St James' Church, Sydney
|St James' Church, Sydney|
|St James, King Street|
|Heritage designation||State Heritage Register|
|Designated||3 September 2004|
|Parish||St James', King Street|
|Assistant||John Stewart; Martin Davies|
|Director of music||Warren Trevelyan Jones|
St James' Church, Sydney, commonly known as St James', King Street, is an Australian Anglican parish church situated in King Street in central Sydney. It was consecrated on 11 February 1824, and acquired its own parish in 1835. The church was designed by the transported convict architect Francis Greenway during the governorship of Lachlan Macquarie and is part of the historical precinct of Macquarie Street which includes other early colonial buildings such as the Hyde Park Barracks. The building is listed on the Register of the National Estate and has been described as one of the world's 80 greatest man-made treasures.
Although not the first church in the colony, it is now the oldest church building in Sydney's inner city region and has maintained its special role in the city's religious, civic and musical life. It has a close associations with the city's legal and medical professions through its proximity to the Law Courts and Sydney Hospital. Since its early ministry to the convict population of Sydney, St James' has maintained a continuity in its service of the city's poor and needy.
Worship at St James' is in a style commonly found in the High Church and moderate Anglo-Catholic traditions of Anglicanism. It maintains the traditions of Anglican church music, with a robed choir singing psalms, anthems and responses in contrast to the great majority of churches in the Diocese of Sydney where services are generally celebrated in styles associated with the Low Church and Evangelical practice. St James' is also known for having more liberal perspectives than most other churches in the diocese on certain issues, particularly sexuality and the ordination of women.
- 1 Location
- 2 History
- 3 Description
- 4 Worship and ministry
- 5 Music
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
St James' Church is located at 173 King Street, Sydney, in Sydney's legal and commercial district. It is situated near Hyde Park and adjoins Queen's Square from which runs Macquarie Street. The church forms part of a group of notable colonial buildings known as the "Macquarie Street Precinct". Adjacent to St James' and of the same date is the Old Supreme Court Building. Across the square the Hyde Park Barracks building was designed by the architect Greenway to align with the church. Beside the barracks stands Sydney's oldest public building, part of the General Hospital built in 1811 and now known as the Mint Building. Separated from the Mint by the present-day Sydney Hospital is Parliament House, Sydney, which centres on a further part of the early hospital, and is now home to the New South Wales State Parliament.
In the immediate vicinity of St James', and overshadowing it, are several high-rise buildings. On the north side of Queen's Square stands the Law Courts building, which is the main building of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and houses the Sydney registry of the High Court of Australia. Immediately to the north of the church is the St James Campus of the University of Sydney, another high-rise building which is the former home of Sydney Law School, and stil mainly used for legal education by the university. Phillip Street runs north from the church, and is home to a large number of barristers' chambers as well as the Law Society of New South Wales.
Located to the south-east of the church is the underground and eponymous St James railway station, Sydney. Also nearby (to the north) is Martin Place railway station, Sydney, which sits under the pedestrianised Martin Place.
The precinct around the church is sometimes called "St James".
Foundation and consecration
The building of St James' Church was commissioned by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1819, designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway and constructed between 1820 and 1824 using convict labour. The foundation stone was laid by Governor Macquarie and Commissioner Bigge on Thursday, 7 October 1819. The building was originally intended to serve as a courthouse as Macquarie had plans for a large cathedral to be built on the present location of St Andrew's Cathedral but these plans were put on hold by the intervention of Commissioner Bigge who had been commissioned to investigate the colonial government. The design of the courthouse was modified prior to construction with the addition of a steeple at the western end, to serve as a church, while the adjacent school buildings were put into use as a courthouse. The first service was held, in the incomplete church, on the Day of Epiphany, 6 January 1822, the text being from Isaiah, Chapter 6: Arise! Shine, for the light has come. The glory of the Lord has risen upon thee. It was anticipated in the Sydney Gazette's report of the event that the church, when fitted out with stalls and galleries, would hold 2,000 people. The church was consecrated by the senior chaplain, the Reverend Samuel Marsden in February 1824.
