December 5 - 11, 2021: Issue 521


St. John's Anglican Church Mona Vale- Celebrating Its 150th Year In 2021

This view of Mona Vale, seemingly taken from near the summit of the land opposite Bushrangers Hill at the Bungan beach - Newport Beach overlap, was created by Henry Grant Lloyd on November 30th 1859:

F.109 Mona Vale road to Broken Bay from Volume 1: Sketches of N. S. [New South] Wales, 1857-1888 / by H. Grant Lloyd, Image No.: a5894117h, courtesy Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales.

This aspect looks as though the walkers are heading to Mona Vale from Newport, also there is no St John's on what we now call Mona Vale headland - that chapel opened in 1871. The home that can be seen was, in 1859, leased by Henry Bate, then the Therry family, and finally the Boutlon's, previously the Wilson home and Foley premises, is visible. 

Also visible is the waters which would form part of the front yard of the George Brock 'The Oaks' and which were part of the flow of water through the landscape that included The Black Swamp on present day Mona Vale Golf Course. Some sections, enlarged, to show these details, including those little brown coloured marks to depict cows - Pittwater was a food bowl area then, with a dairy in just about every stretch of green between headlands from Barrenjoey to Long Reef.

The tenancy of 'Mona Vale farm' became William Boulton's in 1872. He was at Mona Vale until January 1882, when he took out a publican’s licence for the Newport Hotel and then bought the hotel which was not sold until 22 years after he passed away in 1919. 

Illustration from the Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes Album. 1880, by Harold Brees Courtesy the Mitchell Library:

Pittwater’s first two churches were built within a year of each other; St. John’s Church of England had its inaugural Service on September 21st 1871 in the little chapel built atop North Mona Vale Headland, while the Methodist Church that gave Church Point its name and was used as a schoolhouse during the week, commenced Services in 1872.

St. Johns as a weatherboard chapel measuring 16 feet by 30 feet was built on what became Lot 40 Grandview Parade overlooking The Basin beach of Mona Vale – the land had been gifted from the Bassett-Darley Estate by Benjamin Darley, the husband of land heiress Katherine Wentworth. The land and farm itself, named 'Mona Vale' by David Foley when he was the tenant, was then occupied by the Wilson family.

The family of Thomas Wilson were tenants of “Mona Vale” during the years 1866 to 1872. Alike the Foley family and Therry family before them they experienced the machinations of the Farrell family living at Newport who, it would seem, wanted no competition in the dairying occupation locally and would kill innocent animals and at least one person to serve their ends:

Mona Vale, Pitt Water District.— It seems that the spirit of animosity towards the tenants of this homestead has only been slumbering, and has now broken out afresh. The snake was only scotched, not killed. It will be in the recollection of many of our readers that we have had to report cattle stealing, cattle shooting, and even murder as having occurred in this district. Now again, the destruction of cattle has commenced, without the authors of such atrocities at present having been discovered. No later than last Wednesday, a valuable bull was missed from the paddocks at Mona Vale, at present occupied by Mr. Thomas Wilson, long well known as a resident of the Manly Beach and Pitt Water districts. Due search, as a matter of course, was made for the animal, which was subsequently found dead, having evidently been destroyed by a gunshot wound. This loss to Mr. Wilson is serious, as the bull was of a superior breed, and the only one on his run. A bullock belonging to a Mr. McMahon, residing on the North Shore, was also found dead from a similar cause, and the carcass was about a quarter of a mile from that of the bull, and on the same property. How far the authorities have been correct or justified in the removal of the mounted troopers from the immediate vicinity of these occurrences it is not for us to say, but it is impossible for one sergeant or one policemen, resident at Manly, although mounted, to attend to the whole of the district and the requirements nearer at home. Sydney Empire 13 instant. GOONDIWINDI. (1867, March 20). The Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1875), p. 2. Retrieved from 

The first Service saw members of the St Matthews Congregation travel from Manly by coach. The papers of then made the following reports:


This school-church, or Chapel-of-ease to St. Matthew's, Manly, was opened by license on the 21st instant, being St. Matthew's Day. It is a neat wooden building, 30 x 16 feet, erected on an elevated site from which there is a very fine view of the ocean. The site was given by Mr. Edward Darley. 

