Mary and Thomas Attenborough in the newly established garden at Christ Church, 1876.
On September 21, 1873 what was described as "the vision and enterprise of Miss Mary Attenborough" became a reality with the dedication of Christ Church at Dingley. The first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne, the Right Reverend Charles Perry officiated at the service attended by Mary, her brother Thomas and 180 friends.
A memorial tablet on the west wall records, "In memory of Robert Attenborough, of Braybrooke, Northhamptonshire, England, this church is erected by his grateful niece, A.D. 1873" Mary Attenborough stipulated there was to be no artificial lighting in her Church and as a result only one daily service was held in Christ Church for some thirty years. It was in 1911 that permission was gained to install acetylene lighting and until those arrangements were completed Hurricane lamps, Miller lamps and other suitable forms of lighting were hung temporarily to allow evening services to commence. In October 1929 electric lighting was connected. (Kent 1973:9)
Mrs Hilda Martin recalled becoming a member of Christ Church in 1903 when she was twelve. "Near the front door of the Church was an underground brick well with a pump which collected the water from the Church spouting. This was thoughtfully provided by Miss Attenborough, not only for the Church people, but for the benefit of those who travelled on foot. Water was most precious in those days. Near the stable which was situated near the Sunday School, was a ‘mounting-block’ used by women who rode a horse to Church, as only side saddles were in use for women." (Kent 1973:12)
In the 1960’s the church was classified by the National Trust of Victoria as a building worthy of preservation in terms of its historical value. There are several stain glass windows in the church which are memorials to the Attenboroughs.
- Kent, P (1973) Christ Church Dingley: 1873-1973 a centenary review.
Category: Historical Features
Reference Number: 47