First years: 1824–38
Prior to the building of St James', Sydney's growing population was served by St Philip's Church, York Street. There was both official and general concern about the lack of morality within the predominantly male population, and the establishment of churches and of education was seen as a method of combatting this. The 19th-century church historian, Edward Symonds, credited a "better moral and spiritual tone" in the colony to "decent churches" and "the advent of additional clergy, headed by the Rev. William Cowper, in 1808". The first rector of St James', the Reverend Richard Hill, was ordained specifically for colonial ministry and sent from London as assistant to William Cowper at St Philip's. Hill was energetic and a good organiser, with progressive views on education. He instigated a number of projects to aid the community, including an infants' school in the crypt of the church and a Sunday School.
The focus of the church's liturgy at the time was on preaching and the church's interior reflected this. The east end of the church had a triple-decker pulpit placed centrally, from which the service was led and the sermon preached. From its lower level, the parish clerk led the congregation in the responses. Between the three windows which at that time occupied the eastern wall, there were two large panels displaying the words of the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed and the Ten Commandments. The church was full of box pews which faced each other across a central aisle. The western end had a gallery, which is still in place, for the convicts. Pews were rented to provide a source of income for the church and the whole was arranged in "rigid social order" with the poor occupying the free seats. Sunday services consisted of Morning and Evening Prayer, with Holy Communion taking place only occasionally, as an addition to the regular service. For this reason, there was no visual emphasis on the altar, which was a small portable table, and no reredos.
In the late 1820s, the St James' suffered from a major scandal. Commissioner Bigge's secretary, Thomas Hobbes Scott was made the Archdeacon of New South Wales in 1825, and in 1827, on visiting St James', entered into a conflict with a parishioner, Edward Smith Hall. Hall was a partner with Arthur Hill in the newspaper The Monitor and was critical of both the archdeacon and Governor Ralph Darling. Archdeacon Scott ordered that Hall should vacate the pew that he rented at St James' for himself and his six daughters. As Scott continued to occupy the pew, constables attended Sunday services, in order to prevent him. The pew was boarded up and made secure with iron bands to prevent Hall's occupation. Hall published an attack on the archdeacon, for which he was sued for libel, but the courts fined him only a Pound and placed him on a bond. Hall appealed to Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, and to the law for damages. The archdeacon, who was extremely unpopular, returned to London in 1828.
The first major alteration to the church was the enclosing of the south portico to form a vestry. In 1832 John Verge constructed another vestry at the eastern end of the church, in strict conformity with the architectural style of Greenway. Growth of the congregation necessitated further changes. Galleries were added along the northern and eastern walls. As the three eastern windows had been blocked by Verge's vestry, the interior became increasingly badly lit with every change. Verge's solution was to pierce ocular windows high in the walls to light the galleries.
In 1836, the Reverend Richard Hill had a fit of apoplexy in the vestry and died. Shortly after this dramatic event, and while the church was still in mourning, the Right Reverend William Grant Broughton was installed as Bishop of Australia during a service in St James' lasting five hours.  Since Macquarie's plans for a new cathedral on George Street had not come to fruition, St James' became a pro-cathedral. Broughton appointed Robert Cartwright, who had served at Windsor and Liverpool, as Hill's successor. Already in his sixties, he resigned in 1838 to take up an itinerant ministry in the Riverina and Southern Tablelands. He was followed by the clever but eccentric George Napoleon Woodd whom Broughton shortly removed to a rural parish.
Robert Allwood's ministry: 1839–84
In 1839 the Reverend Robert Allwood arrived in Sydney, a cleric very well qualified for the demanding ministry at St James'. Allwood was born in the West Indies, educated at Eton and Cambridge and had ministered in Bristol. Although he was in very poor health upon his arrival, Bishop Broughton appointed him to St James'. His health recovered and he served the parish for 44 years until his retirement in 1884. Allwood was an important patron of education in Victorian Sydney. Under him, the parish school expanded to 400 pupils and a training college was established for secular and theological students. He served on the senate and as vice-chancellor of Sydney University.
