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St Margaret's Anglican Church

Cnr Port & Woodville Roads

St Margaret’s Anglican Church was built in 1855 by local landowner John Bristow Hughes.

Hughes, a wealth pastoralist and one of South Australia’s colonial elite, retired to Woodville in 1854 from the state’s mid-north. On his arrival, Woodville consisted of a group of 24 houses, a forge and wheelwright’s shop. Hughes had a desire to establish Woodville in the style of an English village, and on land he owned, constructed many of the types of buildings required including shops and workshops, houses, a school room, and a railway station.

However, no village is complete without a church and, as an active Anglican, Hughes set about providing a church for the local Anglican community.

The church was intended to be a worthy memorial to Hughes’s late wife Margaret, and therefore named after her. The Bishop of Adelaide, Right Reverend Augustus Short, disagreed, and consecration of the church was delayed until the name could be resolved. Finally a compromise was reached, and in February 1856 the church was dedicated in honour of both the late Mrs Hughes and patron saint, St Margaret of Scotland.

Constructed of picked limestone and dominated by a square tower, St Margaret’s replicates a typical English church. Stained glass windows honour local pioneers.

St Margaret’s was extended in 1915 with the addition of the chancel, porch, organ chamber and two vestries. Woods, Bagot and Jory were the architects. Parishioners gave gifts and donations for the internal works and fittings, including the alter and nave which were made by local carpenter Gilbert Underwood.

The lychgate was built in 1919 as a memorial to Woodville men who served in WWI. Of the 119 who served, 26 were killed in action and another died in hospital.

St Margaret’s is listed as a State Heritage Place. One of several 'village' churches built between 1836 and 1860, St Margaret's represents the early development of the Anglican church in South Australia. Architecturally the church is very typical of the style of the early Anglican Churches in the State, of simplified Gothic Revival styling. An early church in Woodville, St Margaret's is associated with one of South Australia's more noted benefactors, John Bristow Hughes.

SourcesA History of Woodville, Susan Marsden, 1977.
St Margaret’s Anglican Church Woodville 1855-1995, by Barbara Tabor.

St Margarets Church ca 1916

St Margaret’s Church, ca 1916. SLSA: B 21378.