St Augustine's Church (Anglican)

95 Calliope Road, Devonport, Auckland

  • St Augustine's Church.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 20/01/2012.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 20/01/2012.
  • Interior.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 20/01/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4529 Date Entered 19th April 2012 Date of Effect 19th April 2012


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Lot 68 DP 1055 (RT NA480/298), North Auckland Land District and the structures known as St Augustine's Church (Anglican) thereon, and their fittings and fixtures and the following chattels: font, pews in hall x 4, pews in church x 18, candlesticks x 2, and hymn boards x 2. Registration does not include an underlying tunnel, which extends beneath the southeast corner of the property. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council

Legal description

Pt Lot 68 DP 1055 (RT NA480/298), North Auckland Land District


The site of St Augustine’s Church is located beside the large naval base at Stanley Bay in Devonport, and has been used for Anglican worship by the local community since 1910, when a surviving timber hall was opened on the property for use as a mission church. In 1930, this was superseded by a handsome brick church dedicated to the men of the parish who had died during the First World War (1914-18). Known as St Augustine’s Memorial Church, the latter was designed by the noted Auckland architect William Swanson Read Bloomfield (1885-1968), who is considered likely to have been the first person of Maori descent to study at an architectural school and practise as an architect.

The Stanley Bay and broader Devonport area has long associations with Maori activity prior to colonial arrival. In the 1840s a British naval station was established at the foot of Victoria Road, and by the end of the century Devonport had become a prosperous marine suburb. Subdivision of Allotment 32 in Stanley Bay occurred in 1892, shortly after what is said to have been the largest dry dock in the Southern Hemisphere opened on adjoining land at Calliope Dock (1888). The site of St Augustine’s Church is believed to have been initially occupied by a house, before the timber mission hall was erected for Anglican worship and other activities in 1910. This broadly coincided with land at Calliope being officially declared a base for the Royal Navy.

Consisting of a simple, gabled structure with a porch, the hall had previously formed part of the Sunday School at Holy Trinity Church in Devonport. It was originally erected in 1886 from material that evidently included parts of the 1865 Holy Trinity Church. Both initial construction and relocation to Stanley Bay were overseen by the eminent architect Edward Bartley. An opening service in the relocated structure was conducted by Canon MacMurray. In May 1914 the building was dedicated as St Augustine’s Church by Bishop (later Archbishop) Averill (1865-1957), a significant figure in the early twentieth-century Anglican Church.

Three months after the dedication, the First World War (1914-18) broke out. Several men who had worshipped in the church died in the conflict, including the sons and grandsons of prominent local businessmen and politicians. In 1919, a proposal to commemorate the fallen by building a new church was raised. After Stanley Bay became a separate parish in 1924, architectural plans were prepared. In 1930, a rectangular brick building with a Marseilles tile roof and a bell turret was erected in a prominent position in front of the older church.

Of predominantly Arts and Crafts style, the new structure was built of local bricks with ornamental detailing. Internally, the building incorporated a large scissor-truss roof and a rear gallery. Its architect, W.S.R. Bloomfield, had close personal connections with the church, having married the sister of one of the men commemorated by its construction. He had also served in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War and had been shot down behind enemy lines in 1917. Of Ngati Kahungunu descent on his mother’s side, Bloomfield was responsible for several notable buildings in Auckland during the late 1920s and early 1930s, including Yorkshire House in Shortland Street (1926-8).

After its opening by Archbishop Averill, the brick building served as a parish church until 1948, when Stanley Bay was re-absorbed with the parish of Devonport. It has continued to be used for worship, including from 1979 to the 1990s as a Navy chapel. Minor modifications were made to the earlier church for conversion to a hall in 1930. This has since been utilised for social and other functions, including by members of the HMS Philomel and Naval League during the Second World War (1939-45). The structure is still employed for social and religious functions (2012), having been used for similar purposes on the site for more than a century.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The place is of value for reflecting expansion of the Anglican mission in the Auckland Diocese in the early twentieth century, including the formation of the Stanley Bay parish. It has associations with significant figures in the Auckland Anglican community including Archbishop Averill, a leading religious figure in the 1920s and 1930s who dedicated the first church to St Augustine in 1914 and conducted the opening service for the second church in 1930. Other notable religious figures associated with the place include Archdeacon MacMurray, who opened the mission hall on the site in 1910 and laid the foundation stone for the 1930 church.

The place has strong historical value for its connections with the First World War. Men who died in the conflict had worshipped at the first church and are commemorated by the second. Through their commemoration, the place has direct links to battles in which the men fought and died.

