Discover the Legacy of
Our Churches and History

St David's – Mossman

st davids and rectory
st davids and rectory

St. David was a Bishop in Wales in the 6th century. When David rose to speak at a synod, the ground where he stood rose up to form a mound, and a white dove descended to perch upon his shoulder.

The little historic stone church of St David's in Mossman began to be built in 1912 after a severe cyclone swept through the area and demolished the little wooden church.

After many delays and lots of frustration, two world wars and one global economic depression it was completed in 1952 when the Bishop of Carpentaria, Bishop John Hudson, had the duty of dedicating the wonderful little church.

As well as being a place of worship for generations of local families it has become a tourist icon, is a feature on local postcards and is visited by people from all over the world.

St. David's Church has exceptionally good acoustics, so Encore Concerts are regularly held here. The standard of performers and appreciation of concertgoers gives God great glory.

St. David's Day is celebrated on March 1 with a combined Eucharist, followed by brunch (Welsh dishes) and Welsh trivia.

In 2008, St David's was added to the National Trust of Queensland's Register of Significant Places.

A pamphlet available in the church, gives information about many of the items in the church and the grounds. This pamphlet can also be downloaded by clicking here.

St Andrew's – Port Douglas

The brother of Simon Peter. Originally a fisherman, seen by Jesus working by the Sea of Galilee, who became one of the twelve apostles. Crucified on an X-shaped cross in Achaia (modern-day Greece.)

Despite the lack of a full-time Rector until 1898, the people of the district were active in the growth of the church. The major project most of the isolated communities embarked upon was the building of a church. In Port Douglas a large wooden church was constructed that was dedicated to St Andrew by the Sea. Presumably, in recognition of the fact that Port Douglas owed its livelihood to being the seaport for both the local district and mining centres over the range, it was named after a fisherman – the apostle Andrew.

Up until the 1960's, the simple wooden church still played a prominent role in the life of the parish, for it was the place of worship for a small but diligent group of parishioners who kept the church in a good state of repair. Once the stone church at Mossman was completed, the centre of the parish moved completely to Mossman.

In 1954, the rectory and its land at Port Douglas was sold, thus solving the problem of how to keep up the maintenance of two rectories within the same parish. Finally, the church of St Andrew itself was demolished in August 1978 due to the extensive white ant infestation and general deterioration of the building.

On two acres, donated by Mr John Morris, near where the Port Douglas Primary School was planned, a new church complex was built to provide a ministry centre for the rapidly growing tourist area that Port Douglas was becoming.

Palm Sunday, March 19, 1989, was a special day in the history of the Christian community in Port Douglas and the Diocese of Carpentaria. On this day, Bishop Anthony Hall-Matthews, the eighth Bishop of Carpentaria consecrated the worship centre of St Andrew's Port Douglas. On that memorable day, the building, designed by Mr. Rodger Mainwood, was completed free of debt, and the builder handed over the keys.

This was possible due to the support of the Mossman Parish and the commitment, encouragement and foresight of Fr Malcolm Babbage. The donation of the land and the financial assistance of the community at large, including Swan Hill parish in Victoria, all contributed to supporting the resident priest Rev'd John Martin following his Appointment in May 1986.

As a result of the appeal, furniture and fittings were purchased. Such furnishings as the Bishop's chair, the beautiful altar cloth, hand crocheted by Mrs Joan Vico, the vestments and the figured Queensland maple for the altar, lectern and credence table have all been donated.

An outdoor chapel has been newly built by Rob and Julie White, which will serve as a complementary place of worship.

