Christ Church was opened by Bishop Augustus Short, first bishop of Adelaide, on 9 July 1857.
In 1851 residents of Yankalilla district began collecting money in order to build an Anglican church in Yankalilla. Land was bought and building began in 1856. On 9 July 1857 Christ Church was opened by Bishop Augustus Short, first bishop of Adelaide, in the presence of 200 people. At first there was no resident minister and services were conducted by lay readers. In 1860 the first resident clergyman was appointed, the Rev Astley Cooper, who was in charge until 1863. In December 1868 Christ Church’s second resident minister was appointed, Charles William Morse, a newly ordained deacon. Morse, who became Archdeacon of Adelaide in 1887, remained at Yankalilla until his death in 1901.
Christ Church in 1880.
Font originally from Salisbury Cathedral in England.
Archdeacon Morse was responsible for the acquisition of one of Christ Church’s treasures: a white alabaster font dating back to the seventeenth century. This font had been in use in Salisbury Cathedral in England, but was replaced for a newer font. On a visit to England in 1876 Morse saw the font and applied to the Dean of the Cathedral to have the old font for his church back in Australia. His request was successful and the font was shipped out to Australia.
When first built Christ Church consisted of a nave only, with a small apse at one end, but it has been extended over the years. In 1879 a chancel and a small vestry were added, and the chancel was dedicated to the memory of the children of Dr J Stokes Millner. The Millner children had attended the Christ Church Day School, and in 1875 the whole family was drowned in the wreck of the Gothenburg. The porch and bell turret were added in 1892. The final addition was the extension of the vestry in 1996.
A small but beautiful church, Christ Church has a number of items of interest which adorn it. These include stained glass windows, the earliest dating from 1873, old altar frontals embroidered with Leek embroidery, a painting by Pro Hart, and paintings by Barbara Robertson.
A late parishioner, Barbara Robinson gifted most of her religious art to Christ church in 2007. She was a highly regarded art teacher and painter and a book has been written on her life and works. The paintings are displayed in Christ church hall and include a series depicting the aboriginal actor David Gulpilil as her model, based on the canticles of Saint Francis of Assisi, ie. brother sun, mother earth, brother death etc.
St Francis By Barbara Robertson
St Francis and St Clare By Barbara Robertson.
In the church there are magnificent stained glass windows. Mandalas by Barbara Robinson and over the porch door there is a painting by Pro Hart of the escape from Egypt.
In the grounds of the church there is a statue of St Francis holding a bird bath, surrounded by Australian native animals, and a sculpture of mother Mary and child.
Earth cared for By Barbara Robertson.
By Pro Hart.