Christ Church St Laurence

Christ Church St Laurence
33°52′55″S 151°12′18″E / 33.881856°S 151.204869°E / -33.881856; 151.204869
Location Railway Square, George Street
Country Australia
Denomination Anglican Church of Australia
Churchmanship Anglo-Catholic
Founded 1845
Diocese Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Rector Daniel Dries
Assistant priest(s) John Sanderson
Director of music Neil McEwan
Organist(s) Peter Jewkes

Christ Church St Laurence (CCSL) is an Anglican church in the Diocese of Sydney, Australia. The church is located at Railway Square in George Street, Sydney, near Central Station.

History and description

The church is named after Saint Laurence of Rome.

The interior of Christ Church has developed and changed over the years. The church was only completed sufficiently for occupation in 1845. The interior remains a work in progress. Numerous architects have contributed to this process, most notably colonial architect Edmund Blacket in the period 1844-1880 and John Burcham Clamp (1900–1922).

The ceiling was added and the columns clad in 1864. The stained glass was added gradually in the period 1845-1912. The marble steps were added to the sanctuary in 1885 and extended in 1929. The church was extensively renovated following the fire in 1905. The chancel was added in 1885 and renewed and expanded in 2004.

The church building was consecrated in 1845. William Horatio Walsh was appointed the first rector in April 1839 after a number of clergy served short terms as the “Minister of the Parish of St Lawrence”. Two notable and long-serving rectors were John Hope (1926–1964) and Austin Day (1964–1996). The current rector is Daniel Dries.

In contrast to the Evangelical character of most of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Christ Church has long been a church within the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, with a focus on social justice issues and liturgical worship, together with an emphasis on the sacraments. The tower contains a peal of ten bells hung for change ringing. They are reputed to be "the oldest ringing peal in Australia"[1] and are regularly rung by members of The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers. The church is especially noted for its choir. Along with the rectory, school and hall, the church is listed on the Register of the National Estate[2] as well as having a New South Wales state heritage listing.[3]

Sunday services

7.00 am: Morning Prayer
7.30 am: Eucharist
9.00 am: Sung Eucharist
10.30 am: Solemn High Mass
6.30 pm: Solemn Evensong with Benediction

Daily services

7.30 am: Morning Prayer
8.00 am: Eucharist
12.15 pm: Eucharist with Healing Ministry (Wednesday)
5.30 pm: Evening Prayer
6.00 pm: Eucharist (Friday)


The Choir of Christ Church St Laurence is one of the oldest continuing choral groups and was founded shortly after the consecration of the church in 1845. It is also regarded as one of the finest liturgical choirs in Australia. The choir performs an extensive repertoire from the 8th to the 21st century, with special emphasis on the polyphonic school of the 16th century. The choir can be heard every Sunday at the 10.30 am High Mass and again at the 6.30 pm Evensong at which the liturgy of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is used. Special music is also provided for all major festivals and feasts throughout the church calendar. Apart from the commitment to liturgical worship the choir regularly gives concerts and is frequently heard on national radio and has recorded a number of CDs.

The CCSL choir tours frequently and tours have included being the resident choir at London's Westminster Abbey for several periods, as well as singing in churches and cathedrals in Germany, France and Italy. The choir has recorded a number of CDs, one of which was nominated in the Australian Record Industries (ARIA) awards for the year as the best classical recording in Australia. They recently sang across Europe, most notably in St Paul's Cathedral, London, and Notre-Dame, Paris.


The Revd Dr Daniel Dries is the current rector of Christ Church St Laurence. He is the eleventh rector, inducted on 21 January 2013

List of rectors

Rector Years as Rector
1 William Horatio Walsh 1839-1867
2 George Vidal 1867-1878
3 Charles Frederick Garnsey 1878-1894
4 Gerard Trower 1895-1900
5 Frederick John Albery 1901-1910
6 Clive Meillon Statham 1911-1925
7 John Hope 1926-1964
8 Patrick Austin Day 1964-1996
9 Michael Nicholas Roderick Bowie 1996-2000
10 Adrian Maxwell Stephens 2001 - 2013
11 Daniel Dries 2013 - present

See also


  1. "The Six Ringing Towers of Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). NSW. 4 February 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  2. The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/102
  3. State Heritage website
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