The building is not yet finished, but will be shortly. A considerable number of persons from Manly and Broken Bay-the two opposite extremes of the district-as well as from the immediate neighbourhood of Pittwater, assembled on the occasion. About 100 were present at the church. The license was read by Mr. Joseph Cook. The prayers were said by the incumbent, Rev. E. Smith, and a suitable sermon was preached from John L, 29.' by the Rev. W. C. Cave-Browne-Cave, incumbent of St. Thomas's, Willoughby. The choir of St. Matthew's, Manly, kindly conducted the singing. The offertory amounted to £9 10s 10d. 

This small church, being situated quite in the wilderness, and being the first erected in that part of the colony, is appropriately named after the Baptist and it is the earnest prayer of those through whose exertions the building has been so far brought to completion, that whoever may officiate may, like-the Baptist, preach repentance ; and may also, like him, as the preacher did on that occasion, point always to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." 

Those who have contributed to this good work have conferred an incalculable benefit upon a locality where, until recently-before a service was commenced there by the late incumbent, the Rev. G. Gurney-lamentable to say, were to be found adults who had never heard the Word of God.-Australian Churchman. The Empire. (1871, September 30). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 2. Retrieved from 

St Johns Mona Vale

ST. JOHN. BAPTIST, PITTWATER. . - This school-church, or Chapel-of-ease to St. Matthew's, Manly, was opened by license on the 21st instant, being St. Matthew's day. It is a neat wooden building, 30 x16 feet, erected on an elevated site, from which there is a very fine view of the ocean. The site was given by Mr. Edward Darley. The building is not yet finished, but will be shortly. A considerable number of persons from Manly and Broken Bay, the two opposite extremes of the district-as well as from the immediate neighbourhood of Pittwater, assembled on the occasion; About 100 were present at the church. 

The license was read by Mr. Joseph Cook. The prayers were said by the incumbent Rev. E. Smith, and a suitable sermon was preached from John i.20, by the Rev. W. C. Cave-Browne-Cave, Incumbent of St. Thomas's, Willoughby. The choir of St, Matthew's, Manly, kindly conducted the singing. The offertory amounted to £ 9 10s 10d. This small church, being, situated quite in the wilderness, and being the first erected in that part of the colony, is appropriately named after the Baptist; and it is the earnest prayer of those, through whose exertions the building has been so far brought to completion, that whoever may officiate may, like the Baptist, preach repentance and may also, like him, and as the preacher did on that occasion, point always to the Lamb of God who taketh away 'the sins of the world." 

Those who have contributed to this good work have conferred on incalculable benefit upon a locality, where, until recently-before a service was commenced there by the late incumbent, the Rev. G. Gurney-lamentable to say, were to be found adults who had never heard the Word of God from Australian Churchman. THE LAND. (1871, October 2). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

On August 4th 1870 Thomas Wilson saw John Farrell III driving some of his (Wilson’s) cattle on the side of a hill (Bushranger’s Hill) towards Farrell’s farm. A three-year-old heifer who was within six weeks of calving was missed, and after investigating, the police arrested Farrell and charged him with having portion of a stolen carcase in his possession. The legal proceedings were protracted, and while at the Central Criminal Court, Thomas Wilson received the shocking news that his daughter Blanche, aged 2 years and 2 months, had drowned at Mona Vale in a shallow pond about eighteen inches deep, on November 11, 1870. The little girl was buried at the farm and near or on the site of St. John's Anglican Church, then on the headland of Mona Vale-Bungan and part of the farm.

Two men lost their lives in the building of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers cottages. One was William Stark who died in an onsite accident when the jib of a crane fell on him. The second,  George Cobb,  drowned in a boating accident. Both were buried at the original St John's Church on the hillside overlooking Bongin Bongin Beach (now Mona Vale Beach), within the 280-hectare Bassett-Darley Pittwater Estate. Their headstones were made by their fellow workers. 