Unlike Hill, Allwood advocated the principles of the Oxford Movement, which stressed the historical continuity of the Church of England, and placed a high importance upon the sacraments and the liturgy. His sermons were brief and Holy Communion was celebrated every Sunday. The organ, which had been installed in 1827, was moved to the space of the southern vestry, and the pulpit and reading desk place in front of it where they could be seen from all parts of the church. The holy table continued to be located at the eastern end of the building. With the establishment of a temporary cathedral near the site of St Andrew's while it was under construction, St James' Church ceased to be the pro-cathedral. Bishop Broughton supported the Tractarian views of Allwood, but his successor, Frederic Barker, who became bishop in 1855, was strongly Evangelical. The division in style between St James' and the "low church" ethos that predominated in the Sydney Diocese began at this time.
During the 1880s Sydney became a prosperous city, commerce and industry flourished, and the suburbs expanded. As more churches were built and fewer people lived in the heart of the city, the congregation of St James' Church experienced a decline. The challenge that it faced was to minister effectively to city workers, rather than dwellers, to serve the poor of the city, and to attract those whose preference was for the style of worship and intellectual, topical preaching that distinguished St James' from many of the newly created parish churches. The diocese appointed Henry Latimer Jackson, a young and comparatively inexperienced cleric from Cambridge, who introduced weekday services and a magazine called The Kalendar - one of Australia's first parish papers. He lectured at Sydney University, addressed conferences, spoke at synod and was secretary to the newly established Sydney Church of England Boys' Grammar School. Jackson's theological ideas did not make him popular with everyone, some conservatives regarding him as a heretic.
He upset his churchwardens by trying to get rid of pew rentals, which were the highest in the diocese. While Sydney prospered, St James' had an acute shortage of money and was in danger of being resumed as the site of a railway station. The trustees at this time leased the parsonage and, in 1894, used the money for urgent restoration to the exterior of the building. The architect Varney Parkes replaced the old spire, using copper that was pre-weathered so that there was no radical change in its appearance. He removed infilling from the north portico and designed a new portico as and entrance to the tower to match that of the eastern vestry. The result was to make the north face of the building its most significant aspect.
Jackson took leave, and in 1886 was replaced by William Carr Smith, a man with socialist ideals and a commitment to social reform and spiritual outreach. Carr Smith worked with the Sisters of the Church and became the Chaplain of the Sydney Hospital. He preached long and engaging sermons inside the church and for a time in the open air in The Domain as well. Carr Smith led St James' towards Anglo-Catholicism, with an increasingly elaborate ritual and emphasis on the sacraments. To serve these purposes the architect John H. Buckeridge was employed to transform the building's interior, completing the work in 1901. The most significant change was the new emphasis given to the Communion Table. An apse had been set into the eastern vestry to create a sanctuary, and raised platform constructed for the choir, framed by the organ divided into two sections. The box pews and the eastern and northern galleries were removed, and the memorial plaques rearranged. The choir was ornamented with a mosaic floor and ornate brasswork which complemented the large brass eagle lectern by the English ecclesiastical suppliers, J. Wippell and Company, that commemorated Canon Robert Allwood. The floor of the pulpit was made from parts of the old three-decker one. The organ, refurbished and enlarged by Davidson of Sydney, was installed in 1903. With the removal of the organ, the south vestry was made into a side chapel. Eight large stained glass windows by Percy Bacon Brothers were installed between 1903 and 1913, along with a new pulpit, altar and retable, all of which were given as memorials. Another improvement was "the placing of double windows on the King-street side to shut out the sound of the traffic, which hitherto has been a serious annoyance to both the officiating clergymen and the congregation". In 1904 the diocesan architect, John Burcham Clamp, was employed to design a parish hall to facilitate the church's outreach.
