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  • Canon Paul Black, Rector

Canberra’s oldest church to get a new roof


St John’s Anglican church (1841), Reid, which dates back to the earliest days of European settlement in this area, is to get a new Welsh slate roof.

In 1960 deteriorating timber shingles were replaced by asbestos roof tiles. Unfortunately, one major storm event could render the church unusable because no repair work can be carried out on the asbestos tiles.

The surface area of the tiles is also at risk of breaking down with the potential of releasing asbestos into the environment.

Now, almost sixty years later, the replacement of the church roof will commence this month. The projected cost of the project is over $300,000.

‘St John’s is a typical English village church and through a quirk of history they literally put the national capital around us,' said the Reverend Paul Black, Rector.

Construction on the church was begun in 1841 and was consecrated in 1845 by the Right Reverend William Grant Broughton, the first Anglican Bishop of Australia, on 12th March 1845.

The materials used for the church were almost entirely local with the stone coming from Mount Pleasant and Black Mountain. It was extended between 1872 and 1874. Edmund Blackett, an outstanding ecclesiastical architect of his time, designed the tower and its spire.

As the new federal capital grew around the village church it became the place of worship of Governors-General, military leaders, politicians, public servants and people throughout Canberra.

The church's interior is lined with memorials from Canberra’s early pastoral pioneer families, to eminent Australian statesmen of the early federal era and people of national significance. Canberra Day 2020 will be the 175th anniversary of its consecration.

The church continues to be alive in the twenty-first century with people of all ages.

Photo: Scaffolding being erected 25 June 2019.

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