St John's Church Group


City of Albany

Place Number



149-163 York St Albany

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Church, Rectory & Peppermint Trees

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1841, Constructed from 1875

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 30 Dec 1983
State Register Permanent 09 Feb 1996 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978
Classified by the National Trust Classified 04 Apr 1977
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A+

Child Places

  • 00071 St John's Church
  • 00072 St John's Hall
  • 00073 St John's Rectory

Statement of Significance

St John's Church Group comprising St John's Church (1841-1848), a stone building with gabled roofs covered with shingles, and Rectory (1850, 1875) has aesthetic, historic, social, representative and rarity cultural heritage significance for the following reason: The place comprises what the earliest extant church consecrated in WA The place represents the early development of Albany The place is an aesthetic landmark in York St Together with St John's Hall, the adjacent was memorial and Scots Church opposite, the place forms an historic focal point at the intersection of two main streets and The church building is a fine example of Old Gothick Picturesque architecture.

Physical Description

St John's Church is set in landscaped gardens designed as part of a picturesque scene. Amongst the gardens are a number of mature peppermint trees valued by the community for their shade and aesthetic appeal. The church has 540mm thick stone walls and stone foundations and gabled roofs. The stone is believed to have been quarried from Mounts Clarence and Melville. An unusual feature of the walls is the lack of buttresses due to the strength of the walls. The building is planned as two unequal oblongs: the original building now the nave of the present church and a gallery behind which was completed in 1852. The buildings have medium pitched gabled roofs covered with sheoak shingles. The tower and porch added in 1853 is built in matching stone. The tower is capped with a battlemented parapet, is decorated with string courses and features small lancet openings with louvred infills and blind lancets. It is an imposing entrance, and a striking landmark. The addition of the Lady Chapel (1961) to the south west corner of the building and the extension of the vestry (1961) to the north-west corner together with the western extension of the sanctuary (1968), create a crucifix plan. The gabled roofed additions were built in a style to match the existing church. A wall of the Chapel displays a stone from the walls of St Paul's Cathedral London, which had been dislodged during bombing in World War Two. The six windows in the nave, the west window over the altar and the three windows in the Chapel feature fine stained glass. The roof of the Chapel is adorned with carved bargeboards concealing the lining boards of the boxed eaves. The entrance doors are constructed of vertical timber boarding with heavy iron nails and hinges. The openings to the vestry and chapel are recessed with hood-moulds above. The timber roof of the interior was plainly treated with visible rafters in the chancel and sanctuary, a feature typical of nineteenth century English parish churches and a matchboard ceiling in the nave. The floor of the central aisle in the nave is covered with Minton encaustic tiles (1874) laid in a geometric pattern which carries the eye along to the sanctuary. The interior walls are painted render. The stained glass of the altar window is a memorial to King Edward Vll, and was installed in 1912. In 1922, the first Moir Memorial window was installed in the nave and the second Moir Memorial window was installed in 1923. The rectory was built in 1850, as a single storey stone house clad with a shingle roof. The interior comprised a central entry hall with a sitting and dining room either side of the entry at the front of the house. A kitchen and study are behind. A larder at the end of the hall is accessed from the kitchen across a passage. A bathroom and laundry are at the end of the passage. The exterior of the building features double hung sash windows with small panes. The second storey was added in 1875. The brick addition consisted of four bedrooms and a verandah on three sides. The roof is covered in metal imitation tiles over the original shingles and corrugated iron. The rectory underwent extensive restoration to the exterior sometime prior to the 1970s. The stonework to three exterior walls was restored, the verandah floor covered with concrete. A garage and covered walkway, clad in corrugated iron, were added to the southern side of the building in 1981. Modifications were also made to the interior of the building. Cornices and plasterboard ceilings were installed in the kitchen and sitting rooms, covering the original lathe and plaster ceilings. In the 1960s, the cupboards in the kitchen were replaced and the pine floorboards in one bedroom were replaced with jarrah. The church is in sound condition as it has been maintained with great care. The rectory is sound however at the time of inspection in the late 1970s it was unclear whether dampness and structural cracks had been arrested. The rectory was repaired and repainted in 1997-2000.


In April 1841, a public meeting was held to establish an Anglican church. Peter Belches, Edward Spencer, George Cheyne, T. B. Sherratt and J. R. Phillips were elected as Trustees. They started collecting funds, were granted a block of land on the corner of York and Peels Place, and building commenced. The depressed economic conditions of the 1840s made building funds difficult to obtain, and the construction of the building came to a standstill. Attempts to continue the work were unsuccessful until 1848, when a government grant was acquired to finish the roof and support a clergyman. The tender to complete the roof amounted £88 and the architect was Mr. Sinclair. On 8 July 1848, the Reverend John Rammsden Wollaston arrived in Albany to become the first resident clergyman. Although incomplete when Wollaston arrived, sufficient work had been completed in time for the church to be consecrated during a visit to Albany, on 25 October 1848. According to the author of Albany: A Panorama of the Sound from 1827, D Garden, St John's was the first church in the colony to be consecrated. On 9 November 1848, a decision was made to build a parsonage. On the 13 February 1849, Mr Thomas successfully tendered for the construction of the parsonage for the sum of £109. On 20 August 1850, the Rector moved in to the parsonage. The Rectory is built of stone, with walls 18 inches thick. Work continued on St John's Church and in 1853, the distinctive tower was added. It had been included in the original plans; however, by omitting the tower at the time of the original construction, the tender was substantially reduced. In 1874, the chancel was added to the Church and a gallery, completed in 1852, at the back of the nave was removed. In 1875, a second storey was added to the Rectory and the kitchen was added. In 1891, the present organ was purchased for the church, from Hill & Son of London for £160. In 1892, gas lighting was introduced and the following year the match-board ceiling was installed in the nave. No further additions or alterations were undertaken until 1961, when the Lady Chapel and vestries were added. Later, in 1968, as a result of a bequest, the chancel of the Church was extended to provide an adequate sanctuary and to further develop the cruciform plan of the building. Architect Mr H. Smith was responsible. In 2000, St John's Church Group continues to be used as a place of worship, and still plays an integral part in the religious lives of many Albany residents.


Integrity: Very High




Name Type Year From Year To
H Smith Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Interview with Betty Hewitt, 2000
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999
J Bartlett; "Built to Last: A History of the Anglican Church if St John the Evangelist, Albany Western Australia 1848-1998".
Heritage Council of Western Australia assessment for entry on permanent basis 1996
R Bodycoat ; "Conservation Plan, St John's Church, Rectory and hall, Albany Western Australia". Duncan, Stephen and mercer Architects 1996

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9504 St John's Church Hall site archaeology report for Heaver and Heaver Architects. Heritage Study {Other} 2010
4596 Heritage Grants Program 1999/2000 : for St John's Church & Parish Hall : conservation works : at Peels Place, Albany, W.A. : for the Anglican Parish of Albany. Report 2000
960 St John's Anglican Church,Albany Heritage Study {Other} 1995
3007 St John's Church, Rectory and Hall Albany Western Australia - Conservation Plan Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1996

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters
Original Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel

Architectural Styles


Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Local Stone
Roof TIMBER Shingle

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

07 Nov 1994

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.