Strong Foundations in Hunters Hill.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever” wrote John Keats, but he may well have added, only so long as it is maintained in a right and fitting condition.
The Church of All Saints, classified by The National Trust of Australia (N.S.W.), is certainly a building of considerable beauty. Over the years since it was dedicated in 1888 the devotion of many people has maintained the building, gardens and grounds to the condition it is today.
All Saints has always had a strong musical tradition, built up over the years with a fine organ and choirs.
The organ was built by Bevington and Sons, Soho, London to specifications drawn by the then (1887) Parish organist, Mr E. Truman. It was installed in the Church in 1888, shortly after the Church was opened and is reputedly the largest most intact Bevington of its size in existence. With financial support from the N.S.W. Heritage Council, Parish fund raising and community support, the organ was restored and re-built in 1997-98.
A robed choir continues to sing each Sunday in All Saints.
The collection of stained glass in All Saints is acknowledged as one of the finest in the Sydney Anglican Diocese.
Most of the windows were made in Sydney, the exceptions are the two sets, each of three lights, immediately inside the west screen door on the right side. These were made in the United Kingdom by Morris and Company and the cartoons were drawn by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. They are the only stained-glass windows in Sydney from this source.
The majority of the windows are memorials. The Church itself is a memorial to all the saints … ancient, modern, known and unknown. They will always be remembered.
All Saints' Now
The last few years have been tough for everyone, and we know as we reflect on our history that we are not the first community who have been through such tough times.
During the pandemic, and especially during lockdowns, All Saints’ remained an active place of worship. The bell rang each day during lockdown as the Rector called the community to prayer, which was able to be entered into through live-stream into the church.
While holding to our traditions, we have also been a community who have sought to be creative in how we might engage and support our wider community – offering online concerts during lockdown, and leading and marking significant community occasions such as War Memorial Days. We also continue to partake in the milestones of life – including birth, marriage and death.
We remain a congregation of all ages and life experiences. We treasure our connection with the local community and welcome people from beyond our parish boundaries to worship with us.
The Parish also actively supports work across our local community to care for those in need, partnering with local agencies to do so.
All Saints’ is used for a variety of other community purposes. In recent years we have held art exhibitions, festivals, concerts, dramas, lectures and debates. It has also been a place in which school music concerts, drama, ecumenical services and community fundraisers have been held and hosted.
All Saints’ Church is a national treasure. The cost of maintaining this building is significant. Our Parish does not receive funding from sources outside the Parish (including the Diocese and Government). Our members give, fundraise and use the resources we have to ensure the Church functions in the present, and is able to be passed on to the next generation.
David Morgan and Mary Hinde
All Saints’ has been our spiritual home for many years. When we walk in, we feel at home and are comforted by prayers that have filled this place for over a century.
It has been, and continues to be, the place where we bring both our sorrows and our joys – both of which we have experienced in life and yet also many celebrations. Many of these events have occurred in these holy walls.
All Saints’ is an inclusive community, and we have made many lifelong friendships within the congregation, and we appreciate the depth of these friendships through times of stress and loss.
We love being a part of traditional Anglican worship, and appreciate the sights and sounds of beautiful Anglican liturgy week by week. In this place the love of God is not only preached, but revealed in our love for one another, which brings hope, joy and peace.
This congregation nurtures us in the faith, and through that faith we look outwards as to how we can serve others. In this place, there is a place for everyone, and we value its inclusive nature.
We look forward to continuing to worship and celebrate in this sacred space, and to pass it on so that future generations may benefit from what we have received.
In 1969 my husband David and I moved to Hunters Hill with our four children, and shortly after started to attend All Saints’. My children participated in a range of activities in the Parish, including the All Saints’ Soccer Team that was established by
All Saints’ is the place where my family have celebrated many occasions, as well as the place we have gathered for times of solemnity and remembrance. My husband David, who also treasured being a member of this congregation, has his memorial near the front door.
This Church is the place where I am free to live out my faith, and express my true self. When I enter it, I feel a sense of calm, peace and acceptance. I love being there to support others in time of need and be supported in my time of need. The more I have invested myself into
the congregation, the more I get back.
Kate, Joel, Ambrose & Antigone Harrison
All Saints’ is the place where we as a family feel we are growing. Ambrose (5) loves meeting up with his friends at All Saints’ Kids for drama, craft, games, and learning together.
Ambrose is now asking the big questions about what it means to love everyone as God loves us, while telling us each week how much he looks forward to Holy Communion. Our daughter Antigone (‘Tiggy’) (2) was baptised at All Saints – a beautiful welcoming of her into the community, life with God, and our lives. She is now rambunctiously running up and down the centre aisle for the kids’ blessing (and for fun), joining the big kids, and always searching for ‘baby Jesus’ who was in the crib at Christmas. Our children are learning love for God and love for others in a church that values the liturgy and traditions of the church, while engaging them where they are. As parents and parishioners, this is what we want – for them, us, and all who enter All Saints’ doors.
