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Holy Trinity Church

History and museums
sightseeing, church, cathedral

Holy Trinity Church, originally Trinity Church, is an Anglican church on North Terrace, in the city of Adelaide, South Australia. In terms of weekly attendance, Trinity is the largest Anglican church in South Australia, with four services at the North Terrace location each Sunday, eight Sunday services in five church plants and various other meetings throughout the week. The style of these services ranges through traditional Anglican, family and modern youth services.

Trinity is a large evangelical and conservative Anglican church. Its main campus is adjacent to the University of South Australia (Uni SA), City West campus. Through its involvement with the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students on tertiary campuses it also has links to the Evangelical Union at Adelaide University and the Uni SA City campuses - with Geoff Lin being Senior Staff Worker with EU and University Ministry Coordinator at Holy Trinity as well as being an Anglican chaplain to the University of Adelaide. Many members of Holy Trinity are also involved in various other ministries around Adelaide, including the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and Scripture Union. A number of CMS office bearers are staff or members at Trinity. Trinity has Sunday school for children in primary school, a youth group (called fusion) for high school students, a young adults group (called Dig), a weekday women's meeting group (called Terrace Studies), a large number of small Bible study groups and various other groups.

Trinity is part of the Adelaide diocese and has an increasing number of locally trained staff, particularly trainees through the Ministry Training Strategy and students of the Bible College of South Australia. In 2007 Trinity was involved in initiating "equip", a training program for Evangelical Anglican churches in South Australia.

Holy Trinity has planted five daughter churches;

  • Trinity Hills, in the Adelaide Hills
  • Trinity Bay, in the Adelaide sea-side suburb of Hove, South Australia
  • Trinity North East, in a suburb of Tea Tree Gully Council, Modbury, South Australia. Trinity North East serves the northern suburbs of Adelaide
  • Trinity Inner South Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia
  • Trinity Mount Barker in the outer regional centre of Mount Barker, South Australia


Trinity is historically significant in that it contains elements of the earliest surviving Anglican church building in South Australia. Of special note is the William IV window that was brought to Adelaide in 1836.

The church was built in three main stages. It was originally planned that the church would be a prefabricated building imported from England; however, when the prefabricated building arrived from England badly damaged, it was decided instead to build a stone church. Governor Hindmarsh laid the foundation stone on 28 January 1838 and the church opened in about August that year, within two years of the settlement of Adelaide (see History of Adelaide). The building quickly became a landmark with its "peaked cap" top tower and the Vulliamy clock. (Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy 1780 - 1854, was the clockmaker to King William IV and Queen Adelaide.)

In 1844 the church was closed for repairs and the clock was removed for safekeeping. The body of the church was rebuilt and re-roofed and the tower lost its peaked cap. It reopened in August 1845. When Bishop Short arrived in 1847, Holy Trinity assumed many of the functions of a cathedral and was - until other congregations (especially Christ Church, North Adelaide) were established - the place of worship for the governors, many of the colony’s prominent families and the military.

In 1878, there was a proposal to rebuild when some money was subscribed, but this did not take place until the congregation decided in the mid-1880s to completely rebuild the church to a design by the prominent architect Edward John Woods, using the mellow sandstone which eventually weathered to match the original limestone. It was around this time that the present name of "Holy Trinity" became current.

The hall and the rectory are also significant features in the precinct. The hall was built in 1887 using a donation from a parishioner. The original rectory was a prefabricated "Manning" building which arrived in better condition than the church. It was replaced by the present building in 1851 and was the home of seven successive incumbents. It is now used as offices.

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