by Cathy Jones
Moves to establish an Anglican Church in Strathfield commenced in October 1884 at a meeting in the home of Mr Edward Deas-Thompson who lived at ‘Riccaroon’ Redmyre Road, a house which is now part of Meriden School. He was the son of the former Colonial Secretary and Chairman of the Australian Jockey Club, Sir Edward Deas-Thomson, and of a daughter of Governor Burke. Plans advanced quickly and on 3 May 1885, a small weatherboard Church was built on the corner of Vernon and Brunswick Streets. The district was formed into a parish and the Rev. Herbert Rose was inducted as Rector in December 1885. By 1889, the first Rectory was built and the Church in Vernon St enlarged and beautified.
However, as the population grew, larger premises were required. The present Church site, on the corner of Beresford and Homebush Roads, was acquired in 1892 with funds used from the sale of the Church premises in Vernon St. The new Church was designed by the architectural firm of Sulman & Power and built by John Robson. John Sulman [1849-1934], who was once a resident of Strathfield, also designed the Strathfield Council Chambers in 1887. Sulman entered into partnership with Joseph Porter Power from 1889 to 1908, with other work including The Armidale School , Women’s College University of Sydney [1890-94] and the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital at Concord. Sulman & Power also designed St Columba’s, corner of Hornsey Rd and Exeter St, Homebush West.
St Anne’s is an English style Church. The Church features dichromatic brickwork and a steeped pitched slate roof. Characteristics of the Church’s design include pointed arch windows, circular windows, clock tower and stone tracery. A lychgate at the corner of Beresford and Homebush Road is another feature, which is rare in Strathfield, but typical in many English Churches.
The foundation Stone of St Anne’s Church was laid by the Governor of New South Wales, the Earl of Jersey on 25th August 1892 with the first portion of the Church completed and dedicated in 1893. Funding for the construction of the church was through fundraising efforts of St Anne’s parishioners and by 1902, the nave was completed and organ installed. Under the direction of Sulman and Power, the Chancel was added in 1914 and dedicated by the Most. Rev. John Charles Wright, Archbishop of Sydney on 21st December 1914. The Parish Hall [which was enlarged and extended in 1952] was also and Church school were added in this period.
In 1922, plans for the current bungalow styled rectory on Homebush Road costing £2500 were approved by Strathfield Council. The builder was Ernest Dawes of Homebush. To pay for the new rectory, the former Rectory in Vernon St was sold.
St Anne’s is one of the most beautiful Churches in Strathfield and its interiors feature furnishings and items, dedicated by the Church’s parishioners over the last century. Examples include the Altar and five stained glass windows, including the west window in which the Annunciation and the Presentation in the Temple are depicted. These were donated by Mr Alfred Houston c. 1892-3. Other attributes include Altar hangings, vestry furniture, lectern, prayer desk and War memorials.
© Cathy Jones 2005. This article is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the author.