The place reflects the development of Stanley Bay and Devonport, and the suburb’s ongoing relationship with military activity and service. The latter is demonstrated through the site’s offered use for the Navy League during the Second World War, and its function as a chapel for the adjoining Royal New Zealand Navy base from 1979 until the 1990s. Several notable individuals involved in the creation and running of St Augustine’s Church have had military backgrounds, including W.S.R. Bloomfield, the Reverend H. Mayo-Harris, and the Reverend F.O. Dawson.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

The place has aesthetic significance for the handsome design of its 1930 brick church, which includes a distinctive bell turret, a prominent roof and high-quality ornamental brickwork. The aesthetic value of the place is enhanced by the church being a visible landmark beside Calliope Road. Aesthetic significance extends to the church interior, which incorporates notable elements such as a large and impressive scissor-truss roof.

Archaeological Significance or Value

The place has archaeological significance for incorporating a timber hall that contains evidence of several phases of structural activity by the Anglican Church in Devonport; and which demonstrates attitudes to the recycling and adaptation of religious structures in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The hall incorporates re-used material which has the potential to provide information about the 1865 Holy Trinity Church in Devonport - erected as one of the earliest and most important Anglican churches on Auckland’s North Shore. The hall also potentially retains information about its use as an 1880s Sunday School on the Holy Trinity Church site; and additionally contains evidence about the methods by which it was moved to its current location.

Architectural Significance or Value

The place has architectural significance for demonstrating contrasting approaches to the creation of a place of worship at different stages in the development of a residential community. The place incorporates an initial mission hall, which consisted of a relocated and modified, earlier structure; and a replacement, purpose-built church which employed permanent materials and a more impressive appearance that proclaimed its religious function while retaining domestic references through its Arts and Crafts design.

The latter has architectural significance as a well-preserved design by W.S.R. Bloomfield, considered likely to have been the earliest architect of Maori descent to attend an architecture school and practise professionally. The design has particular value as an example of Bloomfield’s work due to it being a memorial to a war in which he had personally served, and which commemorated men that included his brother-in-law, Gunner R.L. Gribbin. The influential architect, Vernon Brown, was also involved in the project as a draughtsman at an early stage of his career in New Zealand.

The hall is closely associated with the noted Diocesan architect Edward Bartley, who had strong ties with the Anglican Church and with Holy Trinity Church, Devonport, in particular. Bartley oversaw construction of the hall as part of a Sunday School building in 1886, and was responsible for its remodelling and relocation to the St Augustine’s Church site in 1910.

Social Significance or Value

St Augustine’s Church (Anglican) has social significance as a place used for congregation and gathering by the local community for more than a century. Its hall was also used for social activities and events prior to its relocation to the site in 1910, including for gymnastics and dancing. Construction of the 1930 brick church was both instigated and enabled by the local community, which raised sufficient funds for it to be built debt-free.

The place has strong social significance for reflecting a desire to commemorate local men who died in the First World War, indicating the impact of the conflict on local communities.

Spiritual Significance or Value

The place has spiritual significance as a site of religious worship in Stanley Bay for more than a century. It incorporates two buildings in which worship has respectively taken place from 1910 to 1930, and from 1930 to the present day. The initial building was also used as place of religious instruction as a Sunday School from 1886, prior to its relocation to the site. This activity continued in the hall after the adjoining brick church was erected in 1930.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

St Augustine’s Church reflects important aspects of New Zealand’s history, including the country’s overseas military involvement in the First World War. It particularly reflects the impact of that involvement on local communities, and the desires of communities to commemorate their loss.

The place also reflects aspects of Anglican history, including Bishop Averill’s extension programme in the Anglican Diocese and the strong connection between the Anglican Church and English cultural life and identity during his episcopacy. The design of the 1930 church can be seen to have reflected this connection, stemming from an English Arts and Crafts tradition and commemorating an event that cemented New Zealand’s role as a loyal ally of Great Britain. It reflects the view that Anglicans in Auckland seemed particularly dutiful in upholding concepts of imperial patriotism and loyalty to the Crown.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

The place has strong connections with the First World War through the commemoration of soldiers who had died during this conflict, including in important battles at Ypres, the Somme and Gallipoli. Associations encompass the first landing of New Zealand forces at Anzac Cove, the date of which is commemorated by Anzac Day.

Several other individuals who served in the Armed Forces have strong connections to the place. These include the architect W.S.R. Bloomfield who was shot down and imprisoned during the First World War; and vicars such as the Reverend H. Mayo-Harris, who was a Commander in the Second World War, and the Reverend F.O. Dawson, who earned a Military Cross and was mentioned several times in despatches. The place has had ongoing connections with the military or military-related bodies such as the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Navy League.