Particulars of the fatal boat- accident previously reported from Barrenjoey are given. It appears that Mrs. Phillips, her son John Phillips, Joseph Modini, a fisherman, and George Cobb, a foreman in the employ of Mr. Banks, lighthouse contractor here, were returning home in a small boat, when from some unexplained cause the boat filled. Modini and John Phillips succeeded in gaining the shore about aquarter of a mile off, but Mrs. Phillips and George Cobb were drownedMr. Black, of H. M. Customs, immediately upon receiving information, started with a party to attempt to recover the bodies. SYDNEY. (1881, April 20). Goulburn Herald (NSW : 1881 - 1908), p. 3. Retrieved from

Mr. John Kelly was Foreman of Works thereafter, and guided by Mr. E. S. W. Spencer, the then Clerk of Works. The stone used for the lighthouse, lighthouse keepers and assistant lighthouse keepers cottages was quarried from the headland itself, just below the site of the current assistant lighthouse-keeper cottages. The other materials required were brought by ship to the Customs Station Wharf and carried via the trolley devised by Mr Banks to the constructions site.

Years later a mystery over these headstones was solved by stonemason James Booth and an early member of the Manly-Warringah-Pittwater Historical society:


Sir,-I note Mr James Booth refers to the burial of two men who were accidentally killed in the erection of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, and that they were buried alongside the Church of St. John the Baptist at Pittwater This church was opened on September 21, 1871, and about the year 1880 two graves at least were alongside the church, and two head-stones were erected; and when the church was removed to Bay View-road, Mona Vale, in 1888, the stones were still standing. After a few years they disappeared, and now the graves referred to are in the backyard of a property situated not far from the 11th milepeg, and should be removed by the authorities to the Church of England portion of the General Cemetery at Gordon-road, Mona Vale, as it is a stigma on our early pioneers that their resting place should be the backyard of a private property. If anyone can enlighten us by the names of these forgotten pioneers the Manly Historical Society would feel grateful.

I am, etc.,

Hon. Secretary, Manly, Warringah, and Pittwater Historical Society.
Rockspray, Manly, July 10.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD. (1929, July 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

As can be read in Percy Gledhill's letter, the church was moved in 1888. St. John's records state:

By 1881 residents had moved nearer the township of Mona Vale and so it was decided to move the church to Winnererremy Estate in Bayview Rd (now part of the golf course on Pittwater Rd). This was accomplished in 1888 on a bullock wagon, which became bogged for 2 weeks before making it to the new site.

Apparently Services were conducted in the church while on wheels during the two weeks that elapsed before it could be moved. 

Mona Vale circa 1905 - looking towards Bayview. To the left is St John's Church of England. It is on this site that it was proposed to build Mona Vale Public school.

A painting of the first St. John's transported to then named Bay View road, now Pittwater road, near the corner of Cabbage Tree road, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

By 1904 the wooden church had deteriorated to such an extent that it had to be demolished and a small stone church was built by James Booth on the present site at 1624 Pittwater Road Mona Vale, much closer to the village centre and was built in 1906 and opened in 1907. The residents raised funds by holding entertainments in the now demolished 'Booths Hall' at Mona Vale as well as by other means:

On Saturday evening a tea meeting and entertainment was held in Booth's Hall, Bayview, in aid of the Church of England Building Fund. The Committee have already £126 in hand, and Saturday's gathering will add considerably to that amount, so that the new church will soon become an accomplished fact. The tea tables were laden with all sorts of good things, and the little hall presented a very animated appearance. When all had partaken of the tasty things provided the tables were cleared for the second part of the evening's amusement. This opened with an overture by Mrs. Tolhurst (piano) and Mr. G. Allpress (violin). " A Fancy Fair," being a study in white and gold, was given by Frank and Kathleen Tolhurst, and they also gave a musical comedietta, "Pierrot and Pierrette," Mrs. Tolhurst and Mr. Allpress gave some excellent renderings during the evening, among them being  “Dreaming (duet). "The Double Eagle"
(overture), Violets(duet), and " Pickaninny Christening" (overture) Alec Patison sang “Egypt" and "Britannia's Navy. 
Mr. H. P. Brodie, who is the districts popular catochist, sang "After ' B Song " and " I trust you still." Mr. Brodie's energy and untiring efforts to further God's work in this district is meeting with success every where, and now that Bayview has secured sufficient or nearly so to build a new Church an effort will shortly be made to start and build one at Newport. Too much praise cannot be bestowed on Miss Codrington, Hon. Secretary, Mr. H. Ball, Hon. Treas., and the ladies and gentlemen who assisted them in making the gathering so gigantically successful. 
NEWPORT. (1904, December 10). The Mosman Mail (NSW : 1898 - 1906), p. 4. Retrieved from 

