All Souls Church

Item details

Name of item: All Souls Church
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Primary address: 124A Norton Street, Leichhardt, NSW 2040
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Inner West
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
124A Norton StreetLeichhardtInner West CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

All Soul’s Anglican Church at No. 124A Norton Street is of local historic, aesthetic and social significance as a good representative example of a late Victorian Academic Gothic style Church constructed in 1883. The Church significantly retains its original form, character and details including face brick facades and details, stone elements, gable and skillion roof forms, buttresses and original pattern of openings and leaded windows. The building occupies a prominent corner site and is a townscape element. The corner tower and spire are later additions however they contribute to its landmark qualities. Overall the Church makes a positive contribution to the Norton and Marion Street streetscapes and intersection.

Note: This inventory sheet is not intended to be a definitive study of the heritage item, therefore information may not be accurate and complete. The information should be regarded as a general guide. Further research is always recommended as part of the preparation of development proposals for heritage items.
Date significance updated: 09 May 11
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the Department of Premier and Cabinet copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Blackett and Son
Physical description: Face brick Church with parapeted gabled main roof with vented gablets clad in slates and prominent corner tower and spire. The main gable and nave is bounded by two side aisles with skillion roofs also clad in modern slates. The Church is located on the north western corner of Norton and Marion Streets. The front façade faces Norton Street and has a stone plinth, brick buttresses at the end of the main gable with stone details, and long pointed pointed arched leaded windows with brick arches and detailed sills and circular vented opening and cross to the gable end. The main feature is the four storey tiered tower which also has small regular and painted arched openings and modern steel spire. The side facades are divided into bays with brick pilasters, recessed panels with brick corbelling and pointed arched leaded windows and timber panelled entry doors. Steps with modern railings are located at the north eastern corner of the building. The rear façade is also parapeted with brick details and is surmounted by small bellcote. It is located close to the western site boundary which is bounded by a narrow laneway which extends between Marion and Marlborough Streets.
The building is setback from the street frontages with some ornamental plantings and grass and concrete pathways located between. Stone piers and wrought iron gate and fence on stone base are located at the corner of the site facing the Norton and Marion Street intersection. The street frontages also have low face brick fence with brick piers at regular intervals. An open courtyard with stone edged garden with mature tree and some planting is located at the north eastern corner of the Church. A modern glass and steel skillion roofed hall/ community building is also located to the immediate north of the Church. Another smaller detached face brick structure is located on the western boundary at the north western corner of the Church.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In very good condition. The mortar joints at the base of the tower on the Marion Street frontage are deteriorated.
Modifications and dates: 1996: Alterations and additions to café (DA/513/1996,Comb BA 96/869).
2003: Erection of a new Church annex, pergola, fencing and awning (D/2003/294, M/2004/6, CC/2004/182.
Further information: The base of the tower appears to be part of the earlier structure with modern brickwork evident over. The base of the tower has a War Memorial stone dated 1962.
Double glazing has been added to all of the windows. Photovoltaic cells have also been added to the northern skillion roof section.
A plaque on the corner piers notes that the brick and iron fence was erected to mark the Broughton Centenary in May 1936.
Some signs have also been added to the church facades.
Current use: Church
Former use: Church