The place has associations with several notable Anglican clergymen, including Bishop Averill, Archdeacon MacMurray and Canon W.E. Lush. It also has links with numerous important members of the North Shore and broader Auckland community. These include newspaperman and Mayor of Auckland, Sir Henry Brett, and his son Arthur Brett; G.A. Gribbin of the law firm Gribbin and Nicholson; and John Henry O’Neill, a member of the Waitemata County Council. The land was also owned in the nineteenth century by prominent publishers J.C. Wilson and J. and W. Wilson.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has potential to provide knowledge about aspects of nineteenth-century and subsequent history, including construction of the 1865 Holy Trinity Church in Devonport, and use of the timber hall for Sunday School and other purposes from 1886. It can also provide knowledge about building relocation methods in early twentieth-century New Zealand.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place

The place has strong community association for its use as a place of worship and social gathering for the Stanley Bay community for more than a century.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

The place can be considered to technical value, notably for its Arts and Crafts-style brick church. Designed by notable architect, W.S.R. Bloomfield, this can be seen to reflect connections with English culture and identity common within the Anglican Church of the period; and a successful melding of the human scale of domestic architecture with the ‘corporate’ scale typical of churches and other places of assembly.

The place has technical value for its use of high-quality ornamental brickwork, which showcases the products of local manufacturers, R. and R. Duder. The North Shore was a source of brick goods for the Auckland market from the early colonial period onwards.

(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place

The place has strong commemorative value for incorporating a building that was erected as a memorial to men of the parish who had served and died in the First World War. Other elements, including chattels, also commemorate individuals from the local community, including some who served the church.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

The place forms part of a wider landscape of significance in the Stanley Bay and the broader Devonport area, which is noted for its well-preserved late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century buildings and other elements within the historic landscape. These include other commemorative monuments, and religious structures such as St Augustine’s Church mother establishment, the Church of the Holy Trinity. The place can be considered particularly significant for its connections with Devonport’s important military history. It is situated near the Calliope Dock and Pumping Station, and its associated dockyard which now forms part of the headquarters of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Other places in Devonport that reflect this connection include the Coronation Sea Wall; the First World War Memorial; and well-preserved fortifications at North Head – Takapuna.

Summary of Significance or Values

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, c, e, g, h, k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Bartley, Edward

Edward Bartley was born in Jersey in 1839, and educated in the Channel Islands where he learned techniques of the building trade from his father, an architect and builder.

Bartley immigrated to New Zealand with his elder brother Robert, also an architect, while still in his teens. They eventually settled in Devonport, Auckland. Initially Edward was in the building trade but later he practised solely as an architect. He was at one time vice-president of the Auckland Institute of Architects and was also Diocesan Architect for the Church of England.

Amongst Bartley's most notable works were his ecclesiastical buildings including St John's Church, Ponsonby (1881), St David's Church, Symonds Street (1880), Holy Trinity Church, Devonport, and the Synagogue (1884). He was also responsible for the Opera House (1884) and Auckland Savings Bank, Queen Street (1884).

Bloomfield, W S R

William Swanson Read Bloomfield (1885-1968), of Ngāti Kahungunu, has been considered likely to be the first person of Māori descent to have attended an architecture school and practised as a Western-style architect. Born into a prominent Gisborne family in Manutuke in 1885, his parents were Thomas E. Read Bloomfield and Mary Swanson - the latter being the daughter of Auckland timber merchant William Swanson and Ani Rangitunoa from Hawkes Bay. He was the second of five children to Thomas and Mary.

Thomas had emigrated from England as a child in the 1860s and received an inheritance from his wealthy uncle George Edward Read, an English whaler and sea captain who settled in Poverty Bay. Thomas’ legacy funded the building of Riverslea, now known as Opou, a substantial homestead at Manutuke. In 1883 Thomas married Mary Swanson, the daughter of Ani Rangitunoa of Ngāti Kahungungu, and William Swanson, prominent Auckland timber merchant and 40-year politician progressing from the Provincial Council to the House of Representatives and finally the Legislative Council. William Bloomfield’s father died when he was five and his mother did not remarry, so his grandfather William Swanson is thought to have been a key male influence in his early life.

William Bloomfield graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture in 1913 and is reported to have been studying architecture in England when the First World War (1914-18) broke out. Joining the Royal Flying Corps soon after the conflict started, he was shot down over enemy lines in 1917 and was held captive for the remainder of the war.