Pittwater Pleasuring
An Outing.
By "Phren."
Last Saturday afternoon I got the offer of a free ride to Rock Lily. The cart would pick me up at the E. S. and A. Bank and put me down anywhere I liked. It was very convenient, and so I accepted the offer—partly on account of the pleasant company who were going. Of course I had to walk up the hill opposite the Spit. The new path makes the journey easy. When we got to Brookvale we found that Mr. Bagnall was not at home, and Mr. Miles the postmaster was very busy—so we went on our way rejoicing. At Narrabeen Mrs. McLean, postmistress, was busy as usual. She is always industrious. I wonder if she ever rests. Madame Boutin was just as pleasant as usual—which is saying a great deal. And onward we went. At Rocklily Mr. Houreux proved himself as fully up to his name and title as ever. Of course you know that houreux is French for happy well, the spelling is slightly different in the first syllable, mais n'importe.

In the Rock Lily hotel that evening several gentlemen conversed and arranged with reference to next Saturday's (28) entertainment in Booth's Hall for the benefit of the Church of England Building Fund. It was decided to make a great success of the affair. All present promised to do their utmost to make the show a great occasion. Sunday morning I went out to see a new estate. I am not giving the name of the owner. The last time I did so he didn't like it so I will this time keep it to myself,—just to punish him. But he's all right. Of course you know whom I mean.

Then I went to Newport. At dinner at the Newport Hotel that day there were 122 guests. And Mr. Greig, the proprietor, said there ought to have been 40. 

Newport Hotel circa 1910 - courtesy national Museum of Australia, part of the Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1 - coloured postcard

The afternoon coach back had me for a passenger. It was beautiful weather. I saw that good old standby Mr. W. Bagnall as we Of course you know he was the pioneer of Manly. We say " the,"—for so we are in formed. He built a lot of It, and still owns a good bit. We have heard—please don't tell, as it is secret, — that several gentlemen have recently tried to buy his Manly properties." For many years he ran the Aquarium, Hotel in the Corso. What a Change has taken place in Manly since the new liquor law came into force. I do not mean to say that the hotels ever sold drink on Sunday.' But now the whole town is as tight as a pistol. Waiters and housemaids stand at the doors of some of the hotels and when anyone wants to go in they say,-— " You can’t come in here.*-However, all's well that ends well, and we cannot find fault with anyone for keeping the law. But I am afraid Dr. Arthur, whom I respect and like, will have to fight hard to keep his end up at the next election. And yet he may be quite right. ………..
Pittwater Pleasuring. (1906, July 21). The Mosman Mail (NSW : 1898 - 1906), p. 2. Retrieved from 

Concert at Rock Lily
By the Elite Variety Company of Mosman.
Last Saturday afternoon a specially engaged vehicle conveyed from Mosman to Rock Lily the young men of the Elite Variety Company, where they gave a highly successful entertainment for the benefit of the local Church of England building fund. The trip was a pleasant one and their reception by the local committee hearty and genial. The performance gave great enjoyment to as large an audience as Booth's Hall could contain, and was pronounced by the residents to be one of the best they had ever had. The following members of the company were warmly encored :— Messrs. T. Plows, A. Slavin, E. Bellis, E. Mackenzie, F. Pike, E. Foster, D. Hellmrich, J. Smith, and Mr. Mat Fitzgerald accompanied in his usual excellent manner. On the close of the entertainment the company adjourned for the night to Mr. Plows', in the morning they visited the beautiful grounds of Mr. G. S. Brock, and they returned to Mosman in the afternoon. Mr. J. T. Caves was business manager. The thanks of the company are tendered Mr. Harington, of Rock Lily, for his kindly services in making arrangements there, also Mr. J. Parkinson, of Trafalgar Square, Mossman for his valuable assistance. 
Concert at Rock Lily (1906, August 4). The Mosman Mail (NSW : 1898 - 1906), p. 6. Retrieved from 

The first Service was held on February 4th 1907 and conducted by the Reverend J. H. Maclean of North Sydney.

