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:
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 first Service saw members of the St Matthews Congregation travel from Manly by coach. The papers of then made the following reports:
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 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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60876685
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28414907
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 drowned. Mr. 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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117443807
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:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
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.,
P. W. GLEDHILL.
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16567998
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:
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126272979
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124755821
The church celebrated its diamond anniversary in 1931:
ST. JOHN'S, PITTWATER.
Its Diamond Jubilee.
(BY P. W. GLEDHILL )
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."
REMOVED TO NEW SITE.
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16828202
ST. JOHN'S, MONA VALE.
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16808922
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18502442
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28659613
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.
To find out more, please visit: www.monavaleanglican.com.au
References - Notes
- Mona Vale Stories compiled by Guy Jennings and Joan Jennings, Newport Beach, N.S.W. : Arcadia Publishing 2007
- The Murder of David Foley by Shelagh Champion OAM
- Mona Vale Outrages by George Champion OAM
- Maria Louisa Therry – Pittwater Matriarchs
- Pittwater Fishermen: Great Mackerel, Little Mackerel (Wilson's Beach - Currawong) and The Basin
- Barrenjoey Lighthouse - The Construction
- Taramatta-Turrimetta-Turimetta Park, Mona Vale
- Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways; Mona Vale's Village Greens A Map Of The Historic Crown Lands Ethos Realised
- Harold Tristram Squire: October 28, 1868 - May 16,1938 - Artist
- Mona Vale Cemetery: Some History
- Mona Vale Public School 1906 To 2012
- 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
MONA VALE SCHOOL.
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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14768924