St. James' Anglican Church | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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St. James' Anglican Church

Item details

Name of item: St. James' Anglican Church
Other name/s: St James' Church
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -33.8694499429 Long: 151.2111795400
Primary address: 173 King Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP1022557
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
173 King StreetSydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address
Queen's SquareSydneySydney  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
The Parish Church of St JamesReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

St James' Church is the oldest church building in the City of Sydney and has been in continuous use from its consecration on 11 February 1824 to the present. It is a prime example of the architectural work of the Macquarie period, designed by Francis Greenway and built by convict labour. Subsequent changes to the building and its contents exemplify the development of ecclesiastical thought and practice in the Australian context. The church has always formed a significant element within the city of Sydney, as a spiritual and intellectual stimulus and as a centre of musical excellence and community activity. While this contribution has been realised in various ways over its long history, the reality of its work and its essential characteristics have been maintained. The church has long been regarded as a prime element of Sydney's built environment and its conservation is an example of a long history of heritage concern in the community.

The church contains a rare collection of 19th century marble memorials, its painted Children's Chapel is unique in Australia and it includes amongst its collections and contents rare items of movable heritage.

St James' Church is an integral part of the most extensive surviving group of Macquarie period buildings in Australia, Macquarie's construction of official Sydney in the eastern part of the city, which includes the former Hyde Park Barracks, Supreme Court, General Hospital and Government House stables. The church is the only building of this group that retains its original function. (Annable, 2004)
Date significance updated: 07 Nov 97
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: Francis Greenway
Builder/Maker: Convict Labour
Construction years: 1819-1824
Physical description: St James’ Church is located at the east end and on the south side of King Street, Sydney and was constructed between 1819-1824. Set on an impressive sandstone base, the building is of face brick with the walls articulated by brick piers. The elongated windows have semi-circular heads with radiating rubbed bricks and protective fish-scale pattern, green glazing has been installed in the windows on the north side. On the east gable is a sandstone commemorative plaque with the inscription ‘St James’s Church Erected 1820 Lachlan Macquarie Esq. Governor’. The hipped roof is of slate with four gable vents on the north and south sides. The detailing of the lower, eastern extension (built in 1832-1833) is closely comparable with the original but with sandstone piers and pediment and with a domed copper roof. The two small porticos on the north and south sides, with sandstone columns and pediments, complement the original and much larger central porticos. A third small portico, added in 1894-1895, on the north side of the tower is of comparable design. The south portico was filled in before the building was completed and is now enclosed with glass. All of the entrances have slate steps with sandstone risers and are tiled with black and white marble. The square brick tower at the west end has a timber framed, candle snuffer spire, clad in sheet copper with chevron pattern, surmounted by a copper orb and cross. There is a peal of eight bells in the tower.

The interior of the church, which is essentially as rebuilt in 1900-1902, faces east and has a raised chancel and sanctuary (the latter set within an apse with gold mosaic semi-dome) with marble and mosaic flooring, flanked by the organ and choir. The chancel is separated from the main body of the church by a wrought iron and brass screen with marble base on which stand the cedar pulpit and brass lectern. The western gallery, marble memorials and cedar panelling are parts of the 19th century interior retained in the later work. The pews are open cedar benches and the flooring is of polished timber blocks with white marble aisles with a black key border. The stained glass windows are mainly English and of 20th century date with some 1890s coloured and painted glass, including internal doors and fanlights. The pressed metal ceiling (installed in 1894-1895) has been adapted to improve ventilation and to accommodate modern pendant lights. The font is on a raised marble platform in the baptistery at the base of the tower. The emblems of St James the Great are incorporated in various decorative elements of the interior including stained and painted glass, pew ends and mosaic flooring. The walls of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (the southern portico), installed in 1988, are a major contemporary glasswork which the chapel’s furniture and fittings were specially designed to complement.

