Monday, July 12, 2010

Malmsbury - St Johns - Anglican – Victoria 1866

This beautiful old church sits on a rise in the small town of  Malmsbury in Victoria, on one of our excursions when in Ballarat, we found this church. 

The first sod for foundations was turned for construction in Oct 1861 and in Nov 1861 the foundation stone was laid. It was officially opened in Jan 1866 (and baptisms and marriage conducted in it) but not completed until Nov 1873.

A common theme with many of the older churches is the large grounds around the buildings, I suppose well used in the days of the horse and buggy.  Often the land has been sold off, however, the members of this church have not done so.  Today, worshipers arrive at what once would have been the back entrance, up on the hill.  The main gates are down a slope from the church.  I have included photographs of the tiles of dedication by the people who donated the gate.  This church is actually across the road from the other Malmsbury church (For Sale), that I have previously posted.  Enjoy.

The following information was sourced from the Australian Heritage Database. Place ID: 101614

St Johns Church is finely detailed, a local landmark, a church that goes back to the first two decades of settlement at Malmsbury and the first four decades in Victoria, and has an arcaded side chapel arrangement that is apparently unique in Victoria. The building has a special physical, historic and social role in the town, which it has served for 130 years. The history of construction over two decades illustrates the small size of the Malmsbury community and there is an important comparison to be made with the nearby Kyneton's St. Paul's Church of England constructed in 1855-1857, both historically and physically. St. John's remains the last operating church in the town. The interior is conventionally planned apart from the arcaded north wall of the main body, which gives access to the north side chapel/s; this structure, which is similar to an aisle, is apparently unique. Where such a structure was part of a nineteenth century church it was planned as aisles on both sides and gave access to the chancel or the transepts. In Malmsbury's case, the side section has access only into the adjoining nave, the vestry being in the east end of the side section. The parishioners had trouble raising enough funds to plaster the interior and complete the church; this is illustrated by the unplastered interior of the tower. The building is well detailed and enhanced by its elevated site overlooking the town. The adjacent bluestone and red brick rectory is next to the church and enhances it.

St. John's Malmsbury comprises a rectangular gable roofed nave of four bays and a chancel. Along the north side is an aisle-like structure, also with a gable roof and distinguished by three gables in its middle. The eastern end is the vestry, which has a flat roofed, parapeted porch. The walls are coursed local rusticated bluestone with cement dressings. The roofs are slate clad. The spire is cement rendered and the lantern is faced with crude he lantern is faced with crude pilasters. The central main entrance is finely detailed.

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