top of page

Christ Church Lancefield

Lancefield History

Christ Church Lancefield was built in 1870 on Wurundjeri Land. Located at 33 Chauncey St Lancefield


Answering the call

in the early days of settlement in the inland districts of Victoria, the pioneers became accustomed to privation and loneliness and being cut off from active Church membership was a significant factor. The "Church of England" (Anglican) faced with a shortage of clergy welcomed the offer of a young John Christian MacCullagh to go to the district of Lancefield.


In January 1863 he was commissioned as a lay reader, and built the Anglicans up into fellowship, when it was "nearly all wild and lonely bush". In 1864 he went away to train for the Priesthood. In 1865 he married his Irish sweetheart Elizabeth Ince and was ordained priest 27th May 1866 by Bishop Perry, the first Bishop of Melbourne, in St James old Cathedral Melbourne and was sent back to Lancefield with his newly wedded wife Elizabeth.


The Building of the Church

In 1866 a public meeting was called for the purpose of raising funds towards the building of a church. The committee consisted of T. Darby, C.Musty, G Abbott and R. Onions. The Church was designed by Leonard Terry, the diocesan architect (Later Terry & Oakden). 


A steeply gabled design in the Early English Gothic revival style, with a gabled bell tower. the Por4ch and sanctuary being later additions.


by the end of 1869 he called for tenders to quarry bluestone and building the brick walls.

The Church was completed in 1870. The original building was probably exposed brick and later was rendered to combat a damp problem.  


Tragedy Strikes

The Parish was large and covered a region from Bolinda to Cobaw and the Young Rev MacCullagh enjoyed strong support from his wife Elizabeth in their ministry. She is remembered for her unselfish devotion to the care and welfare of others. Once when hearing that a young boy had been lost in the bush near hesket, Elizabeth set out in appalling weather to bring comfort to the boys mother. She caught a "Chill" and died on 22nd October 1870 aged 27 years old.


The first service held in newly built Christ Church Lancefield was Elizabeths funeral. Rev John MacCullagh was devastated and collapsed after the funeral falling dangerously ill. When he recoverd, he requested a transfer and began a long and fruitful ministry at St Paul'[s Bendigo and later as Dean of Bendigo. However every year he returned to Lancefield on the anniversary of the church he built, and he preached a sermon in the morning and spent the afternoon at Elizabeth's Grave.

Dean MacCullagh died in 1917 and they now lie together in Lancefield Cemetery.

Rev John Christian MacCullagh
Elizabeth MacCullagh
bottom of page