The first church opened in Hunters Hill was the Fig Tree Chapel (Anglican), established in 1858. It was used as a Chapel and Sunday School and on weekdays as a day school, also the first in Hunter’s Hill. The Chapel was erected on land now occupied by the North-Western Expressway and Overpass almost opposite the site of the present Hunters Hill Hotel and it was attached to St. Anne’s Church of England at Ryde. In passing, it is of interest to note that the first church in the north-western area was consecrated at Ryde in the year 1800, near where the present St. Anne’s Church was built in 1825. The present tower on that Church was added in 1856.
When the NSW Government, per medium of the Department of Main Roads, decided, in the late 1950s, to proceed with the building of the North-Western Expressway and Overpass with associated new bridges, it meant the demolition of many scores of dwellings in Huntley’s Point and Hunters Hill areas, including the Fig Tree Chapel, the famous “St. Malo” and Mary Reiby’s Cottage. As a result of very strong and continued pressure from Hunter’s Hill Council, Church Authorities and the public, the State Government ultimately agreed to meet the heavy cost of demolishing the Chapel stone by stone, the numbering of all parts and its re-erection on a new site in Fig Tree Road, chosen by the Anglican Church.
The work of demolition and re-erection was duly carried out in an extremely efficient manner. The rebuilt Church was dedicated by the laying of a foundation stone by His Grace, The Archbishop of Sydney, on 14 April 1962; the Church being named ‘St. Mark’s’. However, to the people of Hunters Hill and particularly those in the Fig Tree or Central Hunters Hill area, it will always be affectionately known as the Fig Tree Chapel, an integral part of the Anglican Parish of Hunters Hill. Unfortunately it proved impossible to save ‘St. Malo’ and Mary Reiby’s Cottage and they were demolished in due course. Their original location would have been approximately half way between the present Overpass and Fig Tree Bridge, looking north.
Hunters Hill Historical Society in 1972 decided to provide an appropriately worded bronze plaque on a dressed sandstone base near the original site of the Fig Tree Chapel. At an appropriate ceremony on 14 May 1972, the memorial was dedicated by Canon Sherlock and is on the south-western side of the Overpass.
Next in age is Villa Maria Roman Catholic Church situated in Mary Street, Hunters Hill. It was built by the Marist Fathers. The foundation stone was laid on 14 January 1867, the construction was supervised by Father Joly, SM, and this lovely church was opened and dedicated on 24 April 1871. It is a delightful example of Gothic architecture and forms the centre of the Roman Catholic life in the Municipality.
Another Roman Catholic Church, known as Blessed Peter Channel, was built in Futuna Street, Hunters Hill; the foundation stone being laid on 3 December 1899. This Church was named after a French Missionary, Father Peter Channel, who was murdered by natives on the Island of Futuna, in the French Polynesian Group, in 1841; hence the name given to Futuna Street.
Hunters Hill Congregational Church, situated in Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill, adjacent to the Town Hall, held its first services on 19 November 1876 and was completed in 1878.
All Saints’ Church of England in Ferry Street, Hunters Hill, was opened and dedicated on 22 April 1888; the foundation stone being laid on 30 May 1885. All Saints’ Rectory was occupied on 18 October 1890. In more recent times a very fine Parish Hall was erected behind the Church itself.
Churches built and opened for worship in later years were St. John’s Church of England in Margaret Street, Woolwich, in 1908, Woolwich-Hunters Hill Presbyterian in Woolwich Road, Hunters Hill in 1915 and Boronia Methodist Church in Pittwater Road, Gladesville, in 1958.
Three other Churches, situated on the common boundary of the municipalities of Hunters Hill and Ryde, but actually on the Ryde side of Victoria Road, Gladesville are: Christ Church Anglican at corner of Victoria Road and Jordan Street, Gladesville, Gladesville Presbyterian Church at corner of Victoria Road and Pittwater Road, Gladesville, Gladesville Methodist Church in Victoria Road near Pearson Street, Gladesville.