St Philip's Church, Sydney


St Philip's Church, Sydney is the oldest Anglican church parish in Australia. The church is located in the Sydney city centre between York Street, Clarence and Jamison Streets on a location known as Church Hill, so sometimes called Church Hill Anglican. St Philip's is part of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia.[1] The church is listed on the (now defunct) Register of the National Estate.[2]

St Philip's Church
1 St Philips1.jpg
St Philip's Church is located in Sydney
St Philip's Church
St Philip's Church
Location in Greater Sydney
Location3 York Street, Sydney CBD, New South Wales
DenominationAnglican Church of Australia
ChurchmanshipLow Church
DedicationPhilip the Apostle
in honour of Captain Arthur Phillip, RN
Associated peopleNotable former clergy:
Functional statusActive
Architect(s)Edmund Blacket
Architectural typeVictorian Academic Gothic
with English Perpendicular detail
Years built1848-1858
MaterialsSandstone, slate roofing, timber flooring, trusses and stairs, ceramic tiles
RectorJustin Moffatt
Former New South Wales Heritage Database
(Local Government Register)
Official nameSt Philip's Church of England Including Interior and Grounds
TypeLocal government heritage (built)
Criteriaa., c., d., f., g.
Delisted14 December 2012
Reference no.I1972


The original church was built by orders of the colony's first chaplain, the Reverend Richard Johnson, using convict labour in June 1793. The wattle and daub construction church was later burnt down by convicts in 1798.[3] A second stone church operated on the current site of Lang Park from 1810 to 1856. It was made from poor materials and gained a reputation as "the ugliest church in Christendom". This second church had a 150-feet high, round clock tower.[4]

The current building on York Street is the second church building on Church Hill (the wattle and daub church was built on the corner of Bligh and Hunter Streets), and was designed by Edmund Blacket in the Victorian Gothic style with English Perpendicular detail. It was built 1848-56. The church tower was styled after Magdalen Tower at Oxford, United Kingdom, and was opened in 1856.

The original parish was named in honour of the first Colonial Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, RN.[5]

The bells were cast by Charles and George Mears at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London in 1858.[6]

During World War II the hall was used as a hostel for women officers, who were on leave in Sydney. This was in partnership with the Church of England National Emergency Fund[7]


On 1 November 2013 St Philip's merged with Holy Trinity Garrison Church in Millers Point to form a joint parish using both buildings for combined ministry.[8]


Prominent clergy in the life of the church include William Cowper, his son William Cowper (the first Australian-born cleric),[9] T. C. Hammond, Sydney James Kirkby and a former archbishop of Sydney, Donald Robinson.

The church sometimes called Church Hill Anglican and the current rector is Justin Moffatt, who was previously at Christ Church, New York City.[10]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Our History". St Philip's York Street Anglican. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  2. ^ The Heritage of Australia; Macmillan Company, 1981, p. 2/110
  3. ^ "Cowper Family in Australia - Cowper 200 Celebrations - Rev William Cowper". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Early Australian Architectural History". Sydney Architecture. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  5. ^ "St Philip's Church of England Including Interior and Grounds". New South Wales Heritage Database. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  6. ^ "TOWER OF ST. PHILIPS, CHURCH HILL, SYDNEY". Construction and Local Government Journal (NSW : 1913 - 1930). NSW: National Library of Australia. 9 February 1927. p. 13. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  7. ^ "CLUB FOR WOMEN OFFICERS Opening by Lady Gowrie". The Sydney Morning Herald. No. 33,263. New South Wales, Australia. 3 August 1944. p. 6 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Nick (3 October 2011). "York Street, Miller's Point parishes to merge". Sydney Anglicans. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Cowper Family in Australia - Cowper 200 Celebrations - Rev William Cowper". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Moffatt comes home to York Street | Sydney Stories". 16 June 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Untitled". Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907). NSW: National Library of Australia. 28 January 1888. p. 21. Retrieved 12 December 2013.

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to St Philip's Church, Sydney at Wikimedia Commons