My family ties with All Saints’ date back several generations to the Manning Family. In the Church there are memorials to my Great Grandfather, Charles James Manning and my Great Uncles, Guy Owen Manning & Charles Edye Manning.
My Great Aunt, Ruth Manning was one of the first babies to be baptized in the Church.
In 2010 I was fortunate to return to Hunters Hill. I remember my uncle saying, “how lovely to have family back in Hunters Hill again.” It is a wonderful community to live within.
When I started to worship at All Saints’ it felt like coming home.
It is a congregation who have continued to support me, especially in recent years through some tough times of illness. When I enter the building I feel not only a part of that space, but part of a community of people who are all working together for good.
Merlyn and Jeby Armstrong
We feel blessed to belong to All Saints’. It is a community that encourages and engages us to grow in faith, which helps us to show love, care and concern for others.
We feel welcome and included and encouraged to be welcoming and inclusive of all who we meet.
All Saints’ is a place where we pray for each other, for our wider community and our world. We know that we are prayed for by members of this congregation, and they know we pray for them. This unites us with a special bond that is beyond words, and draws us closer together. As such we feel supported and loved.
Music is one of the ways that we express ourselves in our worship, and love to be a part of the choir. One of our great joys during lockdowns for COVID was to be able to come and sing for the recordings. It lifted our hearts in a tough time, and we know that it lifted up others.
Jeby has become a choral scholar in the Parish, and through that support is further developing her music skills. It has been wonderful to watch her grow during this time – from barely being able to sing out, to now leading solos. Her confidence has grown, and we are appreciative of being able to be a part of this.
We thank God for this church, and hope and pray that others might through its presence come to receive some of what we have.
Building on the Foundations, and Securing the Future
The following steps have been achieved, and are planned, based on heritage, engineering, architectural and specialist advice:
Our slate roof required several areas of repairs, including the replacement of tiles and flashing. This was done in stages over three years, and now seems reasonably water-tight.
The gutters that were put in place in the 1920’s, made from left over military surplus from WW1(!), were replaced with new copper gutters and down pipes. Four new down pipes were installed with the extra wide gutters to capture the large amount of water that is caught on the roof. The clay drain pipes, which were often broken or blocked, were replaced with a new drainage system.
This work cost the Parish over $400,000.00, and the result has been a building that is now reasonably watertight!
An engineering report identified significant amount of work that need to be done to repair, maintain and preserve the beautiful sandstone exterior walls of All Saints’.
The impact of smog, jet fuel, attempted repairs from good hearted souls in previous generations and just general age has meant work needs to be done to repair and restore the stonemasonry.
The report also identified that the magnificent Eastern Window has suffered buckling and damage as a result of failure of stonemasonry, some attempts to repair with the wrong equipment, and safety glass that has caused more damage than assisted.
This step commenced in May 2023 with work to the East and South Walls. This has been funded and the walls have been completed.
It is planned in January 2024 that the Eastern window will be removed in order to carry out significant repairs on it. Repairs include the stained glass and also the stonemasonry, sum of which has failed.
We hope to also carry out work on the West and North Walls in 2023, and are seeking donations and funding for this work.
We have raised some costs for thsi work, and are seeking (as at October 2023) a further $360,000.00 towards the estimated costs.
If you look closely in All Saints’ you can see the work of various eras – from the era when the church was lit with lanterns, to the installation of gas-lighting and eventually electricity. Some of this has been done extremely well, and some needs some significant work to ensure that this sacred space not only remains beautiful, but also safe and practical.
The stunning timber roof, with its amazing cross-beams is an engineering marvel, as well as a thing of beauty. It has not been cleaned, nor had a coat of oil, in at least the last 50 years (and perhaps ever). The timber is crying out for oil that will help preserve it. To do this will require significant scaffold.
While the scaffold is in place we hope to replace the lighting and fix the wiring. Some of the wiring, in the words of electrician, is the stuff of nightmares as we occasionally find sections of wiring still from the 1960’s. Having safe wiring and a lighting system that shows off the beauty of the space and its features, but importantly also allows for lighting that can not only allow us to see, but be used in a way that will enhance worship and other events (such as being able to dim the lights for a concert) would be an immense blessing to present and
The red carpet down the centre aisle was put in place as a temporary measure in the 1990’s as some of the stunning mosaic tiles that are found under it were in need of repair. We desire to lift the carpet and expose the tiles once again, ensuring that they are repaired and safe. Our Director of Music believes that this will also further enhance the acoustics of the church.
Finally, we would like to make improvements to the 1938 Narthex that will improve it aesthetically, as well as allow the space to be used more practically as a place to gather after worship or an event.
The total cost of this step is $750,000.00.
Donations over $2.00 may be tax deductible through the National Trust of Australia Fund. We know it is a bit “clunky” but if you donate via a direct deposit to the National Trust Account below (not maintained by us, but which we benefit from) and then use the form below to give us your details so that we can send you your tax deductible receipt that is deeply appreciated!