Topic: St George's Anglican Church
This beautiful church stands proudly on the north-eastern corner of Mackay and Mary Street, in Thames, with the church hall adjacent along Mackay Street. The parsonage (which is now the Thames Club) sits on the opposite, north-western corner.
The original church, built in 1868, soon became too small, so the Church of England built this present bulding on land gifted by Chief Taipari and Matene Te Nga.
Fundraising commenced in1871. The vicar, Reverend Vicesimus Lush M.A., found fundraising easy with the surplus of money from the mines such as the fabulous Caledonian. Fundraising efforts included a soiree, at which one thousand people were present. The new church was opened on 28th January 1872 after a devastating storm which blew down the framework, and after two changes of builder. The opening ceremony was officiated by Bishop Augustus Selwyn.
The original church, which had been outgrown so quickly, is now know as St George's Church Hall, and sits adjacent to the 'new' church on Mackay Street. This hall, as the first Anglican Church, was established in 1868n with money from the Dioceses of Auckland and Bishop Selwyn. It was originally situated on Rolleston Street, on land gifted by Chief Taipari, and could accommodate 300 people.
After 1872, when the new church was opened, the building became the Anglican School and Sunday School. It was moved to Mary Street in 1907, and then moved to its present site in 1963. Today it continues to serve the community as a church hall. The building is believed to have been a flourmill at Riverhead that was rafted down from Auckland, a common occurence at the time.
Originally the home of Reverend Vicesimus Lush, Vicar of St George's Anglican Church, it was built in 1871 with his profits from teh Caledonian Mine. It became known as St George's Parsonage, with ten rooms, not counting the two kitchens and the servants' rooms, and reflected the social and architectural sytle of the era.
In 1881 Lush sold the house to Ehrenfried, the famous Thames brewer for 600 pounds. In 1906 the Parsonage was bought by the Thames Young Men's Club. This club was chartered as the Thames Club that year. One hundred years later, the building remains the home of the Thames Club.