Geelong, VIC - St John's Lutheran

Year Built: 1837

Denomination: Lutheran

Saint: John

Address: 165 Yarra Street, Geelong, Victoria, 3220

Architect: Unknown

Traditional Owners: Wadawurrung people

Last Updated: 19/04/2023

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History and Architecture:

In October 1837, the first Presbyterian service to be held in Victoria was held in Dr. Alexander Thomson's home by the Rev. James Clow. On the 2nd October 1837, a meeting was called to form a congregation in Geelong. Tenders for the church, designed by Alexander J. Skene, were approved and the foundation stone was laid on the 22nd March 1841 by pioneer Geelong resident, Dr Alexander Thomson.

The church was constructed by R. Somerville and R.-H. Marr and cost £2,000. Completion of the building was delayed, partly due to the development of a fault which required partial re-construction of the walls. On the 3d July 1842, the church was finally opened. In October 1877, the trustees decided to excise some of the church land facing Yarra and Little Myers Streets and the lots were offered at auction as building sites. Due to the growth in Geelong's population, informal discussions began in 1907 with a view to moving the Church to the Eastern Suburbs. By 1912 a new church building in Sydney Avenue was ready. The Yarra Street site was sold to the Cummun Na Feine Society in 1911 and the building was remodelled to serve as a hall. The original structure survived but was placed behind a two storey rendered classical style front designed by Laird and Buchan. The building, was then purchased by the Lutheran Church in May 1945 and a new front was added to the building. The building was dedicated for use as St John's Lutheran Church in April 1948 and continues to be used today.

The design is of Georgian style which was built of Barrabool freestone by masons Somerville and Marr. The two storey stucco rendered conservative classical style building fronting the original Church was erected c 1912.

The former St Andrew's Presbyterian Church is of paramount historical importance, being the first Presbyterian Church in Geelong, the oldest surviving brick or stone structure in the region and the earliest documented work of Alexander Skene, the first architect/surveyor to practice in the town. Skene later became the Surveyor-General in Victoria, 1869-86, as well as being a noted colonial architect both in Melbourne and in Geelong.


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
1840 - 1859 Rev Andrew Love P
1859 - Rev Alexander James Campbell P
1870 - 1874 Rev Charles John Cameron P
1874 - Rev Charles Joseph Baird P
2010 - Rev Mark Blackwell LCA


Built in 1886-7 by Alfred Fuller for the Methodist Church, North Melbourne. Installed in 1936 in the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Kensington. Restored & installed in present location in 1972 by members of the church. It has 2m, 20spst, 3c, tr & elpn pedals. Gt: Sw: Ped: 16.16.
For a full description and photos click here.


1. Organ Historical Trust of Australia with permission.