Text Box:   Ebenezer Church, Ebenezer.
  As a descendant of the Turnbull’s, one of the pioneer families who arrived on the convict ship, ‘Coromandel’, in June 1802, I am always excited to visit this tiny but gorgeous sandstone church, the first Presbyterian church in the colony of NSW and the nation’s oldest functioning church in Australia. Ebenezer Church was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999 as the original structures display a high degree of technical competence. The simplicity and sturdiness of the buildings, particularly the church, can be seen as the embodiment of the way of life, taste and customs of the early Scottish Presbyterian settlers.
  These 8 ‘Coromandel’ families (free settlers) – Davison, Hall, Howe, Johnston, Johnstone, Mein, Stubbs and Turnbull – arrived at Port Jackson and requested to be settled together. Their wish was granted by Governor King and they moved to and built their homes on their 100-acre land grants at Portland Head (Ebenezer) on the Hawkesbury River early in 1803. 
  They were joined by seven other families – Arndell, Bushell, Grono, Cavanough, Jacklin, Suddis and Jones –where they worshipped regularly from as early as 1803 on Sundays for services on Ebenezer Mount beneath a tree which still stands adjacent to the church today or in the homes of settlers, under the leadership of Pastor James Mein . 
  The church, when it  was built, was also used as a school. The first burial occurred in 1812 and a cemetery was established in the churchyard with the schoolmaster's house  being constructed in 1817. 
  Ebenezer Church was built in 1809 and was the first and for many years the only church built and paid for by voluntary gifts and labour. It was also used as the school from 1810 until a school house was built functioning until 1880 when a public school was built. It was formally established as a Presbyterian church in 1824. The vestry, which was added in 1959, is sympathetic to the scale and texture of the original buildings.
  It was the first Presbyterian cemetery and is one of the most important in Australia which contains the graves of many of the Scots who arrived on the ship ‘Coromandel’ in 1802 and other church pioneers who were amongst the first settlers in the Hawkesbury. It has an association with six generations of  Coromandel settlers.
  The cemetery contains gravestones from 1813 and through the 1820’s; simple sandstone headstones with footstones. It also includes graves from the Victorian period, a period when the austere Scots permitted a small amount of decoration and simple iron surrounds. Many of the iron guards are still intact and recent efforts have been made to preserve them. There are also graves from the early and late twentieth century and up to the present day.
  The church is open each day for visitors who are welcome to take a self-guided tour pamphlet / map from the porch. 
  A must see church with a brilliant history of stoic settlers whose strength, commitment and determination along with their strong bonds of friendship endured the harsh new landscape to build not only their new lives but to build a strong community which has lasted for over two centuries.
Rounded Rectangle: LOOKING AT OUR PAST- EBENEZER CHURCH