Christ Church Cathedral

  • Phone: (02) 4929 2052
  • Address:
    Christ Church Cathedral
    Church Street
    Newcastle, NSW 2300
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Because Newcastle was the second settlement outside Sydney on the Australian mainland and the church building was officially founded, the building is notable for the length and uniqueness of its history. Christ Church had its beginning in 1804 when, among Lieutenant Menzies' instructions from Governor King was one saying, "You are to cause the prayers of the Church of England to be read with all due solemnity every Sunday." This instruction was faithfully obeyed by the Military. Legend has it that, by 1812, there was a slab hut available to house the people during the reading of the prayers and that it was on the site of the present Cathedral.The first church was erected in 1817 "by Order of Governor Macquarie". There was no resident clergyman and the church was one of the Government buildings. In August 1818 at a service conducted by The Rev'd William Cowper of St Phillip's Church, Sydney, Governor Macquarie himself named the little convict built church Christ Church.With considerable alteration and constant repair, the building survived to become our first Cathedral. By Letters Patent of 25th June, 1847, Dr William Tyrrell became the First Bishop of Newcastle and by those same Letters Patent in these terms, Newcastle became a city."and we do further by these presents ordain and constitute the Town of Newcastle within the Colony of Australia to be a Bishop's See and seat of the said Bishop and be called the City of Newcastle."And so, our City was born.The smallness of the little Cathedral and its many structural faults caused concern to the parishioners for many years. After protracted discussions, in 1868 a Building Committee was formed and advertisements were placed calling for interested architects to submit plans for a suitable Cathedral church. A premium of 75 pounds was offered to the winning design or the winners could supervise the erection of their own building. The winning architects, Terry & Speechly of Melbourne, opted for the premium and their involvement with the project ceased. The North American architect, John Horbury Hunt, was appointed Supervising Architect.

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