St Stephen’s Church, 10 St Andrews Terrace, Willunga

Built in 1884 by George Sara, for the Church of England. It replaced the first Anglican Church built in 1848 on Aldinga Road where the cemetery remains.

The idea of building a new second church was raised at an 1880 meeting of Church of England ladies who initially planned to raise funds for the repair of the first Church. The ladies worked energetically and by September 1883 they had raised £550. Land on St Andrews Tce was purchased from Thomas Atkinson. Tenders were let and local builders George Sara and Sons built the second Church of St Stephen, in Gothic style with brick dressing, under the architectural supervision of Mr Poulton of the Church of England.

The building was completed in early May 1884 and was dedicated on 6 July 1884 by Bishop Kennion. The total cost was £1,200 with a debt of only £300 remaining to be paid off after it was opened. The church tower houses a fine-toned bell weighing 225 pounds, presented by Rev. Burnett, and supposedly cast early in the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1887 it was re-housed here from the first Church after being re-cast, to fix cracking, by Union Engineering Company in Adelaide. The original spire with spirettes on each corner was removed in the 1920s for safety reasons.

In 1924 a Parish Hall was built behind the Church. This was demolished in 1983. Later additions include wooden panelling in the 1940s and in the 1950s a stained glass window was dedicated to the Hill family. In 1979 the altar was brought forward and the central window uncovered.

In 2023 St Stephen’s is part of the Anglican Pastoral District of Southern Vales which includes St Philip and St James (1852) at Old Noarlunga (now closed), St Ann’s (1867) at Aldinga and St Margaret of Scotland (1911) at McLaren Vale. St Stephen’s offers a Holy Eucharist or Vigil Mass at 5.30 pm each Saturday. Baptisms, weddings and funerals are arranged through the Pastoral District Priest.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5501)

References:

Ruth Baxendale & Faye Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust 2010 (1989).
The Advertiser Tuesday 6th April 1929 page 11.

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