After repatriation from Germany, Bloomfield returned to New Zealand and married Audrey Gribbin in 1920. From the mid-1920s, he practised in Auckland as part of the firm Bloomfield and Hunt, and then Bloomfield, Owen and Morgan. He was responsible for several notable buildings in the city during this period, including Yorkshire House (1926-8); the Queen’s Arcade in Queen Street (1928-9) and the Masonic Temple in St Benedict’s Street (1929-30). Work undertaken in 1930 included the Hotel Titirangi - or Lopdell House - in Titirangi; the Station Hotel in Beach Road; and the Auckland Aero Club clubhouse. Also in 1930, Bloomfield’s design for St Augustine’s Church in Devonport was erected as a memorial to local men who had died in the First World War. Those commemorated included his brother-in-law, Gunner R. L. Gribbin.

During the Second World War (1939-45), Bloomfield served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as squadron leader and North Island divisional commander. His later work as an architect encompassed numerous domestic designs, many of which featured in Home and Building. He retired from practice in 1959.

Source: NZ Heritage List Report for Hotel Titirangi (Former), Te Uru Gallery and the Treasure House (Former), 6 November 2020, Martin Jones.

Ferguson, J.B.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site

The northern shores of the Waitemata Harbour are of significance to several iwi, having been explored and occupied since early human arrival in New Zealand. According to oral tradition, the Arawa canoe under Tama Te Kapua investigated the Waitemata. The Tainui canoe also landed at Te Hau Kapua (Torpedo Bay) in present-day Devonport before travelling to its eventual heartland in the Waikato. Recorded archaeological sites at Ngataringa Bay, Stanley Bay and the west Devonport foreshore include middens and oven stones. Following Ngapuhi incursions in the 1820s, much of the North Shore was depopulated, assisting its purchase by the British Crown after formal colonisation in 1840. A small Maori settlement at Te Hau Kapua remained inhabited until 1863.

In the 1840s, a British naval station was established at the foot of Victoria Road. Crown land in the area was subdivided into suburban farms in 1850 and offered for sale. Although settlement intensified around nuclei in Church Street and subsequently Victoria Road, large-scale development emerged primarily during the economic boom of the 1870s and 1880s. With the establishment of good quality ferry services to and from Auckland, Devonport became a well-established residential suburb and a significant seaside resort in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The site of St Augustine’s Church was located to the west of the main centre of colonial settlement in Devonport, on the Stanley Bay peninsula. Occupying elevated land to the south of Calliope Road, the site formed part of a larger parcel, Allotment 32, which was issued as a Crown Grant in 1853. During the mid- to late nineteenth century, the land was owned by a succession of individuals that included notable Auckland businessmen and newspaper proprietors, John Williamson (1815-1875) and J.C. Wilson. House sections in the Sunnyside estate to the north of Calliope Road were offered for sale in 1882. The opening of what was said to be the largest dry dock in the Southern Hemisphere immediately to the south of Allotment 32 in 1888 helped to stimulate further development.

In 1892, Allotment 32 was subdivided by William Chisholm Wilson McDowell, a medical practitioner, and J.C. Wilson’s sons, William and Joseph Wilson. The latter were partners in the firm of Wilson and Horton, which owned the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Weekly News. Following subdivision, the site formed part of Lot 68 which was bought by a Madeline Donny in 1899. A house is said to have been erected on the property, but was removed when the land was purchased for the establishment of an Anglican Mission Hall a decade later.

Creation of the Mission Hall (1910)

The creation of a mission hall by September 1910 marked the first step in Anglican use of the site for worship and other activities in the burgeoning residential area. It represented an expansion of the local Anglican mission from its main centre at Holy Trinity Church, which was located in the eastern part of Devonport. Establishment of the mission hall broadly coincided with adjoining land at Calliope Dock being officially declared a naval base for the Royal Navy. In preceding years, religious halls belonging to other denominations had also opened beside Calliope Road, by now one of Devonport’s main residential streets.

The hall was created by relocating part of an earlier timber building that had belonged to the Holy Trinity Church complex in Church Street. This structure had initially been erected in 1886 by eminent architect Edward Bartley (1839-1919) as an addition to an 1872 Sunday School, for use as a schoolroom and parish hall. Bartley has been referred to as the Anglican Diocesan architect, and as a resident of Devonport had particularly close links with Holy Trinity Church. The addition formed part of wider alterations to the Holy Trinity site in the mid 1880s, which encompassed creating an enlarged church (1884-6); moving the Sunday School back on the site and adding its extension (1886); and erecting a large parsonage (1887). The Sunday School addition is reported to have been built with material from the old Holy Trinity Church, supplemented by new timber, to create a large room measuring 45 feet x 30 feet. The old church had been built in 1865 as one of the earliest and most important Anglican churches on the North Shore, and incorporated an extension added in 1874. Activites other than religious education that subsequently took place in the enlarged Sunday School included gymnastics and dancing classes.

