DE MESTRE FAMILY HISTORY

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St John's Church

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Section of the painting of St John's Terara, by Samuel Elyard, shows the graveyard on the left.

ST JOHN'S CHURCH, TERARA

 

Mary Ann de Mestre gave a portion of Terara Estate to the Lord Bishop of Sydney,

 "for the erection of a church or chapel but reserving that portion of land appropriated for the grave of the late Mr. Prosper de Mestre in area of which has been dedicated from the total area as marked on the plan hereunder drawn." 

 

Services had earlier been held in Terara House, but Mary Ann could see the need for a permanent place of worship. The Church was opened on 26 July 1856 for Divine Service, and a School building was also erected on land donated by Mary Ann de Mestre, with her daughters operating a Sunday School. This was a very similar procedure to Sarah Ann Ramsays donation of land for a school and Church at Dobroyde.

 

Most of Etienne and Clara de Mestres children were baptised in the Church, their son Edward Mackenzie being the last. After the Terara Estate was sold to Hugh Mackenzie in 1886, the Church lacked the numbers for services to continue, and it was closed on 16 November 1890. It was reconditioned and reopened in April 1893, but closed again in 1964, when the land was sold to Harold Griffin Solway. The Church building was demolished in 1969 due to its state of disrepair. Unfortunately, no marker was kept for the exact site of Prosper de Mestres grave, and Mary Ann de Metres wishes that the gravesite be preserved were not taken into consideration when the land was sold.

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