Historical Significance or Value
St Jude's Church has historical significance as Avondale's oldest church still in use as a place of worship and for its associations with the development of the Anglican Church in Auckland. The church also has historical value for its association with early pioneering families of the Whau district, including politician John Bollard.
Aesthetic Significance or Value
The place has aesthetic value for the simple but pleasing form of the church building with hexagonal bell tower, lancet windows and well-preserved interior with exposed roof trusses and original timber pews. The presence of the early twentieth-century Sunday School Hall, a Second World War memorial in the form of a Celtic cross, and a Jackson Bay Fig tree and other plantings enhance the overall setting.
Architectural Significance or Value
The church and its hall have architectural value as well-preserved examples of simple late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Anglican religious architecture. The church is significant as one of the earliest surviving examples of Anglican ecclesiastical design by prominent Auckland practitioner Edward Bartley, who was architect to the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. St Jude's Church also has architectural value for its well-articulated form reminiscent of some late-era Selwyn churches constructed in rural south Auckland in the 1860s.
Social Significance or Value
The place has considerable social significance as a place of public gathering and congregation for over 125 years, for its role in the marking of important personal events notably weddings, baptisms and funerals, and patriotic events of importance to the wider community such as celebration the Sixtieth Jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria in 1897. In addition to formal use as a Sunday School the hall has been the venue of important community social occasions including the farewelling of local servicemen during the Second World War.
Spiritual Significance or Value
St Jude's has spiritual significance as a place of worship for more than 125 years. It also has spiritual value as a place of contemplation and a location where members of the parish who lost their lives during the two World Wars are commemorated.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
St Jude's Church and Hall reflect important aspects of New Zealand history, particularly the development of the Anglican Church in Auckland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The buildings also reflect the importance place of religious observance in nineteenth and twentieth century New Zealand society and the significance of the church in the social and cultural development of settler communities.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place
As a place of worship, fellowship, commemoration and community use for over 125 years St Jude's Church has a strong association with the local Avondale community. It is highly valued as the oldest purpose-built church still in use as a place of worship, and - with the former St Ninian's Presbyterian Church and the Whau town hall - as one of three surviving non-residential nineteenth-century buildings in the local area.
(f) The potential of the place for public education
As a church and hall used and visited by the public, the place has potential for public education about the development of the Anglican Church, the role of religion in nineteenth and twentieth century society, and early residents who contributed to the development of the local community. The church in particular can provide education about the development of nineteenth-century Gothic Revival architecture in New Zealand.
(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place
St Jude's Church has particular value as a well-preserved Anglican place of worship designed in a Gothic Revival style for a small community of limited means by noted Auckland architect Edward Bartley. The church and the hall have technical value as representative examples of modest ecclesiastical buildings constructed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries using contemporary timber construction techniques. The church also contains a small 1950s pipe organ by noted New Zealand organ builder George Crofts and Son which was specifically commissioned for St Jude's. The church has value for its use of local brick and for an open drain of curved ceramic tiles, materials that reflect Avondale's historical role as a major brickmaking centre.
(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place
The Church has commemorative value for its two war memorials naming men of the congregation who died in the First and Second World Wars. A brass plaque in the sanctuary commemorates early pioneer John Bollard a person of historical importance in the wider district.
Summary of Significance or Values
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, e, f, g and h.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
Early history of the site
Located on a hillside overlooking the Whau River, the site lay close to one of two important portages on the Auckland isthmus linking the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. The margins of the Whau River and the Oakley Creek (Te Auaunga) were places of traditional Maori settlement. In 1835, sawyer Thomas Mitchell (d.1836) - a lay-preacher with the Wesleyan Missionary Society's mission - purchased an extensive area said to include most of the Auckland isthmus and West Auckland, a claim later not upheld. Ngati Whatua's offer to transfer land to the British Crown for the foundation of a colonial capital at Auckland was formally accepted in September 1840. The block that included the area that later became Avondale was transferred to the Crown in June 1841.
