History of St Philip and All Saints
All Saints was the first Anglican church in the northern part of Timaru. The area is associated with Captain Belfield Woollcombe and his family, who arrived in Timaru in 1858, when there were only two houses here. His first home was a shed on the beach, with wool bales for walls. Woollcombe became in effect the local representative of the British Government: he was appointed resident magistrate, harbour master, coroner, and provincial sub-treasurer, then returning officer, official registrar of births, deaths and marriages, immigration officer, deputy commissioner of police, commissioner of native reserves, subeditor of customs, and visiting justice representative to the jail. He laid down the foundations of civic order in the district, and came to be known as the “father” of Timaru. He was also the first church warden of St Mary’s Anglican Church, helping to construct the original wooden building on the site.
Woollcombe moved to a cob hut near the present Te Weka Street, and then built his home in this area, on 87 acres overlooking the Waimataitai estuary and lagoon, now Ashbury Park. While he was building his new house, Bishop Harper and three clergymen paid him a surprise visit. Under his warm hospitality, they spread their blankets on the floor and spent the night there. The house, named after Woollcombe’s home in England, no longer stands, but many of the English trees Woollcombe planted remain on the southern end of the park.
In 1861, Woollcombe married Frances, the daughter of the Rev. Henry Fendall, Vicar of Heathcote, Christchurch, and the newlyweds spent their honeymoon on a three-week journey to Timaru by bullock cart. The Woollcombe’s first baby, a daughter, was the third European child born in Timaru, and another daughter, Katherine, was baptised in the limestone font, which was originally in old St Mary’s, then moved to All Saints, and is now in the chapel at St Philip’s. Mrs. Woollcombe’s sister, Mary Eliza, and her husband Philip Bouverie Luxmoore also settled in a home in the area, calling it “Marchwiel” after Philip’s home in Wales. This large house, on the site now at the junction of Macdonald and Bouverie Streets, was destroyed in a fire before the 1960s.
The Woollcombe family were closely connected with All Saints. Mrs. Woollcombe started a Sunday School in her dining room at Ashbury in 1879, with 11 children. This Sunday School was later transferred to the Waimataitai State School and then in 1907 to a small wooden church on the Woollcombe property. Every other Sunday church services were held here, and the congregation grew until in 1924 a brick Methodist chapel in Evans Street was bought for 455 pounds, with a Sunday School added on behind. The original wooden church was sold and converted into a house in Marchwiel Street. A sewing guild, which met in private homes to sew for war relief and for St Saviours Home, evolved into the Guild of Help, the oldest in Timaru. The Misses Woollcombe, Chrysta and Katherine, taught at the Sunday School and worked for All Saints for 60 years. Miss Olive Barker was also a devoted member of the church and was awarded the British Empire Medal for Community Services in 1971.
The All Saints church bell was originally a fire bell. The altar cross was donated by the Misses Woollcombe in memory of Canon Hare. Two carved chairs were donated in memory of the Stockwell and Brown families, and a brass plate in memory of the Burrell family. Christchurch sculptor Frederick Gurnsey was commissioned to design and carve the oak reredos (in memory of Katherine Woollcombe), altar rails (in memory of Chrysta Woollcombe), prayer desk and lectern (1937-51).
All Saints’ 50th jubilee was celebrated over four days in 1957, with special church services, a family dance and parties for the Sunday School children. One hundred and fifty parishioners, past and present, attended the Thanksgiving Banquet, where the oldest member of the congregation, Mrs. G. Tapp, cut the jubilee cake. Ten years later, All Saints marked their 60th anniversary.
St Philip’s, dedicated in 1950, was originally in the northern part of St John’s parish, the name commemorating Philip Luxmoore. In 1951, land donated by the Lewis family was approved as a suitable site for a new church, which was built originally as a church hall with doors closing off the sanctuary when necessary. In 1963 a meeting of parishioners asked for parochial district status for both St Philip’s and All Saints. Rev. Ian Cooper was the first vicar at St Philip’s. In 1964 the church building of St Aidan’s was moved from Geraldine to Washdyke, where combined services were held with Presbyterians until it was closed in 1972. In 1965 a vicarage was built at 213 Selwyn Street, next to the church grounds. The following year what is now the front hall was moved here from Tengawai parish in Pleasant Point and a building bought from the South Canterbury Hospital Board was placed behind this hall. Then in 1968, to a design by the architect D.E. Donnithorne, the church itself was completely renovated, refurbished and dedicated. The Mothers’ Union banner having been dedicated in 1966, the congregation led the way in Timaru, and possibly New Zealand, by electing Mrs. Hazel Brenton as people’s warden in 1972. An AAW group was started the following year, with Margaret Forrest as the first president.
St Philip and All Saints
In 1978, after much soul searching and discussion, All Saints and St Philip’s combined. The Evans Street chapel was deconsecrated and sold. The original brick building still stands, having been redesigned as a private home. Money from the sale was set aside for the construction of a new chapel where the St Mary’s font, the carvings by Frederick Gurnsey and other furnishings could be kept. This was proudly consecrated in 1993. In 1994, the congregation took another courageous step in embarking on the first calling process and commissioning for total ministry. This means that we have no stipend vicar and the work in the parish is shared among members of the congregation. We have now come to the end of our fourth calling and, with the help of our enablers, Rev. Andrew Starky and Rev. Jill Maslin, we are still going strong as we move into the twenty-first century.
|Clergy while All Saints was in The Parish of St Mary’s|
|Archdeacon H.W. Harper (1875-1911)|
|Archdeacon J.A. Jacob (1912-1921)|
|Archdeacon J.A. Julius (1921-1927)|
|Archdeacon H.W. Monaghan (1928-1937)|
|Clergy while All Saints was in the parish of St John’s|
|Canon H. Nelson Wright (1937-1943)|
|Rev. L.A. Barnes (1942-1951)|
|Rev. R.P. Andrews (1951-1957)|
|Rev. A.H. Teulon (1957-1963)|
|Rev. H. Thompson (Relieving Vicar)|
|Clergy while All Saints was in the Marchwiel parish|
|Rev. I. Cooper||Rev. R. McLay|
|Rev. M. Brown||Rev. M. Harris|
|Rev. K. Davy||Rev. A. Alan Johns|
|Total Ministry Priests|
|Rev. Joy Walkinshaw||Rev. Steve Allcutt|
|Rev. Garrick Walkinshaw||Rev. Sue Dickson|
|Rev. Pauline Geddes||Rev. Eunice Penman|
All information on this page comes from the All Saints 100th Anniversary Booklet.
Download a copy by Clicking Here (7mb – Requires Adobe Acrobat or similar program).