The first Anglican churches of the Randwick and Waverley districts of the eastern suburbs of Sydney were St Judes and St Mary the Virgin respectively. However, both churches had their origins as small stone buildings on different sites to their present day ones, with the ‘temporary’ St Judes church-schoolroom at Randwick being the earliest, and thus serving both district communities for a while.
In 1854, Simeon Pearce had applied for a Crown grant of land large enough for a church, school and residence at Randwick, and in due course two separate grants of one acre and one half acre were gazetted on 27 June 1856. These were situated at the north western corner of the present day junction of Alison Road and Avoca Street, which, at that time, were little more than bush tracks.
In the south eastern corner of this land, in the area now occupied by the 1893 former Randwick Post Office (now the ‘Easts’ building), a small stone-built combined chapel and school house was constructed. Dedicated to St Jude, it was licenced for Anglican worship on 15 May 1857, and the Reverend William H McCormick was appointed to care for the parishioners of the district, including the settlements of Waverley, Randwick and Coogee.
As the chapel could not be fully consecrated until it was clear of debt, the fund-raising efforts continued, with the names of the subscribers being recorded in the first St Judes Minutes Book, which dates from 1858. This “beautiful little building”, as it was described in a contemporary newspaper report, was consecrated on 23 May 1858 by the Bishop of Sydney and Australasia, Frederic Barker, DD.
Below is the list of subscribers as recorded in the Minutes Book. The names as they were written have been underlined, with some informative notes supplied by the transcriber. More details about the early Anglican churches of Randwick and Waverley can be found in an article in the ‘General Articles’ section of this website.
* indicates that the person &/or some of their families are buried in St Judes Anglican Cemetery, which was consecrated by Bishop Frederic Barker on 18 September, 1858.
SH & J Pearce * – Simeon Henry, founder of Randwick, & his brother James
Rev. G McArthur – George Fairfowl McArthur, grandson of Gov King
Saml Hebblewhite – One of Randwick’s first six Councillors, & a Church Trustee
John Campbell – Merchant; he procured one of the old bells from St Philips,Sydney, for St Judes
John Richardson – Secretary of the St Judes fund-raising committee. *Wife Sarah buried at St Judes
F Sydney * – Frederic Barker, Bishop of Sydney & Australasia. *Wife Jane Sophia buried at St Judes
E S Hill * – Edward Smith Hill, elected an MP in 1861 (but did not take his seat)
Sir D Cooper – Daniel, nephew of the wealthy emancipist, Daniel Cooper
Edwin Vickery – One of the early Waverley Councillors
Alf Fairfax – Alfred, a business partner of William Ellis, see below
Wm Elliss [sic] * – William Ellis, one of Randwick’s first six Councillors
J B Holdsworth * – Joseph Burdekin, land-owner, Randwick & Waverley, a Trustee of St Judes
A Abraham – Abraham Abraham, chemist, William Ellis’s father-in-law, local landowner
M R Goodman
John Thompson – One of Randwick’s first six Councillors, Congregationalist
Edd Knox * – Sir Edward; Landholder Coogee, etc. Founded CSR sugar 1855. *infant grand-daughter
T H Lewis – Thomas H, son of Mortimer William Lewis, the architect of several local ‘mansions’.
Archd Cowper * – Archdeacon Rev William Cowper of St Philips C/E, The Rocks, Sydney
Alex. McArthur – Alexander Macarthur, Landholder, especially around the Avoca St area
John McLerie – Police Superintendant from 1850, director of the Soc. for Relief of Destitute Children
W R Piddington – Trustee for School & Church lands, Bookseller, MP
Dick & Brown – Solicitors in Pitt St, Sydney
R W Moore – Robert White Moore, proprietor of ‘Fortune of War’, George St, Sydney
Chas. Nathan – Dr. Charles Nathan, landholder opposite the church site
George Thornton – Sydney Mayor 1857, MP, former neighbour of the Pearces at The Rocks, Sydney
S D Gordon – Samuel Deane; Wine merchant, Bridge St, Sydney, MLA/C, Presbyterian
W J Lennon – Lennon & Cape, Stock brokers, Pitt St; residence ‘Edge Cliffe House’, Double Bay
H C Berall
C H Woolcott – Sydney Town Clerk, resident of Redfern
Rev G King – Rev. George King; incumbent of St Andrews C/E Cathedral, Sydney
Edwin Daintry * – Solicitor; Built ‘Aeolia’, now the Brigidine R/C complex, Coogee Bay Rd, Randwick.
