In October 1886, a meeting was held to explore the possibilities of opening a church in Neutral Bay. The original timber church was opened in 1887 and the Rev George North Ash moved from his position of “Sunday evening preacher” at St Thomas’, North Sydney to be inducted as Vicar. He named the new church St Augustine’s, after the famous church father and Bishop of Hippo and continued in this position as rector for 34 years.
In 1922 Canon L.A. Pearce was appointed Rector of St Augustine’s by the Archbishop and he rallied the parish by building a new church - the new stone building was erected around the old wooden church, with the foundation stone being laid in December 1923 and services held there from July 1924. Soon after a school was established in the crypt, service attendance flourished and many folk from outside the parish came to St Augustine’s. He moved to a position of Rural Dean Chaplain in Bowral after 15 years at Neutral Bay.
The Rev C.T. Kenderdine who had been a curate and was therefore known well by the parish became Rector in 1937. Tragically, his wife died the following year, so his mother stepped in as “unpaid curate” until he re-married in 1942. Throughout his 22 years as Rector, congregations were well attended and there were plenty of young people – as many as twenty-six men and boys in the choir in 1943! The outbreak of war in 1939 affected many families in Neutral Bay, there were many vacant dwellings in the parish as people moved away from the war targets around the Harbour. A Men’s Committee was established to assist in welcoming home any demobilised men.
In 1945 the church was consecrated and a project launched by the wardens to build a hall to cater for Sunday school and social events, which was built in 1958. Kenderdine’s fell ill and resigned in late 1958, however the time last big function of his time was a visit by Leighton Ford, associate evangelist of Billy Graham, in May, 1959. Ford preached to a packed church and Sydney experienced a sensational mission.
When the Rev T.F. McKnight arrived with his wife and two sons, the end of the of fifties saw a change in the parish, as property values increased and developers began building home units. Young families left the area which had an effect on the Sunday School and Youth Fellowship ministries.
Years later an aging Rector of St Chad’s Cremorne Point was caring for the building as well as the small congregation and the parish lost right of nomination. Under Rev Ken Yapp, St Augustine’s maintained services and the churches amalgamated in 1999. Ministry ceased at St Chad’s in 2001, with the small group of older parishioners moving up to St Augustine’s. Rev Yapp retired in 2002.
With the arrival of a young Rector, the Rev Craig Roberts, young families and an active Sunday School were renewed. Craig started as an Associate Minister in 2001 and became Senior Minister in 2003. The St Chad’s church building and rectory was sold by the Diocese in 2004, with some of the proceeds obtaining an alternate residence for the St Augustine’s senior minister.
In August 2012 proposals were presented for an extension to the original church building to facilitate meeting rooms, offices and children’s ministry and the redevelopment of the ministry centre was completed in 2015.
In November 2017, the Wardens and Parish Council of St Augustine’s appointed Rev Dr Paul Dale as the new Senior Pastor and a new and exciting partnership was formed with Church by the Bridge, Kirribilli. We are now working together with one combined mission area (Neutral Bay and Kirribilli) and one combined staff team. Working across the two locations allows more opportunity to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each congregation continues to have a designated congregational pastor and retain its feeling of ‘church family’, whilst belonging to something bigger. This partnership for the Kingdom promises enormous opportunity in our Lower North Shore mission field.
We are committed to pursuing excellence in our gatherings - working hard at welcoming, service structure, music, prayer and preaching. We have active and growing ministries in the area of global and local mission, men and women, kids and youth, mercy and care and we continue to strive to honour God in the way we welcome, connect, teach and mature people, as we gather under Him.