St Peters, Cooks River

Cooks River Parish was named after the river which flows through it. On 13 May, 1838 the first service was conducted in a temporary church. The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 7 July 1838, and the building was completed in November 1839. Thomas Bird was the architect and the builder Henry Knight, of Macdonaldtown. St Peters is one of the oldest churches in the suburbs of Sydney. Built of clamp kiln bricks, by free labour, it represents the English Commissioner’s Gothic style in Australia. Twelve pillars, made of ironbark, support a plaster vaulted nave.


Stained Glass Memorial Windows

Stained glass windows decorate the church. Australian wildflowers are featured in one of these. The church has memorial windows dedicated to:

    • Stanley Howard
      This window features a geometric design.

A stained glass window depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd in St Peters Church, Cooks River

  • William Cook
    This window features the Good Shepherd.

 

I am the Good Shepherd. John 10:11

    • Ethel Mary Metcalfe
      This window pictures Christ and a child and an angel carrying a small child.
    • Amelia Reilly
      This window consists of circular medallions depicting various flowers.
    • George Talbot
      This window features a geometric design.
    • Children baptised in church
      This window features a geometric design and shields with text.
    • Mary Ann Johnson
      This window depicts Jesus Christ with children.
    • Constance Maud and Robert Haviland Way
      This window pictures Christ and Mary, sister of Martha.

The grand East window in St Peters Church, Cooks River

  • East window erected by St Peters parishioners
    This window depicts the Ascension of Christ.

 

He was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9

  • A.H. Bull and Dora E. Bull
    These windows picture Paul in Athens and Peter raising Tabitha (or Dorcas) from the dead.
  • Levi Barden
    This window features shields with text.
  • Thomas C. Breillat
    This window features circular medallions with Greek symbols.
  • Mary Ann Lavender
    This window features a geometric design.
  • Ann Chalder and her son Thomas Aspinwall
    This window features a geometric design.
  • Clara Amelia Smith
    This window features circular medallions depicting Australian wildflowers.
  • Abel Harber and family
    This window features circular medallions with symbolic representations of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • Mary Breillat
    This window features a geometric design and circular medallions with emblems.

Cemetery

Victorian grave markers in the cemetery at St Peters Church, Cooks RiverAdjacent to the church is the graveyard which was in use from March 1839 till April 1896. Bishop Broughton consecrated the graveyard on December 26th, 1840. There are 2,515 people listed in the burial register. Two thirds of these burials are of children under the age ten. Of the two thirds, more than half are under three years. There are many memorials to the pioneers of the district and beyond. Symbols of a past era – draped urns, hourglasses and broken branches are carved on the headstones. The graveyard is not only a place of burial, but a great source of social history.