St. John's Church on its present site in sandstone, circa 1907. Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

St. John's Church circa 1919

Then, at Narrabeen is a pretty wooden church, erected by Mrs. McPherson, of Sydney, which is called St. Faith's. St. John the Baptist is the name, of a new stone church at Mona Vale, which was opened in February last, replacing the wooden church at Bay View, which had been utilised since 1871. .... AT SYDNEY'S CHURCHES. (1907, December 29). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 5 (The Sunday Times MAGAZINE SECTION). Retrieved from

Between the years of 1920 and 1952, Mona Vale Anglican belonged to the parish of Narrabeen, incorporating Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport, Avalon and Palm Beach. One early wedding and early supporter:


The marriage was celebrated at the Mona Vale Church of St. John the Baptist, on the 2nd instant, of Miss Gwenyth Smith, youngest daughter of the Rev. D T. and Mrs. Smith, of Wingecarribee, to Mr. A Throsby Young, of Moss Vale and Wagga. The bride, who was charmingly attired in ivory tulle and lace over shell pink georgette, and wore the customary veil and orange blossoms, was given away by her brother in law, Mr. Frank Wyatt, while Mr. Oliver Young, brother of the bridegroom, acted in the capacity of best man. The ceremony was performed by the father of the bride, the latter being attended by her sister as maid of honor. After the ceremony the guests were received at Scott's Hotel, Newport, by Mrs. Frank Wyatt, in the absence other mother, through illness, and Mrs Miller, mother of the bridegroom, and entertained at luncheon, where the usual toasts were honored. Mr. and Mrs Throsby Young left by motor for an extended tour of the South Coast before proceeding to their future home at Wagga. The bride's travelling costume was a tailored suit in deep brown, with hat to tone. Wedding. (1920, September 22). The Scrutineer and Berrima District Press (NSW : 1892 - 1948), p. 2. Retrieved from 

Lieutenant Wade Browne, of Medlow Bath and Bayview, Pittwater, who died recently in his 85th year, was a Crimean and Indian Mutiny veteran, and a pioneer in the improvement of cattle-breeding methods and sugar-planting in Australia. 

He was born in Wiltshire, on the estate of Moncton Farleigh, which was then owned by his father, and journeyed to Australia in the London, whose foundering later was one of the greatest of sea tragedies. His record of overlanding experience is embodied In a small book, which was favourably reviewed at the time, and a copy of which is now in the Mitchell Library. He bought Bolingbroke station, 70 miles from Mackay, and stocked it with cattle, ultimately selling out at a high figure and returning to England. Returning to Mackay some years later he took up sugarcane growing. His wife's health failed, and he took her to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, ultimately settling at Medlow Bath on about 50 acres of good orchard land.

Seven years after her death he married a granddaughter of the Rev. Andrew Reed, D.D., of London, a philanthropist aid worker for the poor. Lieutenant Wade Browne and his second wife had mutual interests, particularly in Church work. At that time Medlow had no Church of England, and services were held in various places, the most interesting being a cave on the estate of one of the residents. A little organ and reading-desk were installed in this primitive place of worship. Funds were raised for a church, and the two earnest workers had the satisfaction of seeing a little church of simple design erected on land that had been given for the purpose. This building was afterwards enlarged and improved, and is now one of the features of Medlow Bath. 

Lieutenant Wade Browne and his wife established a winter home at Pittwater, where he helped in the establishment of a new church for the district, and became a lay reader. His familiar figure was often seen on the road to church, no matter the weather, his full white whiskers indicating his age. Church work was associated with a benevolence that sought no publicity, and the name of Wade Browne is honoured in the district. The Union Jack, which he had honoured so greatly in life, covered his coffin when It was being borne to the Blackheath Cemetery. A PIONEER'S DEATH. (1922, August 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

The church celebrated its diamond anniversary in 1931:

Its Diamond Jubilee.

