St. Thomas Anglican Church | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

St. Thomas Anglican Church

Item details

Name of item: St. Thomas Anglican Church
Other name/s: St Thomas Church of England
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -33.8297107740 Long: 150.6556378250
Primary address: St Thomas Road, Mulgoa, NSW 2750
Parish: Mulgoa
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Penrith
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP996994
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
St Thomas RoadMulgoaPenrithMulgoaCumberlandPrimary Address
Mulgoa Road (near)MulgoaPenrith  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Anglican Church Property TrustReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

St. Thomas' is the only extant example of a reasonably intact, late 1830s Gothic Revival, rural Anglican parish church in New South Wales. Its cemetery contains some important early monuments, dating from 1839 and the graves of members of prominent local families. (Fox and Associates 1987: MV-3)

The golden stone church, with attendent cemetery and gravestones, has a considerable aesthetic impact when glimpsed from Mulgoa Road (now St. Thomas' Road). The picturesque graveyard of clustered headstones and notable classical sandstone monuments, predominantly of the Cox family, is on a sloping site alongside, bordered with eucalpyt saplings, and complements the church admirably. It remains one of the most romantic rural church settings in New South Wales, and has significance both for its superb landscape value and its relative intactness. (Proudfoot, 1987, modified Read, S., 2004)

The hammer beam roof was the first example of a medieval style open timber roof in a NSW Church and the building as a whole is only existing example of a reasonably intact late 1830s Gothic Revival rural Anglican parish Church in the State. Most of the Church has not been drastically altered, a fact which makes it unique among Anglican Churches. (AHC/ nominator's material)
Date significance updated: 12 May 04
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: Reverend Thomas Makinson, first incumbent priest, and James Chadley
Builder/Maker: James Atkinson and William Chisholm (Atkinson also carved the pinnacled reredos himself)
Construction years: 1836-1838
Physical description: This is a hillside site north of Mulgoa township in a semi-rural area sloping south and east, facing St.Thomas's Road, bordered with regrowth eucalypt seedlings. On the opposite side of St.Thomas' Road is the Mulgoa Pre-School and Day Care centre and Mulgoa Park (comprising oval, hall and tennis courts) between St.Thomas' & Littlefield Roads. To the south-east are Kings Hill Road & Farm Road which have a number of small rural land holdings characterising development in the township's surrounds.

The church and hall which are on the northern part of the site have a picturesque graveyard of clustered headstones and notable classical sandstone monuments, predominantly of the pastoralist Cox family (who donated the land and owned (along with other lands such as Winbourne to the south) the two immediately adjacent estates, Fernhill & The Cottage/Cox's Cottage. An existing driveway to the church is at the north-eastern end of the site. The balance of the site includes open grass paddocks, 2 small dams, fences, areas of disturbed, regenerating native vegetation and areas of bushland predominantly along the eastern part of the site and fringing Mulgoa and St.Thomas' Roads, providing a vegetated screen to the majority of the site. South of the church and almost centrally to the land are the ruins of the former rectory, burnt in the 2003 bush fires.

The site is a sloping hillside site, bordered with regrowth eucalypt seedlings. The church has a picturesque graveyard of clustered headstones and notable classical sandstone monuments, predominantly of the pastoralist Cox family.

The church is a sandstone Gothic revival style building, with Georgian proportions but early Victorian Gothic Revival details and the first open timber hammer beam roof in the colony.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The only reasonably intact late 1830s Gothic Revival rural Anglican parish church in NSW. Superb landscape setting and aesthetic value as an ensemble.

- St.Thomas' Road, c.1830s - an original country road with branches leading to many properties and buildings from earliest times;
- site of colonial parsonage and drive, c.1838 - earth ledge and old bricks, remnant garden planting located immediately behind back fence of new rectory of St.Thomas' Church. Distinct impression of road with remains of gate posts and side fences and possibly picket gate (S.6.5.4, Mulgoa, of appendix D, Historical Archaeological Component by Wendy Thorp, 8/1986 in Fox & Associates, Heritage Study of the City of Penrith, Volume 2 - appendices).

