 'plans and specifications were with the prominent Colonial architect John Verge (Goulburn District Historical Society, 1985,p.19). Early Bungonia planners made provision for a court house, jails, police station, schools and even an orphanage (Thrower, 2015).

There is no evidence that building activity continued beyond the partial erection of the church walls although a foundation stone was subsequently laid between 1839-1840 (GDHS, 1985 p.20) Work on the parsonage however proceeded, allowing the formal appointment of the first resident minister to the Parish of Bungonia, in effect the Southern Highlands, in 1841.

By 1841 Bungonia had 16 households, a police station and lock-up, at least one store, two inns and a population of 82 (Thrower, 2015).

In 1841, the first Bishop of Australia, Bishop Broughton indicated that a church built of slab timber with lath and plaster internal walls and a high pitched roof had been built at Bungonia (GDHS ibid). The shingles were split from trees on Bungonia Creek. By 1845 this wooden slab church was called a poor temporary structure and a foundation stone for a more permanent church may have been laid.

To what extent this Christ Church continued to be used for regular services is unclear. The unfinished walls of the previous Christ Church were still standing but no records exist to confirm brick additions had been added to the wooden church. Comments made in 1878 suggest that the wooden church was unsafe and virtually unusable whenever it rained or during winter.

Bungonia was the first outreach for the religious movement. Ministers such as the famous 'galloping parson', Rev. Thomas Hassall, serviced it amongst a vast area (Thrower, 2015).

Christ Church Anglican:
In 1841, the first Bishop of Australia, Bishop Broughton indicated that a church built of slab timber with lath and plaster internal walls and a high pitched roof had been built at Bungonia (GDHS ibid). The shingles were split from trees on Bungonia Creek. By 1845 this wooden slab church was called a poor temporary structure and a foundation stone for a more permanent church may have been laid.

To what extent this Christ Church continued to be used for regular services is unclear. The unfinished walls of the previous Christ Church were still standing but no records exist to confirm brick additions had been added to the wooden church. Comments made in 1878 suggest that the wooden church was unsafe and virtually unusable whenever it rained or during winter.

Bungonia was the first outreach for the religious movement. Ministers such as the famous 'galloping parson', Rev. Thomas Hassall, serviced it amongst a vast area (Thrower, 2015).

In 1861 the Parish of Bungonia was incorporated into the newly created Diocese of Goulburn, and in 1865, a meeting was held at Bungonia to appeal for the 'erection of a new church on the old foundations (GDHS, ibid). However, for reasons that may include economic depression in the Goulburn district in the 1860s (Wyatt, 1937 p.201) a foundation stone was not laid until 1877. It is uncertain when the 'temporary' slab church was demolished (1878?). Some of the timber survive in the woolshed on one of the Early Colonial Estates in Bungonia, Inverary Park (GDHS p,19)

The third (present day) building was designed by architect William Kemp, the first articled pupil of Colonial Architect Edmund Blacket and then first Architect appointed to the Department of Public Instruction, (now the NSW Department of Education) responsible for designing many of the earliest schools in Sydney, including the Ultimo Technological Museum (predecessor of the power house Museum): Christ Church is the only known church to be designed/supervised by Kemp (see Macphail 1998 pp.10-11, 33-34).

When it was formally opened on Friday May 24th 1878, the church was unfinished - the windows were covered in with calico, the interior walls unplastered and the church lacked doors. Interior fittings were temporary. For this reason Christ Church was not formally consecrated until 1893. An account, transcribing speeches that were made at the ceremony, was published in the Goulburn Herald on October 27th 1893. Other reasons for the delayed consecration include severe drought and economic depression in the 1890s (arguably the most severe in historic times).

In 1888 Bungonia was absorbed into the parish of Marulan - beginning a shifting pattern of affiliations that continues up to the present day. Between 1905-1906, an attempt was made to revive the Bungonia as a separate parish but the appointment only lasted a few months.: The rector serving Christ Church from Marulan over the same period is the last known 'parson' to have occupied the parsonage which was then leased and (1958) sold (GDHS, 1985 p.22)

Loss of most of the diocesan records has meant that the new 'church' effectively passed into defacto 'oblivion' for much of the twentieth century. The few surviving documents suggest that isolation and lack of funds to support a local clergyman in remote parishes such as Bungonia continued to preoccupy the Diocese: For example, Ministers serving Christ Church were given a travel allowance equal to 35% of their stipend. In spite of the long distances over unmade roads, the churches were expected to provide much of the 'grass roots' social support in the rural communities (see Macphail 1998 pp. 21-23)

Memorial plaques in Christ Church point to the substantial replacement of the internal fabric since the 1940s (Centenary Vol, 1993 p10). Most of these item relate to or were owned by earlier incumbents and parishioners. For example Altar Window and a second window at the rear of the Nave were replaced by stained glass about 1960. It is not known whether any special ceremony was held to mark the centenary of the opening of Christ Church in 1978.