The history of Pittwater Is Interwoven with the life of the first Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, R.N., who, within six weeks of the establishment of the settlement at Sydney Cove, visited Broken Bay, and discovered on March 3, 1788, "a beautiful stretch of water to the south, which he honoured with the name of Pittwater, after the then Prime Minister of England." This event Is commemorated by a cairn, erected by the Manly, Warringah, and Pittwater Historical Society, at Barrenjoey.

The history of the Anglican Church of St. John the Baptist, Pittwater, dates back to the year 1871, when the church was opened for divine worship on St. Matthew's Day, September 21. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Cave Browne Cave, incumbent of St. Thomas' Church, Willoughby (now known as North Sydney), assisted by the Rev. Edward Smith, incumbent of St. Matthew's Parish Church, Manly, which included the district of Pittwater and Broken Bay. A considerable number of people were pre-sent, who manifested much interest in the proceedings. They came from the neighbourhood and different parts of Broken Bay, together with some visitors from St. Matthew's Church, Manly, and crowded the church to excess. The service was of a very impressive nature, during which the licence for the opening of the building was read by Mr. Joseph Cook, church warden of the parish church. The sermon was preached from St. John I, 29, by the Rev. Cave Browne Cave. The site for the erection of this neat wooden edifice was given by Mr. Edward Darley, overlooking the ocean and near the eleven-mile peg on the Newport road. The "Sydney Morning Herald" of October 2, 1871, referred to this small church as "being situated quite in the wilderness, and being the first erected in that part of the colony." Standing, as it did, in a prominent position, the building was an object of interest to the travellers by the coach traversing the old main road to Newport.

The "Herald" also relates that "those who have contributed to this good work have conferred incalculable benefits upon a locality where, until recently, before a service was commenced by the late incumbent, the Rev. G. Gurney-lamentable to say, were to be found adults who had never heard the word of God."


On May 24, 1873, the Bishop of Sydney'(Most Rev. Frederic Barker, D.D.) made an official visit to Pittwater, and preached in St John's Church to a crowded congregation. As the years went by a great number of the inhabitants moved away from the estate in the vicinity of the church, and it was decided in the year 1888 to remove the building to Bay View-road to a site adjoining Mr. George Mclntosh's 43-acre selection known as Winnererreny. The land was transferred to the Church authorities on March 25, 1888, and shortly afterwards the building was removed to the new site. 

During the years 1892 and 1893 the church was transferred from the Parish of Manly to the district known as St. John's, Pittwater, with the Lower Hawkesbury, Bar Island, and Greendale, now Brookvale. The curate in charge of this district was the Rev. Arthur Galley, who resided at Greendale; but in 1895 It was again attached to the Parish of Manly.

During the year 1905 it was decided to erect a new stone edifice in the township of Mona Vale in place of the building that was fast falling into decay. The new building being completed, was opened on February 4,1906, by the Rev. John H, Maclean, rector of Christ Church, North Sydney, assisted by the Rev. C. B. Elwin, acting rector of the Parish of Manly, during the absence of the Rev. A. G. Stoddart In England.

The Diocesan Synod of 1921 gave approval to the petition to make Narrabeen and Mona Vale Into a mission district, and the Archbishop appointed the Rev. F. G. Greville as the first minister of the new district of St. Faith's, Narrabeen, with St. John's, Mona Vale, who remained in charge until September, 1925, when he was succeeded by the present rector, the Rev. N. M. Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd was the first rector, the district having been elevated to a parish in September, 1925. ST. JOHN'S, PITTWATER. (1931, September 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from 


The 60th anniversary of St. John the Baptist Church, Mona Vale, was celebrated on Saturday and yesterday. On Saturday the rector and churchwardens held a largely-at-tended reception, and after tea Mr. P. W. Gledhill delivered a lantern lecture on "The very early days of Pittwater and old St. John's Church.

