St James' Church
A convict-built church containing beautiful stained-glass windows, murals and marble memorials
About the building
In 2024, St James’ Church will celebrate 200 years since consecration. One of the most historically significant churches in Australia, St James’ is famed for its music and liturgy, and contains remarkable stained-glass windows and painted murals.
Commissioned by Governor Macquarie, convict architect Francis Greenway originally designed the building as a courthouse, until newly arrived Commissioner John Bigge insisted it be converted to a church in 1820. Its construction was completed in 1824, built by convict labour. The prominent steeple on the western end was then a ridge-top landmark, guiding ships safely into harbour.
The brick and sandstone Georgian exterior remains intact, although its interior has been modified over time. The building features many fine elements, both original and added. These include a rare collection of 19th-century marble memorials, and the children’s chapel in the crypt, considered one of Sydney’s hidden gems. The walls and low barrel-vaulted ceiling of the chapel are decorated with murals painted by the Turramurra Wall Painters Union.
The church also features unique stained-glass windows, including a glass fanlight by artist Norman Carter in 1930, and a large commission by artist David Wright for Australia’s bicentenary in 1988.
Services on the day
8am Holy Communion
9.30am Choral Mattins
11am Choral Eucharist
12.30pm–4pm Open to visitors
12.30pm–4pm Bell ringing
4pm Choral Evensong
Everyone is welcome to attend any of the services on the day.Built
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