Historical Significance or Value
The building of All Saints Church coincided with a second wave of church building in the Invercargill district which marked the coming of age of Southland. The construction of the brick church, by a leading architect, is also important as it reflects the growth of the local Anglican community and the development of settlements the immediately north of Invercargill.
All Saints Church also has some significance because of its association with leading Invercargill citizens and families from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as Sir John Richardson, architect Frederick Burwell and the Brodrick family. In particular, the Brodrick family connection to the church was influential, with Thomas Brodrick being on the building committee, and among other contributions by family members, his son Cuthbert designed the Parish Hall and then left a legacy which helped fund the mid twentieth century extension of All Saints Church.
Aesthetic Significance or Value
All Saints Church is a landmark in the northern suburbs of Invercargill, which is picturesquely located next to a river. The aesthetic values of All Saints Church also stem from its interior; its lofty nave gable, and the prevalence of beautiful stained glass, creates an exalted atmosphere in this modestly scaled building.
Architectural Significance or Value
All Saints Church has architectural value as an example of the Gothic Revival style of church architecture, popular in New Zealand in the late nineteenth century. The key characteristics of this form of building are all present at All Saints Church, such as vertical emphasis created through steep pitched gables, lancet windows, and buttress. The impressive west wall tracery window contributes greatly to the building’s architectural significance because this also cements All Saints Church within the Gothic tradition.
All Saints Church is also of local architectural importance because, not only was it one of the earliest permanent materials churches in the vicinity of Invercargill, but it was among the first that prominent architect, Frederick William Burwell (1846-1915), built in the area. The Parish Hall was designed by another leading architect, Cuthbert John Brodrick (1867-1946), and has some architectural value because it also incorporates Gothic Revival features, making it a suitable partner for the church.
Social Significance or Value
All Saints Church was a socially significant building, particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, because it brought together families for the purpose of worship, and other events, and was the venue for community occasions. The importance of this social aspect for the congregation is shown in the addition to its facilities of the Parish Hall in 1905, and the numerous groups directly associated with All Saints Church, such as the Mothers Union and Ladies’ Guild.
The church also has social value as a place where spiritual and community support was available to people in times of crisis, such as World War Two. The social impact that the war had on the All Saints Church’s congregation is shown in the various memorial windows and features in the church. The contributions organised by the church community like sending parcels to the soldiers, also provided a means for people to feel like they were helping, and therefore, some consolation.
Spiritual Significance or Value
Before the construction of All Saints Church some congregants had to travel considerable distance to access formal Anglican religious services. As such, since 1878 All Saints Church has considerable spiritual significance as the venue of religious services and celebrations, and for being directly associated with the spiritual aspect of generations of local residents’ lives.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
Initially constructed only twenty years after Invercargill was founded, All Saints Church is representative of the determination and commitment of the faithful in New Zealand, whatever Christian denomination, in their often prolonged efforts to create these symbols of their religious convictions, and then to expand and maintain them. All Saints Church is an important site because it physically represents the concurrent spread, and then consolidation, of European settlement and the Anglican faith in New Zealand.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history
The church’s original architect, Frederick William Burwell, is an important figure in Invercargill’s history because he is credited with the conversion of Invercargill from a frontier town into a visually impressive locale worthy of its position as capital of Southland. The pivotal nature of this work was recognised in Britain with Burwell becoming a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1880, at the age of just 34. Although better known for his commercial buildings, All Saints Church is important because it was one of the first of the group of churches that Burwell designed around Southland and Otago in the late 1870s and early 1880s.
From a respected Invercargill family who was intimately involved with All Saints Church, Cuthbert John Brodrick is connected with this place because he designed the Parish Hall. Brodrick trained under Burwell and became, in his own right, one of Invercargill’s preeminent architects in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Brodrick was also influential within the profession nationally through his senior roles within the New Zealand Institute of Architects.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place
All Saints Church has been attended by thousands of people and therefore many local people have a personal or family connection with the building, some of which are physically evident in the church with tributes such as memorial windows. It was the efforts of the community which enabled All Saints Church to be built between 1877 and 1878. Their esteem for the building, and commitment as a religious group, has been shown over the years through their donations for the church’s maintenance and adornment, and substantial extension in the mid twentieth century, as well as other related building projects like the creation of the Parish Hall.
