Churches/Temples, Canberra

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  • St John's - Entrance Stones (montage)
    St John's - Entrance Stones (montage)
    by wabat
  • St John the Baptist's - Graveyard-Alvy Joyce Luton
    St John the Baptist's - Graveyard-Alvy...
    by wabat
  • St John the Baptist's - Graveyard - Campbell Plot
    St John the Baptist's - Graveyard -...
    by wabat
  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Church of St John the Baptist - Graveyard

    by wabat Written Mar 12, 2013

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    Church of St John the Baptist - Graveyard
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    See my separate (related) tips for:
    Church of St John the Baptist – Reid includes history

    Church of St John the Baptist – Interior

    St John’s Schoolhouse – Canberra’s first school

    I have to admit to having a fascination for visiting graveyards. Nothing morbid I assure you. You can learn so much about an area just by wandering around a graveyard and St John’s graveyard is no different.

    This immaculately maintained graveyard was consecrated in 1845 – the same time as the church and contains the mortal remains of many of Canberra’s pioneers together with many latter day notables. Since 1845, over 900 burials have taken place in St John’s graveyard. The cemetery was closed for new burials in July, 1937 though burials still occur for families who own Exclusive Rights to burial plots.

    Readers who have read my other Canberra tips – specifically my heritage tips - will have noticed constant references to the Campbell Family – one of the first settler families in the Canberra area and certainly one of the largest landowners. The land for the graveyard, church and schoolhouse was donated by Robert Campbell – the first of the family to call Canberra home. While Robert is actually buried in Sydney a large number of his decedents found their resting place here (Photo 2).

    Richard Guise, aged 28, who died in 1844, was re-interred in the Guise vault in 1845. This is the first marked grave in the graveyard The original headstone became unreadable and a bronze plaque listing the six members of the family buried in the vault was installed in 1991 (Photo 3).

    Sir Robert Garran died on 11 January 1957 and is buried here. He was Solicitor- General of the Commonwealth from 1917-1932 and played an important role in the framing of the Australian Constitution (Photo 4).

    Photo 5 reminds us that not everyone gets to make it to old age. Little Alvy Joyce Luton died at less than a month old. A beautiful little tombstone (about 30cm high).

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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Church of St John the Baptist - Interior

    by wabat Updated Mar 10, 2013

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    St John's - East Window
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    See my separate (related) tips for:

    Church of St John the Baptist – Reid - the building and history
    Church of St John the Baptist – Graveyard
    St John’s Schoolhouse – Canberra’s first school

    Internally the church is small (though it would have been considered massive in 1845 – even without its 1874 extension) and has a very homely and restful feel – good attributes for a church. the church has a lovely feel about it and is packed with memorials commemorating not only local parishioners but also many others active in the life of Australia. Other things to have a look at include:

    East Window - see picture

    Designed by William MacLeod and made by the Sydney firm of John Falconer, it is one of the earliest Australian stained-glass windows. It was a prize-winning window at the Sydney Exhibition in 1873 before its installation here the following year.

    The three main lights depict scenes in the life of John the Baptist, On your left is St John’s father, Zechariah, priest in the temple, as he heard the angel’s announcement of John’s birth in the coming year. In the centre is John baptising Jesus in the River Jordan. On your right is John proclaiming Jesus as the Lamb of God.

    Directly underneath the centre light you can see the Campbell Family crest and motto ‘AGITE PRO VIRIBUS’ – ‘work with all our might’. The window is a memorial to Robert Campbell of Duntroon who inspired the building of St John’s and who was a generous benefactor of the church.

    Sister May Hayman – Memorial Window – see picture

    A smaller window to the right of the altar is a memorial to Sister May Hayman who was regular parishioner of St John’s before joining the New Guinea Mission in 1936 where she was killed during WWII.

    Entrance stones – see picture

    Located on the walls on either side as you enter the church are three stones.

    The stone on the right is from the Church of St John the Baptist in Brinklow, Warwickshire, England. A stone from St John’s, Canberra, rests in the Brinklow Church. The stones were exchanged in 1948 when the Bishop of Goulburn visited Brinklow.