The site on which the church was later built was part of an 1845 Crown Grant made to a Mr Florance. Industries including brickmaking were established in the wider locality as early as the 1850s, servicing the growing population at Auckland. The hub of a settlement at the Whau - as Avondale was initially known - was formed in 1860, the year a small timber Presbyterian church opened. From 1861 the Whau was an important staging post for a horse bus service between Auckland and Henderson. Part of the former Florance holding was auctioned as Greytown in 1863.
On 28 June 1874, the first Anglican service was held at the Whau in the public hall (1867). In attendance were Bishop William Cowie (1831-1902) the first Bishop of Auckland, and the Reverend Benjamin Dudley whose extensive parish - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre constituted in 1870 - extended from inner city Auckland to Helensville. At this time St Luke's Church, which became a separate charge in 1880, served Mt Albert and the Whau. Fundraising events and gatherings arranged by the Whau's Church of England community became an important part of the social and cultural life of the young settlement.
Following the election of a local church committee in June 1874, plans were made to conduct weekly Anglican services on Sunday afternoons. By this time local hotelkeeper James Palmer (1819-1893) had given land for an Anglican church in Blake Street in the redesigned Greytown settlement. Prominent Anglican settlers included Irish-born John Bollard (1839-1915), who took up farming at the Whau in 1861. Bollard was the Minister's Warden for the church committee and a driving force in the establishment of a new church building. In his later years, he became a member for Eden in the House of Representatives.
Construction of St Jude's Church (1884)
A church building fund was started in January 1882 for the Blake Street site. This occurred in the same year that the settlement was renamed as Avondale. Tenders were called for a structure to cost about £300 and seat 100 adults. The quotes received, however, were initially too high to allow construction to take place. The following year was spent fundraising and planting trees on the site. Plantings probably included a Port Jackson Fig, which still survives.
In May 1884, architect Edward Bartley (1839-1919) reassessed the building proposal. Bartley had worked in Auckland as a designer-builder since 1854, and formally began practice as an architect in circa 1877, subsequently becoming Diocesan Architect for the Anglican Church from 1880. Notable buildings to his design by the mid 1880s included St John's Wesleyan Church, Ponsonby (1882); and the Auckland Synagogue in Princes Street, the Opera House, and the Auckland Savings Bank, Queen Street (all 1884). During the decade from 1879, Bartley designed 19 new churches, all but seven of which were Wesleyan. As one of five Anglican places of worship he designed during this period, the Avondale church was of a well-articulated Gothic Revival form reminiscent of some late-era Selwyn churches such as St John's Drury (1862) and St Peter's in the Forest Bombay (1867).
Seven tenders were received for construction of the revised design. Local builder Amos Bentham, who had submitted the lowest tender in October 1882, agreed to hold to the price he had offered two years before. A basalt foundation stone, prepared in 1882, was laid on 13 September 1884. Foundation walls were already in place, constructed of brick from Moses Exler's works in nearby New Windsor Road. This material reflected Avondale's ongoing role as a major brickmaking centre.
During construction a minor modification was made to the design, to lengthen the porch. The new building with separate gabled roofs defining a nave, sanctuary, vestry and porch, was intended to make an attractive addition to Avondale's townscape. A bell in the hexagonal tower was the gift of St Luke's parishioner Allan Kerr Taylor (1832-1890), owner of the Alberton estate in Mt Albert. A grandson of distinguished Scottish preacher the Reverend William Taylor (1748-1825), Kerr Taylor had long supported Whau Episcopal Church Committee events. The vertical tongue and groove wall linings of the simple church interior had a dark finish. A text bordered the sanctuary's lancet arch, and there was another above the sanctuary windows. A picket fence appears to have been constructed along the front boundary at this time.
The timber church was opened on 23 December 1884 by Bishop Cowie, who had earlier presided at the laying of the foundation stone.
Initial use of the Church
Known as St Jude's from the outset, the church was the second purpose-built place of worship erected in the township. However, after its construction the congregation faced considerable debt. During the economic depression of the late 1880s pew rents fell into arrears and attendances and offertories dropped as some families left the district. In 1888 parishioners protested the minister fulfilling the duties of Anglican Chaplain at the nearby Oakley Mental Hospital without remuneration. There was little money for his stipend in 1890 and the congregation suggested that he attend once every two months.