The original building has an extensive undercroft (called the crypt) with sandstone walls and a central corridor with brick groined ceiling and twelve brick barrel vaults. The flooring is concrete with slate tiles. The basement beneath the eastern extension is of similar construction but has a timber ceiling as does the entrance at the base of the tower. The Children’s Chapel and columbarium are located in two of the bays of the crypt. The church is enclosed with a decorative wrought iron fence set on a sandstone base. (Annable 2004)

St James’ Church is an integral part of the group of surviving Macquarie period buildings which also includes the former Hyde Park Barracks, [Old] Supreme Court, General Hospital [the Mint and Parliament House] and Government House offices and stables [Conservatorium of Music]. The church is the only building of this group to retain its original function.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Spanish slate roof (1970s) needs replacement with Welsh slate (grant application - 2011).
Date condition updated:08 Apr 95
Modifications and dates: c. 1823 South portico filled in to form vestry
1827 Organ by John Gray of London erected in gallery
1826-1830s Alterations in crypt, including enclosure of some open bays, to accommodate parish schools
1832-1833 Flat roofed addition to east end of church to provide two entrances for new eastern gallery. Three oval windows inserted in original east wall. Internal arrangement of east end of church altered to accommodate new gallery. North portico bricked in to form entrance lobby to main north door. Architect John Verge, to specifications prepared by Revd Richard Hill. Builder Edward Flood, sub-contractor Ferguson & Petrie
1830s-1850s Galleries extended and joined to encircle east, north, west and part of south walls. Additional entrance with stairs to gallery made through window opening at west end of north wall
1836 Four oval windows inserted under eaves on either side of north and south porticos. Architect Mortimer Lewis
1882 Original lath and plaster ceiling removed and replaced with timber coffered ceiling. Architect Blacket & Son

1894-1895 Extensive renovations (including removal of much original fabric) and some new construction.
Architect Varney Parkes, builders Smith & Pringle.
Spire rebuilt to new design. Timber framework rebuilt, original copper sheeting removed and sold for scrap, spire reclad with new copper sheeting from Wunderlich Bros.
North portico unblocked and base and columns rebuilt due to structural instability
New entrance made in north side of tower with large flight of steps to street level. Portico at new entrance designed to match those built in 1832-1833 at east end. All entrance porticos tiled with black and white marble
Entrance at west end of north wall filled in and window replaced
Bases of entrances in Verge extension (1832-1833) rebuilt
Original roof timbers cut out and replaced, king post truss construction altered to queen post truss, new eaves, gutters and dormers.
Roof completely rebuilt and reclad in new slate (Design 5, grant application, 2011).
General repair and restoration of stonework and brickwork, new bricks specially made to match size and colour of original sandstocks
Most of door and window frames replaced
Original 'convict' stairs removed from tower and replaced by timber stairs with floor level inserted to serve new entrance to church
Timber coffered ceiling replaced with Wunderlich metal ceiling
Original small paned window glass removed and replaced with lead light, coloured glass
Decorative glass panelled internal doors and fanlights with emblems of St James inserted
Crypt floors replaced and drainage systems installed for foundations
External flagging around church removed and replaced with octagonal asphalt blocks
Renewal of walling around church and new iron railing

1900-1902 Interior of church redesigned and re-oriented to eastward facing position. Architect John Hingeston Buckeridge. Work carried out by day labour. Removal of all original furniture and fittings, with exception of memorials, western gallery and timber panelling.
Removal of all galleries except the western gallery
Apse cut through original east wall to form sanctuary
Raised sanctuary and chancel built at east end
Organ moved from south portico and rebuilt on either side of new chancel
Mosaic floors laid in chancel, sanctuary and baptistry
Box pews removed and replaced with open bench seating
Body of church floored in wood with marble aisles
Staircase addition built on south side of tower
New room made in tower on gallery level
Stairs removed from tower between entrance to chuech and gallery
Baptistry with raised marble platform created within tower at north-west entrance
Font moved to baptistry
Removal of stairs and partitions in Verge addition and construction of separate vestries for choir and clergy

1900-1920 Bays of crypt adapted for parish use including columbarium, meeting rooms, muniments room, kitchen
1904-1905 Construction of side chapel in south portico including underpinning foundations and completion of decorative elements of 1900 plan. Architect J Burcham Clamp, builders Smith & Pringle
1903-1913 Installation of eight stained glass windows in church
1929 Murals painted in bay of crypt by the Turramurra Painters to design of Ethel Anderson. Dedicated as the Chapel of St Mary and the Angels, or Children's Chapel.
1933 Mezzanine floor inserted above vestries in eastern extension. Architect Munnings
1953 Two timber figures of angels (European provenance) placed in baptistry
1953-1958 Stonework repair and replacement including north portico. Architect R Lindsay Little

c.1971-1975 Stonework replacement and repair by Loveridge & Hudson. Timber framework and copper cladding of spire repaired. Architect Historic Buildings Section, Government Architect's Branch

