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St Andrews, St. Andrews, South Canterbury, N.Z.

St. Andrews Catholic Church.  The photo was taken in 2007 by Margaret Todd.
The beautiful St. Andrews Catholic Church of St. Andrews, Nov. 2007, 17 km south of Timaru.

St Andrews church celebrates century

12 November 2003, Timaru Herald by Claire Allison
A church thought to be the only one in "the colony" to have the same name as
its parish celebrates its centenary this weekend. The Roman Catholic Church of St Andrew (the Apostle), in St Andrews, was opened in May 1903, by his Lordship Right Rev Dr Grimes, Bishop of Christchurch, and newspaper reports of the day said the church was packed to the doors both morning and afternoon - despite the miserable weather. Members of the centennial committee planning Sunday's events are hoping for better weather but similarly good-sized crowds.

Events will kick off with a 10.30am Mass, taken by Fr Earl Crotty from the  Sacred Heart parish in Timaru. A plaque marking the centenary will be unveiled and there will be photographs of members of the parish. Events at the church will be followed by a pot luck finger food meal in the hall, and it is also planned to have a surprise for some of the older parish members. In preparation for the weekend celebrations, the exterior of the church has been painted and sealed, and new carpet is being laid. A significant amount of the money spent renovating the church has come from the St Andrews community - both Catholic and non-Catholic. The community support mirrors that of 100 years ago when the church was being built, and in recognition of it, a large number of invitations to the weekend's events have been sent to non-Catholics in St Andrews.

The church originally stood on nine acres of land, bought in 1895 for 8 an acre. Father Hurlin SM and a parishioner were responsible for buying the land, but sadly both were dead before the foundation stone was laid in December 1902. Underneath the cube of bluestone was placed a bottle containing copies of the New Zealand Tablet (the Catholic newspaper), a local newspaper, coins of the realm and a dedicatory document in Latin. The large amount of land allowed for future plans to build a school, presbytery and convent, but over the years, the excess was sold off. The church has always been part of the Sacred Heart Parish in Timaru, served by priests from that parish. The driving force behind the construction of the church was Fr Dean Tubman (died 23 Dec. 1923), who is also credited with building the Sacred Heart Basilica in Timaru and other South Canterbury churches. J S Turnbull was the architect, and the builder was Mr E Hall. Mr F Foster was responsible for the timber work. The church cost 1300, at a time when an average three to four-bedroom wooden family home cost no more than 300. Detailed reports of the time describe the building as having walls of Makikihi brick - 16ft high and 16.5 inches thick. The main building measures 50ft by 30ft inside, and the exterior walls were cemented, to create a striking white building. Inside, there are 14 stations of the cross, which are considered rare in New Zealand. Their history is unclear, but it's believed they were imported to New Zealand for another church which was never built. And, while the church was the first in the diocese to be named after St Andrew, and the only one in the colony to have the same name as its parish, many still refer to it by another name - Star of the Sea.

In the 1920s and 1930s there was a renewed interest in the marist orders and societies, and through that, many churches were renamed with a name dedicated to Mary. However, despite that being the wish of a settler who had worked hard to obtain a church at St Andrews, the church was, and still is the Church of St Andrew. It has changed little over the past 100 years. Vatican II saw the altar rails removed, and the carved wooden altar appears to have made way for a marble structure. However, much that goes on inside has changed considerably in that time. Confession is now reconciliation, and no longer conducted through a wooden grill. Women are no longer required to sit on Our Lady's side of the church, and men on the other. Women no longer need to wear hats and gloves to church, and heating means men no longer feel the need to keep their coats on for winter morning services. Services are in English, not Latin, and the priest faces the congregation, which is more involved in the running of the church and taking services. And the congregation has changed - when the Pareora estate was broken up, there was a big influx of Irish families - and they were big families of 12 or 13 children. The fortnightly mass now sees about 40 people attend.
The church has a pair of stained glass windows that have been extensively vandalised and repaired. St. John the Evangelist and The Sacred heart of Christ executed by F.X. Zettler, Munich in the 1920s.

14 Nov. 2009
Looking west. Expect to find the church locked. The plaque to the right of the door reads:
Commemorating 100 years of worship and praise to God blessed by Fr Earl Crotty S.M. Parish Priest on 16th November 2003. Aorangi.