Ancient stories tell the origins of southern Maori, with the waka of Aoraki becoming Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island), and its sternpost, Te Taurapa a Te Waka o Aoraki becoming Bluff Hill (also known as Motupohue). The early generations learnt about the land and its resources: stone sources were found, and stone (especially pounamu) became an important trading item. Kaika were established close to resources. Rights and resources and places were established, and traditions established which protected the manawhenua.
According to the statutory acknowledgments in the Ngai Tahu Settlement, important villages along the south coast included: Te Wae Wae (Waiau), Taunoa (Orepuki), Kawakaputaputa (Wakapatu), Oraka (Colac bay), Aparima, Turangiteuaru, Awarua (Bluff), Te Whera, Toe Toe (mouth of the Mataura River) and Waikawa. Mokamoka (also known as Mokemoke or Mokomoko) was a settlement at the Invercargill estuary sustained by the rich resources found there. Tauranga waka occur up and down the coast linking land and sea trails with mahinga kai resources. Whaling boats plied the waters from the 1820s leading to changes in settlement patterns and resource use.
1853 saw the Murihiku purchase which left Maori south of the Waitaki (excluding the Otakou Block) with only 4,630 acres, the start of a long quest by southern Maori for justice questioning the legality of the purchase as well as the inadequacy of the land reserved.
All Saints Church
Anglicans had an early presence in Southland. A Christian presence had been introduced by Maori Anglican missionaries from the North Island, and there were also early Methodist missionaries active in Southland in the 1840s. It was not long after John Turnbull Thomson (1821-1884) started his survey of Invercargill in 1856 that the first Presbyterian clergyman arrived,and it is Rev. Alexander Bethune who is attributed with preaching the first Christian sermon in Invercargill in late 1856. Despite the strong Presbyterian settler influence from the mid-1850s, Southland was not a religious colony like Otago, and in the 1860s Presbyterians only nominally outnumbered Anglicans.
By the late 1850s it appears that most of the major Christian denominations had established a presence in Southland, but it was not until the early 1860s that the first purpose-built churches were constructed. The early church buildings in the Invercargill area, such as St John’s Anglican Church (1861), were constructed from timber, with the first brick church being St Paul’s Church in Invercargill, completed in 1876. Just a few years later, Invercargill’s renowned early architect Frederick William Burwell (1846-1915) designed All Saint’s Church, just north of Invercargill also in brick.
The construction of All Saints Church coincided with the development of a separate Anglican parish for the northern suburbs of Invercargill. At a public meeting in late 1876 a motion was passed stating it was ‘desirable a church should be built in this district to enable those living too far from St John’s to the attend Church of England services, and also that their children may be enabled to attend a Sunday School.’ In the 1870s Gladstone was a distinct borough complete with a town hall. As the main centre in the northern Invercargill settlements it seemed logical for Gladstone to be the seat of any new parish, and the Bishop of Dunedin was soon approached about this.
With diocesan permission granted for the church, a building committee was established in early 1877 to progress the fundraising and practical aspects of creating an Anglican church in Gladstone. Fundraising went well, possibly because of key donors such as Sir John Richardson (1810-1878). Richardson along with his £50 initial donation essentially gifted the land for the church, and was equally generous in furnishing the building. Richardson also went on to become a lay reader at All Saints Church, as well as church warden. People in the wider community also gave generously, and fundraising bazaars and other events proved popular.
