17: Church of England

Ballarat Star, 29th August 1859

"A Public Meeting of the Church of England will be held at the Wesleyan School Room, Lake Learmonth, upon Monday 5th September, at the hour of 4 o'clock P.M. to concider the proprietary of purchasing ground and erecting thereon a Church."

Signed: George G. Morton




By Rev. F. F. Fell


Reproduced from "Back to Learmonth" Centenary Celebrations 1937


Wycliffe Church of England is a substantial structure of old English design, built of rough hewn granite quarried from the hills surrounding the township.

It was erected under the supervision of Mr. H. R. Caselli, architect, of Ballarat, who also supervised the erection of the brick vicarage as a residence.

Wycliffe Church was opened for public worship on 18th January, 1861. The church is nearly fitted up and has three fine windows which are much admired, one of which was dedicated in memory of Wilfred Campbell Wilson, Lieutenant Northumberland Company Imperial Yeomanry, second son of Sir Samuel Wilson, Kt., of Ercildourne, who succumbed to wounds received in the Transvaal.

Another window was placed in the church by brothers and sisters in memory of Charles Vaughan, Sergeant Australian Imperial Regiment, who was killed in action in the Transvaal on 18th Febuary, 1901. There is also a window in the east end subscribed for by the church people.The vestry was added to the church at a later date in memory of Thomas Bath, J.P., and his wife, who were pioneer members and founders of the church.A porch was added also, and several tablets have been placed in the church from time to time in memory of its early members. There is a large Honour Boardin memory of those who fought in the Great War. A Parish Hall (pictured below) was erected near the church and opened in September, 1906.

Regular services have been held since the opening of the church in 1861 down to the present time. Among the visitors of distinction from overseas who have attended Divine service in Wycliffe Church was His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester in 1934, and His Excellency Lord Huntingfield this year (1937).

The first vicar in charge of Learmonth Parish was the Rev. Postlethwaite, who left in 1859. The vicars who succeeded him and the dates are as follows:-

Reverend - H. N. Wollaston in 1860. W. T. Sargeant in 1863. E. S. Radcliff in 1866. C. H. Rupp in 1873. M. F. Cahill in 1876. S. Walker in 1877. W. Swinburn in 1892. C. H. L. Rupp in 1898. T. P. Bennett in 1905. F. L. Sugget in 1909. W. E. Kaneen in 1912. E. J. Dodd in 1915. A. B. Rowell in 1922. F. F. Fell in 1924. (now in charge)


Updated for "Back To Learmonth And District" 25th to 28th January 1957.



Parish vacant in March, 1942, following the retirement of Rev. F. F. Fell.

With the Rev. W. J. Tame's appointment in July, 1942, the parishes of Learmonth and Beaufort amalgamated and have since remained as combined parishes under the care of a minister from Beaufort.

Rev. W. J. Tame was inducted in 1942. Rev. G. A. Bunne, 1947. Rev. Bull, 1949. Rev. A. L. Mills, our present vicar, 1950.

The following renovations and additions have been made since the last "Back to Learmonth":- Electricity installed in memory of Mr. W. Tinkler, who died in 1941.

Dedication of new Pulpit, in memory of Mr. Charles Dean, who died in 1943, and a new Alter given by Miss Alice Ford in memory of her mother and sister. Erection of front fence and gates, 1949.

Complete renovation to church made possible in 1952 by a gift from the estate of the late W. A. Gilmore. In July of the same year our Church was consecrated and re-named All Saints, by the Bishop of Ballarat.

This year, electric power points and heaters have been provided in the Church and Sunday School.


Office- Bearers are:

Committee: Messrs. E. S. Bridgewater, N. Wettenhall, M. Dean R. Walker, A. Dean, F. Lawrence, K. Loader, A. McKay, J. Cairns, T. Flavell, L. Loader, N. E. Whittenbury (Secretary and Treasurer).

Central committee: E. S. Bridgewater and N. E. Whittenbury (wardens), M. Wettenhall (vicar's warden and secretary).

Sunday School (10am): Teachers: N. Whittenbury (Superintendent), M. Wettenhall, M. Lawrence.

Companionship Club (7.30, Friday) - Leaders: Misses N. and J. Whittenbury.

Tennis Club: A. Mckay (captain), B. Dean (vice-captain), K. Loader (secretary).

Ladies' Guild: Mrs. A. L. Mills (President), Mesdames A. Dean and Crockford (Vic-President), Mrs. N. Wettenhall (Secretary).

Church Organist: Mrs. L. Rasdell.



The following article was researched and written by Mrs Claudette Crick.

On September 12th 1859 the committe of the Presbyterian Church, through Rev. Mackie, recieved a request from the Episcopalian denomination to hold services in their Church. It was resolved to "grant the request of that body, by allowing the adherents of the Church of England to hold occasional services in our church". (from the minute book of the Presbyterian Church).

Land originally chosen by Wm. Vaughan, which was later forfeited, and an adjoining block purchased by Day, Brydon & Hedrick at the Learmonth land sales of 1859 was the land chosen by the members of the Church of England to build their church. In the "Ballarat Star", the Learmonth Correspondent wrote "The Church lately erected here by the members of the Church of England was opened on Sunday last, 20th Jan 1861 when an excellent sermon was preached by Rev Mr. Woolaston recently appointed minister of Miners Rest and Learmonth. About 90 persons attended the church, several from a considerable distance. Caselli was the architect, and it is neatly fitted up. The parsonage is to be commenced at once in the adjoining church reserve". The church was known as Wycliffe Church. This would have been a wooden church and the parsonage was to be built of brick.

Two of the marriages that took place in this church in 1865 were —February 28th the marriage of Annie, nice of Thomas Bath. August 3rd Edmund Beseler married Emma Flower, nice of Robert Pool of "Flower Pool Cottage".

The Learmonth Private Glee and Madrigal Union made its first public appearance at the Shire Hall on Dec 3rd 1867. Proceeds of the evening were given to the trustees of the Wycliffe Church towards funds being raised for the purchase of a new harmonica.

A correspondent report of May14 1868 states — a soiree held at the Temperance Hall for the Church of England raised funds on behalf of the Minister of their church. The debt of £200 ($400) on the church, parsonage and ground, had been liquidated, and now they have a church, it was their duty to have a minister as well. The Rechabites for the use of the hall, ladies providing tea, speakers, singers and Chairman were thanked in helping to make a successful evening.

In 1883 a Mrs McPherson (staying at Labona ) who was baptised and married in the church, presented a new organ, an instrument which possessed 11? stops and had "considerable power and sweetness" — it was imported by Allans.



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