There are 3 areas of archaeological interest ... The church site is of early colonial interest with the ancestry of the Cox family displayed in the churchyard. It is also of Aboriginal archaeological interest as a camping area overlooking the junction of the 2 streams (see Austral Archaeology report). On the southern portion of the site the archaeological remains of the original rectory are buried and will also require protection. The location of the original rectory building has been established on the ridge south of the church (refer to A121/1 and the 1947 aerial photo where it was still standing). The design of the development will protect this area while allowing for future archaeological investigation of the site as a possible educational tool.

As defined in the archaeological report, the area of major archaeological importance is located within the church site in which minimal disturbance is taking place. The area south of the church where the school is proposed is defined as of lesser historic and archaeological significance. However the recommendations of the report will be followed during excavation and investigation of the site (Ingham Planning, 2007, Appx.C, 3).
Date condition updated:12 May 04
Modifications and dates: Parsonage (c.1838) demolished (date not known) Current parsonage is c.1950s.
Current use: Church
Former use: Church

History

Historical notes: Between 1809-c1904 early land grants were made in the valley to the notable Cox family and were noted for pastoral use, vineyards and orcharding. The Mulgoa Valley was renowned at one time as one of NSW's richest farming districts. The Cox family were influential in the district and state. They suffered the financial depression of the 1840s but eventually their pastoral interests took them further afield, relocating west of the Blue Mountains. They left behind four buildings - Glenmore, Fernhill, The Cottage and St.Thomas's Church - reflecting the early pioneering phase, their era of prosperity and their social and religious aspirations.

The site was originally granted to the Anglican Church in 1831 by William Cox to be used as a church and school (Ingham Planning, 2007, 2).

St.Thomas' church was built by James Atkinson & William Chisholm in 1836-8 and designed by the Rev. Thomas Makinson, first incumbent, and James Chadley. Makinson carved the pinnacled reredos himself. The site has a picturesque graveyard of clustered headstones and notable classical sandstone monuments, predominantly of the pastoralist Cox family, on a sloping site bordered with regenerating eucalypts, which complements the church (Proudfoot, H., 'Exploring Sydney's West', 1987, 106).

1987 Sydney REP 13 (Mulgoa Valley) was gazetted, reflecting increasing conservation interest in this important early farming valley, valued for its scenic value, ongoing agriculture, 'lifestyle' living and heritage values. St. Thomas' Church and cemetery is a key part of this valley and an identified heritage item in the SREP.

The Anglican parish at Mulgoa still meet in St.Thomas' Church (Ingham Planning, 2007, 2).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Ancillary structures - wells, cisterns-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of remembrance-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of contemplation and devotion-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and countryside of rural charm-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Working for pastoralists-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Granting Crown lands for private farming-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Rural orchards-
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. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Georgian-
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. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Gothic Revival-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Anglicanism-
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. Operating and maintaining small or isolated burial grounds-
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. Burying the dead in customary ways-
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. Operating and maintaining private family burial grounds-
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. Burying and remembering notable persons-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Cox, road builder over Blue Mountains, magistrate, farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Cox, pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with George Cox, pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Cox, pastoralist-

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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentDraft Conservation Management Plan, May 2011 prepared by Paul Davies Pty Ltd Feb 1 2012

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0042602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0042614 Mar 86 441202
Regional Environmental PlanMulgoa Valley REP 07 Oct 87   
National Trust of Australia register  9972   
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Heritage Study of the City of Penrith1987MV-3Fox & Associates  No
Sydney Regional Environmental Plan - No.13 - Mulgoa Valley1987 Department of Environment and Planning  No
Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW2000 Morris, C., & Britton, G./NSW National Trust (for the Heritage Council of NSW)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Penrith Valley Heritage Drive View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Penrith Valley Heritage Drive View detail
WrittenIngham Planning P/L2007Architectural Design Compliance Statement (Appendix C), in 'Statement of Environmental Effects: to accompany a development application for the Mulgoa Anglican Primary School at St. Thomas' Road, Mulgoa'
WrittenIrving, Robert & Pratten, Chris1998Conservation Management Plan: St.Thomas' Church, Mulgoa
WrittenJohn Stiller1984St. Thomas' Anglican Church, Mulgoa, NSW. Documentation of pipe organ built by J. W. 1868
WrittenNathanuel Hughes Photographer2010Archival Photographic Recording of St.Thomas Mulgoa Church Hall, WC Block and surrounding landscape, 43=119 St.Thomas Road, Mulgoa

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

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez rez rez rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045482
File number: 10/23454; S90/05990


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.