Notable early incumbents to serve the parish included the Reverend J. King Davis (1886-9), a son of Richard Davis a co-founder in 1830-1 of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) station at Te Waimate, Northland; and Dr William Hooper (1889-91) a CMS missionary from India. Over the years, several members of St Jude's Church were themselves ordained.
St Jude's Church enriched the local social and cultural life of Avondale through musical and patriotic events, including choral services and the honouring the Sixtieth Jubilee of Queen Victoria (1897). From 1898 pew rents were abolished. The Church of the Good Shepherd (later renamed St Saviour's) was erected in 1898 at Blockhouse Bay (then known as South Avondale) and remained part of St Jude's vestry until 1966.
Church attendance, an important aspect of life in the early decades of the twentieth century, saw other denominations establish places of worship at Avondale as the township grew. Concerned that less affluent workers should be able to buy homes, John Bollard as Member for Eden (1896-1914) pushed for purchase of three local holdings under the Land for Settlements Consolidation Act 1900, creating the Craddock, Kitchener and Methuen Hamlets.
Construction of St Jude's Hall (1907)
In 1903 St Jude's Church commenced fund raising for the erection of its Sunday School Hall, the first such building to be constructed in the settlement. A pipe organ was installed in the church in 1904. Thomas Moor's tender of £295 was accepted for erection of the Sunday School Hall in 1907, and the foundation stone laying ceremony was attended by the Bishop of Auckland, Richard Neligan (1863-1922). The hall was dedicated in September 1907.
The new structure was erected to the rear of the church, and was a comparatively plain timber building of ecclesiastical style with a rectangular footprint and a gabled roof. It was designed by the Auckland-based architect, Arthur Herbert White [d.1920]. White had earlier designed a Methodist church in Mt Eden Road (1898) and a hall for the Mt Albert Methodist Church (1901). His later works included a Sunday School hall for the Mt Eden Methodist congregation (1910); the Portland Buildings, Kingsland (1914); the Dominion Road Methodist Church ; and the Caughey family home in Mt Albert.
The Sunday School Movement was pioneered in eighteenth-century Britain, where it provided basic literacy education alongside religious instruction. In New Zealand, Sunday Schools were among the first institutions established in the colony and were seen as promoting observance of the Sabbath and the opportunity for instruction concerning Christian doctrine. For generations many New Zealand children attended, although their parents may not have been practising members of a church congregation.
As well as supplying a venue for Sunday School teaching, the hall also provided for activities including a Mutual Improvement and Athletic Club, the Girl's Friendly Society, and a branch of the Church of England Men's Society. Shortly after the hall's opening, the Reverend T.J. Parry (1908-12) became the incumbent of St Jude's Church. Parry was later a chaplain in the First World War (1914-18), and also curate to Bishop Neligan after the latter had retired.
Subsequent alteration and use
In March 1913 three classrooms were added to the south side of the hall at a time when it provided additional accommodation for nearby Avondale primary school. The contractor was a Mr Spargo. For four months from mid October 1914 volunteers of the first Maori contingent (580 all ranks) trained at Avondale camp prior to service at Gallipoli in the Maori (Pioneer) battalion. Some of its members are said to have attended and supported St Jude's Church over the summer. A number of local servicemen killed in the First World War were honoured in a memorial tablet and font installed in the church porch in 1921.
In 1919, the year St Jude's became a separate charge, a supper room was added to the hall. A vicarage was erected in 1924. In 1925 electricity replaced the gas lighting installed in the church in 1908, and water was laid on to the hall. Church services were reduced for some months during the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties and the vicarage was let. About this time Blake Street was renamed St Jude Street. Lead-light windows were installed in the sanctuary in 1937 to commemorate early Avondale residents James and Elizabeth Mowbray Binstead.
During the Second World War (1939-45) the hall was made available free of charge for the farewells of soldiers on final leave and was also used by a study group of the Avondale Home Guard. A Celtic cross memorial monument designed by McNab and Mason was erected in 1947 to commemorate twelve servicemen killed during the recent war. Saint Jude's Scout Group was formed in 1949 and met in the hall for several years. From the early 1950s, a period of increasing suburbanisation and population growth, the hall was also the venue for Brownies, Girl Guides, Mothers' Union and Young Wives' Fellowship. St Jude's ministry also extended to Waterview where St Christopher's Church was erected in 1954.
