We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Wodi Wodi people of the Dharawal nation. On this land they continued their cultural, spiritual and educational practices, and we pay our respect to them as we seek to do the same in our community and for our children. As we gather on these ancestral lands, we also acknowledge our God & Heavenly Father who made the heavens and the earth, and to whom we are responsible for the current stewardship of this land that has been entrusted to us.
A History of the Building and Surrounds
|1826||Church of England came to the Illawarra with the establishment of a military detachment. Captain Bishop of the 40th Regiment and Charles Throsby Smith were authorised to conduct religious services|
|1828||Smith’s barn was used as a church—not only for Anglicans but for all denominations. Father Therry celebrated mass and Rev. Redhall took divine services for Anglicans|
|1834||The town of Wollongong was surveyed by Major Mitchell. Charles Throsby Smith had received a 300 acre land grant from Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1820. He gave a 2-acre block on one of the highest rises of his property to the Church of England—including a condition that the church block be approached by a street on each of its four sides. This caused Major Mitchell a good deal of mental anxiety! A plaque in the Northern Porch reads “To the glory of God and in memory of Charles Throsby Smith who gave the land on which these buildings stand.”|
|1847||First St Michael’s built in Corrimal Street. This church building was demolished in 1859.|
|1858||Bishop Barker laid the foundation stone for the new church building on its present site|
|1859||Bishop Barker consecrated the church building in the name of St Michael the Archangel. Psalm 24 was read as being appropriate for the ‘Church on the Hill’:|
A Psalm of David.
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
St Michael’s was designed by Edmund Blacket, Australia’s greatest ecclesiastical architect. He also designed St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney.
|1877||Pipe organ installed. Built by Walker & Son, London, which with freight cost 300 pounds.|
|1884||Gas lighting replaced kerosene lamps and candles|
|1887||Bulli mine exploded. 81 miners died. Special services were held and the interior of St Michael’s was draped in black and the dead march was played on the organ|
|1893||Rectory foundation stone laid—completed in 1894.|
|1902||Mount Kembla mine disaster. The burial register of St Michael’s records the deaths of men and boys killed on that day.|
|1908||Small hall (now church offices) opened|
|1914||WWI. During these years St Michael’s bell rang each day at noon to summon people to pray for soldiers and for a “speedy termination of the war”|
|1919||A memorial tablet “to the Fallen” erected in church|
|1926||Main hall dedicated|
|1940||Stone fence erected to honour pioneers|
|1944||Laying up of the colours of the 34th Infantry Battalion. These flags are located in the Northern Transept|
|1946||St Michael’s Pre-school Kindergarten (the first pre-school in the Wollongong Area) began. Finished in 2005.|
|1967||Covered way built, connecting office hall to church building|
|1968||Extension of large hall|
|?||Original baptismal font now located in Northern garden besides the church|
|2006||Marketview built on Western third of the block|
|2014||Siteworks completed to improve disability access, improve drainage around Cathedral sandstone and upgrade the carpark|
|2021||New slate roof on the Cathedral, new bell housing and re-pointing of the upper Sandstone|