The entire St John’s Anglican Church precinct in Camden has been added to the state heritage register.
The listing comes after a huge push from community groups and heritage experts to have the complete site – not just the historic church and rectory – featured on the register.
Former church warden Fletcher Joss nominated the precinct for inclusion on the register last year and he, along with much of the community, had been eagerly awaiting the positive result.
Camden MP Chris Patterson the listing was a win for the area.
“This is a great result for the Camden community and also the broader south-west Sydney region,” he said.
“It guarantees one of our most iconic sites and is a real positive.”
When news senior church officials were considering selling part of the church land broke in 2016, many locals were vocal in their opposition to potential development at the site.
Mr Patterson said he believed parts of the community had treated the St John’s team unfairly at the time.
“I want to put on the record that St John’s is one of the most outstanding assets to our community and I think on occasion they have been unfairly treated,” he said.
“I think the church would welcome this inclusion on the heritage register.”
Mr Patterson said the heritage listing would “add another layer of protection” to the site.
He hopes the listing will put to bed any ‘unfair’ commentary surrounding the church.
Parishioner Helen Cowell said she was thrilled to hear the site had been heritage listed.
“This is so good,” she said.
“I feel like Christmas has come early.”
Camden historian Dr Ian Willis said the listing was a “very good outcome” for Camden.
“It is a very good decision and is participatory democracy at its finest,” he said.
“I think this process has lead to a positive outcome for the area.”
Dr Willis said while the listing would not prevent the church from selling the land it would make the process more “consultative and open”.
In addition to St John’s, another Camden church has been added to the state heritage register.
Rossmore’s Church of the Holy Innocents, Churchyard and Cemetery was also added to the register.
“While smaller in scale, the Church of the Holy Innocents packs its own heritage punch with links to two famous church architects,” Mr Patterson said.
“It is the only church in NSW based on a design by Richard Cromwell Carpenter one of the leading English architects of the Cambridge Camden Society and was created in partnership with Edmund Blacket, the most prominent Australia church architect of the time.”
Mr Patterson said the church was “remarkable, well-designed and constructed”.
The listings were formally approved by state heritage minister Gabrielle Upton and will be formally gazette on September 24.
St John’s church has been contacted for comment.