A small addition was made to the south side of St Jude's Church in 1957. This housed a new pipe organ built by New Zealand organ-maker George Croft and Son. The instrument was dedicated to the late Mary Rosa Bollard (1884-1955), church organist for 59 years.
During the 1960s St Jude's parish hosted a series of missions, some of which were held at larger venues in the locality. The Reverend (later Canon) Bob Lowe was a notable visitor and speaker. The church pulpit and one of the choir stalls may have been removed around this time. In 1970 the Church was the venue for Sunday afternoon services held by the Samoan Congregational Church. Avondale's five churches considered the issue of church union in the early 1970s. Upon closure of St Ninian's Presbyterian Church in 1984, St Jude's became Avondale's oldest church still in use as a place of worship. A kohanga reo founded in Avondale in the 1980s initially met in St Jude's hall and later relocated to Rosebank Primary School.
Leadlight windows were commissioned to commemorate St Jude's centenary in 1984 and included depictions of local historical themes. In 1991 the Right Reverend Bruce Gilberd the Bishop of Auckland consecrated St Jude's Church, a ceremony overlooked at the time the building became debt-free in the early twentieth century. Toilet facilities in the hall were modernised in 1996 and the church was reroofed in 2003. The centenary of the hall was celebrated in 2007. St Jude's Church and Hall continue to serve Avondale's Anglican community as a place of worship and Christian celebration.
St Jude's Church and Hall are situated in Avondale, a western suburb of the Auckland Isthmus and part of the Greater Auckland conurbation. Located close to the Auckland - Northland railway line, the Church and Hall are situated beside a main thoroughfare that connects Avondale on Great North Road with the adjoining nineteenth-century suburb of Mt Albert on New North Road.
St Jude's Church and Hall occupy part of a rectangular corner site on the upper slopes of the Blockhouse Bay Road ridge which overlooks Avondale and out to the Waitakere Ranges beyond. The buildings are the oldest structures in the immediate residential streetscape. At the roundabout at the west end of St Jude Street is the core of the original Whau township in which are located the former St Ninian's Church (1859-60) with its associated burial ground, and the original Avondale Town Hall (1867). Closely associated with St Jude's Church but located some distance away by road on Rosebank Peninsula is the Orchard Street - Rosebank Road Cemetery containing the remains of many early residents of the area.
The church and hall occupy the northern portion of a rectangular corner site of approximately 3330 square metres. The land slopes from east to west with a cross fall to the south. The southern half of the site falls away to Donegal Street and is occupied by the vicarage (1924), now rented out and not included within the registration. The St Jude Street frontage is broken by a vehicle crossing that provides access to the Church to the left and former vicarage to the right. The area on either side of the church is sealed but without formally delineated parking. A large Port Jackson Fig tree (scheduled in the district plan) is a dominant feature on the frontage and is believed to have been planted by the congregation in 1883, the year before the church was built. A Celtic cross in the side yard near the entrance to the church is a memorial to twelve local men who lost their lives in the Second World War.
The church lies lengthwise on a northwest - southeast axis near the front of the site. The hall lies at a ninety degree turn some distance away towards the east (rear) boundary. The south end of the hall is screened by mature trees including a flowering cherry and a prunis. Neither the church nor the hall has formed access to Donegal Street.
St Jude's Church is a simple but well-designed Gothic Revival timber building with a series of steeply pitched roofs of different heights. The building consists of porch, nave, sanctuary, vestry; and a 1957 organ chamber addition on the south side. A hexagonal tower on the west end of the nave roof houses a bell donated in 1884.
The timber-framed structure is clad with horizontal weatherboards and has lancet windows with timber hood mouldings incorporating label stops. Barge boards on the porch have simple shaping. The structure stands on the original perimeter foundation wall of local brick. Located along the south side is a wide open drain of curved ceramic tiles, possibly also a local product. Although the foundation stone reads '1884 A.D.' the figure '2' is faintly visible, reflecting the difficulty in raising sufficient funds to construct the building in 1882.
