No. 13 - St James Anglican Church Jericho

The movement for the erection of a church at Jericho began in 1827. Up until this time, the district was being supplied by William Pike, a catechist, who lived at “Park Farm”, Jericho. However it wasn’t until 1838 that a church was built and it was consecrated by Bishop William Grant Broughton on Tuesday 10 May 1838.

Fifty years later, cracks appeared in the building, and it was decided to erect another building on the same site. On the 29th April 1888 the new church, St James’ Church, Jericho was consecrated by Bishop Sandford.

The church is of great significance to the village of Jericho. Architectural fittings and furnishings bear dedications to prominent early members of the district, including Thomas Gregson who was Premier of Tasmania in 1857, and who’s property “Northumbria” borders the church. St. James is listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register for its community values and its ability to represent a modest sandstone Victorian Gothic Church. The building was designed by the well know architect, Henry Hunter, who was responsible for many fine building around Tasmania. Walter Fish was responsible for the stonework and the woodwork was carried out by Charles Ellen, both of Oatlands.

The stained-glass windows were added over time and are some of the best examples of Australia’s glass artists, including John Lamb Lyons (Sydney), George Dancey, William Kerr-Morgan, Brooks Robinson (renowned for the strength of his workmanship) and perhaps the most important window which was the last window that William Montgomery crafted. The beautiful window at the rear of the church, “Crucifixion” was executed by Augustus Fischer of Melbourne. His windows are rare and his work was renowned for his treatment of flowers.

It is also thought that St. James Church was the first church in the southern hemisphere to have conducted an Ecumenical Service. The churchyard includes an Avenue of Honour, a row of pine trees dedicated to local men (and one woman) who served in W.W.1. St. James’ is a family church of the Bisdees, a prominent pastoral family of the district. They took an active part in the welfare of the church and it’s people. John Hutton Bisdee was the first Australian-born Victoria Cross recipient, and is buried in the cemetery. Bisdee was awarded the V.C. in 1900 for bravery in the Transvaal War.

St. James Church now houses a Pioneer and Heritage Museum.


Grave of John Hutton Bisdee was the first Australian-born Victoria Cross recipient


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