The church was opened for divine worship on September 21, 1871, the service being con-ducted by the Rev. W. C. Cave-Brown-Cave, who was rector of what Is now the church of St. Thomas, North Sydney. In the early 90's St. John's became the central church of a "conventional district," known as St. John's, Pittwater, with Greendale (now Brookvale), the Lower Hawkesbury, and Bar Island. In 1894, however, It was attached to the parish of Manly. In 1921 a mission district was formed in Narrabeen and Mona Vale, the first clergyman being the Rev. F. G. Greville. He was succeeded by the present rector, Rev. N. M. Lloyd, in 1925, which was the year In which the charge was created a parish by itself.

The following letter was read from the Archbishop of Sydney (Dr. Wright) :

"I write on the occasion of the diamond Jubilee of your historical church. The neighbourhood has greatly changed since the first church was built, but all the time It has been bearing Its witness for Christ and His Church, and undoubtedly It has had an influence for good upon the whole neighbourhood. It is my earnest prayer that God's richest blessing may continue to enrich the labours of your rector and ourselves."

The Jubilee service last night was taken by Mr. Gledhill. THE CHURCHES. (1931, September 21).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 10. Retrieved from 

More wedding records:

At Village Church

MR. and MRS. ALLAN ROGERS, leaving the little stone village church of St. John, at Mona Vale, after their wedding yesterday. The bride was formerly Miss Pam Higgins, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. K. B. Higgins, of Mona Vale; the bride-groom is the younger son of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Rogers, of Melbourne. MRS. BOB HARRINGTON, sister of the bride, came from Cloncurry to be matron-of-honour; Miss Pat Eyles was bridesmaid. Mr. BILL ROGERS and Mr. Bob Corrie-Smith attended the bride-groom. A cocktail reception was held in the garden of the bride's home, and later a buffet tea was served, where dancing also took place. At Village Church (1953, March 15). The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 25. Retrieved from

MANY CARS leaving Sydney yesterday, carried guests to St. John's Church, Mona Vale, where fellow veterinary surgeons, Miss Margot McKinney and Mr. Ransurley Jacob were married. The bride is the only daughter of Mr. K. McKinney, of Victoria, and Mrs. Stewart Howard, of Church Point. The bridegroom is the only son of All Black footballer. Mr. Harry Jacob, and Mrs. Jacob, of Levin, New Zealand.

The bride's dress of white Swiss hailspotted organdy, was made with a boat shaped neckline and bouffant skirt. Her frothy tulle veil was held by a wreath of white flowers. Miss Jocelyn Howard and veterinary - surgeon, Miss Joan Kater attended the bride.

The bridegroom was attended by Dr. David Warden and Mr. David Brockhoff. MARRIED YESTERDAY: Many Guests From Country (1954, March 7). The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1953 - 1954), , p. 52. Retrieved from 

Since then, St John's Mona Vale church records state:

In 1961 Mona Vale Anglican became the centre of Mona Vale provisional district (later Parish), and received its first resident minister, Reverend George Townend. A rectory was built in Darley St at the rear of the church. The Reverend Victor Cole took charge in 1964 and D E Langshaw in 1968

The population continued to increase considerably with housing developments, and large business and industrial areas appearing.

In 1977 the Rev. Ron Coleman succeeded the Rev. D. Langshaw as Rector, and ministered faithfully for 22 years. The long hoped for extension to the 1907 small stone church was planned and built during this time. The opening and dedication took place on the 10th of October 1982. A new rectory was also built during this time in Kiah close, Bayview, being completed in January 1985.

In November 2000 the Rev. John Reid was welcomed into the Parish as Rector. He continues to minister at Mona Vale Anglican encouraging God’s people to grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus while seeking to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus. Mona Vale Township is a large and growing community including large housing developments, several schools, and a number of retirement villages and nursing homes.

In 2004 a new family service was launched at Loquat Valley Anglican School by Warren Smith. It was relocated to Mona Vale Anglican Church before closing at the end of April 2007. The experience of starting this congregation taught us the importance of being a missional church. At the start of 2006 we launched a new congregation by Matthew Elkan which is now called 6pm Unplugged. It is comprised of young adults from Mona Vale Anglican. In the same year we started a fortnightly service at Minkara Retirement Resort and a monthly service at Seabeach Village, while the monthly service at George Mockler Retirement Village has continued for over 15 years.

