Warrandyte Uniting Church History
Church services began in Warrandyte five years after the discovery of gold in 1851. The first service was conducted by a Lutheran Minister on the banks of the Yarra River. By 1921, the Presbyterian Church had started services in a disused hall built originally by the Baptists in 1906. This building survived the flood of 1924, the bushfires of 1927, and the enormous flood of 1934, when the church was submerged to its roof.
The building was finally destroyed in a bushfire on January 13, 1939.
After some services in temporary accommodation, activity was suspended for some years. Then a meeting in September 1955 resolved that regular monthly Presbyterian services would be held, and these commenced in the Mechanics Hall. In 1956 the congregation bought a block of land near Keen's Cutting, and adopted a church name of St Johns. Two timber buildings were obtained and transported to the block in 1958, and transformed by working bees to establish the church, which was dedicated in December, 1960. In January 1962, Warrandyte was again engulfed by fire, and the St Johns building was destroyed.
The Presbyterian services were then held at St Stephens Church of England, until the present site in Taroona Avenue was chosen in 1962. The present church building was constructed and dedicated in August, 1963.
Architects John Hipwell and Albert Ross designed a unique building which Manningham Council have designated as having State significance. Its simple geometric design owes much to Christopher Wren's London City churches. It's plan is similar to St Mary's Abchurch (1681-6). Architecturally, this building can be compared to Robin Boyd's work, especially the visitor centre at Tower Hill near Warrnambool.
With the growing push for churches to amalgamate, St Johns Presbyterian became Warrandyte Uniting Church in June 1977. An attached hall was added in 1991, to give us our church as it stands today.
Our church is situated just a casual stroll from the beautiful Yarra River, a feature that has had a huge influence on the character of our township.
Having developed predominantly in the valley along the South bank of the river, Warrandyte has retained its country town feeling, remarkable for a town located less than 26 km from the centre of Melbourne city.
Some of our services and other church functions make use of the proximity to the river to allow us to move onto the river banks and enjoy its beauty.
Some services involving ours and other churches in the town are held at Stiggants Reserve, a park and picnic spot on the river. Stiggants Reserve is the site of many festivals and markets in Warrandyte.