Preston, VIC - Uniting

Year Built: 1894

Denomination: Uniting

Address: Corner Tyler & High Street, Preston, Victoria, 3072

Previous Denomination: Methodist

Architect: F.E. Stephenson

Traditional Owners: Wiradjuri people

Last Updated: 09/07/2023

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History and Architecture:

Preston Uniting was originally a Methodist church and its history goes back to the earliest days of white settlement at Port Phillip.

The founding fathers who bought the land for £20 in 1854 from Samuel Jeffrey were Brian Abbey, farmer (Newlands); Robert Christie, farmer (Plenty River); Peter Dredge storekeeper (Pentridge); Francis Thomas farmer (Plenty River); John Ranald Pascoe saddler, and Robert Gallagher baker.

Prior to that time some of the pioneer founders went to Pentridge (Coburg) for church worship. It seems that Methodist congregations developed along Sydney Road during the 1840's and had reached Coburg by the mid 1840's.

By 1850 church services started in Jeffrey's barn which was probably not on the land now occupied by the church. By 1852 the congregation had grown sufficiently and a small wooden church was erected on land "donated' by Samuel Jeffrey on the site of the present day church complex.

In 1856 a Sunday School commenced and by 1863 the first part of the present day bluestone church, designed by Rev F.E. Stephenson was built using stonedonated from John Hoopers quarry. The transepts and rear vestries were added around 1900.

The Foundation stone surprisingly, was laid on 26 January 1894.

A living presence continued and hit a 'boom' time in the 1950's.Church life continues today, and it has introduced a new "Creative Living Centre', which is widely used by the local community.


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
1863 - 1865 Rev Francis E Stephenson M 1829 1885
1865 - 1868 Rev James S.H. Royce M 1829 1907
1868 - 1869 Rev H Stubbs M
1869 - 1870 Rev James W Tuckfield M 1840 1908
1870 - 1871 Rev Edward Davies M 1837 1880
1871 - 1874 Rev Charles Dubourg M 1828 1886
1874 - 1877 Rev Richard Hart M 1818 1907
1877 - 1880 Rev P R.C. Usser M
1880 - 1883 Rev E. D King M
1883 - 1886 Rev J. B Smith M 1829 1903
1886 - 1889 Rev R Brown M
1889 - 1892 Rev James Lowe M 1848 1932
1892 - 1895 Rev S Adamson M
1895 - 1898 Rev S C Flockhart M
1898 - 1901 Rev H H. Tuckfield M
1901 - 1904 Rev D S. Lowe M
1904 - 1907 Rev H Saloway M
1907 - 1911 Rev J Tratham M
1911 - 1918 Rev E Orlando Knee M 1847 1915
1918 - 1922 Rev David J Flockhart M
1922 - 1926 Rev A. Hambley M
1926 - 1930 Rev H McIroy M
1930 - 1934 Rev F Charles Bremer M
1934 - 1938 Rev Albert Leslie Sherlock M 1964
1938 - 1943 Rev T W. Butcher M
1943 - 1946 Rev A. W. Guy M
1946 - 1951 Rev W. E Jennings M
1951 - 1957 Rev J C Brown M
1957 - 1965 Rev J. D Wade M
1965 - 1971 Rev Geoffrey E Vertigan M
1971 - 1975 Rev H W. Secomb U
1975 - 1983 Rev W. R Griffiths U
1983 - 1986 Rev D Forrest U
1986 - 1987 Rev Dr Simpson U
1987 - 1989 Rev L Churchill U
1989 - 1991 Rev J Pernu U
1991 - 1995 Rev P. Sanders U
1995 - 1996 Rev E. Laidlaw U
1996 - 2002 Rev B. Hurley U
2002 - Rev A. Hardie U


In 1877 George Fincham built a 2-manual organ of 15 stops for St Peter's Anglican Church in Ballarat, Victoria. St Peter's sold the organ to Preston in 1930 and the total installed cost was £400. It was installed by organ-builders Hill, Norman and Beard. This organ is a substantial example of Fincham's earlier work which remains largely intact apart from the removal of the great mixture and replacement by a second open Diapason and retaining its original action and three-tower case.

By 1961 the Organ was 84 years old and the Church contacted Geo. Fincham & Sons with a view to restoring the organ. Geo. Fincham & Sons were happy to restore and Revoice the pipe work at this time i.e. 1962, as this part of the organ was the most valuable part, and would be retained if and when an updated mechanism was fitted to the organ. Mr Ken Falconer of Stewart Organs in Surrey Hills, Vic services and tunes this organ twice each year.

On the 20th November 1991 The National Trust of Australia (Victoria division) decided to include our the organ in their Register in order to draw community attention to its special importance as a component of Australia's heritage. This organ is the only remaining 19th Century organ in Preston, and is of regional significance.

There is a large wooden handle on the pulpit side of the organ to hand-pump air into the pipes. This was used until an electric motor was fitted to do the job. Worshippers over the years have grown to love the beautiful tonal qualities of our dear old Fincham.

For a complete history and photos click here.


1. Rosie Bray 2012


1. Ryerson Index.