St John's Anglican Church, Fremantle

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St John's Anglican Church
WTF Marlene Oostryck St Johns.jpg
St John's Anglican Church is located in Perth
St John's Anglican Church
St John's Anglican Church
Location within Perth metropolitan area
32°03′11″S 115°44′54″E / 32.052972°S 115.748262°E / -32.052972; 115.748262Coordinates: 32°03′11″S 115°44′54″E / 32.052972°S 115.748262°E / -32.052972; 115.748262
Location3 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, Western Australia
Functional statusCompleted
Architect(s)William Smith
Years built1843 and 1882
MaterialsLimestone, shingles
DioceseAnglican Diocese of Perth

St John's Anglican Church also known as St John the Evangelist Church, is an Anglican church in Fremantle, Western Australia. It was originally opened in 1843, and then replaced with a larger building in 1882. The older building was demolished, which allowed Fremantle Town Hall to be built and for the High Street to be extended, giving the Kings Square its current shape. The church is administered by the Anglican Diocese of Perth.

The 1843 church[edit]

The first church opened on 4 August 1843.

The present Church of St John is the second of that name in Fremantle. The first was founded after petitions were made in 1839 to the newly arrived Governor of Western Australia, John Hutt, to create an Anglican church on King's Square.[1] It stood at the centre of the square at the end of the High Street. The expense of building the church was underwritten by Daniel Scott, who was an enterprising harbour master and supporter of the Church of England.[2]

The church was opened on 4 August 1843. This church stood for decades but was demolished when the new church was available. The outline of this building is still shown in the pavement[1] and two stained glass windows in the nave of the present church are said to have been moved from this building to the new church. In 1855 a rectory was built.[3]

The 1882 church[edit]

In 1876, the church applied to the Fremantle City Council for an additional strip of land by the existing church wall, to be given to the Church of England, for a new church.[4] In this application, all of Kings Square was said to have been legally given to the Church of England,[4] though in later years this assertion was thought to be debatable.[5] This application was refused, as the strip was used for storing and preparing stone and some councillors believed the church already had enough land.[4] A year later, the church made a second proposal, offering the council the south-western corner of the square, and a right of way for the extension of High Street through the square, in return for the strip of land and 500 pounds.[6] The council accepted, subject to minor modification.[6]

This new St John's church was said to be due to the determination of a new priest who would become Archdeacon Watkins. He could see that the old church had been outgrown but some suggested that extensions could be added to the old building. He was determined that a new building was required, and this was completed in 1882 at a cost of £7,500. The cost of this was defrayed by the demolition of the old church, which allowed the street to continue through what had been Kings Square. Nearly £2,000 pounds was raised by selling the right of way through the land, for the space to build Fremantle Town Hall, and by selling off blocks of land.[3]

An aerial view showing the church in the centre, taken in 1933. It shows the grounds that were open to the public and maintained by the council after 1923.

The new church was designed by William Smith in London[7] and built by Joshua James Harwood who was an architect and Chief Inspector of works. James was also a church warden at St George's Cathedral in Perth.[8] His company, J. J. Harwood and Son, used limestone from a quarry in Cantonment Street. The foundation stone was laid by the second Bishop of Perth, Henry Parry, in 1878. Harwood had the church ready to be consecrated in July 1882.[1] Six years later an organ was installed.[7] The bell turret was a later addition to the building in about 1906.[1]

Just before the First World War the church needed its first repairs because the she-oak shingle roof had exceeded its natural life span. A decision was made to replace it with a better material, Welsh slate.[3] These slates were replaced by shingles made from asbestos in 1975.[1]

A major benefit to the church and the public was negotiated in 1923 when in return for making the grounds publicly available the council agreed to maintain them.[1]

The church was placed on the State Heritage Register in 1997.[9]


The east end has a stained glass window of three panes. They were manufactured by Franz Mayer & Co. in Munich.[7] The windows are entitled "The Appearance in the Upper Room", "Stilling the Tempest", and "Christ and the Magdalen". The first was installed in memory of the head of Fremantle Prison, Henry Maxwell Lefroy, and the other two were for Thomas Brown and Daniel Scott.[3]

The seven lancet stained glass windows on the west wall each show one of the works of mercy. The windows were imported from London and were created by A. L. Moore.[7]

The organ is the first one that was built in Western Australia. It was made by Robert Cecil Clifton in 1884 and it was the first of five that he built in Western Australia.[7] The organ was installed in 1884 at a cost of £600.[3]


The church is still in regular use.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lewis, Richard (27 November 1996). "St John's Anglican Church, Fremantle, given interim heritage listing". Ministerial Media Statements. Archived from the original on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  2. ^ P. J. Coles, 'Scott, Daniel (1800–1865)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e "ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, FREMANTLE". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 27 March 1914. p. 33. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "PREMANTLE—PORT COUNCIL". The Western Australian Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 4 August 1876. p. 2. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  5. ^ "AN HISTORIC SITE". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 24 May 1929. p. 18. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b "MUNICIPAL MEETING". The Western Australian Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 19 June 1877. p. 2. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Western Australia Pipe Organs". Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  8. ^ Coe, with John J. (2004). Life's a hoot : the autobiography of James Harwood (anf. ed.). Kalumunda, W.A.: Tangee Pty Ltd. p. 2. ISBN 0975128922.
  9. ^ St John's Anglican Church, Fremantle Archived 5 December 2012 at, State Heritage Register. Retrieved 18 August 2013
  10. ^ "Anglican Church, Diocese of Perth". Retrieved 20 August 2013.

External links[edit]