East Melbourne, VIC - Cairns Memorial Presbyterian former

Year Built: 1883

Denomination: Presbyterian

Address: Corner Powlett & Hotham Streets, East Melbourne, Victoria, 3002

Architect: Reed, Henderson and Smart

Traditional Owners: Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung & Bunurong Boon Wurrung people

Last Updated: 24/04/2023

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History and Architecture:

An article in the Melbourne Argus newspaper of 10 October 1881 reads, "A section of the congregation of Chalmera' Church having been granted permission by the Presbetry of Melbourne to form themselves into a separate congregation, they met for the first time yesterday morning, at the Orderly room, corner of Powlett-street and Victoria-parade. The new congregation numbers 220 persons. The Rev. F. R. M. Wilson, who conducted tho morning service, stated that the presbytry of Melbourne, at its meeting on Tuesday, the 4th isat, in answer to a petition from certain persons in East Melbourne, declared them to be a congregation in connexion with the Presbyterian Church."

The Church of English Gothic style was constructed in 1883-84 and 1886-87 and designed by Twentyman & Askew. Completed in 1895 and named in memory of Dr. Cairns. It was executed in rough face coursed rubble sandstone with ashlar sandstone quoins and dressings. The west front had a large lancet arched entry framed by pairs of buttresses. The gable above has a large cross and pinnacles springing from the eaves level. A square two level tower sits on the corner, originally to support a spire that was never built. This was the hub of Victorian Presbyterianism.

The Manse was at 87 Powlett Street.

The church was destroyed by fire in August 1988 and later turned into apartments.


This list may not contain every serving cleric, past or present, for this church.
Further submissions welcomed.

Years Name Annotation D.o.B D.o.D
1938 - 1939 Rev F. A. Hagennauer
1956 - Rev Louis Morton Humphery M.A. - more details P 1894 1970


The Organ was built in 1884 by Alfred Fuller. Rebuilt in 1915 by George Fincham & Son. Rebuilt in 1949 by Hill, Norman & Beard. Destroyed by fire in 1988. It had 2m, 26spst, 8c, elpn. Gt: Sw: Ped:


Part extract from Dept of Environment


1. Argus Newspaper 10 October 1881
2. Organ Historical Trust of Australia with permission.