In October 1919, the church celebrated the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone with a program of events that extended over nine days. Festivities included services at which the Bishops of Armidale and Bathurst were special preachers, music, processions, a lantern lecture on "Old Sydney" by the municipal librarian, and social events such as a ferry outing and a luncheon at which the chief guest was the Governor and Lady Davidson. Also scheduled was a welcome to soldiers returned from the Great War. An illustrated historical memoir was produced and sold for two shillings.
Throughout the 20th century, St James' Church experienced a number of threats to its historic environment, which includes Greenway's Law Courts and Hyde Park Barracks. These buildings have survived to form an important precinct within the city. One rector, Philip Micklem, was "a pioneer advocate of the preservation of early colonial architecture". St James' continues to maintain a formal and sacramental liturgy and has weathered the storm of criticism from a diocese with increasingly "Low Church" practices.
St James' continued to be a participant in the life of the city throughout the 20th century and the locus of many notable events, including weddings and funerals of famous, significant or notorious people as well as visits from theologians and senior clerics. At the wedding of singer Gladys Moncrieff and Tom Moore on 20 May 1924, the crowd in the streets nearby was so large that traffic was brought to a standstill, several women fell and two were so badly hurt they were taken to hospital. At the time Moncrieff was appearing in The Merry Widow and returned to the stage on the night of her wedding. St James' was represented in the opening ceremonies of the Sydney Harbour Bridge by a float in the form of the church building. Three hundred people attended the church and four thousand people were reported to have lined the streets after the State funeral in 1950 of the first Minister for Sweden in Australia, Constans Lundquist, who died suddenly at the Swedish Legation in Sydney. Controversial former Governor-General, Sir John Kerr had a private funeral and memorial service in St James' in 1991 rather than a State funeral because of his fall from favour as the result of his decision to sack the Whitlam government in 1975. Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited the church on 14 October 1993 for an ecumenical event.
During the 20th century both choral and organ musical components developed to a high standard and were integral to the liturgy at St James'. In addition, music was offered to the wider community in the form of recitals, often in ways that elucidate the liturgy and take advantage of church acoustics and sacred settings. Organ recitals such as that in 1936 of music by Bach were given during weekdays.
The patterns of worship and community service established by the first rector continue to the present. Three services on Sundays supplemented by weekday services, remains the norm. The church maintains a relationship with the government and the legal community as it did when it served a convict population under a military government. Its commitment to social justice and education, beginning with efforts to serve both convicts and settlers, continued with support for working people and those affected by war and, since early in the 20th century, by visiting those imprisoned or ill and offering practical help to the city's homeless.
On 6 February 2012, a service of thanksgiving was held for Queen Elizabeth II to mark the sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, joined the present rector, the Reverend Andrew Sempell, in the service which was attended by the Governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir. The Chief Justice of New South Wales, Tom Bathurst, read the first lesson and the service concluded with the Australian National Anthem and an organ postlude of Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 followed. On 23 March 2012, a memorial service for Margaret Whitlam, wife of a former Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, was attended by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and several past prime ministers.
St James' is one of Greenway's finest works. It was constructed between 1820 and 1824 with later additions made in 1834 by John Verge who designed the vestries at the eastern end of the church. Apart from these vestries, which retain the established style and the proportions, the church remains externally much as Greenway conceived it.
Relying on the "virtues of simplicity and proportion to achieve his end", the architect produced a building that retains the external character of an English Georgian town church. Greenway maintained the Classical tradition, unaffected by the Revivalist styles that were being promoted in London at the time he arrived in the colony. Greenway planned the church in alignment with the his earlier building Hyde Park Barracks, constructed in 1817–19. The two buildings have similar proportions, pilasters and gables and together constitute an important example of town-planning.
St James' originally took the form of a simple rectangular block, without transepts or chancel, with a tower at the western end and a Classical portico of the Doric order on either side. To this has been added Verge's vestry framed by two small porticos, and a similar portico as an entrance to the tower. The church is built of local brick, its walls defined by brick pilasters into a series of bays with the same proportions as the wall itself. The walls are pierced by large generous windows with round arched heads in a colour that separates and defines them against the walls. The roof carries over the end walls with the gable forming a triangular pediment carrying a cornice across the eaves line. Thus the architectural treatment on the side walls is continued around the end walls. The porticos are of Sydney sandstone; the roof, originally shingled, is of slate and the spire is wooden construction sheathed in copper.
