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 PATRICK’S, ROKEWOOD

(ROMAN CATHOLIC)COLAC-BALLARAT ROAD, ROKEWOOD One more disposal in what looks like a clearance sale. The Roman Catholic authorities in Ballarat are at it again, selling off a perfectly good solid church building which will now be mutilated architecturally by being put to some secular use, probably as someone’s house. They’d hardly got the very handsomeContinue reading “ST PATRICK’S, ROKEWOOD”

ST PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, RUPANYUP

(ANGLICAN) CROMIE STREET, RUPANYUP Architect Louis Williams at his best. The last ten years or so have been bad enough for churches in urban Victoria, with closures planned or effected, but in the country they have been disastrous. Scores of churches have shut down, as rural populations decline and townships are turned into ghosts ofContinue reading “ST PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, RUPANYUP”

ALBERT PARK METHODIST CHURCH, ALBERT PARK

(FORMERLY METHODIST)CARDIGAN PLACE, ALBERT PARK The post-Christian era in plain view. If you want to see what the post-Christian era looks like, Bridport Street in Melbourne’s rich respectable seaside suburb of Albert Park is a one-stop exhibition. At each end of this thronged street stands a large and imposing brick church. At the eastern endContinue reading “ALBERT PARK METHODIST CHURCH, ALBERT PARK”

ST AGNES’S, GLEN HUNTLY

(ANGLICAN)BOORAN ROAD, GLEN HUNTLY An echo of Ravenna in a 1920s suburb. It never augurs well for a church’s future when it loses its parochial autonomy. St Agnes’s, Glen Huntly, is now administered from St John’s, East Malvern, a parish which is returning to its nineteenth-century extensiveness, having several years ago had part of theContinue reading “ST AGNES’S, GLEN HUNTLY”

DROMANA UNITING CHURCH

(FORMERLY METHODIST)NEPEAN HIGHWAY, DROMANA Welcome, but not to church. When a church ceases to be used for the primary purpose for which it was built you start to wonder how long it will continue to exist as a building. I don’t mean that it will be instantly torn down, or sold on the sly (toContinue reading “DROMANA UNITING CHURCH”

ST FRANCIS XAVIER’S, PRAHRAN

(ROMAN CATHOLIC)HIGH STREET, PRAHRAN Melbourne’s first “Vatican II” church, now much altered. Here we have a classic illustration of the principle that drives the wheel of fashion, at least in the realm of architecture. Forty or so years after its zenith of popularity, a building that was admired and lauded by all is dismissed andContinue reading “ST FRANCIS XAVIER’S, PRAHRAN”

PLEASANT STREET UNITING CHURCH, BALLARAT

(FORMERLY WESLEYAN METHODIST) PLEASANT STREET, BALLARAT A reminder of Methodism’s onetime vitality. Another Ballarat church – but there were so many. Pleasant Street is an unpretentious but well-designed building notable for the excellence of its Gothic detailing and the rich colours of the brick used in its construction. Ballarat’s population has a strong Cornish element,Continue reading “PLEASANT STREET UNITING CHURCH, BALLARAT”

ST JAMES’S, MORRISONS

(ANGLICAN)TABLELAND ROAD, MORRISONS Idly dreaming beside the pines. This church is remote and hard to find among the stands of green-black pines and the straggly gums that screen it from the road, until you round a bend and there it is. It looks abandoned, idly dreaming in pinaceous solitude without even a cart track acrossContinue reading “ST JAMES’S, MORRISONS”

SCOTS CHURCH, BALLARAT

(PRESBYTERIAN)LYDIARD STREET, BALLARAT Its graceful spire is one of only three in Ballarat. This charming and unpretentious brick church on Soldiers Hill was built for the Presbyterians of North Ballarat in 1890 to a Gothic-inspired design by local architects Figgis & Molloy. Its spire, slender and graceful and visible from all over north Ballarat, isContinue reading “SCOTS CHURCH, BALLARAT”