Freotopia > churches > St John's (current), 1882
See separate page for a guide to the Church.
See also: the first St John's Church (1843).

Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist

1882, 3 Adelaide Street, St John's/Kings Square/Walyalup Koort, opened for service 4 August 1843.

The current St John's was built on one side of High Street, with the Town Hall (1887) on the other, and was opened in 1882.
Locum Tenens: The Very Reverend Dr John Shepherd AM (Dean Emeritus, Interim Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See)

The 180th anniversary of the ministry of St John's will be celebrated Sunday 6 August, 2023, when the Most Reverend Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy will preside over the Festival Eucharist at 10am.
A Parish Fete will be held Saturday 12 August 0900-1200, as well as an exhibition at stations around the church, displaying some of the history of the parish.

Wikipedia: The new church was designed by William Smith in London and built by Joshua James Harwood who was an architect and Chief Inspector of works. James was also a church warden at St George's Cathedral in Perth. His company, J. J. Harwood and Son, used limestone from a quarry in Cantonment Street. The foundation stone was laid by the second Bishop of Perth, Henry Parry, in 1878. Harwood had the church ready to be consecrated in July 1882. Six years later an organ was installed. The bell turret was a later addition to the building in about 1906. Wikipedia.


This is a 2017 photo of a stone to the right of the church door with the date 1879, suggesting that it is the foundation stone and that it was laid in that year, not 1878 as in the Wikipedia entry.


Just around the corner to the right of the above foundation stone is this broad arrow - usually indicating government property - cut into a flagstone. Thanks to Mary Yates for pointing it out.

(The first St John's church, opened in 1843 by George King when WA was in the diocese of Adelaide, stood in the middle of King's Square, facing the Roundhouse Gaol at the other end of High Street.
Victoria Hall, 179 High St, was the parish hall of the original church.)

St John's Church Choir in 1914. They are sitting beside St John's Anglican Church, Melbourne Road, Perth, which later became Milligan Street. Motor House was later built on the site.
Fremantle Library photo #5383; thanks to Pam Harris for identifying the church.

The Herald:
The new Church of England, in Fremantle, is rapidly approaching completion, and will undoubtedly be the handsomest ecclesiastical edifice in the colony. The contractors, Messrs. Harwood & Son, are to be complimented upon the satisfactory way in which they are bringing the work to a conclusion. A handsome stained glass window is on its way out from England for each window, and the aisle and choir will be laid with tessellated pavement. The seats will be of karri pine, and from the method of its building the church promises to be very suitable to our climate, which in some places of worship renders church attendance somewhat fatiguing. The Herald (Fremantle) Saturday 17 December 1881: 1.

The rectory was on Lots 252, 253 at 238 Cantonment Street. It was built pre 1908 and demolished in 1926 for the Goldsborough Mort Woolstore (the Northern Woolstore).

The Western Mail, Friday 27 May 1914, p. 34:
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, FREMANTLE.  AN INTERESTING POSTCARD.  (See Illustrations page 34.)  With a view to helping the re-roofing fund of St. John's Church, Fremantle, and stirring up interest in the effort, the Rev. Canon Moore secured some time ago an interesting photograph of the original Fremantle church, and with the assistance of Mr. P. H. Anderson, stationer, of Fremantle, has had this picture reproduced on a postcard in conjunction with the picture of the present church, and giving the dates on which they were built, etc. The old church was completed and opened for service on August 4, 1843. It stood for nearly 40 years in the middle of King's Square, at the top of High-street, the west door facing right down the street, at the other end of which stood and still stands the "Round House." which served as a "lock-up." The fence in the picture was of much later date, and enclosed all that area now bounded by William, Newman, Queen, and Adelaide streets. In the left hand corner of the picture may be seen the present rectory, which stands in Cantonment-street. The rectory was built for the Rev. Zachory Barry about 1855, and this photograph must  date from the sixties, and was taken from a spot about where the present Federal Hotel stands to-day, the town hall site being then vacant and enclosed as part of the church yard. It was owing to the tireless energy of the late Archdeacon Watkins, who came as a young man to Fremantle at the end of the seventies, that the new church was built and consecrated in 1882. Mr. Watkins resolutely resisted every suggestion for enlarging the old church, and put all his efforts into the erection of a new building, and posterity must applaud his determination. After the demolition of the old church, High-street was continued diagonally through "King's Square" and a right-of-way for the purpose together with the site for the present Town Hall was sold to the municipality on January 1, 1878, for £500. The rest of the block was afterwards sold in lots, bringing in apparently another £1,900 for the building fund. The total cost of the church was close on £7,500, of which about £500 represented outside grants. Since its consecration 32 years ago many additions have been made to the fittings and furnishings. The organ, which was built by Mr. Cecil Clifton, cost £600 30 years ago, and only last year was rebuilt by the firm of Messrs. J. A. Dodd, of Perth and Adelaide. and fitted with a modern hydraulic blower at a cost of £300. Prior to that a beautiful Caen stone Reredos was erected as a memorial to Archdeacon Watkins at a cost of about £300. A little more than a year ago the family of the late W. D. Moore presented a massive brass "eagle" lectern in memory of their father, and a few months later the trustees of the late Mr. John Thomas put in a glass window in the north transept. The east window is a magnificent work, the three main lights respectively depicting "The Appearance in the Upper Room," "Stilling the Tempest," and "Christ and the Magdalen," and was erected many years ago in memory of Henry Maxwell Lefroy, 1879; Thomas Brown, 1863; and Daniel Scott, 1865. There is also a beautiful little window in the south transept, without any inscription, and two others in the nave said to be transferred from the old church.  After thirty odd years, the shingle roof has become completely worn out, and considering the quality of the building the vestry felt that they would not be justified in adopting any other than the best material for re-roofing, and, acting on advice, they have arranged to carry out the work in best Welsh slates. The contract for this work, which has been arranged through Millars' Trading Corporation, will absorb considerably over £500, and it is expected that about £600 will be required to complete the work. Of this sum the greater portion has been already subscribed, and the remainder is arranged to spread over two years. When the heavy claims of the two previous years in connection with the Reredos and the organ are taken into account, it must be admitted that the parishioners of St. John's have shown a very practical interest in their church's affairs. And it should be noted that, in addition, all the other finances of the church have been receiving particular attention, and the debts which  three years ago totalled upwards of £2,700 are now below £2,200, while upkeep, current expenses, and repairs have been kept well up to date. Nor is the strain likely to slacken for some little time, owing to the fact that within the next few months a large sum, ranging between £300 and £500, will be required to sewer the properties in connection with the deep drainage scheme. From the foregoing it will be seen that the rector and his vestry have before them a task which calls for energy, skill, and tact, and it is gratifying to know that the congregation are in full sympathy with the efforts put forth and the arrangements devised for carrying on the work. The post cards here reproduced are being retailed at threepence each, and each one sold is reckoned to equal the price of one slate on the new roof.

References and Links

Hitchcock JK, 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council: 28.

Wikipedia page, whence the top photo, and some of the text above.

Church website.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 September, 2014 | Now: 10 August, 2023