    On the left, is a stone sent from Westminster Abbey, serving as a reminder of our links with other parts of the Anglican Communion. It was set into the wall just prior to the Queen’s visit to St John’s in 1954.

    The third stone, from Canterbury Cathedral was presented to Canon Ward of St John’s at some stage between 1913 and 1927 from the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.

    Book of Remembrance Shrine – see picture

    This book includes the names of Anglicans from the Parish of Canberra who served in World War II.

    Organ – see picture

    In the gallery as the rear of the church is the organ installed in 1981. It was designed and built by Ronald Sharp, the creator of the Sydney Opera House Organ.

    Baptismal Font

    The Font was a gift of Charles Campbell (son of Robert Campbell).

    Opening Times

    Daily 9am - 5pm

    Admission Fee: Free

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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Church of St John the Baptist - Reid

    by wabat Written Mar 10, 2013

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    Church of St John the Baptist - Front Entrance
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    The Anglican Church of St John the Baptist in the inner suburb of Reid is Canberra’s first church and actually pre-dates Canberra by around 70 years. The Church (and adjacent grave yard and school) are built on land donated by the Robert Campbell of Duntroon (one of the first European settlers on the Limestone Plains) to serve the spiritual, education and social needs of the pioneering farming community.

    The foundation stone for the church as laid on 11 May 1841 by the Rev. Edward Smith of Queanbeyan, who was the first resident clergyman in the district and who, according the Sydney Morning Herald, interred a "Bible and Prayer-book, a vase containing papers, bearing a date and a plate (metal?) ……" It is not known where this was laid so I guess it has become a time capsule without an opening date – something for future archaeologists to discover.

    Acknowledging its role in meeting the needs of pioneer settles the Rev Smith remarked :

    “This church we must hope will prepare the way for settlers as St John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea to prepare the way for Christ”.

    The Church, built in the Gothic Revival style using a combination of local bluestone and sandstone from Mt Pleasant and Black Mountain was consecrated on 12th March 1945 by the Rev William Grant Broughton, the first and only person to hold the title of Bishop of Australia.

    The original church tower developed a two-foot lean and was dismantled in 1864. A new tower was erected between 1865 and 1870 and the current spire was added in 1878.

    The fifth photo attached is an early photo of St Johns taken prior to the addition of the spire in 1878.

    For details on the interior of the church see my separate tip – Church of St John the Baptist - Interior.

    Also see my tips:

    Church of St John the Baptist – Graveyard
    St John’s Schoolhouse – Canberra’s first school

    As noted above St John’s served the spiritual, education and social needs of the pioneering farming community – in effect from cradle to grave.

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    ANZAC Memorial Chapel of St Paul - Two for One

    by wabat Written Mar 4, 2013

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    ANZAC Memorial Chapel of St Paul - Narthex
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    While visiting Changi Chapel – Prisoner of War National Memorial I decided to wander into the adjacent ANZAC Memorial Chapel of St Paul. I am glad I did.

    This chapel is unique in two ways (at least I have seen neither before).

    Firstly there are in fact two separate Chapels in the one building; a Catholic Chapel and a Combined Anglican and Protestant Denominations Chapel.

    Secondly I came across a “deployment lamp”.

    The lamp was lit as would, alas, now be the norm and indeed I wonder if it has been unlit at any stage since it was installed in 2006.

    Why the lamp is lit (or not lit) is indicated on the plaque below the lamp which reads:-

    “This Lamp is kept burning whenever graduates of the Royal Military College Duntroon are leading soldiers on operational deployments around our troubled world.

    This Lamp burns as a sign of our prayers for then and our brave soldiers that GOD will watch over them in their duties and bring them safely home.\

    If this Lamp is burning, please offer a Prayer.


    Certainly brings a tingle to the spine.

    The Chapel features carved-timber regimental badges mounted on the pews, coats of arms and badges displayed in the narthex, and a number of sets of colours, including flags of the RMC, are laid up in the narthex. Also on display is “The Sovereigns Banner” – presented by HM Queen Elizabeth II on her visit in 1954 for presentation to the Champion Company of cadets each year.

