St Philip's Church, Sydney

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St Philip's Church

St Philip's Church, Sydney is the oldest Anglican church parish in Australia. The church is located in the Sydney city centre between York Street, Clarence and Jamison Streets on a location known as Church Hill. St Philip's is part of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia.[1] The church is listed on the Register of the National Estate.[2]


The original church was built by orders of the colony's first chaplain, the Reverend Richard Johnson, using convict labour in June 1793. The wattle and daub construction church was later burnt down by convicts in 1798.[3] A second stone church operated on the current site of Lang Park from 1810 to 1856. It was made from poor materials and gained a reputation as "the ugliest church in Christendom". This second church had a 150-feet high, round clock tower.[4]

The current building on York Street is the second church building on Church Hill (the wattle and daub church was built on the corner of Bligh and Hunter Streets), and was designed by Edmund Blacket. It was built 1848-56. The church tower was styled after Magdalen Tower at Oxford, United Kingdom, and was opened in 1856.

The bells were cast by Thomas Mears in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[5]


On 1 November 2013 St Phillip's merged with Holy Trinity Garrison Church in Millers Point to form a joint parish using both buildings for combined ministry.[6]


Prominent clergy in the life of the church include William Cowper, his son William Cowper (the first Australian-born cleric),[7] T. C. Hammond, Sydney James Kirkby and a former Archbishop of Sydney, Donald Robinson.

The church is also known as York Street Anglican and the current rector is Justin Moffatt, who was previously at Christ Church, New York City.[8]


  1. ^ "Our History". St Philip's York Street Anglican. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  2. ^ The Heritage of Australia; Macmillan Company, 1981, p. 2/110
  3. ^ "Cowper Family in Australia - Cowper 200 Celebrations - Rev William Cowper". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  4. ^ "Early Australian Architectural History". Sydney Architecture. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  5. ^ "TOWER OF ST. PHILIPS, CHURCH HILL, SYDNEY.". Construction and Local Government Journal (NSW : 1913 - 1930). NSW: National Library of Australia. 9 February 1927. p. 13. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Gilbert, Nick (3 October 2011). "York Street, Miller's Point parishes to merge". Sydney Anglicans. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cowper Family in Australia - Cowper 200 Celebrations - Rev William Cowper". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  8. ^ "Moffatt comes home to York Street | Sydney Stories". 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  9. ^ "No title.". Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907). NSW: National Library of Australia. 28 January 1888. p. 21. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 

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Coordinates: 33°51′50″S 151°12′18″E / 33.8640°S 151.2051°E / -33.8640; 151.2051