The building committee engaged the then up-and-coming architect, Frederick Burwell, to design All Saints Church. Burwell had been articled to Scottish architect James Matthews of Aberdeen, remaining with him for several years, before moving to New Zealand, practising in Queenstown in the early 1870s. Lured by the prospect of numerous lucrative contracts in the flourishing town, Burwell had quickly established himself in Invercargill after he moved there from Queenstown in 1874. Burwell is intimately linked with the conversion of Invercargill from a frontier town to a ‘city of magnificent edifices’ over the subsequent 12 year period. Until Burwell began to assert his architectural influence it was said that Invercargill, was a ‘standing joke at Dunedin and elsewhere in New Zealand,’ hardly living up to the title of the ‘southern capital’ because it was characterised, among other negative aspects, as being ‘the ugliest and the worst built in the colony.’ It appears that Burwell had a vision of Invercargill’s potential and contributed greatly to cohesive commercial streetscapes, such as the impressive buildings which made up The Crescent. It was the profound effect that Burwell had in Invercargill by 1880 which led to him being elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, at the age of just 34.
Aside from commercial and public buildings, Burwell also designed many Southland ecclesiastical buildings. St Paul’s Church seems to have been his first and largest local foray into this sphere, and this was followed with other commissions for all the major Christian denominations around Southland and Otago. Along with St Paul’s Church, he designed other Presbyterian churches in Roxburgh and Cromwell in 1879, and Riverton (1881). As well as All Saints Church, Burwell also designed churches for the Anglican communities in Gore (1881) and Thornbury (1882-83), which were contemporary with his Methodist church in Invercargill (1881) and an early Catholic church in Gore (1882).
Following on from St Paul’s Church, Burwell also designed All Saints Church in brick. The foundation stone of All Saints Church was laid on 24 May 1877 with much pomp and ceremony. The event had a Masonic bent and the date of the ceremony, on Queen’s Birthday, was thought to especially appropriate since Queen Victoria was not only the patroness of the Order, but also the head of the Church of England. Around 800 people were present, with much of the large crowd having continued onto Gladstone as part of the general festivities of the day. The trowel used in the foundation stone ceremony was presented to W. J. Moffitt, Worshipful Master of the Southland Cross Lodge Freemason, by the church’s architect. In 1944 the trowel was donated to All Saints Church by Moffit’s daughter, where it is on display.
The contractors for the church, Smith and Fraser, took nine months to finish the building. All Saints Church was opened by the Bishop of Dunedin, Samuel Tarratt Neville (1837-1921), in late January 1878. This event seems to have been greatly anticipated because the Southland Times recorded that:
‘To say that the church was crowded would be but to just indicate the packed condition of the interior, for not only was every inch of seating accommodation occupied, but chairs were placed all along the aisle to accommodate worshippers, whilst many people had to stand at the door.’
While the building was built of brick, the east wall was timber-framed and clad in weatherboards in anticipation of the addition of a transept when funds allowed.
Subsequent building projects and adverse economic conditions meant that for many years All Saints Church struggled financially. Even with the generous contributions of parishioners, the congregation struggled. The Ladies’ Guild was instrumental in raising money. Among the events the Ladies’ Guild organised for the benefit of the church were concerts, fetes, and gymkhanas. The Guild also cleaned the church. It was not until 1901 that the debt on the church was cleared and All Saints was finally consecrated by the Bishop of Dunedin, 23 years after he opened it.
Among the social groups connected with the church the Mothers’ Union was active in the mid twentieth century. Many women graduated to this group as a from the Young Wives’ group. The Mothers’ Union, as the name suggests, provided a support network for mothers. They were notable contributors to the fundraising initiatives at the church. This group, which was disbanded in the early 1990s, also did charitable works within the wider community.
The clearing of the church’s debt and its subsequent consecration seems to have been a turning point. With an invigorated spirit, it was decided that the parochial district needed a Parish Hall close to All Saints Church. This building was constructed in 1905 to a design by well-known Invercargill architect Cuthbert John Brodrick (1867-1946).
The Brodrick family had moved to the area in 1864, and Thomas, who had been a successful sea captain, began farming. He also got involved with business affairs becoming a member of the Bluff Harbour Board and the Chambers of Commerce. Cuthbert’s father, Thomas Brodrick (1819-1904), had been a member of the All Saints building committee and a church warden. Cuthbert Brodrick was the nephew of the well known British architect of the same name (1822-1905). Cuthbert Brodrick was articled to Frederick Burwell from 1884-1889. He travelled to Australia in 1889-1890, and to England 1898-1900, before returning to Invercargill. Brodrick later became president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, but in this period his impressive Bank of New South Wales in Invercargill had just been completed.