The original interior differed greatly in layout from that of the present. There was no structural chancel, the focus of the church being a large pulpit. During the mid 19th century galleries overlooked the pulpit from three sides. The present interior retains some of the cool and restrained character of a Georgian church in its coffered ceiling, its low-backed pews and its predominantly Classical memorials. The coffered ceiling was a sympathetic addition of 1894 and the seating from shortly after. Of the original furnishings, only the western gallery of Australian Red Cedar remains in place.
At the eastern end, the communion table is set into a small apse with its semi-dome adorned with gold mosaic tiles and generally has an altar frontal in the colour of the liturgical season or festival. With no structural choir area, the chancel is built out and into the body of the church as a platform enclosed within gated wrought iron and brass railings and approached by steps. The floor is ornately decorated with a mosaic pattern, displaying symbols of St James such as the shell. The chancel contains choir stalls and is framed on either side by the organ.
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Previously enclosed and used as a vestry and then an organ chamber, the south porch became a chapel in 1903. In 1988, the side chapel was remodelled and dedicated as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The parish and the Bicentennial Council of New South Wales funded the redesign which saw the removal of the infilling from between the columns of the portico and its replacement with stained glass. "The Creation Window", designed by Australian artist David Wright, spreads across the three walls and represents 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 new furniture for the chapel was designed by Leon Sadubin.
Crypt and Children's Chapel
Beneath the church is a large undercroft, built of brick and groin vaulted. It was used as a residence by Revd. Hill's widow and later by a verger, and by Canon Allwood as a part-time bedroom. It has also been used for the parish's schools and as a shelter for service men in war time. The bays on either side of the crypt's central corridor are now used for a variety of purposes. At the eastern end they house a commercial kitchen. Some bays are used as offices, one contains a columbarium and another a lending library for parishioners.
The western bay on the south side of the crypt is the Chapel of St Mary and the Angels, better known simply as the "Children's Chapel". It was opened in 1929 as a chapel for younger children. A specially adapted form of Eucharist is celebrated there on the first Sunday of the month. All four walls of the chapel and its ceiling are decorated with murals designed by the writer and artist Ethel Anderson and executed by the Turramurra Wall Painters Union, a group of modernist painters she founded in 1927. The murals underwent extensive conservation in 1992–1993.
Most of the stained glass windows are designed by Percy Bacon Bros and the majority were donated as memorials by parishioners in the period from 1900 to 1910. There are five large windows on the northern and southern walls and additional windows in the stairwell to the belltower and on the western wall. The Creation Window in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is a 20th-century addition.
Memorials and monuments
As well as the large stained glass windows and some of the church's furnishings, St James' contains over 300 memorials commemorating important members of 19th century colonial society, people who served the colony generally and parishioners from the 20th century. For this reason the church was sometimes called "The Westminster Abbey of the South". In 1876, the wall tablets were described as "full of sad memories to the old inhabitants, interesting reminiscences to those who have studied Australian history".
The first monument erected in the church was the memorial to Commodore Sir James Brisbane, who died in Sydney on his way to serve in South America in command of HMS Warspite. It was sculpted by Sir Francis Chantrey, sent to Sydney by Lady Brisbane and installed in the church in 1830. The memorial to Robert Wardell in 1834 rendered "bushranger" into Latin as "a latrone vagante occiso". Five other monuments were installed between 1830 and 1839. There are memorials to the Macleay family of naturalists, Alexander and William Sharp Macleay. The largest single memorial of the 20th century is the war memorial, to the design of Hardy Wilson, dedicated on 14 June 1922. It commemorates more than 50 men associated with St James' who were killed in the First World War.
