History


250 High Street, Northcote 1864

1854 (early) the first religious services conducted by Wesleyans were held in private residences. From these gathering came a congregation necessitating proper church buildings.

1854 (mid year) Land 25 feet square acquired at 250 High Street , Northcote. The bluestone building provided accommodation for a day school, Sunday School and church.

Who paid for the building?
One report states that the Denominational School Board provided 300 pounds of the estimated 700 pound cost. A contemporary diary written by the Rev Daniel James Draper, representative of the Australasian Conference of the Wesleyan Methodism, suggests that the promised money was not paid, and the community had to raise the money.

The building was probably designed by ‘prolific' church architect Thomas Crouch, who also designed the Northcote Brickworks. He also designed the extension in 1855. The façade is more recent, but the back of the church is in original condition.

The school had an average of 55 children attending. The first teacher was Robert S Bunn. This school eventually shifted to a new building in Helen Street , where a primary school continues to this day.

In 1855 the Rev Daniel James Draper, representative of the Australasian Conference of the Wesleyan Methodism wrote:

May, Sunday 28th Mr Symons called and reported that the roof of Northcote chapel had been blown off during the terrific gale of last night.

August 13th. Rode to Northcote. Visited several families and solicited money for the enlargement of the chapel.

December 19th .[1855] . Northcote meeting. Mr Guthridge in the chair. Speakers, Huill, Symons, Draper etc. proceeds 75 pounds

Northcote is a small village about three miles from Melbourne, on the “Plenty Road”. On a piece of land given by Mr R Courtenay, for many years Governor of the Wesleyan Immigrant’s Home,” a stone building has been erected to serve the double purpose of school and place of worship. It was soon too small and had to be enlarged to double its size. It was one of those places which suffered from the repudiation of the School Board, referred to in the Appendix on Wesleyan Education. Two-thirds of the cost of erection had been promised by the Board; but when the building had been erected for nearly one year and a half, no money could be obtained. And then only one-half of the cost instead of the two-thirds as promised. It was towards raising money for the payment of the debt thus incurred, that this meeting was held; and for so small a community the financial result was both gratifying and liberal.

Central Northcote, 1874
Methodist Church in foreground

 

High Street from Mitchell Street, looking south, 1885

 

251 High Street, Northcote 1904

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chalice, Northcote 2006

 

 

 

1855 The building at 250 High Street was enlarged to twice its original size.

1869 7th Nov. (or 9th) Foundations stone of current church (251 High St) laid by Bishop Taylor. The land 50 feet x 150 feet cost 90 pounds. The first part of the present church was built at a cost of 1,400 pounds, and provided seating for 250 people.

1870 The new church opened on 10th July for religious services. For a considerable time this building was also used by the Congregationalists and the Presbyterians and others.

1873 The original building was reported to be in poor condition although able to accommodate 110 children. A state school was built in Helen Street, and when it opened, the Wesleyan School closed.

1883 The building at 250 High Street was the first meeting place of the Borough Council. Two rooms were hired to serve as municipal offices. It remained the official town hall until 1894.

1885 The new church was extended so it could seat 650 people.

1888 A further extension was built to accommodate the growing Sunday School at 250 High Street.

1908 A new Sunday School was built next to the original church, and the original building became offices that were rented. Occupants included jewellers and an auctioneer and estate agent.

1960s Spire on current church demolished due to safety concerns.

1977 The Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Union churches came together to form the Uniting Church in Australia.

1980-90 Home to the Coptic Orthodox Church. (UCA Services were suspended during this time)

1991  Uniting Church evening worship services resumed. Previously the parish evening services were held at Prince of Wales Park, then Rossmoyne Street. The cross positioned below the organ came from Rossmoyne St. 

A Parish/Presbytery consultation process was undertaken to develop a Parish Mission Strategy.

1996 Presbytery  suggested separating out High St as an autonomous mission project with separate responsibility and finances from the rest of the parish.

1997 A Presbytery/High St committee was established to develop and manage High St as an autonomous project, sponsored by the Presbytery of Yarra Valley with some initial finance from the Synod Board of Mission and Resourcing including the appointment of a project worker.

1998  High Street project established with full-time Project Worker and the  Chalice program was started "for life and care of the soul". 

2001 Chalice declared a Community of Faith within the Uniting Church.

2002 The minstry position is endorsed as a 'placement' within UCA. The additional funding from BoMar concludes and Chalice continues to develop.

Compiled by Susan Pepper and Margaret Pitt

Reference: Swift, William George (1928), History of Northcote from its first settlement to a city, City of Northcote. This book is available in the reference collection at Northcote branch of the Darebin Libraries.