Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

07 August 2009

Country Churches of NZ 95. All Saints', Burnham, Canterbury

I wrote and illustrated Country Churches of New Zealand. It was published in 2002 by New Holland, Publishers and is still on sale in bookshops. The publishers have kindly agreed to me re-publishing some of the book’s images and descriptions in this blog.


All Saints' Garrison Church, Burnham, is as neat, tidy and well kept as any building would be that's in the care of the army. It stands in beautiful, park-like surroundings; but it didn't start life here.

It was built in 1864 (to the design of Henry William Harper) to grace a tiny knoll on the Burnham estate of Richard Bethell, an old Etonian keen to establish an English hierarchical fiefdom in the new colony. (It's an indication of Anglican dedication to purpose that within the next fourteen years seven more churches were built in the vicinity.)

All Saints' was carted off to its present location on 5 May 1902, after which it had six metres added to its length, acquired a turret, was re-roofed and re-painted.

It was transferred to the Defence Department and in 1923, when Burnham Military Camp was established, All Saints' became the first and only garrison church of the New Zealand Army.

I was impressed by two stained-glass windows, installed in 1976, to commemorate the New Zealand infantrymen who have died overseas since World War 11, and I was intrigued by the stuffed toy mouse dangling from the lectern, thereby, I daresay, hangs a tale...


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By Don Donovan