    The timber used in the entrance area is mountain ash.

    Sorry I overlooked taking a photo of the outside of the Chapel.

    While for military and their families the chapel is also open to the public so do go in for a look.

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    Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral- Narrabundah

    by wabat Written Mar 3, 2013

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    Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral- Narrabundah
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    I have driven past this very distinctive round-topped building for a number of years now and apart from knowing it was a church I knew very little else about it. While visiting a couple of other sites in the area – Mugga Mugga and Calthorpes’ House - I decided to stop for a closer look.

    It is Canberra’s Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, dedicated to St Kliment of Ohrid and opened in 1988. The cathedral was designed by Macedonian Australian, Vlase Nikoleski.

    Both the Cathedral (though functioning) and the block on which it is located have a rather rundown feel. This is undoubtedly related to a long and ongoing legal issue with the ACT Government. While the Church seeks to develop the block - including part there-of for residential purposes - the courts have ruled this can only occur after a significant re-zoning fee (some $2-3 million) has been paid. Local residents have also raised objections to the proposed redevelopment.

    Most Macedonian Australians are of the Orthodox Christian faith and this Cathedral serves the spiritual needs of Queanbeyan and Canberra Macedonians. The first Macedonians to arrive in this area came in 1920s and 1930s and established market gardens or became eucalypt cutters. Larger numbers of (Aegean) Macedonians came to the region after World War II and the Greek Civil War.

    I have been unable to ascertain when services are held in the Cathedral or if / when it is open to the general public. An interesting stop nonetheless if you are in the area.

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  • cal6060's Profile Photo

    St John the Baptist Church

    by cal6060 Updated Jul 7, 2011
    St John the Baptist Church, Canberra
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    This is a small community church near ANZAC Parade Memorials. I accidentally passed by this church and inspired by the surroundings and the architecture of the church.

    Please check out their website for more services...

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Arts and Culture

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    St John the Baptist Church

    by leffe3 Written Jun 6, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    St John's is the oldest church in Canberra and the oldest building in the Canberra city area.

    The foundations were laid in 1841 and the church was consecrated in 1845. The original Canberra graveyard is part of the church (the first burial taking place in 1844) and, in the grounds, is the first school in Canberra (built in 1844 but which closed as a school in 1907). The school opened as a (small) museum in 1969.

    It's a small, homely church but worth dropping in on - it's on the corner of Anzac Parade and Constitution Ave - if you're checking out the Australian War Memorial.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    It's Russian, but it's orthodox

    by iandsmith Updated Oct 22, 2006

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    Attractive from any angle
    1 more image

    Once you've been to Europe one tends to notice things architecturally that you might find over there. Such is my predeliction for these things that it's opened up a whole new world for me.
    Thus is came to pass that when we were driving along a main road and spotted a prominent church on a side road I just had to go and get a snap or two. It happens to be the Russian Orthodox Church.Visitors are always welcome at our services.
    For the religiously minded, here are some details.
    The All Night Vigil is celebrated beginning at 5 pm on Saturday evenings and the Divine Liturgy at 9 am on Sunday mornings. Confessions are heard during the Vigil service.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    Some of Canberra's oldest buildings

    by tiabunna Written Apr 21, 2006

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    St John's church
    3 more images

    St John’s Anglican Church was built in 1845 to serve the needs of the local agricultural community. It is one of the oldest buildings in the ACT and has memorials inside to pioneers of the area, many of whom are buried in the adjacent churchyard. In the years since the growth of Canberra, it has become one of the more significant churches in the ACT, often visited by Prime Ministers and other dignitaries.

    Behind the church, and often overlooked, is the original St John’s schoolhouse, which was the only school in the district from the 1840s until 1880. It now has been restored as a small museum of both the school and of the local community and is open from 1000-1200 on Wednesdays and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1400-1600 and to group bookings.

    (A visit here will fit well in a half day walk combined with Anzac Parade - see separate tip).

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Religious Travel
    • Family Travel

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