1976-1978 Renovation of crypt. Architects Woodhouse & Danks, supervising architect Geoff Danks.
Archaeologists Helen Temple and Richard Morrison. Soil analysis by Dr Brian Davey.
Removal of all existing fittings, flooring and timberwork including door and window frames
Excavation for installation of services
Stonework and brickwork restoration
Foundations of south portico underpinned
Archaeological investigation of area below south portico
1988 Construction of Chapel of the Holy Spirit in south portico with installation of glasswork. Architects Woodhouse & Danks, supervising architect Geoff Danks, builders R E Charles. Glasswork by David Wright.
Removal of original infilling between columns
Installation of glasswork
Relocation of some memorials and St James' window to bottom of tower staircase
mid-late 1970s roof reclad in Spanish slate. East and west portico rooves, east vestry roof replaced in copper (Design 5, grant application, 2011).

1989-1990 New furniture and ornaments placed in Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Furniture by Leon Sadubin, plate, candlesticks, aumbrey door and stoop by Helge Larsen and Darani Lewers
1992-1993 Restoration of the murals in the Children's Chapel by International Conservation Services, architect Geoff Danks

2002+ installation of the bells in tower, restoration of stained glass windows and mosaic floor in Sanctuary, upgrading of fire services and conservation and damp proofing of the Children's Chapel.
Current use: Place of religious worship and celebration
Former use: Place of religious worship and celebration


Historical notes: The site for Sydney’s second church was chosen by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1812, but it was not until 31 August 1819 that the foundation stone was laid, on George Street, for his ‘grand metropolitan church’ of St Andrew. On 7 October 1819 the Governor laid the foundation stone for another new building, a courthouse at the north end of Hyde Park. Shortly afterwards, following objections by the British government’s newly arrived Commissioner of Enquiry, J T Bigge that St Andrew’s would take five years to complete, a more modest plan for a second church was adopted and the intended courthouse site arrogated to the purpose. By February 1820 a church, to the design of the Civil Architect, Francis Greenway, was under construction by government (convict) labour. Work on St Andrew’s was suspended and finally abandoned in May 1820.

During 1820 work proceeded swiftly on the new church. By June the tower basement had been completed, by October a disagreement about the form of the entrances was settled in favour of square porticos and by November, as the brickwork was nearing completion, the building was referred to as St James’ Church. A stone plaque inscribed ‘St James’s Church Erected 1820 Lachlan Macquarie Esq. Governor’ was placed on the east gable and in 1821 the building was roofed. In January 1822 the Revd William Cowper held the first (and only) unofficial service in the empty building to shelter his congregation from the Hyde Park Barracks from the weather. The Principal Chaplain, the Revd Samuel Marden insisted that the building should not be used until the legal formalities had been properly attended to. In September 1822 the timber framework of the spire was under construction. In November Greenway was dismissed from government employment. Nothing is known of the work following Greenery's departure, including finishing and furnishing the interior, but by the time the church was ready for use the south portico had been enclosed for use as the vestry.

St James’ Church was consecrated on 11 February 1824 by the Revd Samuel Marsden, using a form of service for non-Episcopal consecration, approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The first baptism was held on the same day. The church has been in continuous use for divine worship, according to the rites of the Anglican Church, ever since. The building was part Macquarie’s ‘official Sydney’, a group of government buildings along the eastern ridge of the town. Bordering the Domain, Macquarie Street and Hyde Park these included the Government Stables, the Light Horse Barracks, Hospital, the Hyde Park Barracks, St James’ Church, the Supreme Court and the Georgian School. Although the plan had been the governor’s, the functions of the buildings on Hyde Park and the vagaries of their construction, were a direct result of the intervention of Commissioner Bigge and of the consequences of his Report on the administration of the Colony. The church’s connection with ‘official’ Sydney was to be a formative and enduring aspect of its ministry.