In June 1910, Bartley advertised tenders for the removal of the Sunday School extension from Trinity Church to the new site in Calliope Road. A contemporary plan indicates that in its new position, the relocated structure was to include a porch on its north side, and external lavatories on the south. Following the sale of the rear part of the property in February 1911, the building occupied a position near the back of the retained section. Internally, the main part of the building contained a single large room. A font was provided by ‘Friends outside of the Parish’.

The opening service was held in 25 September 1910, with the Reverend Canon George MacMurray officiating. MacMurray has been regarded as a central figure in Auckland diocesan affairs, and was to become Archdeacon. The structure was evidently subsequently used for a variety purposes, including weekly worship and as a Sunday School.

Dedication as St Augustine’s Church (1914)

In 1914, the building and its furnishings were formally dedicated as St Augustine’s Church. The dedication is said to have been sought by the men of the congregation ‘in order that the building might be used purely for church purposes.’ The dedication service was held in May, on St Augustine’s Day. It was led by the recently-appointed Bishop of Auckland, Dr Alfred Walter Averill (1865-1957).

Bishop (later Archbishop) Averill was a significant figure in the development of the Anglican Church in New Zealand in the early twentieth century: he had been made Bishop of Waiapu in 1910, became Bishop of Auckland in 1914 and was later appointed Archbishop of New Zealand in 1925. During his episcopacy, there was a strong connection between the Anglican Church and English cultural life and identity. Anglicans in Auckland are said to have seemed particularly dutiful in upholding concepts of imperial patriotism and loyalty to the Crown.

Three months after the church was dedicated, Britain declared war on Germany. Many men from Devonport enlisted to assist the British cause. Several who had worshipped in St Augustine’s Church died during the First World War (1914-18), including at Gallipoli, Ypres and the Somme.

Some of the dead were related to prominent citizens. Flight Sub-Lieutenant L.H. Brett was the son of publisher Arthur Brett and grandson of Sir Henry Brett, founder of the Auckland Star and a Mayor of Auckland. Gunner R.L. Gribbin was the son of solicitor, George Arthur Gribbin, whose business partner was Oliver Nicholson, a Mayor of Mt Eden Borough and ‘a power in the Auckland business world’. The father of Private K.E. Wight was Edward Wight, a former manager of the Ralph coal mine in Huntly, who lived in Stanley Bay. Second Lieutenant I. O’Neill, who enlisted with the Second Maori Battalion, and Private W.N. Philson were both related to local body politicians. Philson was one of 147 New Zealanders who died on the first day of the landings at Anzac Cove (25 April 1915) - since commemorated as Anzac Day.

Construction of St Augustine’s Memorial Church (1930)

In 1919, a scheme was proposed to build a new church in memory of those who had died. In June 1920, the Church Committee agreed to commission a brass plate for the church bearing the names of those who had fallen and served.

After Stanley Bay became an independent parish in 1924, fundraising for a new church occurred with the intention that the structure should be ‘very beautiful and dignified, fitting for its high use and purpose’. The creation of new parishes within the Auckland Diocese formed part of an extension programme overseen by Bishop Averill as population growth and changing settlement patterns necessitated shifts in organisation. By this time, Stanley Bay accommodated the recently-formed New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, and was the base for its first service ship, HMS Chatham, and its training centre, HMS Philomel.

Working plans for a new church were initially prepared by the architect H. F. Robinson. By 1926, however, William Swanson Read Bloomfield (1885-1968) of the firm Bloomfield and Hunt - and later Bloomfield, Owen and Morgan - was involved as a member of the vestry’s Building Committee.

Considered likely to be the first person of Maori descent to attend architecture school and practice as an architect, Bloomfield had direct experience of the conflict for which the church was to be a memorial. He had fought as a captain in the Royal Flying Corps, and after being shot down behind enemy lines in 1917 was held as a prisoner until the war had ended. He was also related to one of the men to be commemorated by the church, having married Audrey Gribbin, the sister of Gunner R.L. Gribbin, in 1920. By the mid-1920s, Bloomfield was designing and erecting notable structures in the centre of Auckland, including Yorkshire House (1926-28).

In 1927, Bloomfield prepared working plans and specifications for a grand brick building of Gothic Revival style with a large crenelated tower. After tenders indicated that this was too expensive, he oversaw revised designs for a church of very different appearance in the first half of 1929. The presence of the initials ‘VAB’ on one of the revised drawings suggests that the draughting skills of the noted architect, Vernon Akitt Brown (1905-1965) were employed for at least some of the work. Brown worked as a draughtsman for several Auckland-based firms - including Bloomfield, Owen and Morgan - after his arrival from England in 1927, and was later to become an influential figure in the development of New Zealand architecture.

