ST DAVID'S CHURCH
1840 David and Sarah Ramsay set up a Sunday school, which was taught by the daughters of the family on the verandah of their
house. This was the first Home Sunday School of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales. David and Sarah drew up a plan
of the estate in 1860, setting aside an area of 4 acres as the site for a Church, School, Vault Reserve (Private Graveyard)
and Manse. Later that year however, David died after a short illness.
1861 Sarah was instrumental in seeing that a School hall was built on the site. The foundation stone was laid by Percy Ramsay,
due to his mother's illness. Alexander Learmonth who later married Sarah and Davids eldest daughter, Mary Louisa, was the
first Superintendent. In 1862 this hall was used as a day school known as Yasmar School, a Sabbath School and also for Church
services from 1866. A petition signed by 134 residents and presented to the Presbytery of Sydney on May 1st, 1866,
asked for the supply of ordinances to the congregation gathering there, and after this had been granted John Dunmore Lang
conducted and preached the first service on 4th May, 1866. It was resolved at the next meeting of the Presbytery
that steps should be taken to secure the services of a permanent minister. The Rev. S.F. Mackenzie of West Maitland accepted
the position in January 1867. A session was formed, and David Ramsay became one of the first elders, along with Alexander
Learmonth and H.Carlisle.
this time the congregation increased in numbers, and at a meeting held on the 25th July, 1866, and chaired by the
Pastor, it was resolved that the time has arrived for the erection of a Church at Dobroyd: that the name be designated St.Davids
Presbyterian Church, Ashfield; that the land upon which said Church is to be erected shall be vested in eight trustees to
be chosen by the congregation and that uninterrupted access to the Church Hall shall be at all times available to the congregation
along the road now leading hereto.
second resolution was that the following should be trustees: Mrs. Ramsay, the Rev. S.F.Mackenzie, Messrs. David Ramsay, Alexander
Learmonth, John Woods, John Pope, William Drynan and John Tait.
third resolution was proposed that the trustees be empowered to take the necessary steps for the erection of a Church and
that a subscription list should be opened. A sum of £1673/10/- was raised, of which £1000 was donated by the Ramsay family.
Ramsay laid the foundation stone for the Church on the 28th April 1868, in the absence of the Duke of Edinburgh,
who had been prevented from attending by an attack on his life. A glass jar containing copies of the daily papers, current
coins, and the parchment scroll read at the ceremony were placed under the stone, the location of which is not now known.
The Sydney Morning Herald of the 29th April 1868 gave a full account of the proceedings, and description of the
Church to be built. Thomas Rowe had been engaged to design the Church, and Frederick Lavers as the Contractor.
August 1869, Mrs. Ramsay conveyed 4 acres and 17 perches of land to the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales. This land
was to be used for a Church, School, Manse and Family Vault, so fulfilling the dream she had shared with her husband David.
The School had already been built, and the building of the Church had commenced.
David's Church was opened on the 27th March 1869, and again a full report was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Duke of Edinburgh was on hand to plant a Moreton Bay Fig tree, which no longer stands, but a plaque can be seen in his
honour in the front fence. The Reverend Simon Fraser Mackenzie was the first minister, remaining in the position until 1869.
The Church is built in
the Gothic style, with a Norman tower. The tower was originally topped with a spire of hollw metal sheets, with a metal rod
running down the centre. The spire became unstable, and was demolished in 1920. At each corner of the tower is a small
stone spire. The sandstone used to build the Church was quarried on the Dobroyde estate, perhaps near Iron Cove.