The interior of the church was a simple, rectangular ‘preaching box’, with a small holy table and tall, three-decker pulpit against the east wall and a gallery at the west. All levels of society were accommodated and the seating arrangements reflected the social divisions and distinctions of the time. The high box pews were rented and free open benches were provided at the back of the church for the poorer inhabitants and visitors. A single entrance on the north portico served the main body of the church. The prisoners and military were in the gallery which was served by its own entrance in the tower. A small group of musicians and choir led the music. In 1827 an organ by John Gray of London arrived and was placed in the gallery. It was played for the first time on 7 October, the anniversary of laying the foundation stone of the intended courthouse.

By the early 1830s more accommodation was needed and was provided by the construction of a separate eastern gallery. In order to provide access, an addition was made to the east end of the church with entrances on the north and south sides from which stairs led up to the gallery. The small sandstone ‘Doric porticos’ were modelled on the original porticos and the architect was John Verge. The room in the centre of this addition was used as the vestry. Changes were made to the interior arrangement of the church to accommodate the new gallery and the loss of its original eastward facing orientation. The pulpit was moved to the centre aisle, facing the eastern gallery and the whole of the pews in the eastern half of the church turned round to face the pulpit. The holy table was brought forward of the gallery and surrounded by a circular communion rail. This seating arrangement continued in use for the remainder of the 19th century.

From the 1830s to the 1850s St James’ was the fashionable town church. As such it became the place in which to memorialise not only those who worshipped there but also eminent colonists. In 1836 he church gained ecclesiastical status when Bishop William Grant Broughton was installed as Bishop of Australia in St James' and continued to use it as his official church until he moved to St Andrew’s temporary cathedral in 1843. The first ordinations were held at St James’. From 1846 prisoners no longer attended but with the growth of population after the gold rush more seating was still needed and the galleries were extended to almost encircle the interior. The pulpit was moved to the south wall (by the present chapel) and the church retained this form until the turn of the century.

From the 1840s under the Revd (later Canon) Robert Allwood (ultimately to be the church’s longest serving incumbent) a Tractarian form of worship was adopted. With more frequent celebration of the Holy Communion and more elaborate music, St James’ developed a distinctive liturgy, divergent from the increasingly Evangelical Diocese of Sydney, a tradition that it still retains.

By the middle of the 19th century a move had begun to live in the suburbs and the church was losing its resident population. Its architecture was considered antique (even pagan) by comparison with the fashionable Gothic style, for some the only ‘correct’ ecclesiastical architecture. By the 1880s St. James' was in decline, its congregation dwindling and the building in a bad state of repair. Moves for change were stalled by its Parsonage Trustees, who did not wish to see the internal arrangement of the church altered and who controlled the available funds for doing so. Eventually in 1894-1895 an extensive programme of external restoration was carried out by Varney Parkes. Much original fabric was replaced including the roof timbers and the spire which was completely rebuilt to a different design with new copper cladding. A new entrance was made on the north side of the tower with a small portico modelled on John Verge’s 1832-1833 additions. The north portico was opened up and rebuilt and many late-Victorian details added to the building.

In 1900 after long discussion, the interior was totally remodelled to the design of J H Buckeridge. To provide for a more elaborate ritual and a liturgy centred on the altar, the interior of the church was totally re-oriented. An apse, in the manner of St Matthew’s, Windsor, was created by breaking through the original east wall of the church into the Verge addition and a raised chancel and apse built against the east wall, flanked by the organ. Almost all of the existing fittings and furnishings were removed with the exception of the memorials and the western gallery and new bench pews were installed. A modern interior was created within a nineteenth century exterior. In 1902-1904 the south portico was made into a side chapel and some decorative elements of the 1900 scheme were completed. The architect for the works was J Burcham Clamp. With a renewed church building, the charismatic Carr Smith as its rector and a distinctive liturgy the congregation of St James’ grew once more. No longer resident in the city, its parishioners came from the suburbs making the deliberate choice of association with St James’, rather than their local church.

The interior arrangement of the church has remained essentially unaltered with some changes to lighting and decoration, the dedication of the war memorial in 1922 and the decoration of the semi-dome of the apse with gold mosaic in 1961.
A programme of stonework repair and replacement was carried out in the 1950s, followed by much more extensive work in the early 1970. The crypt was extensively renovated in 1976-1978.

