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Anglican church buildings in the Fremantle area

St John's

St Mary's North

St Paul's Beaconsfield

St Peter's East

Saints Peter/Mark

Seamen's Chapel

In addition to the buildings above, there was also an Anglican rectory in Cantonment Street. Note also that Briggs's Fremantle Grammar School started out as the Anglican Fremantle Grammar School.

The first minister of religion in the Swan River Colony was Thomas Scott, when he was detained here by chance in November 1829. The first appointed Colonial Chaplain was John Wittenoom.

There should have been a clergyman present in August 1829: the Parmelia, which had anchored off Garden Island on 2 June carrying the advance party of Lieutenant Governor James Stirling, his officials and tradespeople and their families, was supposed to have had a Colonial Chaplain aboard. The Rev. John Wittenoom had been appointed to Swan River with a government salary of £250 per annum, but he accepted the position on 19 January 1829 and was therefore too late to depart with his fellow officials. This meant there was no clergyman in the Swan River colony's early weeks to perform baptisms, burials and marriages.
Wittenoom was, naturally, of the Church of England, the 'Established' church still strongly enmeshed in the governance of Britain and its colonies. Most of the pioneers were adherents of that church, but it was not to be the established church of Western Australia. Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for the Colonies, had simply instructed Stirling that "on all Locations of Territory, a due proportion must be reserved ... for the maintenance of the Clergy, support of Establishments for the purposes of religion, and the education of youth". Errington 2016: 145.

The building of St John's Church for the town's Anglican congregation was also a protracted process. Thomas Bannister, the Government Resident in Fremantle from May 1830 until November 1831, had ordered plans for a church to be drawn up, and the town plan published in March 1833 showed a church site in King's Square exactly where St John's would be constructed ten years later. However, in an editorial published in December 1838, the Perth Gazette noted that:
"It is now nearly four years since divine service has been performed by a clergyman at Fremantle, and had not the Government Resident obligingly officiated, about 400 souls would have been left without one public ordinance for so long a period. This is indeed too bad!"
Wittenoom appears to have been reluctant to travel to the port except for baptisms and marriages, events—when they occurred—possibly performed in the various Fremantle courthouse buildings, starting with the temporary arrangement in the harbourmaster's office. In 1839, the new Fremantle Government Resident Richard Brown asked for permission to erect a church in King's Square—a request backed by a petition from residents. The following year the residents guaranteed an annual clergyman's salary of £75 and Governor Hutt offered £100 from the public purse. As a result, Fremantle Anglicans acquired their first resident minister with the arrival of King on the Ganges in October 1841. An Irishman, King had been sent with his wife Jane by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
The energetic King immediately commenced services in the courthouse. In addition, a public meeting held on 30 October resolved to call for designs and tenders for the erection of a church. King was able to hold the first service in the church of St John the Evangelist on Friday 4 August 1843 (one day short of fourteen years since the Calista arrived), and the church officially opened in September. In Perth, Wittenoom was still nearly two years away from opening his St Georges church. Errington 2016: 146.

Anglican Schools

Hale School
Guildford Grammar School
Christ Church Grammar School
St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls
St Mary's Anglican School
Perth College
All Saints College

References and Links

Errington, Steve 2016, 'Places of worship in Fremantle, 1829 to 1900', Studies in Western Australian History, 31: 145-158.

Gare, Deborah 2016, 'In the beginning: empire, faith and conflict in Fremantle', Studies in Western Australian History, 31: 159-172.

Grose, Alex 2014, 'Pious labours: reformation and Reverend Brown's chaplaincy', Fremantle Studies, 8: 62-77.

Leadbetter, Bill 2016, 'Canon Moore goes to war: Fremantle, 1914 to 1917, Studies in Western Australian History, 31: 97-108.

O'Brien, Jacqueline & Pamela Statham-Drew 2009, On We Go the Wittenoom way: the Legacy of a Colonial Chaplain, Fremantle Press.

Pearson, Alan 2017, 'For the touch of a vanished hand', Fremantle Studies, 9: 107-136. (St Paul's)

Reece, Bob 2005, 'The Reverend George King and Fremantle', Fremantle Studies, 4: 32-49. [See also: George King.]

See also: St George's Cathedral, Perth.

Garry Gillard | New: 8 March, 2018 | Now: 18 April, 2022