No. 94 - St Andrew's Church Campbell Town - A Tall Story?

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church opened for worship on 30 May 1858. A much told story about an event prior to its opening goes as follows:

“The builders forgot to untie a rope and left it dangling from the top of the spire when their work was finished and the scaffolding taken away. Not wishing to have the unseemly thing in evidence on the day of dedication, a rifleman of repute was asked to come along and shoot it down. After several tries with various missiles, among which it is said, even marbles were used, the offending rope at last came tumbling to the ground”. (1)

The story of St Andrew’s is very much tied to the life of the Reverend Adam Turnbull, one time Secretary to Governor George Arthur and to Sir John Franklin. In 1852 Turnbull clashed with Governor Denison in opposing the continued transportation of convicts to the colony.  This resulted in Turnbull being deprived of his position in the government service and his right to a pension after twenty years' service. This was the catalyst for Turnbull to seek ordination as a Presbyterian minister. He was placed in charge of the Campbell Town-Tunbridge region and it was largely through his efforts that St Andrew's Church was built.

At its 50th Jubilee in 1908, the Examiner highlighted the role of Turnbull in the churches development.

Dr Turnbull early conceived the idea of erecting a building in the town worthy of being regarded as a centre of worship... Under his able leadership the idea was warmly taken up by the members of the church throughout the district, and successfully realised when the present beautiful structure was opened on May 30, 1858, exactly 50 years ago”. (2)

Turnbull’s church was the last to survive the amalgamations of what was to become the Uniting Church in the 1970's. Indeed all three of Campbell Town’s churches that were part of this merger have now closed. The loss of St Andrew’s means that the Uniting Church no longer has a formal presence in the town. In 2014 St Andrew’s was sold for development to a commercial enterprise and the ongoing story of this business can be followed in the links below.


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Courier 21 May 1858

Photographs from Roberts Real Estate showing the interior of the church before it was sold.

Photographs from Roberts Real Estate showing the interior of the church before it was sold.

Sources:

(1) K. R. Von Stieglitz; A Short History of Campbell Town, 1948
(2) Examiner Monday 8 June 1908

Other Sources:

Courier 21 May 1858
Lex Finlay, 'Turnbull, Adam (1803–1891)', Australian Dictionary of Biography
Basil Rait, The Campbell Town Story, undated booklet.

Links to recent developments relating to the development of the church:




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