Brief History

An early history of the
Anglican Church of Alice Springs

Since at least 1899 Anglican laity shared their faith at the Telegraph Station, supported by visiting clergy from time to time. The first clergy to visit was Bishop White from the diocese of Carpentaria in 1901.

On 1 November 1933, Percy Smith was appointed as Priest-in-Charge of the Mission District of Alice Springs. His first service was on Sunday 26 November 1933 in the Australian Inland Mission (Presbyterian) Hall with eleven people in attendance.

In 1933 the Parish covered an area of over 600,000 square kilometers, from the South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland borders to Tennant Creek. The Parish boundaries are much the same today, covering approximately half of the Northern Territory.

The erection of a church building was seen as a priority and in 1934 the designing of a multipurpose building was begun. The first service in the church was held on Ascension Day, 21 May 1936. The  building had the Rectory at ground level and the church on the first floor (hence the name ‘Church of the Ascension’).

A painting of this building by a local artist and longtime member of the congregation, the late Halcyon Lucas, hangs near the entrance to the worship area of the current church building. It was intended to be a temporary structure only; however, it survived until 1983 when it was replaced by the current building.

The first service in the current building was held on 13 November 1983. Sister Eileen Heath laid a commemorative stone and in the subsequent year (1984) the church was consecrated in a service attended by the then Primate, Archbishop Sir John Grindrod.


Leslie, S. (1985) The Bishop who Walked, Simon Leslie in association with Robert Brown and Associates Pty Ltd, Bathurst, NSW.
Roberts, A. (2002) Sister Eileen, Access Press, Bassendean, WA.
Smith, J. M. (1999) The Flower in the Desert, Seaview Press, Henley Beach, SA.