Chalmers Church (former), Timaru

Chalmers Church (former), Timaru


Building Details

Name of Building: Chalmers Church (former), Timaru
Location: 2 Elizabeth Place/Sophia Street,
Date Plaque Unveiled: March, 2021
Current Owners: St George’s Coptic Church
Contact Details:  
Plaque Sponsor:  


Brief Historical Information:

Chalmers Church occupies a prominent position in the centre of Timaru. Located on the corner of
Elizabeth and Sophia Streets, its sits proudly on and elevated site with its spire featuring as a
conspicuous landmark on Timaru’s skyline.

The church was established by a breakaway congregation from the previously established Trinity
Presbyterian Church, which was located in Barnard St.

The site for the new church was purchased in 1902 and local architect James S. Turnbull was
engaged to design the building. The foundation stone of Chalmers church was laid on 7 May 1903
and the completed church was dedicated on 11 September 1904.

The grand Gothic Revival church is constructed of plastered brick and features a 70ft high tower,
from which a 50ft spire rises, making the total height 120ft (36.5m).

The church was named after Reverend Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), who was a Scottish
Presbyterian minister, professor of theology, political economist, and leader of the Church of
Scotland. Chalmers led the Disruption rebellion of 1843, founding the break-away Free Church of
Scotland, which sponsored the first colonial planned settlement of Dunedin in 1848.

The presbyterian Church deconsecrated and sold the building in 2014 and it has since been
purchased by the Parish of St. George of the Coptic Orthodox Church of New Zealand, who have
recently redecorated the interior of the church and renamed it St George’s.

Restoration and Current Owner Story

Coming soon...

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