Mary Loftus * – First Lady Superintendant of the Clergy Daughters’ School (St Catherine’s, Waverley)
J J Watts – John Joseph Watts, owner of land adjacent to Pearces, north of Barker St
Mrs A Goodwin – Goodwin family, The Rocks, Sydney (former neighbour of the Pearces)
R & Saml Watson – Robert & his son Samuel, grocers at The Rocks; Pearce family friends
Mr T R Coates – The Coates family lived at ‘Welton Villa’, Avoca St, Randwick
John Grice – Founder of the ‘Coach & Horses’ Hotel, Randwick. * Three infant daughters
Thos. Grant – Local landholder, Coogee
P A Dutruc – Pierre Ambrose, Alderman, built Observatory House, Eulalie Avenue, Randwick
Thos. Calaghan [sic] – Barrister & Judge, residence ‘Avoca’, Judge St, Randwick
Chas. Kidman * – Coogee resident, 1st Councillor of Randwick, grocer at South Head Rd
Service collections Total collected, £12. 0. 0
W Andrews * – Shipwright, Princes St, The Rocks, Sydney
J G Raphael – Joseph George, Sydney Alderman, later MP. Director Soc for Destitute Children. Jewish
G & H Oxford – George & Henry, masons, resident at Waverley & Paddington
W Hart – the Hart family owned land in Allison Rd.
E S Bennett – Eliza Sellers Bennett, wife of Samuel Bennett, Mundarrah Towers
F Mitchell * – Francis Mitchell, landholder, North Randwick
E J Cory – Solicitor, York St, Sydney
T B Veriour – Shipping master, residence at Waverley Rd (now Bondi Road)
David Jones – Printer, William St, Paddington
J G Waller – John Gough Waller, elected an MP in 1861 (but did not take his seat)
J H Atkinson – Owner of the ‘Cricketers’ Arms’, Coogee Rd
Henry Bell – Resident at Waverley, lived at Pearce’s ‘Blenheim House’ in 1863
W Hellyer – William, solicitor, King St, Sydney
G Thorne – George, gentleman of ‘Claremont’, Rose Bay
G Hooper – George Hooper, Market gardener, N.Randwick
Hon. J Alexander – John, MLC, Merchant, Director of Destitute Childrens’ Relief Soc. Presbyterian
V Zael – Vincent Zael, tailor in George St, Sydney (res. St Leonards) Land owners at Coogee
F S Nathan – Frederick Sinclair, a younger son of Isaac & Henrietta Nathan of ‘Byron Lodge’
H McKeon – Humphrey, landlord ‘Australian Oak’, landholder at Maroubra Bay
W Barker – William, nephew of Bishop Barker, Acting incumbent, Trustee of St Marys
Andrew Goodwin – Resident of the Rocks, Sydney
S Priestley * – Samuel, Produce merchant at Albion Wharf, Sydney
James Jones – local landholder
Joseph Baylis – Wheelwright, George St, Sydney
Broomfield & Co. – Timber merchants, Sussex St, Sydney
John Sykes – Resident at Old South Head Rd
Scard – John Scard, landholder, Coogee
George Rowley – Solicitor, Elizabeth St, Sydney
Venables – ? builder, Surrey St, Surry Hills
G W Allen – (later Sir) George Wigram Allen, became Speaker of NSW Assembly 1875
D Kearney – Dennis Kearney, resident at Brook St, Coogee
John Williams * – Resident of Randwick
Alex M’carthur – ? son of Alexander, wealthy merchant, extensive local land owner
The final total recorded was £429/10/7d, which included the sale of surplus building materials. While the amounts given vary, many would have also donated on other occasions, and /or given their time, skills or other gifts towards the construction of the building. The majority were local residents, but many of the Pearces’ former neighbours at the Rocks, Sydney also contributed, as well as several merchants, professional men and politicians of Sydney. There were also some subscribers who were not of the Anglican faith.
The list and illustrations of the excerpts from the 1858 Minutes Book are published with the kind permission of the Reverend A Schmidt of St Judes, Randwick.