In 1988 the side chapel in the south portico was redesigned as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, a bicentennial project. The original infilling between the columns was demolished and replaced with glasswork. The design, by David Wright, represents the landscape formed by the interaction of earth, air, fire and water, symbolic of the action of the Spirit in creation, in life and in rebirth in Christ. The furniture by Leon Sadubin was specially commissioned for the new chapel and is of cedar, in keeping with the rest of the church furnishings.

The large brick-vaulted undercroft or crypt beneath the church has served many purposes including the verger's residence for over a century. From the 1820s to 1840s the space was used by two of the parish schools and some of the bays enclosed. Following the work carried out in the 1890s and the revival of the congregation in the early 1900s, the space began to be used for parish purposes. Various bays were converted for use for meetings, offices, parish records and a columbarium. In 1929 the bay next to the west entrance on the south side was painted by a group of modernist artists, the Turramurra painters, under the direction of Ethel Anderson. Designed as a chapel for children, the colourful murals depicted the Christmas carol I Saw Three Ships, in the familiar setting of a contemporary Sydney Harbour with the bridge under construction. Officially named the Chapel of St. Mary and the Angels, it was better known as the Children’s Chapel. Salt in the walls eventually caused considerable deterioration and the loss of paint surface and the murals were restored in 1992-1993.

A peal of eight bells was installed in the tower in 2003. (Annable 2004)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Working for the Crown-
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 (none)-
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 Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Aaron Muron Bolot, architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
St James’ Church is important in the course of the cultural history of NSW as:
The second Anglican church in Sydney and now the oldest church building in the City of Sydney in continuous use for its original purpose since its consecration in February 1824. A part of the group of official buildings constructed for Governor Macquarie on the east side of Sydney which were an important element of Macquarie’s town plan and improvements in Sydney. A building whose location was altered by the intervention of the British government’s Commissioner of Enquiry, J T Bigge and whose completion was adversely affected by the administrative consequences of the recommendations of the Bigge Commission. An institution reflecting the association of government and religion in the colonial period and the role of the colonial chaplains in that establishment. The church in which the first Bishop of Australia, W G Broughton was installed in 1836 and the first church in which the Bishop regularly officiated. The church in which the first ordinations of Anglican clergy were held in Australia and classes held for the first theological college. For its role in education including the first attempt at kindergarten teaching in New South Wales. For the part played by the renovation of the building in 1900-1902 in a shift in attitude towards the retention of historic buildings and an appreciation of the church’s architecture, despite the denigration in the later 19th century of the style of the building and its associations. For the important part played by the building in discussions of heritage, town planning and conservation generally. (Annable 2004)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
St James’ Church has strong associations with the life and work of:
Architects, Francis Greenway, John Verge, Varney Parkes and John Hingeston Buckeridge. Artists Ethel Anderson and the Turramurra Painters, Norman Carter, David Wright and Leon Sadubin, Bishop William Grant Broughton and a long line of significant clergy who have contributed to the life of the church and of the city Governor Lachlan Macquarie and Commissioner John Thomas Bigge. A continuing sequence of notable choirmasters, organists and organ builders who have contributed to the musical life of the church, city and state. The individuals and families commemorated in its memorials representative of 19th century colonial society and of its 20th century parishioners. The individuals and organisations commemorated in its war memorials, dating from the Maori wars to the present time. (Annable 2004)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
St James’ Church demonstrates aesthetic characteristics and a high degree of technical achievement:
For the quality of its original workmanship, its brickwork being ‘far superior to any in Colony’ on its completion in 1824. As a fine example of Francis Greenway’s civic architecture. As the tallest building in Sydney from 1824 until the construction of the Town Hall tower in the late 1860s-early 1870s, and an important landmark in the early colony. For the craftsmanship of its 19th century stone and marble memorials, many of which are fine examples of local memorial work. For the high degree of craftsmanship exhibited in the remodelling of the interior of the church and in the manufacture of its new furnishings and fittings in the early 20th century. For the aesthetic quality of the murals in the Children’s Chapel by the Turramurra painters under the direction of Ethel Anderson and for the high level of technical expertise and conservation skill exhibited in the restoration of the murals. For the quality and design of the glasswork in the Chapel of Holy Spirit and its furnishings. For the high degree of regard and care shown, from 1890s onwards, for the continuous tradition of religious ministration of the sacraments and its expression in the preservation of parts of the original fabric relating to these traditions in new construction. For the role of the church building in the development of restoration techniques and philosophies in the early years of the heritage conservation movement in Australia. (Annable 2004)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
St James’ Church has strong associations with particular groups:
With the Anglican church, as a strong and continuous link in the history of the Anglican church in Australia. As a leader in the development of the Anglo-Catholic tradition in the Anglican church in Australia. With considerable numbers of important Sydney families, as represented in its memorials and with families who have celebrated rites of passage (baptisms, weddings and funerals) in the church. With the historical community generally as an acknowledged part of the history of Australia. With those who value the heritage values of the built environment, as an acknowledged ’icon’ of the early 19th century heritage. As the traditional church of the legal fraternity in Sydney. For its long and active association with the staff and patients of Sydney Hospital. With many of the Governors of New South Wales and their families as the vice-regal parish church. With the families, friends and military and defence organisations associated with those commemorated in the war memorials. With the organists, choirmasters, chorister and organ builders who have been associated with the musical life of the church and city. With its parishioners, past and present, who have maintained a worshipping community in the church from 1824 to the present day and who from the 20th century onwards represent a significant link between the city church and a non-resident congregation. (Annable 2004)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The church, its crypt and curtilage have the potential to yield information relating to all periods of construction and use of the building from 1819 to the present, including original construction and fabric. As a site with some archaeological potential which may yield information relating to all periods of construction and use of the building from 1819 to the present. (Annable 2004)
SHR Criteria f)
St James’ Church contains rare aspects of NSW’s cultural history:
St James’ Church is the oldest church in the City of Sydney and has been in continuous use for its original purpose since 1824. The church is an integral part of the most extensive surviving group of Macquarie period buildings in Australia, once part of Macquarie’s construction of official Sydney in the eastern part of Sydney. The form and construction of the crypt are unique in a Greenway building. The painted Children’s Chapel is unique in Australia and the work is a rare surviving example of the mural art of the Turramurra painters, an unusual 20th century collaborative partnership of artists. The church contains a rare collection of 19th century marble memorials. The church has in its collections rare items of movable heritage including early colonial furniture, church plate, paintings and a vice-regal funeral hatchment. (Annable 2004)
Integrity/Intactness: Substantial modifications and additions have been made to St James’ Church since its completion in 1824 but without significant loss of character of the exterior as a Georgian town church. The interior of the church was totally remodelled in 1900-1902 and all earlier fabric removed with the exception of the 19th century memorials, some timber panelling and the basic retention of the western gallery. The form and contents of the interior of the church are essentially as designed and built at this period with the exception of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (south portico) which was rebuilt in 1988. (Annable 2004)
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:

