History of St.Thomas at St. James
Construction of St. Thomas’s
On the 22nd April 1923 the newly constructed Church of St Thomas’s at St. James was dedicated free of debt by Bishop Armstrong, built for a cost of £760.00. Services were conducted by students of St. Columb’s Hall Wangaratta. From time to time, a priest would come to celebrate the Eucharist. On Easter Day 1969 (April 6th), the Sub-Warden of St. Columb’s Hall celebrated their last Eucharist at St. Thomas’s.
The Altar at St. Thomas’s came from St. Oswald’s Boomahnoomanah, as did the organ, made by the Estry Organ Company, in Brattleboro USA.
The sixteen Pews were purchased in 1923 for £3-3-0.
The Honour Board (1914-1919) was donated by the Presbyterian and Anglican Churches at St. James.
The Hymn board was donated “In memory of Doris Blackmore from the Sunday School October 1928”.
The Cross of the Sanctuary came from St. Mathew’s Myrrhee (donated by Evans Family “Redcamp” Myrrhee). Designed by Bishop Robert Beal, the Cross was made by Clive Kidd using mountain ash timber in 1994 and used in that church for 10 years. In 2012, the Cross was donated by Mr. Doug Evans and installed at St. Thomas’s.
Parish of Yarrawonga
On April 13th, 1969 St. Thomas’s at St James was transferred to the Parish of Yarrawonga. The first Eucharist under the new arrangement, was held on April 20th, 1969 by the Rector of Yarrawonga, Fr. A.S Goldsworthy. St Thomas’s continues to be part of the Yarrawonga Parish and the Rector provides services on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month.
Although St. Thomas’s Church was opened free of debt, it was not until 50 years to the day, on April 22nd 1973, that the consecration service took place by the Bishop of Wangaratta, the Right Reverend Dr. Keith Raynor DD.
Over the years the congregation has happily participated in fund raising social events which included Old Time Balls, Melbourne Cup functions, and catered for the R.S.L. Sub-Branch meeting dinners at St. James. These events no longer occur. St. Thomas’s parishioners organised an Annual Golf day, at the local course followed by a sumptuous afternoon tea for 25 years, finishing in 2013.
St. Thomas’s Today
Representatives from St. Thomas’ continue to be active members of the Yarrawonga Anglican Parish. St. Thomas’s is now the only outer centre still operating in the Yarrawonga Parish. The last wedding was held here in 2014 and we welcome couples planning the big event.
The regular congregation is small but we are very proud of our lovely small Church which has had some recent maintenance, and further improvements are planned. St. Thomas’s is the venue for the World Day of Prayer every 3 years.