Parish of Ebenezer Pitt Town
Sharing our Christian Heritage
- Is Australia’s oldest church, est. 1809 at Ebenezer, NSW
- Was the first non-conformist then Presbyterian Church in Australia
- Was a pioneer in education in the colony, beginning a school in 1810. The church is the oldest extant school building in Australia.
- The Coromandel covenantors arrived in Sydney in 1802 and began as pioneer farmers on the Hawkesbury at Portland Head in 1803.
- After five years of worship in the open air and in the homes of Dr Arndell and Owen Cavanough they, with seven other families, covenanted on the 22 nd September 1808. They formed the ‘Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge and the Instruction of Youth’ and agreed to build a church and school and to call a minister to facilitate their faith.
- Ebenezer means ‘The Lord has helped us all the way’ or ‘Stone of Help’. 1 Samuel: Chapter 7 Verse 12.
- In 1809 and 1817 they sent to the London Missionary Society for supply of a minister.
- The first communion service according to the Church of Scotland was conducted in 1824 by the Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang. Andrew Johnston was ordained as an elder.
- The schoolmaster’s residence appears to have been built in 1817 and is an excellent example along with the church of early colonial architecture designed by Andrew Johnston.
- David Dunstan and later Charles Smith, carpenter for Governor Macquarie and architect Greenway, did the carpentry at Ebenezer Church.
- The first ordained Minister to serve at Ebenezer was the Rev. Dr John McGarvie, taking over pastoral duties from layman Catechist ‘Pastor’ James Mein.
- The fifteen pioneer families made major contribution not only to church life but also to the whole development of the colony in its infancy.
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Ebenezer Church wins a Top Sustainable Cities Award!
Ebenezer Church in the Hawkesbury region was a winner at the Sustainable Cities Awards Dinner hosted by Keep Australia Beautiful NSW and City of Canada Bay Council.
The incredible and lengthy work undertaken by the Ebenezer Church Council to restore Ebenezer Church in Ebenezer was the winning entry of the NSW Heritage Branch Heritage Award.
Peter McLean, CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful, said the project was particularly impressive for the way in which it pulled the small congregation together for a common goal.
“Ebenezer Church was incapable of meeting the costs of the restoration work but with some lateral thinking, the council was able to contact descendents of the 15 pioneer families who built the church in 1809, and obtained 60 percent of the needed funds.”
The church is the oldest existing church in Australia and the five year Restoration of Australia’s Oldest Existing Church project included roof repairs, water tank replacement, new toilets, painting, and weed clearing from river banks with some funding through the NSW Government's Heritage Grants Program administered by the Department's Heritage Branch.
Here is the full article from Keep Australia Beautiful NSW