History of original church building

For over 100 years, St Andrew’s has been a significant landmark in the Manly area. Construction of St Andrew’s commenced in 1886 and was completed in 1890. Built from local white sandstone, this beautiful Church, with its stately bell tower, rich outlines, guarded by strange sentinel gargoyles, continues to attract visitors from Australia and overseas. The exterior of the Church exhibits a profusion of intricately carved sandstone decorations on column capitals, arches and piers. The medieval architecture is unusual and is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of Romanesque revival architecture in Australia. The Romanesque Revival Style with Celtic influence is rarely found in Australia, yet St Andrew’s exhibits all the hallmarks of this unique architectural design.

The Romanesque era dates from the late 10th Century until the 12th and 13th centuries, a mysterious time in church architecture. The style features rounded apses, fanciful carved beasts, bell towers, heavy walls, small windows and the use of open timber ceiling. It developed from earlier medieval architecture that prevailed in Western and Southern Europe.

The original front section of St Andrew’s is entered in the Register of National Estate and is classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW), and stands as an example of architectural excellence. For this reason it provides the community both locally and at large with a paradigm representing their aspirations. The church is also listed on Manly Council’s Local Environment Plan as a building of heritage significance.


Designer and extension

The Church was designed by Sir John Sulman, one of Australia’s most eminent architects of the post-Colonial era. Commissioned to design St Andrew’s in 1885, Sulman went on to become Chairman of the Federal Capital Advisory Committee from 1921 to 1925 and is credited for much of the town planning success of Canberra.
    The Church was extended in 1961. In building the extensions, the modern craftsmen managed to reproduce almost perfectly the beautiful, original interior work.
    Today, the church continues to serve the Sydney community both in terms of the activities of its congregation, and as a popular venue for weddings and baptisms.


With its warm woodwork and imposing pipes, the organ was originally built in 1898 and installed at St Nicholas’ Congregational Church, Ipswich, England. It was brought to Australia and restored by the St Andrew’s congregation in 1977.

Recent Repairs

In 2004 work began on repairing and strengthening the bell tower. Financial assistance was received from the Federal Government to complete this vital task. The repairs were done by Jasper Swan.

Over 100 years of wind blown sand and salt had taken its toll on this landmark of Manly. The work was completed early 2005 at the cost of $250,000 and a Thanksgiving Service was held to give thanks to God for the repair work, the skill of the craftsmen and the fact that the work was completed without any injuries.

The Church Hall has also had extensive repairs done to it. We have replaced the entire roof area with Replica French Tiles due to Heritage Requirements at the cost of $120,000. During the roofing of the Hall we have carried out extensive repairs to the inside of the hall. The Main Hall has now been painted and the Meeting Room has been painted and repaired. There was much damage due to water. The areas have been painted in Heritage Colours and is looking very fresh and clean. It was an expensive exercise but we give thanks to God for the wonderful stewardship at St. Andrew’s.

The Church Hall kitchen has just been renovated and looks really good. We gutted the kitchen and had Wholesale Kitchen installed. We give thanks to Jim McIntosh for his dedicated work over the past month. Without his support and guidance it would not have happened. The PWA raised the bulk of the money through their many events and much prayer. There was much work to be done as it would be about 40 years or so since the last update. Much drainage had to be replaced. On Sunday 7th a Dedication and Thanksgiving Service was held. Our first function was The Burns Supper on Saturday 6th February 2010 which was a great success.

Our next project will be having the ladies toilet renewed with a disabled toilet installed.

The Present and The Future

St Andrew’s is rising to the challenge of the new century. Unlike some parishes, St Andrew’s celebrates traditional worship services every Sunday, which have been a feature of traditional churches for generations.

But this does not mean that St. Andrew’s is not moving with the times. Many innovations in worship are welcomed by the whole congregation. Care is always taken to ensure that worship does not denigrate into entertainment for those attending, but remains what it always has been - a sacrifice of praise to God.

St. Andrew’s recognises that this can be achieved through a mixture of traditional hymns, psalms as well as new hymns and meaningful choruses. Our choir, is constantly rising to new heights as its members make their valued contribution to the musical element of worship.

The talents of our younger members are also used regularly in Sunday Worship.

We are constantly adding new features to the life of our church to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.




