our beginning

St Martin’s now stands on land which was originally part of the Springdale Estate.  This estate was a marriage grant of 160 acres to Jane Bradley, who married James McGillivray on 31 July 1830.  By 1885 J G Edwards had acquired the Estate and commenced a subdivision. 

By the early 1900s, residents of Killara who were attending the Church of St John the Evangelist, at Gordon, started a movement to build their own church. The following is from a report in the Gordon Parish Gazette of May 6, 1909 regarding this:

“At Killara another public meeting is to be held on Wednesday evening, May 12th, in the Public Hall, at 8 o’clock, to definitely decide where the proposed church shall be built, and to arrange for the organisation necessary for carrying on the movement. It is hoped that there will be a good attendance of ladies and gentlemen so that the real feeling of the community may be ascertained.

A Sunday School is to be opened in a room at the Hall on Sunday afternoon, May 9th, at 3 o’clock. All members of the Church are cordially invited to be present at the opening, and those who have children old enough to attend school are asked to either bring or send them.”

Ministry begins

The first Service of the new church was held on 23rd May 1909 in the Killara Hall, Marian Street and was attended by congregation of 64. The Rector of St John’s (the Rev. Raymond King) was on leave in 1909 and the Acting Rector Rev William T Prentice or his assistants, the Rev Sydney J Woolnough and the Rev Edwin  Shipley, took these early services. By 1910 the Rev Leopold Charlton, who had been appointed a curate to St John's Gordon in 1909, soon established particular links with Killara.

Land was purchased in June 1909 for £396. Mr J P Josephson was appointed Honorary Surveyor and Engineer and Mr O Harley Honorary Architect, and by November plans for the church were well under way. The church was to be of stone, the contract price being £865. The Foundation Stone, to be seen on the right of the church entrance, was laid on 18th May 1910 and the new church was dedicated on 10th February 1911.  The Church was named St Martin’s by the Rector of Gordon, the Rev Raymond King.  He had many kindnesses shown him by Canon Charles Myers, the Vicar of St. Martin's Church in Salisbury, during  illness while on leave in England in 1908, and resolved that if a church were built in Killara it would be dedicated to St. Martin. 


This photo shows the church in Arnold Street in 1925 when it was still a gravel road.

The ministry

The Rev Raymond King (pictured in the photo), Rector of St John’s Gordon, the ‘mother church’, ministered to the congregation of St Martin’s until 1914.  In July 1915 Killara was made a conventional district and the Rev Leopold (Leo) Charlton was appointed curate in charge.  In 1918 Killara was declared a full Parish and Mr Charlton became Rector, the position he held until his retirement in 1953.  The Rev Norman Fox was Rector from 1954 to 1973, the position then being taken by the Rev (Leonard) Wallace Long, who died in office on 24th May 1985.  The Rev Harry Robertson was Rector until 1989.  The Rev Martin Robinson, was inducted on 20th September 1990 and served for 21 years.  Our present Rector Matt Heazlewood had his commencement service on 1st March 2012.

Who is St Martin?

St Martin is depicted in the centre window on the west wall of the church.  The figure of this Soldier/Saint is clad in Roman military garb and holds aloft the pastoral staff, emblematic of his episcopal office.  Also depicted is the incident of Martin as a young man, about to enter the city of Amiens, cutting his cloak in two to share with a beggar. He was a soldier who was converted to Christianity and founded a monastery at Poitiers, later becoming Bishop of Tours.  He died 11th November 401 and was credited with having worked many miracles and seen many visions.