Renovation, restoration, conservation
Since its erection, the building has undergone significant repair, renovation and conservation, including work on the building fabric, the stained glass windows, the mosaic floors in the chancel and sanctuary and conservation of the Children's Chapel. Major work was done on the interior and the spire in the 1890s and on the crypt in the 1970s.
The spire was extensively restored from 2008 to 2010, including the tower masonry, the interior framing, the copper covering and the orb and cross. The spire was rededicated on 20 October 2010. The restorations were awarded the National Trust Built Heritage Award on 4 April 2011 and the AIA Greenway Award for Heritage. The jury said that the restoration work, by Design 5 Architects, showed "consummate care by the architect, the engineer and the builder in conserving the original structure and fabric of the building, improving its strength, performance and waterproofing".
Restoration continued with work on the church's slate roof and sandstone perimeter fence. The Spanish slates, installed in the 1970s, proved not to be durable in Sydney's climate due to their high iron content and their poor fixing had resulted in further damage. The solution to the deterioration was to replace the slates using Welsh slates. The roof project was completed after a fund-raising effort supported by the National Trust of Australia. In 2013, the interior was repainted after "exhaustive" preparation involving "colour testing and selection, memorial protection and ceiling acoustic repairs". As a heritage-listed building, the church has a program of continual conservation.
Worship and ministry
St James' offers three Eucharists on Sundays (a Said Eucharist, a Sung Eucharist and a Choral Eucharist). There is a regular Choral Evensong on Wednesdays and one Sunday each month. The Eucharist and other services are also celebrated during the week. Festival services are popular and known for their standard of liturgy and music, particularly those services which celebrate high points of the church year such as Holy Week and Easter, the Advent carols, the Nine Lessons and Carols, the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass and the patronal festival of St James (James, son of Zebedee, also known as James the Greater) in July. A series of orchestral Masses are held in January.
St James' is one of the few Sydney Anglican churches that has maintained the norms of mainstream Anglican tradition, including the use of the stole, worn by priests during services, especially during sacraments such as baptisms and weddings; the Book of Common Prayer; and sacred church music, including the singing hymns from a hymnal. These practices distinguish St James' from most Anglican churches in the Sydney diocese.
As an Anglican church, St James' conforms to a tradition of Anglicanism whose "unique or essential identity" has been described by Peter Carnley, a former primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, as having "not so much a body of theological teaching, as a style of theological reflection". It is a style that goes back to the Elizabethan theologian Richard Hooker, one that "sorts out the fundamentals of belief and behaviour by appealing to the threefold authority of scripture, authority and reason." St James' differs from the prevailing view in the surrounding diocese, which has been described as practising a "conservative exclusive evangelicanism" with a "propositionalist-descriptivist view of faith and doctrine", as Carnley puts it. St James' believes that incarnational reality "might be experienced with the aid of aesthetic, symbolic or sacramental aids to worship."
St James' aims to be "an open and inclusive Christian community that welcomes all, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or religion" During the long debate in the diocese about the acceptability of women as priests and also as preachers, St James' Church welcomed women clergy. One of the first women ordained in the Anglican Church in Australia, the Revd Susanna Pain, served at St James' and women in leadership positions in the Anglican Church such as Bishops Kay Goldsworthy and Genieve Blackwell, have been invited to preach.
The congregation remains much the same as it was in 1900 when it was described as representing "many types, many classes. Here we find rich and poor, old and new, the Governor and the Domain loafer, the passing visitor, and the grandchildren of those whose memorial tablets testify to a long connection with the church." The sixth rector, William Carr Smith, observed that "this makes the congregation a difficult one to handle."
St James' work for the poor, as well as for the city's legal and medical professions, has been continuous from the 19th century. As the law courts are nearby the beginning of the legal year is marked with a service attended by the Supreme Court of New South Wales justices in ceremonial attire. The church has also been associated with the Order of St Michael and St George since 1950.
