History of St. Michael’s

Our Heritage

The first foundation stone was laid on 29th October, 1875. In 1877, the Church first opened on 17th February. It was designed by Edmund Blacket and accommodated 51 people. In 1895, Vaucluse was declared a Borough. Population at the time was 1,000 with 132 houses.

In 1902, Watsons Bay and Vaucluse was declared a Conventional District within the Diocese. And in the same year, the Governor of NSW resided at Cranbrook and attended St Michael’s. The front pews were cushioned and reserved for vice regals. More people attended the church during this period.

In 1905, plans to extend the Church under the son of Edmund Blacket, Cyril, began and in 1906, a tram extended up the hill to Piper’s Loop.

In 1908, extensions were made to the Church and could accommodate up to 160 people. Stone was supplied by the Wentworth Estate from the quarry in the Parish.

In 1910 to 1911, further extensions were made including a choir  and sanctuary, organ chamber and second temporary vestry. The Organ was donated by Mr J.R. Love whose residence at the time, was Tivoli, now part of Kambala School.

In 1910, land was purchased for the Rectory and was built in 1923.

It was only in 1913, that St Michael’s was created as a Parish. The Rectory family (D’Arcy Irvine) lived in a small house in Newcastle Street, Rose Bay and the Father and son slept in tents in the garden.

In 1920, electricity was installed in the Church and in 1929, the Parish Hall was opened and was designed by Leslie Wilkinson.

In 1931, more extensions were made under Leslie Wilkinson to include the extension of the west end, baptistery, tower, bells and steeple. Wilkinson was awarded the Sulman Medallion for architecture for his work on the Church.

More recent changes have included opening up the space of the sanctuary, new prayer desk, removal of west end pews and creation of open space.  2010 saw the uncovering and cleaning of the stone floor, new sanctuary, chancel and narthex carpet, roll out aisle carpet with west end storage, provision of a new copper roof and new landscaping.  There are many beautiful stained glass windows within the Church.  The North Transept windows feature “The Parables’, South Transept Windows feature “The Miracles”.  There are many others which are well worth spending some time viewing.