|Christ Church St Laurence|
Christ Church St Laurence, pictured in 2011
|Location||814 George Street, Haymarket, City of Sydney. New South Wales|
|Dedication||Saint Laurence of Rome|
|Number of spires||1|
|Province||New South Wales|
|Rector||Rev. Daniel Dries|
|Director of music||Sam Allchurch|
David Tagg (acting)
|Type||State heritage (built)|
|Criteria||a., c., d., e.|
|Designated||2 April 1999|
|Builders||Hill & Son - pipe organ|
Christ Church St Laurence is a heritage-listed Anglican parish church building located at 812a-814 George Street in the central business district of the City of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. The building is owned by the church and is part of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. The building and associated pipe organ were added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.The church is located near Central station.
The Revd Daniel Dries is the current rector of Christ Church St Laurence. He is the 11th rector, inducted on 21 January 2013.[ citation needed ]
The church is consecrated in honour of Saint Laurence of Rome. The history of Christ Church was written by the Reverend John Spooner. Entitled “The Archbishops of Railway Square” it covers the period from the beginning of the colony of NSW in 1788 until 2001.
The original six church bells were made by John Taylor & Sons of Loughborough in 1852. The bells arrived in Sydney in January 1853 but were not installed until after the completion of the spire at the end of 1855. These original bells were recast in Britain and four new bells were commissioned and cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in London in 1984, thus bringing the total ring to ten bells.
The place consists of three main buildings with small surrounding grounds which are tightly arranged in an irregularly shaped block where George and Pitt Streets converge into Railway Square.The sandstone church building with its steeple addresses George Street and is seen in full front elevation with the spire cut into the sky axially down Valentine Street.
Immediately to the north of the church is the AKA building, a premise owned by the church, being a three-storeyed liver-brick shop building along conventional lines. To the south of the church on George Street is an open area to the rear of the rectory. Some 2.5 m back from the alignment is a rendered brick wall painted pink which is the remains of the shop display structure which the church leased to Marcus Clark from about 1906 until the 1960s. In front of the wall are three large plane trees and associated planters and seats. Behind the wall is built a metal double-garage structure.
Facing Pitt Street to the south of the church is the Edwardian rectory building, a fine and elaborate face brick construction, the language of which is repeated in the school building, a four-storey building to the north of the church. The Pitt Street alignment is fenced with a face brick wall with sandstone capping of the same date and style as these buildings.Numerous architects have contributed to this process, most notably colonial architect Edmund Blacket in the period 1844-1880, who designed the church's spire and John Burcham Clamp (1900–1922).
The church property also bounds Rawson Place and an unnamed lane running off it. The surveys show that the place is part of a city block whose only development, apart from the shop display window, are unchanged since before 1926. The church is only fully visible looking down Valentine Street; however, the tower and spire can be seen uninterrupted as one proceeds south along George Street from Sydney Town Hall. The church and spire are also clearly visible from Railway Square, and a dramatic and very close view of the church and spire is obtained from the elevated entrance to the country trains platforms at the Central Railway building.
The place and its setting were inspected on 8 May 2001 and the current configuration of the site and buildings recorded. The views to the place and key urban relationships were recorded. The recording of these is shown in the following figures and schedules attached as Appendix 2.
The church building was consecrated in 1845. William Horatio Walsh was appointed the first rector in April 1839 after a number of clergy served short terms as the “Minister of the Parish of St Lawrence”. Two notable and long-serving rectors were John Hope (1926–1964) and Austin Day (1964–1996). The current rector is Daniel Dries.
From the physical and documentary evidence gathered, is it possible to analyse the changes to the interior of the church made for liturgical reasons since its first layout was completed by Blacket in 1864.Liturgical change, meaning the arrangement of the interior, its fitments and furniture, is integral to the history of the parish. The first is the Tactarian Style layout brought to completion in about 1864 with the installation of the second east window to the design of William Wailes and Blacket together. The ceiling was added and the columns clad in 1864. The stained glass was added gradually in the period 1845-1912. The marble steps were added to the sanctuary in 1885 and extended in 1929. The church was extensively renovated following the fire in 1905. The chancel was added in 1885 and renewed and expanded in 2004.
The second phase is about the rearrangements made by Charles Frederick Garnsey in 1886 to support Anglo- Catholic ritual worship. The principal elements of this arrangement were all the bringing of the choir and the organ to the east end, enlarging it in the process, the raising of the altar table on three additional steps of marble and the adornment of the church with a crucifix above the pulpit and cross and the candles to the altar.
The resumption for Central Railway Station and the fire in 1906 combined to provide opportunities to take these revisions further. In the third period the church gained a separate side chapel dedicated to St Laurence, enlarged vestries, including a sort of choir vestry under the organ, elaborate decoration to the chancel and a chancel screen. With these developments the Anglo-Catholic church interior arrangements were completed except for the fresco by Lo Schiovo made in 1938.These arrangements did not take away the previous one, but built them up, only to the extent required. The interior, unlike St James, retained the bones of its previous arrangements. In the last two periods the changes amount to more practical reworkings of some details with the exception of the elaborate fresco of 1938 by Vergil Lo Schiovo. Of some stylistic interest is the stripping bare in the 1960s of certain Victorian elements in order to strengthen the colonial attributes of the church interior, at the hands of the architect Morton Herman.
In summary, it can be said Christ Church retains a great deal of its original interior, but overlaid with substantial but not radical changes that importantly give effect to the Anglo-Catholic character of the place as brought about in the 1880s.Fabric retained but in need of conservation. In contrast to the Evangelical character of most of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Christ Church has long been a church within the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, with a focus on social justice issues and liturgical worship, together with an emphasis on the sacraments. The tower contains a peal of ten bells hung for change ringing. They are reputed to be "the oldest ringing peal in Australia" and are regularly rung by members of The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers. The church is especially noted for its choir.
The Choir of Christ Church St Laurence is one of the oldest continuing choral groups and was founded shortly after the consecration of the church in 1845. It is also regarded[ who? ] as one of the finest liturgical choirs in Australia. The choir performs an extensive repertoire from the 8th to the 21st century, with special emphasis on the polyphonic school of the 16th century. The choir can be heard every Sunday at the 10.30 am High Mass and again at the 6.30 pm Evensong at which the liturgy of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is used. Special music is also provided for all major festivals and feasts throughout the church calendar. Apart from the commitment to liturgical worship the choir regularly gives concerts and is frequently heard on national radio and has recorded a number of CDs.
The CCSL choir tours frequently and tours have included being the resident choir at London's Westminster Abbey for several periods, as well as singing in churches and cathedrals in Germany, France and Italy. The choir has recorded a number of CDs, one of which was nominated in the Australian Record Industry (ARIA) awards of 1991 as best classical album. They recently sang across Europe, most notably in St Paul's Cathedral, London, and Notre-Dame de Paris
|Rector||Years as Rector|
|1||William Horatio Walsh||1839–1867|
|3||Charles Frederick Garnsey||1878–1894|
|5||Frederick John Albery||1901–1910|
|6||Clive Meillon Statham||1911–1925|
|8||Patrick Austin Day||1964–1996|
|9||Michael Nicholas Roderick Bowie||1996–2000|
|10||Adrian Maxwell Stephens||2001–2013|
|11||Daniel Michael Dries||2013 to present|
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