New tenders for the redesigned church were sought in October 1929, but were again not accepted due to a shortfall in funds. A contract was eventually signed in the following year, after parishioners had been asked for further donations and the lowest tenderer, J. B. Ferguson, had submitted a reduced quote. The final cost of £2144 was mostly raised through the activities of the local Ladies Guild and gifts from parishioners and other donors, including £100 from the estate of J. Wilson and a small amount from George Winstone of the building supplies firm Winstone Limited. These enabled the church to be erected free of debt, in spite of increasingly difficult economic times as the Great Depression approached.

In October 1930, the foundation stone was laid in a ceremony conducted by Archdeacon MacMurray, who had opened the initial church. The new building was sufficiently complete by December 1930 for an opening service to be led by Archbishop Averill.

The design of the church can be seen as stemming from the English Arts and Crafts tradition. Grander than the earlier hall, its style has been said to illustrate ‘a successful melding of the human scale normally associated with domestic buildings and the "corporate" scale typical of places of assembly.’ At the time of its opening, the new church was described as:

‘a simple nave of red brick built with hollow walls, and strong pillars in the walls under the roof principals, there is a top course of reinforced concrete finished with plastering. The ornamentally laid brick of the porch front and other detail parts give a pleasing finish to it...The roof is highpitched and covered with tiles. A bell turret with a bell newly presented for this Church rises from the roof near the "west" end. The Sanctuary is the full width of the Church...The porch or vestibule, Baptistery and Vestry are at the "west" end and above them the Choir gallery, the building is a good one for sound and the effect of a choir behind the congregation has surpassed all our expectations...’

Surviving specifications suggest that an initial intent to plaster the interior was modified in favour of exposed bricks. The brickwork was to employ local products, specifically Duder’s bricks. The North Shore had been known for its brick production since the early colonial period, and R. and R. Duder was a notable Devonport manufacturer. The large scissor-brace roof, which formed a major feature of the new building, was of imported Oregon.

Some furnishings and other elements were transferred from the earlier church, which was now transformed for use as a church hall. These included the font, altar rails, two military flags presented shortly after the First World War and, possibly a commemorative brass plaque commissioned in 1920. Other furniture and fixtures were evidently obtained through donations and gifts.

Construction broadly coincided with the arrival of a new vicar, Reverend William Edward Lush (1862-1951), who held numerous posts in the Anglican Church before his arrival at Stanley Bay, including chaplain of the Order of the Good Shepherd in Greys Avenue from 1906. He was the youngest son of the significant early Auckland cleric Vicesimus Lush, and was to become an honorary canon of St Mary’s Cathedral, Parnell, in 1939.

Subsequent use of St Augustine’s Memorial Church and church hall

The earlier church was evidently used as a Sunday School immediately after construction of the new building, and was also offered to the Stanley Bay school for use. A Hall Committee was established ‘to arrange for church socials and other forms of entertainment’ - and other use - so that parish funds could be augmented. By 1932, the hall was being used for gymnasium classes for both boys and girls. In 1936, there were proposals to extend its length. Increasing the size of the stage in 1938-9 enabled a kindergarten department to be accommodated behind a curtain, separately from the rest of the Sunday School class.

During the Second World War (1939-45), the hall was offered free of charge to the Devonport branch of the Navy League for the continuation of its work with trainees aboard H.M.S. Philomel. The Navy League had been founded in London in 1895 to promote the importance of maintaining a strong navy, and first became established in New Zealand at Auckland in 1896. Links with the adjoining naval base were strengthened following the re-amalgamation of Stanley Bay with Devonport parish in 1948. The naval chaplain, Reverend H. Mayo-Harris, initially assisted with Holy Communion, and in 1958 became parish priest. Mayo-Harris had served in the Second World War, attaining the rank of Commander. One of his successors in the 1960s, the Reverend F.O. Dawson had also served in the conflict as an Army chaplain, earning a Military Cross and mentions in despatches.

Expansion of the adjoining naval base had involved the excavation of a tunnel beneath the church to connect two parts of the military complex. In 1949, Bloomfield was asked if cracks in the church building were due to this tunnelling. Repairs had previously been undertaken to the northeast corner of the brick church in 1940. Leaks in the hall roof also caused its covering to be replaced in 1949.

The church continued to be used to commemorate people who had served or fallen in the First World War. In 1962, donated hymn boards included one for Fred Hooper who had died at Gallipoli in 1915.

In 1979, the church was leased out to the Royal New Zealand Navy as a chapel. This arrangement lasted until the early 1990s, and the Navy finally withdrew from involvement with the church in 1997. The church celebrated a century of worship on the site with a service in 2011.

The church continues to be regularly used for services, including christenings, weddings and funerals. The hall also remains in active use for church and community events.