Historical notes: Leichhardt was originally made up of eleven land grants of various sizes from 16 to 270 acres per grant, handed out between 1794 and 1821. The two largest estates were given to brothers Hugh and John Piper, both Captains in the NSW Corps, in 1811. John named his estate “Piperston” whilst Hugh acknowledged his good fortune by naming his “Macquarie Gift”. Ownership of several of the large land holdings changed during the fluctuating economic conditions of the 1830s. However, by 1844 fourteen substantial buildings had been constructed on the Leichhardt estates.
The site is located on Hugh Piper’s grant. Hugh left the Colony in 1812 and it would appear gave power of attorney over his 270 acres to his brother John.
The repayment of debts caused John Piper to sell part of his estates to James Foster in 1828. This estate was known as the “Elswick Estate”. Foster began work on Elswick House in 1832, but due to financial difficulties sold the house and estate to his employer James Norton in 1834. Norton owned a successful legal practice in Sydney and was one of the colony’s early politicians. The Elswick Estate embodied the perfect gentleman’s semi rural estate with a number of buildings including coach house, convict barracks, kitchen, servants quarters and stables surrounding the main two storey stone house. Norton lived in Elswick House until his death in 1862.
By the 1840s the Elswick Estate was bounded by present day Flood Street, William Street, Derbyshire, Balmain and Parramatta Roads. The estate was subdivided by Norton’s family between 1868 and 1874. The subdivision created two long streets, Elswick and Norton Streets also cross streets Allen (named after Norton’s son) and Marion Streets (named after his second wife).
The subject site is part of over 42 acres of Section 2 purchased by David Ramsay junior in 1868. Ramsay kept this land intact for 10 years prior to selling to prominent solicitor and developer, William Whaley Billyard in 1878. Billyard laid out a subdivision called “Whaleyborough” comprising of 8 sections in a grid pattern divided by four wide streets. The streets, Marlborough, Carlisle, Macauley and Cromwell were named after well-known English figures.
Prior to 1881 the population of the suburb of Leichhardt was considered too sparse to warrant the building of an Anglican church for local parishioners. A meeting was held with Church of England residents with the Bishop of Sydney in the Municipal Council Chambers in October 1880 to discuss the provision of a new Church in Leichhardt. Up to this time local Church services were held at All Saint’s Church in Petersham. The meeting resolved that a church for local parishioners would be constructed and by the end of 1880 three lots (Lots 1 and 2 and Lot 26) located on the corner of Marion and Norton Streets of Whaleyborough estate had been purchased. Lots 1 and 2 addressed Norton Street. A temporary school/ church was erected in Marion Street and opened in January 1882. Shortly after it was decided construct a church. The main stone was laid by the Hon. Charles Campbell MLC on 31 March 1883.
Architect Edmund Blacket took his son Arthur into the practice and under Blacket and Son, drew up plans for a Victorian Academic Gothic style church to accommodate 600 people. The committee which had been appointed to oversee the selection and purchase of the site and construction accepted the design and awarded the building contract to William Thackery in December 1882. The size of the Church was 106 feet by 30 feet. The Church was completed at a cost of £6000 and officially opened with a service attended by 20 clergy and 450 people on 2 February 1884.
The Church was constructed on Lots 1 and 2 and Lots 3 and 4, which adjoined the Norton Street land, were purchased and new rectory was constructed in 1887 designed by architects, Coward and Bell.
A Sydney Water Plan dating from the late 1880s (Leichhardt Sheet 42) and revised in the 1890s shows the rectangular shaped Church occupying the corner site. A projection is located at the south eastern corner of the building, facing Marion Street, and a pathway extends from the same corner to the Norton Street frontage. The rectory is also shown to the north of the Church, occupying a large site extending to Marlborough Street. Located in the southern section of the large site, the rectory has a bay and verandah facing Norton Street with a long wing or verandah attached to the northern wall.
Since that time the site occupied by the rectory has been subdivided and part sold. Changes have also been undertaken to the Church including the addition of the organ which was built by Fincham & Son in 1904 and rebuilt in the 1950s and 2007 after being inoperable for about 18 years. Other early features several memorial windows including one dedicated to James Norton and a memorial board which lists the names of 200 men of the parish who died during the Great War. The corner tower and spire are also later additions, completed in 1962 by architect Lindsay R Little. It would appear that the tower was constructed over an earlier single storey projection with hipped roof located at the south eastern corner of the building.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site and Church are of historic significance as part of a late Victorian subdivision and period of development constructed in 1883.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Church is associated with the Leichhardt Anglican Church and prominent Sydney architect Edmund Blackett and Son and Lindsay R Little.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Church is of aesthetic significance as a good and intact example of a late Victorian Academic Gothic style Church that despite some additions significantly retains its original form, character and details including face brick facades and details, stone elements, gable and skillion roof forms, buttresses and original pattern of openings and leaded windows. The building occupies a prominent corner site and is a townscape element. The corner tower and spire are later additions, however, contributes to its landmark qualities. The Church makes a high contribution to the Norton and Marion Street streetscapes and intersection. It is part of fine architectural context including Leichhardt Town Hall (1888) designed by Drake and Walcott and located on the opposite corner of Norton Street, the Leichhardt Public School (1891) designed by WE Kemp located on the opposite corner of Marion Street, the former Leichhardt Post Office at No. 109 Norton Street (1888) designed by James Barnett and the Leichhardt Fire Station at No. 1 Marion Street (1905) designed by WL Vernon.
SHR Criteria g)
The site and Church are of high local social significance with the site and Church serving the local community since the 1880s.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

It is recommended that: - the existing scale, form, character and details of the Church building particularly the face brick facades and details, stone elements, gable and skillion roof forms, buttresses and original pattern of openings and leaded windows, various entries, corner tower and spire be retained and conserved; - no new or enlargement of any openings should be undertaken on the Church facades; - the face brickwork stone elements should remain unpainted whilst surfaces that have previously been painted such as timber work should continue to be painted in appropriate colours; - the open area and street frontages should be retained and remain open; - any further alterations and additions should be restricted to the north western section of the site and should not detract from the existing character, scale and presentation of the Church to Norton and Marion Streets and its corner presentation.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLeichhardt Local Environmental Plan 2013I68023 Dec 13   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Leichhardt Municipality Heritage Study1990 McDonald McPhee Pty Ltd (Craig Burton, Wendy Thorp)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenMax Solling and Peter Reynolds1997Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1940710

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