One expression of St James' concern with social justice is the Sister Freda Mission, a ministry which provides weekly lunches to the needy and a full dinner at Christmas. Sister Freda (Emily Rich) was a member of the Community of the Sisters of the Church, a religious order which started the Collegiate School in Paddington in 1895. Sister Freda and other members of the order took over the organisation of its mission to the homeless in 1899. On Christmas Day in 1901 "about 60 men were entertained at dinner at St James' parish hall, and later in the afternoon 250 unemployed men were treated to tea in the same building by the sisters of the church." After her death in 1936, her name was given to the mission and St James' took over responsibility for its organisation. Since 1954, this service has operated out of the church crypt, relying on donations and the efforts of volunteer parishioners.
As part of its outreach to the City of Sydney, St James' offers a chaplaincy to city workers as well as professional counselling directed at dealing with the problems associated with the stresses of city life.
In the 19th century, religious denominations made a major contribution to education at all levels before this was taken over by the state. From its beginnings, St James' was involved in education for both children and adults. "At St James, Richard Hill began Australia's first kindergarten and William Cape managed a school based on new educational principles". By 1823 Greenway's school building had been erected in Elizabeth Street and the principal St James' School was situated there until 1882, becoming the Anglican "normal" school with more than 600 students and a range of experienced teachers. In secondary education, a Sydney branch of the King's School operated briefly in the Greenway building and Bishop Broughton operated the St James' Grammar School in a building erected in Phillip Street. The Grammar School, presided over by the Rev. C. Kemp, "of inestimable value to the then youth of the colony", lasted until competition from the new University of Sydney led to its closure in 1857. Bishop Broughton also set up St James' College to provide tertiary education for secular students as well as to prepare students for ordination. The St James' School closed in 1882 and the government resumed the Greenway building.
In the 21st century, St James' continues to have a Sunday school for children, held in the crypt. For adults, educational activities are offered through the St James' Institute which provides a range of programs open to all to explore the Christian faith and engage in debate about contemporary issues from a theological perspective. For example, the institute hosted a meeting of "deans and ministers from Anglican churches that serve the business districts in major cities around world" to discuss the churches' response to the Global Financial Crisis.
Past and present clergy
The Reverend Samuel Marsden delivered the first sermon on 6 July 1824. In 1836 the first (and only) Bishop of Australia, William Grant Broughton, was installed at St James' as there was still no cathedral. Broughton regularly officiated at St James'.
The rector of St James' is assisted by associate rectors (It was not until the 1890s that the modern title 'rector' was used.) The current rector is the Reverend Andrew Sempell and the associate rector is the Reverend John Stewart.
- 1824–1836 Richard Hill
- 1836–1838 Robert Cartwright
- 1838–1840 George Napoleon Woodd
- 1840–1884 Robert Allwood
- 1885–1895 Henry Latimer Jackson
- 1896–1910 William Carr Smith
- 1910–1916 W.F. Wentworth Shields
- 1917–1937 Philip Arthur Micklem
- 1938–1955 Edwin John Davidson
- 1956–1962 William John Edwards
- 1962–1975 Frank Leslie Cuttriss
- 1976–1983 Howard Charles Hollis
- 1984–1997 Peter John Hughes
- 1997–2001 Richard Hurford
- 2001–2009 Peter Walter Kurti
- 2010–present Andrew John Sempell
St James' has had a strong musical and choral tradition since the 1820s and is known both for the high standard of the sacred music in its liturgies and for its regular recitals and concerts. St James' has a choir, a fine three-manual pipe organ and a peal of bells hung for change ringing.
The original organ, installed in the west gallery, was built by John Gray of London and was played for the first time on 7 October 1827. It received the following praise in the colonial newspaper The Australian.
"St. James's new organ pealed its notes of praise for the first time at noon service on Sunday, to an overflowing congregation, more numerous perhaps than any congregation St. James's had ever before witnessed. The organ was not in perfect harmony, owing, in a great measure, to its yet incomplete state. Its intonations, however, in many instances, was full, rich, and harmonious, and those of the congregation were not a few who felt its tones swell on the ear like the welcome voice of a long parted friend!"