The church porch has two lancet shaped entrances (one on each side wall), each of which contains a pair of doors. Only the north entrance is currently in use. A stone baptismal font and a marble wall plaque bearing the names of eight servicemen killed in the First World War are located inside the porch. The tiny vestry at the northeast of the building has separate access and a lancet window and fanlight of plain glass. The lead-lighted lancet window in the porch and set of three trefoil-headed memorial windows in the sanctuary (1937) are of similar design. The six lancet window openings in the nave have a modern leadlight in the lower sash and corresponding fanlight and celebrate the church centenary. One of the lower sashes depicts a brick kiln, another has a kauri tree. Symbols in some of the fanlights include the Star of David, the Mothers' Union emblem and the Diocesan Arms.
Internally, the building (other than the 1957 addition) has tongue and groove linings, timber purlins and a timber sarked ceiling. The roof of the nave is supported by three, open collar tie timber trusses, each of which has a strut that extends to the top of the side walls. The location of a former text around the sanctuary arch and another above the sanctuary windows is evident by imperfections in the wall surface. Memorials within the slightly elevated altar area include a brass plaque commemorating John Bollard (1840-1915) who was a driving force in the development of Avondale, the establishment of St Jude's Church and a person of historical significance in the district. The pipe organ (1957) was constructed by George Crofts and Son, and commemorates a late organist of the parish. Pews of kauri timber are set out on either side of the central aisle of the nave and are contemporary with the original construction of the church (1884).
The vestry has a metal safe that may be a nineteenth century feature. A circa 1940s-1950s style cupboard has been built around the safe. A built-in drawer unit with cupboards underneath has aesthetic and historical value as an item constructed of New Zealand timber and may date from circa 1930s-1940s.
The hall is a plain timber structure of broadly rectangular design with lancet windows. The minimal external ornamentation is restricted to the south elevation and is no longer visible from Donegal Street. Doors either side of the three conjoined lancet windows are no longer used.
The west elevation facing the church has five evenly-spaced lancet windows, a symmetry disturbed by a more recent door opening (not in use). A flat-roofed structure at the hall's north end accommodates a porch, storage rooms and toilets. The east elevation consists of a rudimentary 1913 lean-to built as classrooms. The lean-to runs the length of the building and contains a sash window, a door and three lancet windows the latter relocated from the original wall of the hall.
Internally the roof is supported by exposed roof trusses that suggest skilled joinery. Parts of a timber dado of narrow vertical boards survive in the main hall. Similar timber has been used for the main body of the hall floor. Above the dado are medium-width horizontal boards similar to the roof sarking. There are a number of makeshift openings and hatches in the east wall between the main hall; and the classrooms and kitchen. The form and profiles of architraves in the main body of the hall are similar to those found in California bungalows of the early twentieth century. The external weatherboard cladding of the original east wall of the hall now serves as the interior of the 1913 addition and the remnant upper sections of former window openings have been covered with sections of wall board. Kitchen joinery and linings in the southeast section may be of circa 1940s date.
Pipe organ installed
Original construction: Hall
Three classrooms (hall)
Supper room (hall)
Wing for new pipe organ (church)
Removal of pulpit and south choir stall (church)
New roof, belfry repaired (church)
New toilet and disabled access (hall)
Original construction: Church
Brick foundation, timber frame and cladding, corrugated steel roof (church)
Concrete piles, timber frame and cladding, corrugated iron roof (hall)
3rd June 2010
Report Written By
Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902
Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902
Sybil Maxwell and Deirdre Young, Church of St Jude Avondale: Centennial History 1884-1985, [Avondale], 1985
Ron E. Oates, The Challenge of the Whau: A History of Avondale 1750-1990, Auckland, 1994
Lisa J. Truttman, Heart of the Whau: The Story of the Centre of Avondale, Auckland, 2001-2003
Lisa J.Truttman, Avondale Heritage Walks: Town Centre and Rosebank Peninsula, Auckland, 2006
M W Bartley, Colonial Architect, The Career of Edward Bartley 1839-1919, Wellington, 2006
A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region Office
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.