Physical Description


St Augustine’s Church (Anglican) is located in Stanley Bay, Devonport. Devonport is a marine suburb on Auckland’s North Shore, noted for its well-preserved late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings, and other historic landscape elements. Stanley Bay lies in the western part of Devonport and is predominantly residential, but also contains a large naval base forming the headquarters of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Some facilities linked to the base, including a naval hospital, immediately adjoin the church property. Calliope Dock, said to have been the largest dry dock in the Southern Hemisphere when opened in 1888, survives a short distance to the south. The dock is associated with other elements of historic importance including a pump house.

Other nearby places of recognised heritage significance include shops at 31, 58 70 and 86 Calliope Road; and houses at 115, 126 and 152A Calliope Road. To the north of Calliope Road, other recognised residences include those at 14 Glen Road, 6 Summer Street, 27 William Bond Street and 27A Rutland Road. Some 500 metres to the east of St Augustine’s Church lie Claremont (NZHPT Record No. 4528), and the former Inglis House (NZHPT Record No. 4527), at 14-14A and 18-20 Huia Street, respectively.

Further afield within Devonport, several memorials and monuments have been recognised, reflecting the particularly significant role played by commemoration in the Devonport landscape. These include the Coronation Sea Wall (NZHPT Record No. 4516, Category II historic place), which remembers the South African War; and the First World War Memorial (NZHPT Record No. 4515, Category II historic place) in Devonport’s main commercial thoroughfare, Victoria Road. Devonport’s military connections are recognised by the registration of fortifications at North Head - Takapuna (NZHPT Record No. 7005, Category I historic place) and, further afield, at Fort Takapuna - O Peretu (NZHPT Record No. 86, Category I historic place). Significant churches in the suburb include the mother establishment of St Augustine’s Church - the Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) in Church Street (NZHPT Record No. 504, Category II historic place).

The site

The site is rectangular in plan, and lies on the south side of Calliope Road. The ground is roughly flat, and occupies an elevated position in relation to the adjoining street and pavement. The property contains three buildings: a substantial brick church towards the front (north) end of the site, a timber hall at the rear (south), and a small brick lavatory between the two main structures. A short driveway inside the west boundary extends to the church porch, with a narrower concrete path running further south to access the hall. The property is screened on its south and west sides by low trees and shrubs. It also contains a commemorative tree planted between the church and hall; and a plaque at the foot of the west wall of the church fulfilling a similar commemorative function.

An underground tunnel linked to the nearby naval base extends beneath the southeast corner of the site, but is not visible and is not included within the registration.


The rectangular church is of brick construction with a large, Marseilles tile roof and a copper-sheathed bell turret near its north end. The building is of Arts and Crafts design with Gothic influences. Externally, the structure features decorative brickwork, which is particularly ornate on its west elevation. This façade incorporates a brick porch with polychrome quoins, diagonal chequerwork immediately above the doorway, projecting and polychrome bricks highlighting the entrance surrounds, and a Christian cross picked out in darker, recessed brickwork in the gable. Leaded windows on this and the east elevation are rectangular with darker brick surrounds, and occupy bays defined by vertical buttresses. The brick buttresses break a horizontal plaster entablature on both elevations just below eaves level. Both elevations also feature a course of dogtooth brickwork just below the entablature.

The north wall contains a central triple-lancet window at ground floor level and a larger, rose window beneath another recessed cross in the gable. Leaded glass in the rose window contains a prominent cross motif combined with diagonals and other elements, possibly referencing motifs such as the Union flag as well as Christian symbolism. The south wall contains a similar window, but is otherwise less elaborate in appearance.

Near the base of the north wall, there is a stone tablet bearing the inscription:

‘To the Glory of God and in memory of the men of this parish who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918. Erected 1930.’

Internally, the church contains three separate spaces at its north end: a lobby, a baptistry and a vestry. The vestry incorporates a built-in oak cupboard with an inscribed plate indicating that it was donated by F.N. Bushell. The baptistry contains a font, which was relocated in 1930 from the earlier church on the site. Wooden stairs from the lobby lead to a choir gallery above.