The organ was modernised and enlarged in the 1870s by William Davidson. After a number of moves around the galleries, it was placed in what had been intended as the south porch. At the time the church's interior was reconstructed at the turn of the 20th century, it was positioned on either side of the chancel platform at the eastern end where it remains.
The choir, which is composed of about a dozen semi-professional adults, sings on Sundays at the 11.00 am Choral Eucharist, Wednesdays at the 6:15 pm Choral Evensong, monthly at the 3.00 pm Choral Evensong held on the last Sunday of the month, as well as at a number of midweek feast days held during the year. The choir have recorded three CDs – Christmas at St James (2003), No Ordinary Sunday (2004) and Any Given Sunday (2007) – and broadcasts regularly on ABC Radio, both in their own right as well as with leading ensembles such as Australian Baroque Brass. On 22 January 2011 they were directed by Peter Phillips, in a performance with the Tallis Scholars' Summer School, of a program which included Tallis's Spem in alium. They have also toured the Southern Highlands and given a recital at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The choir sometimes combines with other choirs, such as when it joined the choir of St Mary's Cathedral to present Monteverdi's Vespers in 2013. A second choir, of volunteers from the parish, sings fortnightly at the 9.00 am Eucharist.
- Choirmasters and Directors of Music
- 1827–1831 James Pearson
- 1831–1835 William Merritt
- 1836–1844 James and William Johnson
- 1844–1860 James Johnson
- 1860–1874 James Furley
- 1874–? Schofield
- 1876–1897 Hector Maclean
- 1897–1907 Arthur Mason
- 1907–1961 George Faunce Allman
- 1961–1965 Michael Dyer
- 1966–1994 Walter Sutcliffe
- Anthony Jennings
- 2008 David Drury
- 2008–present Warren Trevelyan-Jones
- Orchestral Masses
In January, during the summer holiday period, St James' presents three full orchestral Masses during which liturgical music is used for its original purpose and incorporated into the service. On these occasions, the choir is joined by a small orchestra.
- 2006: Haydn – Missa in Angustiis; Schubert – Mass in G
- 2007: Haydn – Missa in tempore belli; Mozart – Coronation Mass
- 2008: Charpentier – Messe de minuit; Haydn – Theresienmesse
- 2009: Haydn – St Nicholas Mass; Stravinsky Mass; Mozart – Coronation Mass
- 2010: Haydn – Great Organ Mass; Jongen Mass Op.130; Schubert Mass No. 3 in B flat D324
- 2011: Mozart – Mass in C (K.258); Arvo Pärt – Berliner Messe; Haydn – Nelson Mass
- 2012: Mozart – Missa Solemnis K.337; Dove – Köthener Messe and Bruckner – Mass No. 2 in E minor.
- 2013: Biber – Missa Sancti Henrici; Peeters – Missa Festiva; Beethoven – Mass in C major.
The church's eight bells are rung by the Guild of St James' Bellringers which is affiliated with the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers. The tenor bell (known as the Rudhall bell) was cast in 1795 by John Rudhall and hung previously in St Paul's Church, Bristol, England. Bells 1 – 7 were cast in 2002 by John Taylor, Bellfounders in Loughborough, England. The bells were dedicated on 27 July 2003. They are named after people associated with St James' Church, as follows:
- Treble – Francis Greenway sounds the note of G, named for the architect
- 2 – Mary Reibey sounds the note of F#, named for an early pioneer
- 3 – Sister Freda sounds the note of E, named for a Sister of the Church with an important ministry in the City of Sydney
- 4 – King George IV sounds the note of D, named for the king at the time of the church's foundation
- 5 – Reverend Richard Hill sounds the note C, named for the first rector of St James'
- 6 – Lachlan Macquarie sounds the note B, named for the governor
- 7 – Eora sounds the note A, named for the traditional owners of the land
- The Rudhall Bell – St James sounds the note G, named for the patron saint
There is also the service bell, called the Mears Bell, made at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1820 and repaired there in 2011.
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