the first church on Monaro
(photograph taken 16 July 2002)
Until 1833 the Monaro was without religious ministration of any kind. People had to travel to Mittagong to be married or to have children baptised. In 1833 the Revd Edward Smith was appointed to the Church of England in Queanbeyan, and he undertook occasional visits southward.
In 1843 the Revd Edward Gifford Pryce (a minister of the Church of England) was appointed to make Missionary Tours of the whole of the Monaro and the South Coast. He travelled on horseback with a packhorse. In 1884 Revd Pryce wrote to the Bishop of Australia (Bishop Broughton), requesting that a home be acquired for him. He stated that during his time in this district he had not stayed in one place for more than three days... except when he contracted a violent cold and stayed with a Doctor for a week. A home was acquired on Myalla Road.
In 1845 Revd Gifford and Bishop Broughton decided to build Cooma's (and the district's) first church. The foundation stone of Christ Church was laid on 17 February 1845. Bishop Broughton drew up the plans for the church building and arranged for its construction. Due to labour problems and finance it was not completed until 1850.
Within five years it was realised that Christ Church was not located where the village of Cooma was developing. Morning services continued to be held at Christ Church, however evening services began to be held in the Court house in town.
[Click here to read more history of the Anglican Church on Monaro.]
THIS CHURCH, THE FOUNDATION STONE OF WHICH WAS LAID IN 1845, IS THE FIRST CHURCH TO HAVE BEEN BUILT IN MANARO AND WAS USED AS A PLACE OF REGULAR WORSHIP UNTIL 1872.
IN 1936 THE CHURCH WAS PARTIALLY RESTORED AND DEDICATED AS A MEMORIAL TO THE PIONEERS OF THE DISTRICT AND TO THE RT REV BISHOP BROUGHTON, FIRST BISHOP OF AUSTRALIA AND REV E G PRYCE, THE PIONEER CLERGYMAN OF MANARO, WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ERECTION OF THIS CHURCH.
WITHIN THESE GROUNDS ARE RECORDED NAMES OF MANY OF THE EARLY PIONEERS.
THIS PLAQUE RECORDS THE COMPLETE RESTORATION AND RE-HALLOWING OF THE CHURCH IN 1960. THE SERVICE WAS A FEATURE OF THE FESTIVAL OF THE SNOWS CELEBRATIONS.
Christ Church is an example of buildings of importance and solidity being roofed with shingles.
Recently the Christ Church Property Trust has restored the church building. Its original pews have been restored and replaced, a new floor has been laid.
Members of many pioneer families are buried in the cemetary at Christ Church.