We have just returned from a long weekend to Port Macquarie. Port Macquarie is about a 4-hour drive north along the coast from Sydney. We had unusual weather – from rain, winds to sunny days. It was a good 3 days away.
We visited St Thomas’ Anglican Church, it was across the road from where we were staying. It is a beautiful church and intriguing as well. The day we were there, a wedding was due to start, so our visit was very brief. Partly a good day because it was also decorated with beautiful flowers especially on the pew doors.
St Thomas’ Anglican Church is the third oldest church in Australia. It was built by convicts in 1824 and the first service held 4 years later in 1828.
The most fascinating thing about this church were the raised family boxes (see photo).
The church goers once included convicts as well as the “free” people. The family boxes were rented to parishioners to protect them from the convict onlookers. Inside the boxes are standard pew seating as well as knee rests for kneeling. Towards the back of the church were the usual seating one would be familiar with in a church.
According to the brief history leaflet that is provided inside the church, the 1856 Walker Pipe Organ, in the gallery, is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
The winding stairwell up to the Muniments room was closed off when we visited. Within the Muniments room, there are historic documents, photographs, records, old Bibles and Prayer Books. However, we did get to see some of these things at the entrance of the church. Lots of interesting artefacts were housed in the cabinet.
St Thomas’ Anglican Church is open Monday to Fridays between 9.30 am to noon and 2 pm to 4 pm. Admission is a gold coin donation (i.e. $1-$2 Australian dollars).