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First Christian Service : 15-March-2013
First Christian Service : 15-March-2013

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams / John Huth

The sandstone Gothic Revival monument was erected in commemoration of the first Christian service held in Australia (3 February 1788). The form is capped cruciform Gothic buttresses with finials and surmounted by a Crucifix. The inscribed trachyte pedestal was laid by Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair, Governor of New South Wales, on 19 March 1925. It stands on a wider trachyte base with steps between corner stones. 

The monument has historic significance as a reminder of the location of Sydney`s first Church and the life of Richard Johnson, the first Church of England clergyman in New South Wales.

The monument is situated within Richard Johnson Square which is on the site of the first Church built in Australia, opened on 23 August 1793. The Square was named for the first Anglican clergyman in Australia and pioneer farmer, Richard Johnson. The first Church burnt down on 1 October 1798 and after that services were held temporarily in Sydney`s first brick house, then at the orphan school and finally at St Phillip`s Church from 1809.

An effort is being made to finalise the fund established in Sydney to raise £500 for a memorial to commemorate the first Christian service held in Australia. At a meeting of the committee on Monday night it was reported that the money in hand amounted to £330. It was decided to make an appeal for £200. The memorial will be of trachyte, and will be erected at the intersection, of Hunter, Bligh, and Castlereagh streets, Sydney.
Brisbane Courier (Qld.),  9 July 1924.


Address:Bligh & Hunter Streets, Johnson Square, Sydney, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.866113
Long: 151.209963
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Culture
Actual Event Start Date:03-February-1788
Actual Event End Date:03-February-1788
Designer:Burcham Clamp & Finch Architects


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 19th March, 1925
Front Inscription

To the glory of God

And in commemoration of the first Christian Service held in Australia

February 3rd 1788

Rev Richard Johnson B A 

The Chaplain being the Preacher.

Left Side Inscription

The text of the first Sermon preached in Australia.

"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me". Psalm - CXVI 12

Back Inscription

This foundation stone was laid by His Excellency Admiral Sir Dudley R De Chair K.B.E. Governor of New South Wales on the nineteenth day of March 1925

Right Side Inscription

This marks the site of the first Church erected in Australia.

Opened August 25th 1793

Burned down Oct. 1st 1798

Rev Richard Johnson B A  Chaplain.
Being the first Minister

Source: H, MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au