St. Peters Richmond Anglican Church has provided Gospel ministry and has been pivotal in many key events in the lives of the residents of the Hawkesbury and elsewhere for over 175 years.
The site covering the Church, rectory, Sunday school and burial ground was originally surveyed in 1810 by a small team under the leadership of Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The current St. Peters Richmond Anglican Church and rectory buildings were designed by Mr Francis Clarke and were built by Mr James Atkinson. The Church was consecrated in 1841 by Bishop Broughton. The architectural style of the Church is “Colonial Georgian”, and the rectory is “Rustic Gothic”. Later additions and alterations to the Church and rectory were designed by Mr Edmund Blacket.
There are several plaques and stained glass windows in the Church which are relevant to pioneering families of the area as well as there being a memorial to the fallen servicemen of the Great War, a beautiful pipe organ, a mass of beautiful Australian cedar fixtures and an ambience that is truly Holy and restful.
The St. Peter’s burial ground (or cemetery) holds the remains of several first fleeters, pioneers and other prominent people from the early period of Hawkesbury settlement.
St Peters Richmond Anglican Church Timeline
|25th March, 1810||First burial: Roger Twyfield|
|18th April, 1810||First marriage (Rev Robert Cartwright): Austin Alexander Forrest & Jemima Pitt (Hawkesbury Parish Register) in either a temporary building or at the bride’s parents house.|
|22nd April, 1810||First baptism service: Elizabeth & Sophia Markwell, Rebecca, John & Charlotte Cornwall, John Ward|
|15th Sept, 1810||First chaplain appointed for Hawkesbury Parish: Rev Robert Cartwright|
|9th Dec, 1810||First official divine Church service by Rev Robert Cartwright attended by Governor Lachlan Macquarie most likely in a temporary building as the school/Church hadn’t been built|
|15th Dec, 1810||Town of Richmond “named” by Governor Lachlan Macquarie|
|10th Jan, 1811||Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited to mark out the “site of the Church, schoolhouse and burial ground”. These were marked out by “strong posts” in the ground|
|1813||The newly built two-storey school/Church in Francis St was first used with the schoolmaster’s residence on the lower floor with the school and Church on the upper floor.|
|15th July, 1841||Church consecrated by Bishop Broughton with Rev Henry Stiles the minister. The only entrance was on the western side, pews faced north, south east and west with the Baptism/Christening font probably in the centre of the Church.|
|1847||Rectory built – possibly modelled on the vicarage occupied by Bishop Broughton in England|
|1849||A Barrel organ was installed|
|1850||John Long built the porch and repaired the tower. Porch entrance added to north side and the pew layout changed|
|1855||Church gallery built|
|1856||Chancel built on two slightly raised levels behind a fenced off area holding the communion table. This caused changes to the pew layout|
|1866||Candle lighting was supplemented by kerosene lamps|
|1874||The plain glass windows were replaced by coloured glass to give a more dignified appearance|
|8th Nov, 1874||Sunday School opened – opposite Church (next to cemetery)|
|1877||An American organ (cost 75 pounds) replaced the Barrel organ|
|27th Aug, 1889||Old school/Church in Francis Street sold for 24 pounds|
|1891||To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of consecration Joseph Onus Jnr donated the stained glass windows in the east and the stone based fence in front of the Church|
|12th June, 1904||New pipe organ dedicated|
|18th Nov, 1918||Electricity replaced the kerosene lamps in the Church|
|9th Dec, 1933||A small obelisk near the north entrance was unveiled in memory of the pioneers from bricks from the original school/Church of 1811|
|22nd March, 1956||A severe cyclone demolished the steeple, removed the Sunday School Hall roof and the iron-railed fence between the western boundary and front gates and all was restored/replaced|
|1964||Church “lathe & plaster” ceiling replaced|
|1965||Ordinance passed authorising the part sale of land fronting Chapel Street. The funds were used for Church building repairs.|
|25th Dec, 1971||Another cyclonic storm caused severe damage to the Steeple|
|20th June, 1982||Education Centre opened.|
More information on the construction of the church can be found at https://www.hawkesbury.org/name/st-peters-anglican-church-richmond
There is also a shorter Hawkesbury Gazette article:
The following is an extract from an article posted on Hawkesbury Heritage and Happenings in 2016, found at http://hawkesburyheritage.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/historic-st-peters-church-of-england.html
St Peter’s Church of England, Richmond 1879
Courtesy State Library of NSW
…the scite(sic) of the church, schoolhouse and burying ground were marked out by strong posts…The name of the town, painted on a board and nailed to strong lofty post was put close to the beautiful bank immediately above and overlooking Pugh’s Lagoon and adjoining rich lowlands where it is intended to erect the Church at Richmond.
The new church, called St Peters was officially opened on Thursday and consecrated by [Bishop Broughton] the Lord Bishop of Australia, when all the responsible families in the town and neighbourhood were present. After the ceremony, a very large party of the gentry and clergy, with the Bishop, police magistrate, &c, were received at Hobartville, and entertained most hospitably by Mr. & Mrs. W. Cox. These meetings on such occasions do great good: they promote harmony, inspire confidence, and tend to unity; and it is a fair example of the really good feeling of the Australian community…
Church of England Schoolhouse circa 1870s
Courtesy State Library of NSW
Burial entry for Margaret Catchpole who died in 1819 and is buried at St Peter’s.
Photo: M. Nichols
View of rear of St Peters Cemetery
Photo: M. Nichols, 2016