St John's Cathedral

St John's Cathedral, courtesy of Heritage Branch, NSW Dept Planning

The site on which St Johns Cathedral stands is the oldest continuous place of worship in Australia. The first church in Parramatta was fashioned from two slab huts on the corner of George and Marsden Streets and dedicated by Reverend Samuel Marsden in 1796. The foundation stone of the first specifically designed church on the current site is thought to have been laid by Governor Hunter in 1799 and opened by Reverend Samuel Marsden in April 1803.


In 1818 Lieutenant John Watts enhanced the appearance of the building by adding twin towers of convict made sandstock bricks at the instigation of Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie. Gradually the early building fell into disrepair and was demolished. A new church building, designed by James Houison, was inserted between the towers in 1855, leaving them as the oldest part of an Anglican church in Australia. With a growing congregation, transepts were added by Blacket and Son in 1882.


The Thwaites and Reed clock, located in the northern tower in 1821, was one of five public clocks sent from England, two of which were placed in Parramatta. The southern tower houses thirteen memorial bells, variously gifted to the church and dedicated in 1923.


Notable items in the cathedral include: the pipe organ brought from England in 1862, at that time the largest organ in Australia, a remarkable tapestry worked in silk and chenille in 1846 by 16 year old Elizabeth Staff which depicts an early, three decker pulpit, a Geneva (Breeches) Bible dating from 1599 and a font given by the Maori people which recognises the link forged during Reverend Samuel Marsden’s seven missionary trips to New Zealand. Memorials to many pioneers of the district are located around the walls



The Cathedral is open each weekday with guides on duty between 10am and 2pm. Guided tours can be arranged for tour and school groups. Services are held in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Farsi. Listen in by tuning to 103.2 FM at 7pm on Sunday. For enquiries and bookings phone.


St Johns Office 9635-5904 or email


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Visitor InformationVisitor Information

195 Church Street, Parramatta
Phone: (+612) 9891 0700
Opening Times:
Sunday services: English - 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:00am, 7:00pm. Cantonese 9:15am, English/Mandarin 2:00pm, Farci 5:00pm, Mandarin 11:00am

Disabled Access: Yes

On-Site Parking:

Free Entry: Yes

More Information:
St John's Anglican Cathedral


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