General: St James' Church should be conserved largely in its existing form and scale, and should continue in its existing use. A conservation plan should be prepared prior to any major changes to the place. Features of high significance should be conserved, and those which have been damaged or concealed by later work should be restored or reconstructed. Surfaces never intended for painting, notably face brickwork and sandstone should remain unpainted, while surfaces which were originally painted should continue to be painted in original colours. Exterior: Minor modifications to the building could be contemplated provided that no further loss of original fabric occurs. The grassed area to the south and east-west axis to Hyde Park Barracks should be conserved. Interior: The interiors, which have been much altered since the 1820s, could be subject to some further alteration in the future to assist the continuing use of the place for its original purpose, provided that surviving significant fabric is preserved. (City of Sydney Heritage Inventory)

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0170303 Sep 04 1427422
Local Environmental Plan 23809 Dec 05   
Local Environmental PlanSt James Church including interior, courtyards, peI184714 Dec 12   
National Trust of Australia register  635611 Feb 74   
Register of the National EstateSt.James' Anglican Church182021 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Religious Heritage Nominations2001 Heritage Office  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007St James' Anglican Church View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007St James' Anglican Church View detail
WrittenGorman, James2013'St.James Repairs Funded', in Sydney Central 12/6/2013
WrittenH.O. Woodhouse & Danks P/L1988Historical Report & Conservation Plan for St.James' Anglican Church, King St., Sydney
TourismHeritage NSW2013St James Anglican Church
WrittenM. Herman The Early Australian Architects and Their Work
WrittenM.H. Ellis1964Francis Greenway
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners2001Conservation Management Plan

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: 5054947
File number: S91/02689

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.

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