Foundation Stone -1902

New Zealand Tablet, 23 April 1903, Page 5
~ April 19.
In the quiet little township of St. Andrews, situated 12 miles south of Timaru, the public at large and travel! era by train for some time back have noticed the erection of a church not more than a hundred yards from the railway station. The foundation stone was laid by his Lordship Bishop Grimes six months ago. It is now complete, and certainly 'a thing of beauty.' The style is purely Gothic, with its pointed arches. The walls are of brick, cemented, which gives it the appearance of stone. Considering the locality, its dimensions and seating capacity are everything to be desired. It is capable of accommodating twice the number of the present congregation. Three hundred, at least, could find seating room within it. It contains a porch, belfry, and sacristy. The walls being 18ft. high give it a commanding appearance from a distance, beyond that of its compeers. It is very handsomely finished, and reflects the greatest credit on all who had a share in its erection, especially the architect and builders. The congregation have been hearing Mass for the past 10 years in the public schoolroom, waiting patiently, contributing generously, and looking forward anxiously to the day when they could offer better accommodation to The Master. At first a mere handful, they are now a fair-sized congregation, owing to the local operation of the Land Settlement Act. And they are justly proud of their united efforts in raising to God a monument which, if not the best of its kind, is, to say the least, very creditable. His Lordship Bishop Grimes has kindly consented bless and solemnly open the sacred edifice on the first Sunday of May (the 3rd prox.). This happy event has been long and lovingly looked forward to by the little congregation pinched and crushed in a small schoolroom surrounded by wall-pictures of all the animal life that flourished at the time of the flood, and of many creatures of the present day. which may be helpful to learning, but certainly not to devotion and contemplation. I need not add then that the 3rd of May is going to be a red-letter day for the Catholic of St. Andrews, and their feelings are growing stronger as the noise and bustle of the workmen grows weaker.

New Zealand Tablet, 16 July 1903, Page 15
On Thursday evening last a most enjoyable entertainment was held at St. Andrews in aid of the local church funds. The Rev. Father Tubman and several Timaru friends were present. The room was filled to overcrowding, and the various singers were warmly received. The concert was opened by an overture (piano) by Misses McGuinness and Egan, followed by Miss E McGuinness rendering 'Called back,' with violin obligato by Mr. Coombs, this item being heartily encored. Miss Egan was very successful in 'Close those dreamy eyes' while Mr. D. McDonald in 'The deathless army' had to respond to an enthusiastic recall. Mr. J. Coombs was, as usual, warmly received on rendering a violin solo, and Mr. Barrie Mareschal in his dialect stories had ample room to show his power of mimicry. Miss Mara and Mr. F. McDonald contributed a short sketch entitled 'A pair of lunatics.' The Barrie Mareschal Company wound up the entertainment with the comedy, O'Callaghan on his last legs.' The comedy was admirably played, the audience thoroughly appreciating the hearty humor of the play.

New Zealand Tablet, 17 May 1906, Page 4
May 14. Further improvements have recently been made in and around the church at St. Andrews. Under the superintendence of Mr. F. Palliser, a neat concrete block fence has been erected, four feet high and over a chain in length. Three iron gates give access to the grounds. A fine bell was hung a week or two ago, the gift of one of the parishioners.

New Zealand Tablet, 18 June 1903, Page 6
On the occasion of the opening of the St. Andrew's Church a special train was run from Timaru. This small incident shocked the tender susceptibilities of some of our local clergymen, and a protest was sent to the general manager, Mr Roynane, objecting to such a violent desecration of the Sabbath. Some correspondence appeared in the local papers as the result, and a local scribe, emulating Shakespeare, wrote a short comedy in three acts ridiculing the over-strung Sabbath-keepers. Following on, a correspondent, tinder the nom de plume of the great unknown (Sir Walter Scott) courted the muse in his reply. Much surprise was felt in Timaru at the Ven. Archdeacon Harper's name being amongst.

A St. Andrews resident said that the Presbyterian (built in 1900) one was pulled down and the Anglican (built 1887) one shifted...haven't had time to check this out.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] [St. Andrews] page 1041
The Presbyterian Church, St. Andrews, became a separate charge in 1897 prior to which services were held by the minister stationed at Timaru. The present church was erected in 1900, on a site of half an acre, at a cost of £1100, exclusive of the land. Altogether the church has six acres in the township. The manse is a convenient seven roomed residence, and was built in 1898. The church is of wood and iron, and has seating accommodation for 200 adults. A Sunday school, with thirty children and four teachers, meets in the building. The minister holds services periodically also at Southburn, Upper and Lower Otaio, and Makikihi.

