Bishop Dr Augustus Short of South Australia.
Anglican Bishop Short arrived in Port Adelaide in late 1847. At the time that he was created the Bishop of South Australia and Western Australia bishoprics were simultaneously created in Melbourne and Newcastle. In 1847 the Anglican Church (then known as the Church of England) had two bishops - Bishop Broughton, the Bishop of Australia (installed in 1836 when New South Wales was separated from the Diocese of Calcutta) based in Sydney and Bishop Nixon in Tasmania (installed in 1842.) After a round of social introductions and receptions Augustus Short was installed as Bishop in Trinity Church North Terrace Adelaide on the first of January 1848. He identified Trinity Church as his pro cathedral. Trinity Church had been built in 1838 as the first Anglican Church in the colony. There were few other Anglican churches in the colony in 1848 but those that existed included St John in the Wilderness, Halifax Street Adelaide (1841), St Marys at St Mary’s (1841 replaced with the current stone church in 1846), Port Adelaide (1841 a small wooden church which was replaced by a stone church in 1851), Blakiston (1846) and St George’s at Magill (1847). In 1848 St George’s at Gawler opened as did the first Anglican Church at Willunga where Bishop Short laid the foundation stone and the Walkerville church also opened in 1848.
So Bishop Short arrived on the other side of the world from his native England with few churches and even fewer clergy to be part of his empire except for the Colonial Chaplain Reverend James Farrell. But Augustus Short arrived in South Australia with a small retinue. Apart from his wife Millicent and children there was Reverend Hale, his first Archdeacon, Reverend Wilson the tutor of Short’s children who later became the first headmaster of Saint Peter’s Boys College, Canon Reverend Burnett and Reverend Bagshaw. Bishop Short was 45 years old when he arrived in Adelaide and he had first been ordained as a priest in 1827. He served as a curate for several years and received his first appointment as a vicar in 1835 aged 33 years. He remained in his Northampton vicarage until he was offered either Adelaide or Newcastle Bishopric in 1845.He chose Adelaide and was consecrated as Bishop in Westminster Cathedral in June 1847 and he arrived in Port Adelaide on December 28th 1847. He was to remain Bishop of Adelaide until the end of December 1881 upon which he returned to England. He died there in 1883. When he arrived he had three existing clergy (one was in the Swan River colony- Albany) and 6 churches but he left 91 churches and he oversaw the construction of 33 rectories, 13 schools including St Peters Boys College, the grand St Peters’ Cathedral, St Barnabas Seminary College which he dedicated in December 1881 and a group of about 50 clergymen. He was instrumental in the establishment of the University of Adelaide and he developed the Poonindie Aboriginal Mission settlement and he left consecrated Anglican cemeteries across the state and city. In addition to these religious achievements he left behind a range of prominent heritage buildings in South Australia ranging from his first private home, now Beaumont House, Bishops Court and rectory in North Adelaide, his pro cathedral Christ Church in North Adelaide and many of the historic buildings of St Peters Boys College. Part of the legacy of Trinity Church, now Holy Trinity Church and the Anglican movement in this state was the creation of the suburb of Trinity Gardens. In 1840 Trinity Church was granted by a local resident about one half section of land (about 40 acres) east of the city as a glebe lands with a frontage to Magill Road. The trust deed did not allow the lands to be sold so an act of parliament was necessary to change that. These lands were eventually sold in 1920 to create the suburb of Trinity Gardens.
Bishop Short also left a legacy to the state through his children. His wife Millicent had had ten children by 1851 but only three boys and three girls survived infancy. Daughter Millecent married George Glen of Mayura pastoral run. When a town was created out of the lands of the run in 1871 it was named Millicent (with changed spelling) after Bishop Short’s daughter. One of his sons Henry Short (born 1843) took over Buttamuck station near Black Rock in the lower north in 1858. Bishop Short leased the land from Philip Levi and Henry Short managed the sheep run. Eventually Henry Short returned to Adelaide on a property called Bickham Grange near Paradise where he was a market gardener and local councillor for Highercombe. He died in 1903 and was buried in the Short family plot at Magill Anglican cemetery. His descendants are still to be found in South Australia as he had seven children and three were boys. In the family plot are the graves of two of Henry Short’s sisters. When baby Caroline died in February 1848 just after Bishop short’s arrival in South Australia there was no consecrated Anglican cemetery in the state. The cemetery at Magill church was thus consecrated by the Bishop for the burial of Caroline who was just 12 months old. Two years later baby Alice was buried in the same plot. Several of Augustus Short’s daughters returned early to live in England. Surprisingly daughter Albinia Wilson (nee Short) who lived most of her life in England had one of her sons serve in the Second Australian Light Horse at Gallipoli where he was killed in 1915.