Closure of the Anglican church at Marulan in 1981 - due to the disproportionate cost of maintaining the building relative to the (decreasing) size of congregations - resulted in the transfer of jurisdiction over Christ Church to the Parish of North Goulburn. Predictably, the move provoked a fear amongst Bungonia residents that Christ Church (with an equally small congregation) would also be closed.

Interest in Christ Church and the Bungonia village as historic places surged in the 1980s when the number of persons residing in or visiting the district rose substantially (MK Macphail pers observations). Reasons include the upgrading and sealing of roads to Marulan and Goulburn (diminishing the sense of isolation), subdivision of many of the large Colonial estates and the upgrading of camping facilities at the Bungonia State Recreation Reserve (allied with increasing interest in the Bungonia Caves which are among the deepest in the southern hemisphere). The heightened local interest in Christ Church as a heritage site is exemplified by the compilation of a local history of 'Christ Church Bungonia' in 1988 (manuscript) and its formal but private publication to 'celebrate the centenary of the church on October 24th 1993'. Another local resident has privately published a history of the Bungonia cemetery. The expanding local population has provided a new congregation base for Christ Church. Weekly services were re-instituted in 1996 and are centered around community services conducted by local residents and/or lay preachers from North Goulburn.

Receipts from weekly services are used to maintain the fabric of the church and fund its charitable role in the Bungonia district.

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 Practising Anglicanism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Church-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Christ Church (and Bungonia Village) occupy a central position within a group of closely linked heritage places that reflects the evolving pattern of European spiritual and community life on the Southern Highlands from 1820s up to now.

It is associated with, and relects the impact of, significant events in the cultural history of the Southern Highlands, in particular the development of the Great South road between 1820-1840 and its subsequent re-routing and upgrading into the Hume Highway linking Sydney to Melbourne after 1840.

No equivalent group of closely associated heritage places which reflect these events to the same degree is known to exist on the Southern Highlands.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It has a very strong visual appeal due to its stone construction, homely size, 'Early English' architectural style and Gothic, Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts interior features, in particular the font, pulpit, Sanctuary furniture and stained glass.

It is a significant variation on an important class of church designs in Australia (Blacket churches) by arguably the most important pupil of Edmund Blacket.

Its position has made it a landmark within the Bungonia district for over a century and, if its predecessors are included, for upward of 150 years.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It is clearly identified with a valued institution (Church of England) that has provided a focus for both spiritual and social activities (including schooling and basic health services) to isolated communities on the Southern Highlands since European settlement.

It provides continuity with the Colonial Past in a rapidly changing region and preserves a tangible record of the lives of past inhabitants of the Bungonia district.

It remains a central point of focus in a local community's (evolving) sense of place.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
It is a significant example of the survival into the later Colonial times of a building technology based around local materials (a local bluestone), more typical of the Early Colonial Period in the Goulburn district.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Christ Church is rare because (a) it is the only known example of its type within the general district; (b) it has a demonstrable relationship with a previous (1836) church on the site and provides a visible testimony of an occupancy extending back to the first two decades of European settlement of the Southern Highlands; and (c) it is the only known example of a church built by an important Colonial architect, William Kemp.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Christ Church is a good representative of (a) a Mid-Late Victorian Period rural church, and (b) the 'Early English' Church architectural style adapted for Australian conditions.
Integrity/Intactness: Christ Church's form and (fixed) internal fabric have remained intact since its building in 1878-1893 except for the roof cladding and some windows. In both cases these early twentieth century fittings match the 'Early English' style of the original church. The cultural landscape in which it stands retains the essential elements and much of the character of the nineteenth century village in Australia.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0130301 Oct 99 1149694

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenThrower, Louise2015'Conservation counts in old Bungonia'

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044693
File number: H99/00138


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