In the latter part of the 1880’s, Anglicans had met on the hill for a number of years as a branch of the parish of Saviour’s in Sydenham. The Reverend Bromley ***, who lived at Thorrington, had conducted services at the Rhodes Jubilee Home from 1877 to 1898.From the turn of the century adventurous people began to build on the lower slopes of the hill and on the flat along Cashmere Road, consequently the congregation grew.There was an increasing need for Cashmere to be separated from Sydenham and become a parish in its own right – a church on the hill was neededThe site for the new church was given by John Cracroft Wilson an early hill settler, and the vicar of Sydenham Archdeacon E.A. Scott reported “The church will occupy a commanding position.” The building was completed in 1908 and dedicated by Bishop Churchill Julius with an overflow congregation of over 80 people present. In 1924 the parish was named the “Parish of Cashmere Hills” and in 1999 renamed the “Parish of Cashmere.” Reverend Hugh Norris became the first vicar with 13 vicars serving the parish since.
Our fine organ is the largest 2 manual pedal pipe organ in Christchurch and contains four 16 foot pedal stops with 1279 pipes to produce its many sounds and wonderful tone. It was built in 1945 by Auckland organ maker George Croft for a Christchurch organist who lived above McCormacks Bay. In 1966 it was purchased by two Parishioners for 10,000 pounds ($20,000) and they later donated it to the Parish for the new church extension. The organ was rebuilt piece by piece and kauri reclaimed from the old church pews was used for the pipe chests. To extend the organ’s sound, two ranks of 16 foot pipes were obtained from the old Auckland Town Hall organ. The walls of the expression box are filled with sawdust to give more effective control of the volume and its ‘good round tone’ is due to the wooden furniture and timber panelling used extensively in the church. Another interesting feature is the wooden blower, which is located under the church. It obtains the warmer air from within the church to help the organ stay in tune. The organ operates by electric action and is controlled from the detached 2 manual console crafted from English oak. It has a replacement value of over half a million dollars.
This interesting entrance was also designed by Architect Trevor Ibbetson and completed with the Hannan centre extension. Its shape ties in with the existing Church and the glass doors have a transparency to see into the Church and be welcoming to visitors. Old timbers are highlighted in its construction and 3 memorial stained glass windows are featured. The structure creates spaciousness necessary for the “processions of life”
This extension to the church was completed in 1999 and financed by a generous bequest from John Hannan. Architect Trevor Ibbetson has created a splendid facility that is similar in shape to the existing traditional church with interesting and innovative windows allowing fine views of the Southern Alps and the church spire. The Hannan centre is used for mid-week services, and many parish functions
This is below the Memorial window and has an Oamaru stone base and a large conch shell forming the baptismal vessel. The children of John Cracroft Wilson who gifted the church’s land, presented it to the parish having saved their pocket money to buy the shell.
This is defined and lit by a plastered ceiling plane set above the main slate roof, with a formed wide slot glazed on three sides. A shaft of natural light falls on the suspended brass cross and free-standing altar. The organ pipes and chest are on the left of this. On the right are the processional cross and the banner of St. Augustine our patron Saint and the first Archbishop of Canterbury, it depicts the silver cross, gold pall and silver lily on a black shield. The oak lectern came from the original church and features an eagle symbolic of Saint John the Evangelist
This stands 23 metres high and was added to the original Church in 1914 and costing 350 pounds – “a decided addition to the beauty of the building and a striking landmark on the hills” In 1970 the tower was enhanced when a fine new tenor bell was installed. This bell was the only survivor of a peal of four, that originally hung from 1863 in the church of St. Michael and All Angels at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University Church and brought out from there by parishioner Michael Stewart-Smith. In 1982 the tower was refurnished in time for the consecration of the church by Bishop Pyatt. The parish motto “Aspire to Christ” are fitting words to describe this striking landmark with its commanding position overlooking the city