Queenstown faithful celebrate historic day

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Queenstown Anglicans have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first church services in the town.

About 100 parishioners, many in period dress, attended a service at St Peter’s Church this morning (Sunday).

Led by Rt Rev Dr David Coles, vicar of the Wakatipu parish, the congregation then walked to the Marine Parade statue of William Rees – Queenstown founder and leader of the local Anglican Church.

Coles says: “It is a special occasion.

“Today we’re celebrating the anniversary of the first Queenstown services, held in the woolshed on March 15, 1863. 

“We’ll also have a weekend of celebrations later in the year to mark the establishment of St Peter’s.”

The first official Anglican services were held in a corrugated-iron woolshed behind the Queen’s Arms Hotel, with devout Welsh Anglican Rees leading morning and evening prayers.

Parishioners also attended Eichardt’s Private Hotel today, where the woolshed once stood, for drinks and a re-enactment of Bishop Henry Harper formally presenting Rees with a licence to be a lay reader and preacher.