Hindmarsh All Saints Anglican Church.
This early Anglican Church has several associations with Bishop Augustus Short. Firstly it is a very early South Australian Anglican church and secondly he laid the foundation stone of this church (not the church hall) near the rectory in November 1849. He was assisted by Lady Augusta Young the wife of the Governor. It was part of Bishop Short’s move to have as many Anglican churches as possible erected and established. Thirdly this church is important as it was designed by the architect Henry Stuckey whom Bishop Short got to design or possibly redesign Bishops Court in North Adelaide and Christ Church and its rectory. It is one of just six known Anglican churches designed by Stuckey and of those six only four remain standing. Bishop Short brought architectural plans with him from England for Christ Church, the rectory and Bishops Court but he employed architect Henry Stuckey to supervise the construction of all buildings and to make alterations as needed. In the end it is not clear how much the English designs were altered and changed by Stuckey but certainly the local limestone and bricks gave all of the Stuckey supervised buildings a very South Australian appearance. This Hindmarsh Church is an excellent example of Stuckey’s work with the use of local limestone (even for the foundations) and red brick quoins and Romanesque windows. The rear part of the church, the chancel and vestry was added in 1872. Look and you will see that bluestone was then being used for foundations although the design of Stuckey was replicated beautifully for this addition. The same cannot be said for the slightly ugly red brick porch added in 1925. Next to the church is the early rectory with later additions half sunk into the ground for cooler rooms in the summer and the church hall built in 1883.The church hall was designed by architect Daniel Garlick. Both the hall and the church are now used as theatres. Henry Stuckey was the architect of several other early Anglican churches in South Australia before his death in 1851. They include St Marks at Penwortham, St Barnabas at Clare, St Thomas at Port Lincoln, St Pauls at Port Adelaide, the original St Peters at Glenelg and several Anglican rectories. He also designed the first Pirie Street Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Claremont House now Beaumont House.
When the Shorts first arrived in the colony they stayed at Government House with Governor Robe who was single and had sufficient room for this. They later rented a house at Kensington whilst they had a cottage built at Beaumont overlooking the plains and the gulf. Bishop Short bought the land from Samuel Davenport who had developed the village of Beaumont in 1848. The Bishop then set to work designing the house himself hoping that with verandas it would avoid the summer sun and catch the breezes from the hills. It was a single storey house with a flat roof hidden behind a battlement. The design was unusual as the focus was a living room with bedrooms opening off it from each side. There were steps between various sections of the house and the kitchens and staff quarters were in separate structures at the rear. In all the house contained three bedrooms, a servant’s hall and maid’s bedroom and outbuildings and stables. Work began on Claremont Cottage as Bishop Short named it in 1849. The Shorts did not move into the house until 1851. Around the time that the Shorts moved into Claremont Cottage young Henry Short had laid the foundation stone of Bishops Court in North Adelaide (1851). When that became the home of Bishop Short in 1856 he sold his residence at Beaumont to Samuel Davenport for £2,100. Davenport immediately renamed it Beaumont House. The Davenports resided there until the death of Sir Samuel Davenport in 1906. His nephew then sold the house and it had several owners until it was donated to the National Trust in 1968. A later owner added the arcaded veranda across the front of the house around 1911.
Christ Church the Pro Cathedral.
