Sir John Lancelot StirlingPrint Page Print this page

02-February-20917 (Paul Scott)
02-February-20917 (Paul Scott)

Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole / Paul Scott

The bell tower of the church commemorates Sir John Lancelot Stirling who died in 1932. 

On the 29th October 1950, the memorial tower was completed by the addition of a bell given in memory of Lady Stirling who was a devout and regular worshipper of the church for over fifty years. Lady Stirling died in 1949. 

John Lancelot Stirling was born on 5 November 1849 at Strathalbyn. He went up to Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., LL.B., 1871), where he won a blue for athletics. In 1870 and 1872 he won the amateur hurdles championship of England. At 23 he was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple. He returned to South Australia in 1876, and with his brother bred merino sheep; he also bred Ayrshire cattle and horses on the family properties.

He was a member of the House of Assembly for Mount Barker in 1881-87 and Gumeracha in 1888-90, and in 1891-1932 was a member for the Southern Districts in the Legislative Council and was president in 1901-32. Though an unexceptional speaker he was respected for his ability. He was appointed K.C.M.G. in 1909.

Stirling was director of the Beltana and Mutooroo Pastoral companies, the Australian Mutual Provident Society, the Wallaroo and Moonta Mining and Smelting Co. and the Alliance Insurance Co. He introduced polo to South Australia and captained a team that twice defeated Victoria. He was the steward of several racing clubs, and was once master of the Adelaide hounds. A member of the University of Adelaide Council, he was also president of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Pastoralists' Association of South Australia, and the Zoological and Acclimatization Society. 

The Bishop of Adelaide (Dr. Thomas) this afternoon dedicated the tower which has been added Christ Church as a memorial to Sir Lancelot Stirling, who, with his family, worshipped there for many years. There was a large crowd, representative of both the city and country, at the ceremony. A combined choir from all the churches in the town led the singing and representatives from the churches in the parish were present. Members of both Houses of Parliament, the mayor (Mr. J. W. Elliott), and members of the town and district councils, attended. The tower was designed by Mr. Kenneth Milne who is a nephew of Sir Lancelot and Lady Stirling. Surmounting the walls of the original porch to tne centre of the front of the church, it rises 50 feet. It has a battle-mented top, with louvres on four sides for a 15 feet belfry at the top, the interior of the open tower below being lighted by four deep Gothic windows and four smaller leadlight ones. Neat Manchurian oak panelling at the basement joins the interior and exterior doors. The painting and dressings agree in tone with the original church, the buttresses of which have been recemented and colored to harmonise with the new structure.

On the eastern buttress a granite memorial tablet has been inserted bearing the following inscription:— "This tower has been erected in loving memory of Sir John Lancelot Stirling. K.C.M.G., OBE., 8.A., LL.B., by his friends. March, 1933-" On the southern side of the inside panelling a smaller tablet, placed there by his family, bears the following words: —'"To the glory of God and in fond memory of John Lancelot Stirling."

Today's proceedings took place both outside and inside the church. After hymns had been sung by the united congregation, the Mayor of Strathalbyn asked the rector and wardens of Christ Church, as custodians of the church property, to accept the gift on behalf of the contributors to the memorial fund. The rector (the Rev. H Woolnough) and the wardens (Messrs. G. W. Montgomery and C. S. Woolflt) having accepted the gift, the rector then asked Lady Stirling to unveil the memorial tablet, which she did while the big crowd stood silent. A move was then made to the inside of the church, which was soon filled, many persons being unable to obtain admission. After a short service, the Bishop, taking as his text the words from Judges, 9. 51, "There was a strong tower within the city," said that a strong tower in any city was a great asset. 
Advertiser (Adelaide), 20 March 1933. 



Address:East Terrace & Gollan Avenue, Christ Church , Strathalbyn, 5255
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.254862
Long: 138.896605
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - State
Actual Event Start Date:
Actual Event End Date:
Designer:Mr Kenneth Milne


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 19th March, 1933
Front Inscription

Plaque :

This tower has been erected in memory of the Honourable Sir John Lancelot Stirling K.C.M.G. O.B.E. B.A. LL.B. by his friends

March 1933.


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