Ch.1- Early History 

Anglican Church Glen Innes

History of the parish of glen Innes and the holy trinity Anglican church

(Consecrated in 1868)


The beginning of the Parish of Glen Innes and the Holy Trinity Church of England can be linked with the early history of Australia.   The Right Reverend William Grant Broughton was appointed Archdeacon of the Colony of New South Wales in 1828 by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  He travelled by sea and arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney in 1829.  Only fifteen priests were under his jurisdiction by the year 1833.  In 1834 he ventured back to Britain on a ‘clergy recruiting campaign’.  At this period of time Australasia was a part of the Diocese of Calcutta and later, for a short time, was part of the Diocese of Madras, India.

On the 14th February 1836, Archdeacon William Broughton was consecrated as Bishop of Australia at Lambeth Palace, London.  He was enthroned in St. James Church, King Street, Sydney on the 6th June, 1837 and a portrait of him can still be viewed at that church.  This appointment heralded a new era as the Rt. Rev. Bishop Broughton became the first Bishop of Australia.  Here it is interesting to note that Dr. W.H. Boydell, who had a medical practice in Glen Innes in recent times is a great grandson of the Bishop Broughton.

In July 1836, the Church Act was passed which provided for the support of the Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches by providing Government grants to support local funds.

A considerable amount of the Bishop’s time had to be given to his headquarters in Sydney, to his duties as member of the Legislative and Executive Councils and to the administrative work of his huge See (diocese).  Even so, he also managed to accomplish amazing tours through the widespread country district of New South Wales and to set up a Training Scheme for students of the Ministry.  This was:  “not withstanding his lameness and the rigours of bush travel.  In Sydney, he once confessed, Romanists on the one side and Dissenters on the other allow me no rest.”

As an energetic and visionary man, he established The King’s School at Parramatta, a Theological College and consecrated a number of churches, including Sydney Cathedral.  Another link, in more recent times, is that the Venerable Archdeacon Dr. Grant Bell, a former vicar of Glen Innes is currently associated with The King’s School at Parramatta.

In 1842 Bishop Broughton planned and carried out the creation of the Diocese of Tasmania, followed by Newcastle, Melbourne and Adelaide.  In 1847, the first Bishops for these Dioceses were consecrated in Westminster Abbey.

The small settlement of Armidale in 1845 received a visit from  Bishop Broughton.   At that time, Armidale was:  “just a settlement of twelve to fourteen timber constructions with tin roofs”.

It was arranged for a priest to be appointed to the newly created Parish of St. Peters.

By 1847 the New England area found itself placed under the newly created Diocese of Newcastle with the Rev. William Tyrrell appointed Bishop in charge.  His place of residence was to be at Morpeth on the Hunter River.  He had fourteen clergy to serve an area of 800 miles (1,280 kms.) by 700 miles (1,120 kms). As the Bishop of Newcastle he made journeys to Tamworth, Armidale, Ipswich and Brisbane, all situated in his vast territory.

From the Glen Innes correspondent of the Armidale Express on the 29th November 1856:  “On Wednesday last our township was honoured by a visit from the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt. Rev. W. Tyrrell. The Bishop delivered a most impressive sermon, after which a meeting was convened. It was proposed that a schoolhouse should be erected that might, in the meantime, answer for a church.  A committee, comprising the most influential men in the district was then formed for the purpose of adopting the best measures for carrying this intention into effect.  This is taking a step in the right direction.  If our Surveyor General would kindly allow land to be surveyed here, the committee would then have an opportunity of selecting a site for a parsonage.”

In the Armidale Express of the 14th August 1858, the Glen Innes correspondent reported:  “Tenders are invited for the erection of a school house and  temporary church at Glen Innes.  Plan and specifications are to be seen at Messrs. Martin & Co., Glen Innes.  The tenders will be opened on the September 1st.”