THE BUILDING HISTORY OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST, HARTLEY
Edmund T Blacket, having designed a church for Hartley called for tenders in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22 July 1857. The unidentified foundation stone was laid by Bishop Frederick Barker on 21 April 1858. The Church was opened and dedicated on 27 February 1859, again by Bishop Barker.
STONEWORK The “Early English” stone church was built without Blacket’s supervision and accordingly was very simple in design. The paired lancets on each bay of the nave have no mouldings and the stepped buttresses and western bell-cote were standard in the 1850’s. The only external decoration was a simple moulded strong stone course below the windows and a hood mould over the east window. Even so, sad to relate, the local contractor William Rose, appears to have misread Blacket’s drawing because the stone string course or nosing is only beneath each window when it should have been continuous as was normal with Blacket’s designs. Mortimer Lewis also had his plans for the Hartley Court House misread. It appears that early Hartley builders appear to have been competent tradesmen but stylistically inept.
The Anglican residents of the area applied to the colonial Secretary for permission to raise funds for the establishment of a church at Hartley. There was a special Government form for this purpose. Heading the list was Bishop Broughton and J Norton Esq. Some of the early committee members of the Fund were Pierce Collits, Joseph Collits, James Collits, George Jarvis, James Walker - JP, Captain Bull - 99th Regiment, Frank R D’Arcy and James Nairne. Messrs J O Norton and William Hale Palmer were each for a time treasurers. It was 20 years before the Committee saw the Church opened in 1859. The nearest Church of England was Holy Trinity at Kelso (Bathurst) which, it could be said, was the mother church of Hartley - for the minister there went to Hartley to take Services.
TIMBERWORK The timberwork was carried out by the Burton Brothers who had recently arrived from England. Henry was engaged to do the timber works and asked his brother, Horatio F Burton, to join him in the work. Horatio took up permanent residence at Bowenfels where he lived for 71 years until his death in February 1929. St John’s interior is simple with a plain chancel dividing nave from sanctuary. The entrance to the church was originally to be on the north side but due to severe westerly winds experienced this was closed and the entrance without a porch was made through the second bay opposite - on the south wall of the nave.
PRESENT DAY USE St John’s is now within the boundaries of the Hartley National Parks and Wildlife Services Hartley Village Historic Site. The Church is part of the Parish of Blackheath. The Rector, the Reverend Ian Mears may be contacted on (02) 4787 8127.
St John’s is available for weddings and a regular service is held. Arrangements for weddings may be made with the Reverend Ian Mears.
ANGLICAN HISTORY IN THE HARTLEY VALLEY
1815: It was at Glenroy, Hartley that the first Divine Service was held. It was on the occasion of Governor Macquarie’s trip over the Blue Mountains when the first road was finished. The Governor wrote, “I had all our servants and followers regularly paraded and had Divine Service”. This was on Sunday, 30 April 1815. A special service was held at Glenroy, Hartley on 2 May 1936, when the late Archbishop H W K Mowll spoke and dedicated an obelisk memorial to mark the First Service in 1815.
1839: Before the church was built at Hartley, casual services were held privately, some recorded as being held in Collits’ Inn, and on 24 March 1839, the Reverend Thomas Hassell took a service and preached in the Court House. The Court House was also used for services - first in February 1839 by the Reverend Colin Stewart, a Presbyterian. It was Governor Gipps who gave permission for church services to be held in the Court House. Other celebrants were ministers journeying to and from the west and among such were the Reverend John Espie Keane of Kelso, the Reverend William Lisle of Kelso, the Reverend Thomas Sharpe and Bishops Broughton and Barker. It was very likely that the Reverend Samuel Marsden could have also celebrated there on his visits to Molong and Bathurst, for Judge Barron Field, in a letter said, “Marsden had conducted services there (Bathurst) from 1822 until the Reverend John Espie Keane was appointed minister at Kelso Bathurst, in July 1825, on the initiative of Archdeacon Scott and Governor Darling.”
Painting of St John's by local artist ' Mary Hailstone'
St John The Evangelist - Anglican Church of Australia - Hartley
Opened for Divine Service
27th February 1859
The Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist at Hartley
- Derek Russell -
1857: On 2 February 1857, Church committee Secretary, R B Dawson wrote to Bishop Barker to inform his Lordship that a house had been prepared suitable for a minister. Accordingly the Reverend John Troughton was appointed that year to be in charge of the new Parish of Hartley. The church was built through the leadership of the Reverend John Troughton after his appointment to Hartley in 1857. It was built at the cost of one thousand, three hundred and fifty six pounds.
1859: The Church was opened and dedicated by the Bishop of Sydney and Metropolitan, Bishop Barker on 27 February 1859, when there was a large gathering of residents present.
The Reverend John Troughton was the first rector - but his ministry was cut short for he lost his life on 23 December 1859 by drowning in a stream during the course of his parochial visitations.
1864: The Church Society, now the Home Mission Society, guaranteed the interest on the balance of the building cost. This was paid off and the Church consecrated by Bishop Barker in 1864.
Revd J Troughton Revd W Coombs Revd R H Mayne Revd J Hornby-Spear Revd T J Heffernan Revd W P Dorph Revd E O Harding Revd C J Letts Revd H R J Scott Revd G A Taylor Revd H L Robertson Revd H R Voss Revd N Mathieson Revd R R McKinney Revd R Buckingham Revd F W Mostyn Revd Dr J I Steele Revd D White Revd C Potter Assistant Minister Revd I Mears Revd M Horsley Assistant Minister