St John the Evangelist’s Church is in the village of Richmond, Tasmania, and is the oldest continuously used Catholic church in Australia. The present building is an amalgam of two designs. The earliest building was designed by the English (Bath) architect Henry Edmund Goodbridge (1800-1863) after John Bede Polding (1794-1877), Australia’s first Catholic bishop, obtained plans for several churches from Goodbridge before sailing to Australia in 1835. Polding laid the foundation stone in 1835 and the church was completed in 1837. The nave of the present building is from the original church. In 1859 additions were completed under the supervision of architect Frederick Thomas (1817-1885) from a parts of a detailed scale model made by the English architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852) in 1843. The model was made for Pugin’s friend Robert William Willson (1794-1866) who was the first Catholic Bishop in Tasmania. From Pugin’s design come the chancel (including the rear stained glass window with tracery seen in photograph two), sacristy and spire. Thomas designed the communion rails as the rood screen in Pugin’s model was too large for the building, as well as the pointed chancel arch. The interior also includes a font designed by Pugin in 1843. It was carved in England and brought to Tasmania by Bishop Wilson, and sits atop a platform of simple medieval-style tiles.
Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852) played a central role in establishing the Gothic Revival style and is best remembered for his work on the Houses of Parliament in London, and the interior of the Palace of Westminster.
For the exterior see http://ausmed.arts.uwa.edu.au/items/show/1117
For an essay on the church by Brian Andrews see http://www.puginfoundation.org/assets/Richmond_Essay.pdf