Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Locked somewhere behind a stone in St John the Baptist's Church in the modern day Canberra suburb of Reid is a 169 year old time-capsule with no foreseeable opening date any time in the future. The correspondents from the "Limestone Plains" (present day Canberra) reporting to the Sydney Herald in 1841, documented the inclusion of certain item's behind the foundation stone of the blue-stone Church.

In 1841 at the official laying of the "Foundation Stone" ceremony, the Rev. Edward Smith of Queanbeyan, who was the first resident clergyman in the district, interred a "Bible and Prayer-book, a vase (glass?) containing papers, bearing a date and a plate (metal?) with the following inscription":

"This Foundation Stone of a Church, to be named the Church of St. John the Baptist and to be set apart for the ?rea King of the Right Catholic Faith and administration of the sacraments, according to the use of the United Church of England and Ireland, was laid by the Rev. E. Smith, BA., on the 1? day of May, 1841. :- William Grant Broughton, D.D., being Bishop of Australia."

W. Broughton (1788-1853), Church of England bishop (bio here)

I couldn't find an engraved stone on the church's exterior walls so which stone these items reside behind/under probably remains unknown. Who knows, maybe some day in the future when the Anglican faith is an ancient religion some future archaeologist may one day "discover" this little treasure trove...

I have a post on St. John the Baptist's Church (here)
The church's website is (here)

The Sydney Herald - 21 May 1841
National Library of Australia Trove (here)

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