24-06-1879: St Peter’s Church of England, Hamilton, Tasmania.

The three light chancel window at St Peter’s Church of England was created by Ferguson & Urie circa 1880 and is a memorial to Ann Jane Wright (c.1835-1879).

St Peters Church of England at Hamilton is one of the oldest existing churches in Australia, and even pre-dates the founding of Melbourne. The church was designed by Edward Winch, Chief Clerk of the Colonial Architect’s Department, with some modifications by architect John Lee Archer (1791-1852). The cost was stated at £700 minus the tower and the first committee for the construction of the church was appointed with Mr.D.Burn as Secretary. The Government agreed to pay half the cost of the church and construction began in 1834 with J.J.Turnbull as builder. Apparently the walls had to be rebuilt in 1835 just after the laying of the foundation stone by Lieut. Governor Arthur in June, 1834 and the new builder contracted to complete it was W. Sibley. The church was consecrated on May 8th, 1838, by the first and only Bishop of Australia, the Rev Dr. W. G. Broughton, who also consecrated the burial ground. The first confirmation service was held on the same day at 10:30.

Photos were taken 7th October 2010.

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The Reverend George Wright arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on the ‘Fortune’ on the 21st March 1838, and became the third incumbent of St Peter’s circa 1844. He remained there for 30 years until failing eyesight forced him to retire from active work in 1875, but he still took an active role in many ceremonies alongside the new incumbent, the Rev Charles Andrews, from 1875 until mid 1878. The Rev George Wright’s wife, Anne Jane, died on the 24th of July 1879 and a minor reference to the triple light east window was mentioned in the Mercury in 1934, “The east window is a handsome “In memoriam” window erected by the parishioners and friends in memory of the wife of the Rev. Geo. Wright”. The memorial text on the window states:

“IN MEMORIAM | ANN JANE WRIGHT | DIED JULY 24th 1879”.

The three scenes depicted in the windows with accompanying chapter and verse are are:

MARK 10-14: (Suffer Little Children to come unto me).
LUKE 22-6: (Judas betrays Jesus).
MATT 26-7:  (The woman with the Alabaster box of precious ointment).

The Rev George Wright died on the 23rd of August 1893 and he and his wife Anne are buried in St Peter’s graveyard in Hamilton.

An original sketch of this  windows design, by Ferguson & Urie’s senior stained glass artist, David Relph Drape, was found in the manuscripts collection at the State Library of Victoria. The style and colours are very typical of Ferguson & Urie’s work from the mid 1870’s to 1880’s and it also exhibits some signs of degradation of the brown medium used in facial features that was a typical failing seen in other similar examples of Ferguson & Urie work from the same period. A copy of the original sketch and the window are depicted in the slideshow of photos.

The Mercury, Hobart, Monday 14th June 1937, page 9.

“ST. PETER’S, HAMILTON. Established 100 Years”.

“The 100th anniversary occurs this month of the completion of St. Peter’s Church of England, Hamilton, one of the oldest country churches in Tasmania. According to available records, it was reported in August, 1836, that the church would be completed in two months. This must have referred to the stonework, for a later report stated that the church was completed and inspected in June, 1837, a bill for the interior fittings having been dated June 14. In 1831 a movement was inaugurated with a view to the erection of an Anglican Church at Hamilton. The prime movers appear to have been Messrs. W. A. Bethune, of Dunrobin, William Roadnight, of Hamilton, David Burn, of Rotherwood, and Thomas Marzetti, of Cawood. A building committee was appointed, and in 1833 this included Messrs. W. S. Sharland, and Edward Lord jun., of Lawrenny, and other well-known pioneers. The foundation stone of the building was placed in position on June 26, 1834, by the then Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania (Col. George Arthur), and the church was completed in 1837. The first rector was the Rev. M. J. Mayers, who came out from England with the first Archdeacon, the Venerable William Hutchins, in the Fairlie, which arrived at Hobart on January 6, 1837. Another passenger on the ship was Sir John Franklin, the new Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania. St Peter’s Church was consecrated on May 8, 1838, by the Rt. Rev. Dr. W. G. Broughton, the first Bishop of Australia.

The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, Friday 29th June 1934, page 6.

“[…] The east window is a handsome “In memoriam” window erected by the parishioners and friends in memory of the wife of the Rev. Geo. Wright […]

The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, Wednesday 31st March 1875, page 2.

[In reference to Bishop Davies address to the Synod]:

“… I have ordained deacon, Mr. C. Andrew, who had previously worked in that diocese as a lay reader. He has undertaken the temporary charge of Hamilton, in order to relieve the Rev. George Wright, who, after many years of valuable service, has been compelled, I regret to say, through a physical infirmity, to abandon his duties for a season entirely…”

The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, Saturday 26th July 1879, page 1.

“WRIGHT- On July 24, at Hamilton, in her 44th year, Anne Jane, wife of Rev. George Wright, for thirty years incumbent of the parish. Friends are informed that the burial will take place on MONDAY NEXT, at 2 o’clock p.m.”

Launceston Examiner, Tasmania, Thursday 24th August 1893.

“DEATH OF THE REV. GEORGE WRIGHT. (BY TELEGRAPH)

WESTBURY, Wednesday, The Rev. George Wright, colonial chaplain, and former incumbent of Hamilton for many years, a very old and highly esteemed and Christian minister of the Anglican Church, passed away peacefully at his lodgings, Westbury, about midnight last night. His remains will be removed to Hamilton for interment, where he laboured so long in the service of his Master.”

External links:

Biography: Archer, John Lee (1791–1852)

The history of St. Peter’s Church, Hamilton, Tas., 1834 to 1934. by William George Brown.

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