The Parish Hall seems to have been finished in late 1905 and it quickly began to be used for social occasions, such as large parties welcoming people home from holiday, and church related activities, like fundraising sales put on by the Ladies’ Guild. Brodrick’s work on the Parish Hall was voluntary, generosity which is perhaps not surprising given that the Brodrick family’s relationship with All Saints Church. The family connection with All Saints continued further into the twentieth century with Cuthbert’s sister being a longstanding Sunday School teacher there. In 1945 the Madonna and Child Window was installed in her honour. Cuthbert Brodrick left a substantial legacy to All Saints Church which greatly aided its ‘completion fund’ which was set up in 1946.
In the 1930s All Saints Church became the principal church in the newly established Parish of Gladstone.
As they were during World War One, New Zealand communities were profoundly affected by World War Two. Churches provided valuable spiritual and social support in these times of crisis. Active responses from All Saints Church parishioners included the establishment of a Patriotic Sub-Committee which met in the Parish Hall, and donations of goods to be sent to soldiers. Many parishioners fought overseas and eleven of these were among the war dead. The eleven men are commemorated at All Saints by the St George Window and by a Roll of Honour. One of the fallen was Eric Todd. His mother donated both the font and the St Michael Window in his memory.
Despite the Great Depression and World War Two, the parish continued to grow and it soon became apparent that All Saints Church needed to do the same. The addition was designed by local architectural firm Ford Gray & Derbie in 1952. The additions included a sizeable eastward extension, creating new chancel, sanctuary, organ loft, vestry and bell tower. With their successful tender of just under £8,400, the contractors were R. Richardson & Co. While the extension was taking place the existing 1921 organ was dismantled and stored in the Parish Hall. After initially carrying on services in the church, eventually the services also had to be moved into the Parish Hall until the building project was completed in 1954. The Hall was consecrated on All Saints Day 1956.
The generous contributions from congregants in the 1940s carried through to the 1950s and 1960s. Donations included more stained glass windows and the bell in 1956, which was donated to All Saints Church in memory of Thomas Slater Royds who died in 1914. Earlier Royd had also been commemorated in the church’s St Paul Window.
In the lead up to the centenary of All Saints Church two impressive stained glass windows were acquired for the building’s east and west walls in 1964 and 1968 [Information provided by a colleague of John Hayward, Doris Rollinson, gives 1965 (3 light east window) and 1970 (3 light west window) as the dates for the windows]. The windows were the work of distinguished English stained-glass artist, John Hayward (1929-2007). By the early 1960s Hayward had already created the windows for St Mary-le-Bow Church, London, which replaced its predecessor that had been destroyed in the bombing of World War Two. Hayward’s work is perhaps best known for his most famous work, the ‘Great West Window’ at Sherborne Abbey. The first Hayward window commissioned for All Saints Church was that for the east wall above the altar, depicting ‘Christ in Majesty with his Saints,’ which was appropriate given the dedication of the building to All Saints. The later window, at the opposite end of the church, celebrates Christ’s resurrection. Hayward himself is said to have suggested the theme for this window. The entire cost for the windows was covered by generous donations from parishioners.
Memorial aspects also continue to be added to the church and grounds, with a recent example being the Church of St Margaret of Scotland, Makarewa memorial garden, created in 2008, which curves around behind the church and Parish Hall.
In 2011 the church continues to be the spiritual centre of the local Anglican community. The social aspect of the church’s activities also continues with men and women’s groups meeting regularly, and Tai Chi as well as ‘Music and Movement’ sessions, in conjunction with the Plunket Society, take place in the Parish Hall.
All Saints Church and its Parish Hall are located in north Invercargill, on the south side of the Waihopai River. The proximity of the church to the river created a picturesque setting which has been appreciated by many as it is also located along the main road north. Therefore, sometimes referred to as the Church by the Bridge, All Saints Church is an attractive landmark on the main road.
