Christ Church in South Yarra is an Anglican Church established in the 1850’s to serve the Christian community in the parish to experience and express God’s love in worship and service. Built in Gothic revival style, modelled on Salisbury Cathedral in England, the church was built in stages that went through the boom of Goldrush years to the bust of 1890’s.
Two acres of land was reserved for a church at the junction of Gardiners Creek and Punt Road in 1852 at the request of Melbourne’s first Bishop, Charles Perry. Bishop Perry, later that year made an application for exchange of the land for an equivalent land further westward to include the highest portion, which was refused by the authorities. A trust was formed and in August 1854, the land was allotted through a crown grant for Anglican Church, Parsonage and School.
A church building committee was constituted, and funds collection began for the construction. The first Anglican service in South Yarra was held on 16th December 1855. The first incumbent of the proposed church, Rev William Newton Guinness arrived in December 1855.
The designs for the church was invited and the committee endorsed the design proposed by architects Charles Webb and James Taylor. The foundation stone for the original church building was laid on 26th April 1856. General Edward Macarthur, the officer administering the Government (after the death of Governor of Victoria, Sir Charles Hotham, he was administrator of the State for 12 months) laid the stone. The church as per plan was to consist of a nave chancel, two transepts and a side tower and to have a spire of one hundred and fifty feet in height.
In 1856, Bishop Perry split the parish of Prahran to constitute the Parish of South Yarra stretching from St Kilda Road to Kooyong Road.
In April 1857 first portion of the church was erected at a cost of £2850 and was opened for Divine service.
In 1859, the vicarage was built at a cost of £4000 and a schoolhouse was commenced. The newly enlarged church was first used for worship on 8th December 1859. The church constructed of blue granite is a strikingly fine piece of architecture. The church has a seating capacity of 800 and was modelled on Salisbury Cathedral in England.
The church was consecrated on 21st December 1875 by the Bishop of Ballarat.
The church was restored and extended in 1881 and the tower and spire were subsequently added for a cost of £4000. The architects were changed, and Joseph Reed of Reed Henderson and Smart was appointed for building verger’s cottage and extension to Parish Hall. In 1886, the south aisle was added, and the spire completed. The height of the Spire was changed to 176 feet from Charles Webb’s original design of 150 feet. In 1889, the north aisle was built. Nearly £20000 was spent to complete the structure as we see today.
The first Vicar for the church Rev. William Newton Guinness was appointed to the charge at the end of 1855 and continued till 1880. Rev Horace Finn Tucker who followed him carried out the restoration and extension of the church. On 29th October 1885, the foundation stone of the present tower and steeple were laid Sir H.B. Loch.
Address: Cnr Punt and Toorak Roads, South Yarra, Victoria 3141 Australia
The Parish Office is open 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday (except Public Holidays).
The church is open from 9am-5pm.
Public Transport to the Church
Tram No 58 (Toorak) passes near the church
Get down in South Yarra station. It is five minutes’ walk from the station along Toorak Road
Route 246 Clifton Hill – Elsternwick, travels along Punt Road.