St. Thomas Church is the oldest church on Eyre Peninsula. The foundation stone was laid by Governor Fox-Young in October 1849. The original church is now the Nave section of the present building (the main seating area). In 1876 the Sanctuary (high area) and Transepts (side wings) were added.
Services were held prior to the establishment of the church as recorded in the journal of Edward John Eyre on October 4th 1840 who stated that “being camped near Port Lincoln, I attended Divine Service there. The congregation was small but respectful and devout”. The small congregation wrote to the Bishop, Dr Augustus Short in 1847 who in turn approached the Governor concerning the erection of a church. Land was granted in December 1849 under an ordinance ‘to promote the building of churches and chapels for Christian worship….and to be known as the Church of Saint Thomas.’
The completion date of construction was late 1851 with the first Evensong service held by Archdeacon Matthew Hale on January 21st, 1852 who served in the district until 1856. After his departure Dr. Octavius Hammond became the first incumbent minister of our Church of St Thomas the Apostle in 1858.
Some quick facts: The total cost of the church was £293, plus a charge of £7-10 for the architect. Timber for the roof was sourced from Van Diemen’s Land. Stone for the walls was quarried from the Duck Pond district near Port Lincoln. The beautiful stained-glass windows depicting Jesus, St Thomas and St John were installed above the altar in the 1893-94 period, from a bequest to the church by Mr Samuel Sison of Boston House. The bell was hung in the bell tower in 1893 and renovated in 2012. The church has many memorials which honour the work of its early parishioners. The church has a National Trust classification listing. Compiled from Eric O’Connor collection with thanks to Rev. Brian Bascombe and Mrs. Rosie Clark for their contribution.