This article is from the Easter 2024 edition of Encounter Magazine. Click here to read the entire article.

St Paul’s Anglican Church, Murrurundi, is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2024.

The historic parish in the Upper Hunter has undergone many changes over the years.

On 16 July 1843, the first Church of England service, presided over by Bishop Broughton, took place in the Murrurundi Court House.

The first St Paul’s Church was a wooden structure built by A and WJ Mackay for 230 pounds.

In 1872, the parish council decided to build a new church to cater for the increase in parishioners.

John Horbury Hunt, a prominent architect, was approached to design a stone church to accommodate 200 people and the cost was not to exceed 1000 pounds. James Sherwood’s tender of 1200 pounds was accepted.

The parish council called for subscriptions to pay for the construction of the new church. The main subscribers were FR White (200 pounds), JP Lukes (50 pounds), PW Wright (25 pounds), F White (25 pounds) and the Bishop of Newcastle (25 pounds).

Reverend WDR Lewis was the rector of the parish during the development of plans for the new church.

On 24 April 1873, the foundation stone was laid for the new church.

Reverend Lewis died suddenly on 17 October 1873 and his body was interred under the sanctuary of the new church.

The new church was formally opened on 24th June 1874, and was consecrated on 12 October 1877 by the Bishop of Sydney.

During 1880, a memorial reredos (an ornamental tile mosaic covering the wall behind the altar) was erected as a memorial to Reverend Lewis.

In 1900, serious cracks appeared in the south wall of the church. The wall was secured by installing iron rods along it.

Eight years later, the wooden shingle roof was replaced with fibro tiles. A stone tower was erected in 1912 by the White family as a memorial to FR White.

Acetylene gas was installed in the church during 1912 and the pipe organ in the church was partly destroyed in 1921.

An electric generator was installed in the church in 1925 and the church was connected to the town electricity supply in 1932.

A new altar replaced the old one in the sanctuary in 1964. Red carpet was laid in 1986.

A severe hailstorm in 2015 damaged the roof of the church which was already in need of replacement. The roof was repaired using imported slate tiles.

Refurbishment of the wooden floorboards and the pews also took place at this time.

At the end of 2007, Father Jim Hudson resigned from the parish – its last stipendiary priest.

The parish was then left in the capable hands of local ordained ministers Reverend Barbara Morgan, Reverend Wendy Jackson and Reverend Peter Rothnie.

Reverend Barbara Morgan’s ministry continues as St Paul’s Anglican Church celebrates its 150th birthday.

The occasion will be celebrated with a special service on Sunday 23 June. Bishop Sonia Roulston will officiate.

The service will be followed by refreshments in the church grounds and the Parish Hall. A historical display will be mounted in Murrurundi Museum’s annexe (the former Presbyterian church, now affectionately called ‘God’s Waiting Room’).

If you are interested in attending this event and/or have items that may be suitable for the display, please contact Reverend Barbara Morgan on 0419 844 306 or Michelle Cooper on 0478 397 149.

If you have contact information for former priests and parishioners, please forward those to either Barbara or Michelle.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed and up-to-date.