Timaru Herald, 9 July 1900, Page 3

The opening and dedication of the Presbyterian Church at St. Andrew's was held yesterday, the services being conducted by the Rev. Dr Erwin, of Christchurch. The congregations were very large, the morning fully 250 were present, an to in the afternoon and evening the church was well filled. Built entirely through their own and their pastor's (the Rev. Mr Mackie) exertions. The building measures 52ft by 25ft, including a very neat classroom and vestry at the far end. The exterior is nicely painted, Mr Edwards having made thorough good job of it. Passing inside, the porch first attracts attention, the conveniences being up-to-date and useful, hat-pegs and racks being provided . The building is lined diagonally with red pine, and is lighted by the cathedral stained glass windows, which very much enhance its general neatness and beauty. The choir seats are raised on each side of the pulpit, facing the congregation, an arrangement which will work admirably, and materially assist the singing. The seating accommodation in the body of the church is ample. The pulpit railing is unique in its way, being an exact copy of a thirteenth century communion rail, in wrought iron. The standards are in square, and evenly twisted in the middle. The scrolls are a hold and open, and are made of  in by in iron, twisted like an augur, and placed back to back. The lamp-hangers and brackets have been made to match the railing. This work reflects the greatest credit upon the maker, Mr J. T. Read, blacksmith, of St. Andrews, who did all the work free of charge, the committee supplying material. The congregation are indebted to a number of friends for assistance and gifts for the new building. The bell, which rang out the first welcome and invitation yesterday, was presented by Mr Andrew Martin, sen., of Otaio, and the communion service, of heavy silver, by Mrs A. Martin. The pulpit Bible is the gift of Mr W. Smith, of Springbank, and Mrs. D. Ogilvie will present the pulpit hymn-book, the congregation having under consideration a change of hymn-book, and will probably adopt the new "Church Hymnal. The baptismal font, of white stone, is placed in the pulpit, and. was the gift of Mr S. McBride, of Timaru ; Mr G. Pearson, of Timaru, presented the collection plates, and Mr David Martin the pulpit carpet and floor matting, and Mr R. Stewart a cushion. The ladies of the congregation presented the minister's chair, and a curtain at the back of the pulpit. The architect for the building was Mr James Turnbull, of Timaru, and the builder Mr Baird. As said before, the congregations yesterday were large ones, people coming from as far south as Studholme, from Pareora, and from Timaru. The preacher, Dr Erwin, gave an eloquent sermon, which was much appreciated, being most suitable to the time and occasion. The texts for the morning service were from Exodus 29th, 43rd verse, John 4th, 21st verse, and Matthew 18th, 20th verso. ... The Rev. Dr Erwin also conducted the service in the afternoon, specially for children, and again in the evening. The collection in the morning amounted to £24 5s 9d, and no doubt this would be considerably increased by later contributions. The singing of the choir and congregation was quite a feature of the opening, all the hymns being specially chosen as those familiar to all. Miss Keddie presided at the organ, and played three voluntaries very acceptably. The opening social is to be held on Thursday evening.

Otago Witness May 20 1908 pg34
The new organ of St. Andrew's Church, Canterbury, was dedicated on the 15th. it cost £1000, to which Mr Andrew Carnegie, the Pittsburg millionaire, contributed 300.

Timaru Herald Thursday 16 November 1899
The tender of Mr W. Baird, contractor, Timaru, has been accepted for the erection of a Presbyterian Church at St. Andrews. The price is 380 10s. The total cost of the building, we understand, when finished will be 475.

Waimate Daily Advertiser, 12 July 1900
The opening services of the new Presbyterian Church at St. Andrews were held on Sunday and were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Irwin of Christchurch. Three services were held throughout the day and were largely attended especially in the morning when there would be about 250 present. The St. Andrews Congregation have every reason to be proud of their new church, which reflects great credit on the architect Mr J. Turnbull and the contractor Mr W. Baird. It measures 52ft by 25ft including class and vestry. The exterior presents a pleasing appearance being tastefully painted. On entering the building the diagonal lining of the walls and the cathedral stained glass windows immediately attract attention. The seating accommodation is ample and comfortable. The choir seats are arranged on each side of the platform so that the choir face the congregation while singing. The thanks of the congregation are due to Mr J. T. Read, St. Andrews, for the pulpit railing lamp hangers and brackets, Mr Head having made these free of charge, the Church Committee finding the material. The congregation are also indebted to the following ladies and gentlemen for their valuable gifts :�
Mr Andrew Martin Senr. (Otaio) bell
Mrs Martin Communion Service of heavy silver
Mr W. Smith, Springbank pulpit Bible
Mr S. McBride (Timaru) baptismal font
Mr G. Pearson (Timaru) collection plates
Mr D. Martin, floor mating and platform carpet
Mrs R. Stewart (Kingsdown), Bible cushion and pulpit.
A hymn book is to be presented by Mrs D. Ogilvie, but its purchase is deferred as the congregation intend changing their hymn book and adopting the new church hymnal. The services of the day were much enjoyed and the collections towards the building fund were liberal, that of the morning service alone amounting to �24 5s 9d.

A history of St Andrew's Catholic Church 1903-2003 : in St Andrews South Canterbury / compiled by John Scott, Jim Anderson, Brian Lysaght.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project