NO GOLDEN AGE OF CHURCHGOING

Were churches full in the comfortable 1950s? One or two were, but an informal assessment of church attendance in one Melbourne suburb in my childhood suggests that there was wide indifference to religion even then. Census statistics and everyday observation indicate that institutional Christianity, especially of the Anglican and Protestant sort, is slowly declining inContinue reading “NO GOLDEN AGE OF CHURCHGOING”

CHURCH OF THE MOTHER OF GOD, IVANHOE EAST

(ROMAN CATHOLIC)Corner of Wilfrid and Robinhood Roads, Ivanhoe East. Melbourne’s first church inspired by the Modern movement. This church has had a very short life, 66 years, just up to the age of being pensioned off.  It was the first Modernist church in Melbourne, the first designed by the firm of Mockridge, Stahle and Mitchelland isContinue reading “CHURCH OF THE MOTHER OF GOD, IVANHOE EAST”

AUBURN UNITING CHURCH

(UNITING, FORMERLY METHODIST),CORNER OXLEY ROAD AND HEPBURN STREET, AUBURN A noble bell tower with no bell. This remarkable building might have been designed as a variation on Mark Twain’s description of Maryborough and its grandiose railway station – a “station with a town attached”. This is a tower with a church attached. No Methodist understatementContinue reading “AUBURN UNITING CHURCH”

ALL SAINTS’, WEST FOOTSCRAY

(ANGLICAN)CORNER OF BALLARAT ROAD AND MAY STREET, WEST FOOTSCRAY A fine example of 1960s “contemporary”. This church, ultra-contemporary for its time, seems to have escaped the notice of heritage consultants and architectural historians. Possibly that is because of its locality, on the corner of one of the most dispiriting suburban roads in a shabby partContinue reading “ALL SAINTS’, WEST FOOTSCRAY”

THOMSON MEMORIAL CHURCH, TERANG

(PRESBYTERIAN)PRINCES HIGHWAY, TERANG A superb church which must be preserved at all costs. This is a magnificent church which would not be out of place as a provincial cathedral – indeed it is more imposing than some of the cathedrals of rural Australia. As a building it is a product of generosity and imagination. AsContinue reading “THOMSON MEMORIAL CHURCH, TERANG”

ST AGNES’S, BLACK ROCK

(ANGLICAN)ARKARINGA CRESCENT, BLACK ROCK Rus in urbe beside the bay. St Agnes’s is a country church in a suburb. It was in the country, more or less, when it was built, and has kept that air, even to the extent of acquiring a thoroughly unsuitable flat-roofed extension at the front for before- and after-service get-togethers,Continue reading “ST AGNES’S, BLACK ROCK”

ST GEORGE’S, GEELONG

(PRESBYTERIAN)CORNER OF LA TROBE TERRACE AND RYRIE STREET, GEELONG Closed and to all appearances forgotten.  This is one of those mysterious cases where a church shuts its doors after a service and shut they stay without anything further happening. Time goes by and no attempt seems to be made to reopen the building or toContinue reading “ST GEORGE’S, GEELONG”

EAST IVANHOE UNITING CHURCH

CORNER LOWER HEIDELBERG ROAD AND KING STREET, EAST IVANHOE Valuable site: the East Ivanhoe Uniting church and its land were sold for more than $11 million. Here’s an illustration of how quickly churchgoing has declined in well-to-do suburbs where not long ago churches were at the centre of local life. The East Ivanhoe Uniting churchContinue reading “EAST IVANHOE UNITING CHURCH”

ST ANDREW’S, ROKEWOOD

(UNITING)FERRARS STREET, ROKEWOOD I spoke too soon. St Andrew’s Uniting, formerly Presbyterian, church at Rokewood was built in 1866, in bluestone with freestone dressings to a design by Alexander Davidson. The spire, with its unusual adaptation of a broach at the base and canopied upper openings, was added in 1905. The building is now forContinue reading “ST ANDREW’S, ROKEWOOD”

ST ANDREW’S, GARDINER

(FORMERLY PRESBYTERIAN, NOW UNITING)CORNER BURKE AND MALVERN ROADS, GARDINER An inner-city church rebuilt on a new site. Is this beautiful bluestone church at risk or not? It is hard to say. A notice on its former website says its congregation was “disbanded” on 10 April 2016 and that the church would become the “permanent spiritualContinue reading “ST ANDREW’S, GARDINER”