Toorak, VIC - St John's Anglican

Year Built: 1860

Denomination: Anglican

Saint: John

Address: 86 Clendon Road, Toorak, Victoria, 3142

Architect: William W Wardell

Architectural Style: Later Gothic

Traditional Owners: Wurundjeri people

Last Updated: 19/03/2024

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History and Architecture:

The first permanent Anglican Church to be erected in the area was, however, Christ Church South Yarra, the land for which was allotted in 1854 on the present site on the corners of Punt Rd and Toorak Rd. Residents of Toorak, including the Governor, initially travelled to Christ Church to attend church services, a distance of more than 2 kilometres for some. Towards the end of the 1850’s it was felt by many that Toorak had grown sufficiently to warrant the building of a church of its own.

A prominent bluestone church, designed by W W Wardell in the Later Gothic style and built in various stages between 1860 and 1873. Subsequent enlargement of the chancel took place in 1912 and the addition of the baptistry, vestries and chapel in 1920, 1935, and 1937, to the design of Walter Butler and Louis R Williams. This was Wardell's first Anglican design, carried out on an honorary basis, and gave rise to suspicion that he was unfairly trying to develop an Anglican practice.

A Foundation stone reads, " To the Glory of God to commemorate the completion on the thirteenth day of of July 1962 of the first one hundred years of worship here in the Church of St John the Evangelist this stone was set by his Excellency Lieut Gen. The Hon Sir Edmund Herring K.C.M.G. K.B.E. D.S.O. M.C. E.D. K.ST.I".


These names are now in the database and can be searched individually

Years Name Annotation D.o.B D.o.D
1863 - 1900 Rev Walter Fellows
1900 - 1917 Canon R. G. Drought
1911 - 1915 Rev Joseph Hollis Allen Curate 1885 1971
1918 - 1945 Rev Dr Archibald Law
1931 - 1934 Rev John Carrington Curate 1869 1948
1934 - Rev George John Baxter Curate 1892 1960
1945 - 1950 Canon Herbert Maxwell Arrowsmith 1903 1982
1950 - 1955 Archdeacon Arthur Reginald Mace 1885 1965
1955 - 1968 Rev Thomas George Gee 1903 1981
1965 - 1966 Rev John Basil Grindrod 1867 1930
1968 - 1978 Rev A. Victor Maddick
1978 - 1988 Archdeacon Stan Moss
1988 - 2004 Archdeacon Philip Newman
2004 - 2008 Rev Michael Simpson
2009 - Rev Dr Brady S. Billings
2016 - Rev Dr Peter French


The first organ was installed in 1873 and constructed by organ makers Merklin-Schutze of Brussels. This organ was commissioned by the first vicar, the Revd Walter Fellows, and was originally located in the choir loft. St John's has had a total of four pipe organs in its 135-year history. The current Organ is by Hill & Son and was the last of 39 organs exported to Australia by the firm before its amalgamation with Norman & Beard. With a job number of 2432, it was built in 1913 in the firm's York Road works under the superintendence of Dr Arthur Hill.
For a complete history on St John's various Organs click here.


2. Cable Clergy Index.
3. Organ Historical Trust of Australia with permission.