History of Churches in Bowral
In 1853 Rev. James Hassall from Berrima conducted the first religious service in the Bowral district at a house on the Oxley property. From 1857, once the second Oxley residence Wingecarribee was built, services were held there and attended by the districts people. Anglican services were then carried out in a new school/Church in Bowral in 1863. An independent Parish was created in 1870 with the first incumbent being Rev. G Middleton who was than succeeded by Rev. J Dark. The foundation stone was designed by E Blacket and laid by the Bishop of Sydney on the 29th October 1873. A tribute was made to Mrs Angelina Harrison from Sydney who gave £1000 towards the building being built but died before it was completed. On 14th November 1874 the church was consecrated.
It was decided in August 1884 to build a new church with a schoolroom. The Church was opened on 20th February 1887 and the school in July 1886. In December 1924 the extensions to St Judes Hall were opened.
In 1863 Primitive Methodist services were held on Oxley Hill in a weatherboard building with services later being conducted at various sites in the village by Rev. J Ashmead. A brick building in Bong Bong St was purchased, converted to a church and used up until October 1885 and work was begun on a weatherboard building on the adjoining block. The church was opened on 20th December 1885, cost £400 and was used until 1902. Two sections of the Methodist Church in Australia united with the final service being held on 1st November1903.
Wesleyans were some of the early settlers in Bowral with services of the denomination being held in Jacob Ward's house and the bookmakers shop; Rev. S Wilkinson from Camden conducted some of these services.
A Wesleyan Chapel was built on Bendooley St, cost £70 and seated 100 people were opened on 18th September 1864. Rev. WH George from Crookwell conducted morning services with Rev. G Lane doing the evening services. On the 29th October 1881 a second church opened which cost £665 and seated 250 people. The old church was placed at the rear of the allotment and stayed there until May 1925 when it was moved to Annesley School. A tender for a new church at a cost of £3426 was accepted in May 1925 and it was later opened on the 17th July 1926.
A Salvation Army member caused a scene in Bowral in November 1883 when he played a cornet and preached in the street. On the 22nd April 1887 Bowral became the outpost of the Moss Vale corps and a separate corps on 8th June 1888 with Captain Margaret Doland and Cadet Emma Piper being the officers. Meetings were held in the Oddfellows Hall and various other buildings until the WCTU, which was used by the Salvation Army for many years, built a room on Bong Bong St. A wooden building was built on land acquired in Bundaroo St, which opened on the 3rd November 1925.
Rev. AW Petre held the first service of the Roman Catholic Church in the School of Arts on the 2nd March 1886. On the 25th October 1886 a meeting was held and decided to buy two allotments of land on Banyette St. Cardinal Moran who also laid the foundation stone on The 8th March 1891 and opened it on The 29th November 1891 chose it. The building cost £998/3/2
Nuns from OLSH, Kensington used Belmore Park to establish a convent school and in 1904 Merilbah was purchased for £1700. Brick additions to be used as a boy's college were done in 1924 with further additions being carried out in 1948. Cardinal Gilroy opened a presbytery on the 24th September 1950. On the 23rd of May 1943 the foundation stone for St Thomas Aquinas School was laid with the building being occupied a year later.
Rev> John Evans MA from Moss Vale conducted the first service of the Presbyterian Church on the 6th January 1884. Services were carried out in a building in Wingecarribee St for some time but not on a regular basis. A meeting was held regarding the holding of regular services on the 5th August 1887. It was decided to conduct services in the School of Arts and than in Oddfellows Hall in Station St. Land was bought in Boolwey St on the 24th June 1890 where a church was built at a cost of £290 and then opened on the 24th December 1892.
Land on the northeast corner of Bong Bong and Boolwey Sts was bought in 1908 with the church moving to face Bong Bong St. In 1930 it was moved to position in Boolwey St and reopened on the 13th April 1930. A new site was bought in Bendooley St with a church being built on it and dedicated on the 24th February 1954. For the third time the timber church was moved to a site in Bendooley St near the new brick church, modernised and converted to a church hall, it was opened on the 28th September 1957.
Members of the Seven Day Adventist Church bought land in Banyette St with a building being erected by voluntary labour. On the 3rd of June 1923 the new church was dedicated.
In May members of the Baptist Church in the School of Arts held 1931a meeting. It was decided to hold regular services in Bowral with the first being held on the 31st May 1931 in the CWA rooms. On the 15th May 1938 a Sunday school was established in Oddfellows Hall in Merrigang St. On the 16th September 1938the foundation stone was laid for the church and £700 had been collected to pay for it by selling paper bricks. The President of the Baptist Union opened the church on the 9th December 1939.
In June 1945 the Church of Christ was established and held in a building in Merrigang St. On the 25th of February 1956 a church was opened in Wingecarribee St.