St John's Cathedral Parramatta

St John’s Cathedral Parramatta

St John’s Cathedral Parramatta is  a heritage-listed, Anglican cathedral in Parramatta, a city to the west of Sydney, Australia. St John’s was given the status of provisional cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney in 1969, and designated a Regional Cathedral in 2011. It has a federal heritage listing as well as a New South Wales state heritage listing.

St John’s Cathedral is located near Parramatta railway station and is the oldest church site in Australia in continuous use. In October 1788, soon after the first load of convicts arrived at Sydney Cove, GovernorArthur Phillip took a trip up to find the head of the Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson). Finding inhabitable land there he formed a settlement at Rose Hill (named after Sir George Rose the Under-Secretary of the Treasurer) and mapped out the bare bones of a town that extended from the foot of Rose Hill for one mile eastward along the creek. This place he named Parramatta as this was his interpretation of the name given by the first peoples to the spot on which the town is situated. By the end of 1791 there were one thousand people living in the district and they were ministered by the Rev. Richard Johnson in a large shed once a fortnight. In a letter to Governor Phillip dated March 23, 1792, Johnson states: “Last spring there was the foundation of a church laid a Parramatta. before it was finished it was converted into a gaol or lock up house, and now it is converted into a granary. … I go up to Parramatta, as usual, once a fortnight the distance by water about fourteen miles.”

On 10 March 1794 the Rev. Samuel Marsden who had been appointed Assistant Chaplain arrived in Parramatta and relieved Johnson of the care of these Western settlements. On the first Sunday of September 1798 he opened a temporary church which Collins says was: “… formed out of the materials of two old huts.