Our Involvement in Education
The Presbyterian Church has always been involved with Education. If you look, you will find that many country schools are next door to Presbyterian Churches. The first Scottish immigrants commenced schools on arriving in this country in the mid 18th Century. Educating children was an important tasks in the minds of Scottish/Presbyterian settlers. Indeed, building on the Scottish/Presbyterian heritage of the importance of education so that the Bible could be read and understood and so that children could take their place in society, schools and churches were almost as important as one another. 
As you will hear, we set up education facilities from Infant schools all the way through to University level.
It was in 1868 that His Excellency the Governor (the Earl of Belmore) passed resolutions expressing satisfaction at the passing of an Act for the establishment of St. Andrew’s College at Sydney University. A subscription was opened and an encouraging start made with the raising of the necessary funds. An appeal was prepared by the Committee for the distribution throughout the colony, setting forth the objects and advantages of the College and its claim on the support of Presbyterians and of the friends of education generally.
A public breakfast was held in Sydney during the meeting of the General Assembly, with the view of interesting the country brethren in the movement. As the result of all those energetic efforts, funds flowed freely and it soon became evident that no difficulty would be experienced in securing the amount required. Rev, Adam Thomson was the first Principal of the College, but Dr Dunmore Lang was disappointed that he was not made the first Principal. Apparently Dr Dunmore Lang was not gifted with administration abilities. St. Andrew’s College was officially opened in 1876 with all the buildings completed.
In 1885 the General Assembly appointed committee’s to establish a Ladies College. The Presbyterian Ladies College at Croydon was established first then the Presbyterian Ladies College at Pymble. Also the Cooerwull Academy, at Bowenfel. Scots College at Bellevue Hill was established in 1890.
Following this a Theological Hall, Albury Grammar School, and Presbyterian Ladies College at Armidale, Goulburn and Orange. For boys, the Knox Grammar School at Wahroonga and Scots College at Bathurst were established.
We also commenced an Agricultural College at Tocal in the Hunter Valley. This is now run by the department of Agriculture in NSW. This property was given to the church to be used for an Educational Institution.
In our local area at Manly, the Presbyterian Grammar School, which owed its inception to the energetic support and counsel of the Rev. Jamieson Williams, first held classes in the church hall. Later, it moved to the corner of Addison Road and Stuart Street. In May 1934 the name was changed by the Education Trust Committee to St. Andrew’s School. This new name served to mark the new status of the school when the General Assembly granted the Committee of Management full council powers. It also emphasised the very material support given to the school by St. Andrew’s College council (University College).
In 1934 the enrolment was 72, of whom 12 were boarders. To augment the requirement of a larger school, Council leased an adjoining property. Mr T C Knox gave careful and economical arrangement to the boarding side of the school. The Annual Report of the Grammar School in 1936 told of a difficult year with enrolment stationary at 61 and no improvement tin the financial position, boarders having been discounted that year.
The approach of World War II saw the school closed. As you can imagine with the depression in the 1930’s it was a difficult time for the majority of boarding schools.
Another important work of our church was The Australian Inland Mission’s involvement with the School Of The Air. As you know The Rev. John Flynn was a man of dreams and vision. Rev Flynn conceived that we bring the church to the most remote and scattered dwellers in the continent. He succeeded in so inspiring others that his purpose has been very largely achieved.  His method was to treat the inland in much the same fashion that overseas missionaries ministered. The aim was to undertake the healing of mental ignorance through education, and the healing of the body through medical services. 
And so commend a service from which many blessings continue to flow today.
Flynn provided the Inland with hospitals in remote centres, a Flying Doctors Service to reach remote patients and, with the aid of Mr Tregear, he provided the pedal wireless by which people could easily communicate with the world outside their lonely domain.
From this flowed the School of The Air. In the early 1950’s, when this service was commenced, it enabled the children of the outback to have access to modern day education. Though today we have satellites to do the same work, we give thanks to God for these people who were the enablers of these great happenings.
Today we still provide material in the form of Letter Box Lessons that are sent to children in remote areas. These lessons are sent free to children all over New South Wales. Last year a couple from one of our Presbyterian Church’s in NSW travelled around the outback to visit each of these families whose lives were touched by our programme. They also had the privilege to teach Christian Education classes in many schools in outback NSW.
Here at Manly in our local church we still continue with our Kid’s Church (Sunday School). We give thanks for the continued dedication of our Superintendent Mrs Eileen Begg and our Infants Teacher Mrs Margaret Irwin. These women have been teaching consistently for many years and both are Elders of this church. 
Soon after our church was first established, in about 1895, a Sunday school was commenced with Mr J.A. Patterson as the Sunday School Superintendent – a position he held for over 46 years. It is because of people such as this that we have that firm grounding today of teaching the Word of God to our Children.
Today in our churches we have many pre schools, playgroups, primary schools starting again in country areas with excellent administrations. In NSW we still have several boarding schools but due to the drought affected areas of NSW the number of boarders coming from rural areas have dropped but these have been taken up by local families in the city areas. This enables the children to have a continuous education with many having professional parents and also many students from overseas. Again our church has been able to adapt to the changes in society without lowering our standards in Education or family values.
In the solid Scottish/Presbyterian tradition of supporting both the intellectual and spiritual growth of people in the community, the Presbyterian Church remains a vital source of education in Australia – and, indeed, around the world.
We give praise to the Almighty that we can work in tandem with the Government education System to provide for our young – and not so young – educational opportunities so that this land God has given to us to cherish, develop, protect and love might reach its full potential under God’s guidance and grace, and to Him be the glory. 



Books About St Andrew’s

* The First Hundred Years 1884-1984 (St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Manly)
    * The Windows Speak (St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Manly)