A low concrete block fence defines the boundary along Dee Street, while the section facing the river is open to the footpath. The Church and Hall are located on separate rectangular land parcels but there is no division between the church on the northernmost section and the Parish Hall several metres to the south.
The Church and Hall are set within carefully manicured and landscaped grounds which add to the aesthetic qualities. The lawns are occasionally interrupted by concrete paths and a wider tar sealed path encircles the church. The main garden bed is the large St Margaret Memorial Garden encompassing the east side and south-eastern corner of the property. A substantial concrete retaining wall defines the eastern boundary. While there are some mature trees within this garden, because it seems to have mostly been planted circa 2008 there are still many young trees yet to become fully established. There are several memorial plaques on the concrete edging in front of a bird bath dedicated to Raewyn Ann Smith in 1965.
Another focus for commemoration external of the church is the columbarium, located between the entrance porch and the bell tower on the north elevation of the church. Again, flowers have been planted in these raised beds that are in the niches formed by the nave buttresses. Similarly, shrubs have been planted at ground level beds directly abutting the church between the west and south wall buttresses.
At the foundation stone laying ceremony the style of architecture was described as being early English period Gothic, which would have been thought particularly for a Church of England congregation. The building is traditionally orientated along a west to east axis, and the original 1877-78 section of the building comprises the west main nave section of the church and the porch its north west corner.
The steep pitched line of these gables is characteristic of Gothic Revival architecture in New Zealand. Other typical Gothic Revival aspects which Burwell included are the angle buttresses, which were not only structurally important in this brick section, but also promote the vertical emphasis desired in Gothic Revival architecture. The lancet shaped main entrance on the porch, and the simple lancet windows along the long sides of the nave, are also typical features of this style of architecture. Located in the west wall, the large Oamaru stone geometric tracery window also has a lancet architrave and is a particularly striking feature.
The brick original section of the church was plastered over in 1936 and the surface of the 1952-54 section has been blended into this, making it difficult at first glance to see the various periods of construction. All of the building’s windows, as well as the main entrance, have decorative borders incised into concrete plaster to create the impression of stonework. The absence of buttresses on the mid-twentieth century section is a good indicator of the two distinct construction periods.
The 1952-54 extension, designed by Ford Gray & Derbie, significantly expanded the church. The addition elongated the existing nave eastwards in order to create a chancel and sanctuary. The organ loft is centrally incorporated into a northern transept, as was a clergy room to the east, and on the opposite side the externally accessible vestry is located beneath the bell tower. This bell tower door has a lancet light above, and there is also a ground floor north window. These are contained within decorative, slightly protruding, gable shaped sections with lancet recesses, which serve to highlight the openings. Although a mid twentieth century addition it is sympathetic because all of the typical Gothic Revival architecture aspects mentioned previously have been included, with the exception of buttresses.
The main entrance into the church is via the double timber doors, with ornamental strap hinges, of the original porch. Like the church proper, the porch has a timber dado, above which the plastered walls are painted white, and it has a match-lined ceiling. The porch has several plaques either side of the lancet-shaped nave door, which have come from other churches.
The nave interior, especially aspects such as the dado, seem to have be renewed in the 1950s, though many original features remain in the nave. The timber-lined gable roof is supported by substantial king post trusses with heavy arch brackets and pendant posts which terminate below the roof level into moulded corbels. This is similar to the roof formation Burwell designed at St Paul’s Church.
Another impressive feature in the nave is the west wall tracery window. Although visible from the exterior, it is in the interior where its full splendour is realised, primarily due to the 1968 John Hayward ‘Resurrection’ stained glass within. Characteristic of Hayward’s work, this window is vividly colourful and the image is highly segmented but bold because of the use of heavy shadowing.
In general there is a relatively large quantity of stained glass within the nave leading through to the chancel, and is a particularly noteworthy feature of All Saints Church. These were mostly donated to the church by congregants in memory of family members, during, or in the decade immediately following World War Two.