The rest of the interior forms a large open space. A raised area at the south end forms the sanctuary, where the altar is located. The roof contains large scissor trusses, forming a prominent feature that emphasises the height of the interior. Internal walls are not plastered. A brass plaque on the east wall is inscribed:

‘To the Glory of God and in loving memory of the following N.Z. Soldiers who worshipped in the Church of St Augustine Stanley Bay, Devonport and fell in the Great War of 1914-1918

Pvt. W.N. Philson 25.4.15

2nd Lt. I. O’Neill 23.10.16

Flt. Sub Lt. L.H.Brett 22.7.17

Pvt. K.E. Wight 31.7.17

Gnr. R.L. Gribbin 11.9.17

Pvt. H.M. Ansenne 23.3.18

Pvt. J.W.G. Parsons 21.7.17

Greater love hath no man than this

Requiescant in Pace’

Some of the pews in the nave bear metal plates with the names of commemorated individuals from the 1930s and 1940s, including Mary Elizabeth Andrews 29 December 1930 - the month the church was opened - and Eva Laura Brett, the wife of Arthur Brett and mother of Flt. Sub Lt. L.H.Brett, October 1936.

Two flags on either side of the altar were installed by the Royal New Zealand Navy when the building was used as a naval chapel. Two earlier flags that existed on either side of the plaque to the fallen have been returned to the families of those commemorated.


The hall is a simple rectangular building of timber construction with a gabled roof. It is comparatively well-preserved externally and internally. Orientated with its main axis running approximately east-west, the building measures approximately 13.9 m long x 9.5 m wide. Its walls are externally clad with overlapping, horizontal weatherboards.

The only entrance to the building is enclosed within a gabled porch near the west end of the north elevation. Windows in both main elevations are rectangular, and appear to be of identical type to those shown in the 1910 drawings of the structure prepared by Edward Bartley. A window in the gabled west end of the structure is of Gothic design. The sub-floor of the main building incorporates re-used timbers, including several bearers that appear to have been previously used as large, chamfered posts. Some floor joists may also consist of re-used material. A concrete pad on the south side of the building indicates the position of lavatories shown on the 1910 plan of the structure, which have since been demolished.

Internally, the structure contains a single large room. Its walls are matchlined, and its roof is exposed and lined with sarking. The interior contains a timber stage at its east end, which shows evidence of having been extended. Other notable features include a fixed bench containing underseat storage against the west wall. A board for coathooks (with recently-replaced hooks) also remains on the west wall, near the main entrance. Added timbers in the roof structure may be linked to the building’s use in the past as a gymnasium. Cuts in the floorboards and wall linings also suggest that the building was divided longitudinally when moved from its earlier site in 1910.

A small open-plan kitchen area of comparatively recent date exists in the southwest corner of the interior. This contains a sink, benches and other elements.

Lavatory block

A small, detached, brick lavatory has a pentice roof. It is divided internally into two halves, with separate access for men and women.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1887 -
Construction of timber hall as an addition to the 1872 Sunday School at Holy Trinity Church, Church Street, Devonport

1910 -
Timber hall relocated to Calliope Road for use as a mission hall and church

1910 -
Porch and toilets

1914 -
Platform added to hall for raised choir and altar. Bell added to roof

Original Construction
1930 -
Construction of brick church

Brick toilet block erected

Hall toilets removed

1940 -
Northeast corner of church underpinned

1949 -
Hall roof re-clad

Construction Details

Church: Brick with Marseilles tile roof

Hall: Timber

Completion Date

3rd April 2012

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

Musgrove, 1986

Sydney Musgrove (ed), The Hundred of Devonport: A Centennial History, Devonport, 1986.

Bartley, 2006

M W Bartley, Colonial Architect, The Career of Edward Bartley 1839-1919, Wellington, 2006

Prime, 1956

Prime, Carl Rubinstein, Parish of the Holy Trinity, Devonport, New Zealand: Centenary 1856-1956, [Devonport, 1956]

Davidson, 2011

Davidson, Allan K. (ed.), Living Legacy: A History of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland, Auckland, 2011

Auckland Anglican Diocesan Archives

Auckland Anglican Diocesan Archives

Drawing, ‘St Augustines Memorial Church’, P15 F/1

Drawings, ‘Saint Augustine Memorial Church’, P15 F/2-2 - F/2-4

Minutes, Stanley Bay Anglican Church Committee 1913-1923, St Augustine’s - Stanley Bay P15, Box 1

Minutes, Stanley Bay Anglican Church Committee & Vestry 1923-1933, St Augustine’s - Stanley Bay P15, Box 1

Minutes, Stanley Bay Anglican Church Committee & Vestry 1933-1953, St Augustine’s - Stanley Bay P15, Box 1

Service Register and Offertory Book 1910-1913, St Augustine’s - Stanley Bay P15, Box 1

St Augustine's Church, Devonport

St Augustine's Church, Devonport: Scrapbooks

1997-2002; 2003-04; 2005-06; 2007-08; 2009

Other Information

A fully referenced report is available from the Northern Region Office of NZHPT.

This place has been identified as being included in the Auckland Council’s Cultural Heritage Inventory as CHI Places no. 2437, St Augustines Church

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.