by Cathy Jones
The former St Columba’s Anglican Church is located at 11 Exeter Street (cnr Hornsey Rd) Homebush West.
In the late 19th Century, the largest religious group in the Strathfield Council area was the Church of England.
St Anne’s – first Anglican Church
The first Anglican Church built was St Anne’s Anglican Church, located at corner of Vernon and Brunswick Street Strathfield. The Rev. Herbert Rose was inducted as the Parish Rector.
As the population grew, so did the demand for a larger church. In 1892, the site on the corner of Beresford and Homebush Road was acquired and the architectural firm of Sulman and Power were engaged to design the new church. The first portion of the Church was completed and dedicated in 1893. In 1902, the nave was completed and the Chancel was added in 1914.
The architect John Sulman [1849-1934], a former resident of Strathfield, had designed the Strathfield Council Chambers in 1887, in partnership with CE Blackmann. Following the dissolution of this partnership, Sulman entered into partnership with Joseph Porter Power from 1889 to 1908. Their other work included The Armidale School , Women’s College University of Sydney [1890-94] and the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital at Concord.
Building of St Columbia’s Church at Flemington
Sulman & Power were engaged as architects for St Columba’s Flemington (later known as Homebush West). This church was opened and dedicated for worship on Monday 12th March, 1906.
The area of Flemington, south of the railway and north of Arthur Street is built on land subdivided and offered for sale in 1882. A portion of the land was acquired to build Flemington Rail Station in 1884. Though there was some housing built in the late 19th century, most of the residential development occurred in the early 20th century in Flemington, mainly timber styled cottages. A small shopping centre developed opposite the rail station, the Homebush West Public School was built in 1912.
St Columba’s of the Strathfield-Homebush Parish of St Anne’s were built to service the growing population. In 1905, the Trustees of the Church of England purchased Lot 13, Section 11 of Deposited Plan for £120. The foundation stone was laid by Frederick M. Darley, Lieutenant Governor on 9 December 2005. The architectural firm of Sulman and Power were engaged to design the new Church and the builder was E W Grant. The total cost of the building and its contents was £1322 2s 7d.
The Church is constructed of brick with a tiled roof. Elements included an arched top window with contrasting brickwork, a brick tower with a copper spire, brick buttresses and a brick fence.
At the time of St Columba’s foundation the Rector of St Anne’s, the mother Church in the Parish, was Rev H. J. Rose. The first Churchwardens of St Columba’s were H.J. Ferguson, Walter W. Davis and R. Orchard.
This building later operated as the Inner West Baptist Church.
Written Cathy Jones 2011.