In 2007 we launched Baptism Explained classes giving us the opportunity to form relationships with families enquiring about baptism for their children. The 10 am congregation that meets on a Sunday at Mona Vale Anglican is now the focus of our family ministry and the 8am congregation caters for a more traditional prayer book service. In the same year we formed a partnership with Anglicare to operate out of Mona Vale Anglican Church. Anglicare provides aged care for seniors over the course of the working week, and contact between the members of our church and those who attend Anglicare is growing.

In partnership with World Vision we have broadened our horizons about engaging with our community and culture. We helped expand a mentoring programme called “Kid’s Hope” into the Northern Territory by supporting churches in Darwin and Alice Springs to be involved. A growing number of members of Mona Vale Anglican are now Kid's Hope mentors in our local primary school. We also have a partnership with Nungalinya College in Darwin to care for and empower indigenous people. A team from our church visits Darwin each year in the June/July school holidays for a week where we serve them and assist in any way possible using the skills we have. In the past we have updated their website, designed buildings, catalogued their library books, gardening, building fences and disability ramps but most of all we have painted their building which is a constant need. The college now plans their maintenance activity for the year around our visit. 

Mona Vale Anglican bears testimony to the faithful service and ministry of so many – from the early pioneers of 1871 who had the vision to build the first church in the area, and including all those who have had the privilege to serve faithfully over the past 150+ years. We give thanks to our great and powerful God who has blessed us so richly. We see our aim as making a difference for eternity – together.

Congratulations on commencing your 151st year of serving our community St. John's Mona Vale - may there be many more and many generations served faithfully to come.

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References - Notes

  1. Mona Vale Stories compiled by Guy Jennings and Joan Jennings, Newport Beach, N.S.W. : Arcadia Publishing 2007
  2. The Murder of David Foley by Shelagh Champion OAM 
  3. Mona Vale Outrages by George Champion OAM
  4. Maria Louisa Therry – Pittwater Matriarchs
  5. Pittwater Fishermen: Great Mackerel, Little Mackerel (Wilson's Beach - Currawong) and The Basin
  6. Barrenjoey Lighthouse - The Construction
  7. Taramatta-Turrimetta-Turimetta Park, Mona Vale
  8. Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways; Mona Vale's Village Greens A Map Of The Historic Crown Lands Ethos Realised 
  9. Harold Tristram Squire: October 28, 1868 - May 16,1938 - Artist
  10. Mona Vale Cemetery: Some History
  11. Mona Vale Public School 1906 To 2012
  12. St Matthews' Manly Dedicates Darley Smith Building 

After the murder of Mary Ann Farrell’s father, David Foley, in November 1849, the Farrells appear to have run their own and the Foley farm as one, enjoying the use of hundreds of acres of land for their cattle. The 700 acre farm was leased for a short time by Henry Bate and Fred Berkelman in 1858-59, but their venture failed, according to Henry’s daughter, because of cattle thieves who frequently drove off and killed their cattle. 

For a short time a caretaker named Lush was installed; then in August 1862 James Therry, a relative of Father J.J. Therry, became the tenant of Mona Vale. For more detail see The Murder of David Foley by Shelagh Champion OAM + Maria Louisa Therry – Pittwater Matriarchs


A deputation introduced by Dr. Arthur, M.L.A., yesterday urged upon the Minister for Public Instruction the necessity of opening a Public School at Mona "Vale. It was suggested that either a new school building should be erected or the school at Church Point should be transferred to Mona Vale. The importance of the place was rapidly growing owing to the subdivision of estates for residential purposes.

Mr. O'Conor said It appeared to him that the trend of the population was still unsettled. In addition to that the establishment of small schools was a great expense, and he was quite opposed to any material increase in the number of small schools. He would have a report made on the subject, but he reminded the deputation that the duty of parents did not cease on merely sending their children to school. He would arrange with the district inspector to confer with the parents to see it some satisfactory arrangement could not be come to. MONA VALE SCHOOL. (1906, May 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

''Mona Vale, Rock Lily, Pittwater'', circa 1897-1903 courtesy State Library of Victoria, Item: FL20622468 – postcard