St. Andrew's Day, November 30, where Scottish food (Haggis and all) is enjoyed by those who attend the Evening Eucharist and Scottish carry-on. We enjoy each other's company, especially when both congregations are worshipping together.

st andrews exterior 2
st andrews exterior 2

A Brief History of
the People of the Parish

The Mossman/Port Douglas Anglican Ministry Unit

The Clergy

An Anglican ministry was established in the area in 1880, with Rev AC Mosley covering both Port Douglas and the Smithfield ( Cairns ) area. This proved impractical, and the district relied on visiting mission chaplains from 1884 until 1998, when the Parish of Port Douglas and Mossman was established with Rev BD Bryant, the first incumbent. He left after two years, and a stipendiary lay reader, W Wilkinson, led the parish until Rev T Pitt was appointed in 1902. Once again, the tenure lasted just two years, with Rev Pitt going south in May 1904, to be replaced by Rev Edward Taffs, who stayed somewhat longer – 46 years until he died 'on the job' in 1950 aged 90 years.

Rev Taffs came from an English upbringing and then spent several years in Victoria as a teacher and curate. He had a heart for ministry to the South Sea islanders who worked the cane plantations, building a hall for their learning and relaxation. He was skilled in woodwork, an enthusiastic gardener and had a flair for architecture – designing both the Port Douglas and Mossman churches to be built after the 1911 cyclone. Although quite English and polite to a fault, he did not shirk hard work, acting as builder's labourer on the arduous task of building a stone church at Mossman. Although ever dedicated, no doubt age forced a slow down in ministry activity towards the end of this marathon incumbency. He died before the stone church was completed – the energy of a new rector, Rev Colin Ware, saw the building completed and dedicated within two years.

Fr Ware was in the parish until 1955. Subsequent rectors/priests-in charge were: A MacFarland (1955-61); E Gribble (1961-65); R Atkins (1965-69); F Morrey (1970-73); S Batten (part 1974); A Morrison (1974-83); M Babbage (1984-90); T Williams (1990-94); B Paterson (1994-99); G McLeod (2000-2002), C Ford (2003-2007), T Morris (2008), P Beasley (2009-2013). The current Rector (Fr Kenneth Lay) was inducted by Bishop Bill Ray on Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Other clergy have contributed to the parish ministry over time. These have included Deacon, E.G. (Charlie) Jenkin and Deacon Eric Pitt, Deacon Ethel Woods and Deacon Deborah Kachel.

The congregation

Early church leaders included some noted early settlers and community citizens. FW Barnard, a settler from the early 1880s and Chair of the Mossman Central Mill for eleven years, was Peoples Warden until 1911. RO Jones, farmer (1878), saw-miller and Police Magistrate, was the Rector's Warden during the early development years of the church until 1904. RD Rex, prominent in local government and eventually Shire Chairman from 1932 to 1955, was Secretary/Treasurer for about 12 years, including the period of negotiation to form a parish.

Over the years, a core of hardworking parish members has carried the parish through times of growth and times of 'hanging on'. Some members of the current parish council and ministry teams have given their time selflessly to parish operations for many years – including active involvement in Community Outreach and Worship committees.

A stalwart Ladies Guild boosted finances for many years, beginning with the 1903 'Fancy Fair', which raised 89 pounds 2 shillings towards the first rectory; through to a strong band in later years catering for weddings and the Mossman Show, holding cake stalls etc. An extract from a 1970s Ladies Guild Report spells out the success of the group:

I always consider we are a happy band of workers, working and doing things to help the finances of the parish and keeping our church in clean and tidy condition. Our first meeting this year had 23 and we have 32 members at the end of the year. Each cake stall we held was a financial success … I would like to thank Jack and Newell for their advertising and the use of the veranda for our cake stalls … special thanks for the hard work by everyone at the Show catering and other catering jobs which have been our mightiest efforts for the last few years and though we feel dead the next day, we've always survived. (Ette Kerswell)

This went on to operate as an informal group running the (every) Saturday morning market on the church grounds, a consistently demanding but profitable exercise that draws the community and church together. The success of the market over the years has seen the establishment of a formal committee and its incorporation.

For several years, the 'Stella Sparks' team provided weekly contact and entertainment for residents of an aged care facility (now Ozcare; previously 'Stella Maris').

The Mossman/port Douglas Anglican Ministry Unit

Links to Churches and Church-related
groups in the Mossman/Port Douglas area