The residents of North Adelaide wanted an Anglican church of their own rather than having to travel south across the Torrens River to one of the two city of Adelaide churches in the 1840s( Trinity on North Terrace and St Johns in Halifax Street). Women started raising funds from 1841 but no attempt at building a church was started until 1847 just before Bishop Short arrived in Adelaide. Bishop Short early in 1848 purchased one acre in North Adelaide for a pro cathedral and a further plot from George Morphett for a bishop’s residence. Bishop Short laid the foundation stone of his pro cathedral, to be known as Christ Church, in June 1848 and the opening services were held in December 1849. An indication that this church was to be the pro cathedral was the size, grandeur, the two transepts and the porches that were unusual in the colony in 1848. Minor additions have been made since such as the organ chamber designed by Daniel Garlick an architect and worshipper at Christ Church and the replacement of the original slate roof which was also done by Daniel Garlick. The Bishop donated £120 of his own money to the church building fund. The plans for Christ Church, Bishops Court and the Rectory were all brought from England by Bishop Short on his voyage to South Australia. A local architect Henry Stuckey supervised the constructions and made some alterations until Edmund Wright took over after Stuckey’s death. (Wright then married Stuckey’s widow!) The limestone was quarried from Palmer Place and was used for the main construction with red brick quoins. The style was relatively simple in Norman style with rounded windows and a round apse over the altar. This ceiling is painted blue and studded with gold stars with side inscriptions of the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. The original Bishops Throne remains in Christ Church and can be seen in the south transept. The original pipe organ was installed in 1855 until replaced with a new one in 1873. Ornamental pipes were added in 1899 and the organ was gradually enlarged and improved. It was totally rebuilt in 1955.
Opposite the Christ Church is the Christ Church Day School building. This opened in 1849 in North Adelaide. In 1866 funds were raised for a new school building in Jeffcott Street opposite the church. The new Gothic style building opened in 1869. Stables were added in 1872. The school closed with declining enrolments in 1963 and the buildings were leased to tenants. The mitre of the Bishop of Adelaide still adorns the front wall of the old school.
Bishops Court and the Christ Church Rectory.
Within weeks of his arrival in South Australia Bishop Short purchased a two acre block at North Adelaide from George Morphett adjoining the Christ Church land. Augustus Short saw this as the future Bishop’s Court residence next door to his pro cathedral. His eldest son the eight year old Henry Augustus Short laid the foundation stone of Bishops Court in January 1851. Work began on the Tudor Gothic residence in local limestone and red brick but workers disappeared in late 1851 and 1852 when news of the Victorian gold rushes reached the colony. So work was delayed. Bishop Short commissioned Henry Stuckey to design Bishops Court, its stables and the Rectory for Christ Church in 1850. Stuckey set up his architectural practice in 1848 and lived in Palmer Place very close to where Bishops Court is located. Stuckey received other commissions from Bishop Short for the early buildings of St Peters Boys College (The Old School House and the Big School Room) and the several Anglican churches in Clare, Penwortham, Hindmarsh, Port Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Glenelg. Stuckey died in 1851 so all of these churches were built around 1850 to 1852. Curiously after Stuckey died in 1851 his widow married Edmund Wright in 1852 and he was one of the great 19th century architects of South Australia. Edmund Wright advertised that he would supervise the completion all work started by Henry Stuckey. This included both Bishops Court in Palmer Place and Christ Church Rectory also in Palmer Place. The Christ Church Rectory was finished first and occupied around 1851 or 1852 and although Bishops Court was occupied in 1856 by Bishop Short when he started sometimes using Bishops Court for an overnight stay the final completion was later. Once a bedroom and library were finished he would stay there overnight to save the trip back to Claremont House at Beaumont. In October 1855 he held a reception for about 200 people including the Governor of South Australia at a luncheon at Bishops Court surrounded by builders and plasters. The house is a rather rustic example of a Tudor Gothic mansion with a steeply pitched roof, ornamental shaped chimneys, gables, shuttered windows, Gothic arches and a veranda.
Bishops Court has been little altered since its completion except for the addition of a chapel by Bishop Thomas in 1912. The architect for this addition was George Soward. On the north facing wall of this chapel there is one recent addition which is a huge wall sun dial in memory of Bishop Short. It was unveiled in 1996. Wall sun dials are not common in South Australia and this fine example is made of stainless steel on a north facing wall of course. It is three metres tall and designed around a Celtic Cross. Unfortunately the high stone wall and trees and shrubs of Bishops Court masks it from public view. A small plaque on the street wall indicates that it exists. The best views of it are available from a little private mews alley behind Bishops Court. The Anglican Rectory for Christ Church is also in Palmer Place and is similar to the design of Bishops Court reflecting the fact that Henry Stuckey designed or redesigned both buildings to complement each other.
Photo taken on 3 June 2018 (© denisbin / Flickr)