All of the nave windows of the north wall contain stained glass. The window closest to the porch is a simple window containing a crucifix in its top section. This design is repeated in the window behind the circa 1953 timber pulpit. The pulpit has a set of four panels, designed and carved by members of the congregation, symbolising the development of the Christianity from the time of the Old Testament. The next two windows depict St Michael and St George and are memorials to the fallen in World War Two. Mounted on the wall between these windows is a Roll Of Honour.
The windows on the south wall of the building are stained glass with the exception of the three closest to the east wall. From the west stained glass windows feature: the Madonna and Child, the Sower, St Paul, St Peter, a crucifix, and Christ blessing children. Like the St Michael and St George windows, these figures are all depicted in a quite traditional manner. However, the later window, dedicated to the McGill family, is of a different style, being highly segmented like Hayward’s windows but using blocks of multi-coloured glass and less tonality.
The nave contains rows of pews either side of a central aisle. There is a step up past a timber rail to the chancel. The seats in the chancel are arranged lengthwise. The sanctuary is defined by a raised stage and a lancet shaped archway which traces the line of the walls before curving to reach an apex at the point of the roof gable.
An impressive feature of the interior of the church is its stained glass windows. Because the sanctuary is the focal point of church services, the striking east wall window above the altar. This tracery window was part of the 1952 extension design and therefore differs from that in the west wall having intersecting, rather than geometric, tracery. This too contains a Hayward window, being the first of the set which was commissioned by All Saints Church in 1964. Like its later counterpart, Hayward has graded the colour from cool blues, greens and purples for the main part of the image, through to vibrant yellows and reds in the tracery at the top of the window. This window depicts ‘Christ in Majesty with his Saints.’
Several metres south, and parallel to the church, is the weatherboard clad Parish Hall. This building was originally constructed in 1905 to a design by Brodrick. Like the church, the Parish Hall had two key phases of construction, the second being the 1957 addition on the north side, which included a new entrance and porch and the expansion of the hall along its length by several metres. The extensions were designed by Ford Gray & Derbie, who had earlier been responsible for those to the church.
The original part of the building had a width similar to that of the nave of the church and its entrance porch was on the west end. The three large lancet windows which dominate this elevation also place the hall within the Gothic Revival architectural tradition, and other design features include stickwork on the gable end of the porch and the main gable. This former entrance seems to have been enclosed in 1957 when the new entrance was created in the north east corner, mirroring the position of the porch on the Church. The entrance is an open porch with a gable roof supported by flanking couples of metal pipes that are connected to each other by way of decorative scroll and bar work. The extension carried on around to the east side of the hall, connecting to a lean-to which appears to house bathroom facilities.
The interior of the Parish Hall has not been assessed.
1877 - 1878
Parish Hall constructed
1952 - 1954
East addition to church
Parish Hall extended
3 light east window added (John Hayward)
3 light west window added (John Hayward)
Brick, concrete, glass, timber
16th May 2011
Report Written By
New Zealand Historic Places
New Zealand Historic Places
Mane-Wheoki, J., ‘City of Magnificent Edifices,’ Vol.54 (July), 1995
P. Sorrell, (ed) Murihiku: The Southland Story, Southland to 2006 Book Project Committee, Invercargill, 2006
4 March 1876, 13 February 1877, 24 February 1877, 17 March 1877, 2 April 1877, 25 May 1877, 21 January 1878, 28 January 1878, 16 January 1879, 29 December 1880, 27 October 1883, 28 October 1886, 27 October 1887, 1 October 1901, 29 February 1904, 4 September 1905, 6 November 1905, 15 November 1905
Jane Thomson, (ed)., Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, Dunedin: Longacre Press/Dunedin City Council, 1998.
Borough of Invercargill, 1921
Borough of Invercargill, New Zealand, Jubilee Year Book, 1871-1921, Invercargill, 1921
F. H. Waldron (ed.), The Church by the Bridge, Invercargill, 1978
A fully referenced registration report is available from the Otago/Southland Office of the NZHPT.
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.