Holy Trinity 1909


  • A Brief History of the Parish

    The first organized services in this district were held monthly during 1885 in the Recreation Hall in Albany Crescent, near the Surrey Hills Railway Station (long since demolished).  This building was originally opened in 1883.  The Reverend H E Taylor, then Vicar of St. Barnabas, Balwyn, conducted the services and had care of the area.

    A committee of five was formed to establish a church and a building fund commenced.  Mr E D Dyer, who had bought considerable quantities of land in Surrey Hills at the height of the speculative land boom of the 1880s, donated the land for a church.  The foundation stone of the church (known for most of its history as St. George’s Mont Albert but later the first church building in the parish to be dedicated to the Holy Trinity) was laid on the 17th July 1886.  The first service took place with eighty people present on the 30th January 1887.  Two years later it became part of the Parish of Box Hill.

    St george's under construction

    Land in Surrey Hills with no gas, no streetlights and no water rose from 15 shillings a foot, in 1884, to £15 in 1887.  The land boom collapse coupled with the bank collapse and the depression put the church in a financial crisis.  It lost title in the property as the mortgages could neither be redeemed nor renewed.  Services continued to be held in Surrey Hills Hall until late October 1894 when arrangements were made to rent back the church building from Mr Lane (who now held the title to its building) for £12 per annum.  Constant friction over rent and repairs culminated in the closure of the building by the Central Board of Health.  Between March 1903 and October 1904 Surrey Hills was again used for services.

    As early as 1897 it was realised that the church was poorly located for the developing district and suggestions for obtaining a more central site were made after an inspection of the building and district in 1904.  The Bishop of Melbourne, Dr L Clarke, persuaded a meeting of parishioners that it was desirable to erect a new church on a more central site.  It was agreed, however, to purchase the existing building in Mont Albert Road for parochial purposes for the sum of £300, financed by a loan from the Diocese. 

    St George's Mont Albert

    Surrey Hills then became a separate parish and the Reverend L Townsend was inducted as the first Vicar.  The request for a change in name to Holy Trinity was approved.

    Spurred by the offer from the Diocese of a new site in Union Road, Mr Charleton, architect, was instructed with the task of drawing up plans.  The tender of Taylor Brothers of £595 was accepted.  The plans were a departure from normal church architecture, with its combination of oiled jarrah weather boarding with rough cast above. 

    First Surrey Hills church


    This second Parish Church (shown above) dedicated to the Holy Trinity (much altered in appearance after World War II and in the recent redevelopment) is now known as Trinity Hall.  It remained the parish church until the present and third Holy Trinity was opened in 1922.

    A wonderful collection of photos taken during the construction of the church in 1921-22 by the late Norman Carter are available in our photo gallery here.

    Holy Trinity Surrey Hills

    Faced with an urgent need for more Sunday School accommodation it was considered better to build a new church on the present site, rather than spending more money on Sunday School extensions.  The foundation stone was laid by the Governor (the Earl of Stradbroke) on 16th July 1921. Archbishop Lees consecrated the new building as one of his first official duties on 12th March 1922.  The contractor for the building was Mr. J. Kinsman and it cost £3,350 with a furniture outlay of £600 for furnishings to supplement the many gifts and/or memorials.  The Architects were Messrs Gawler and Drummond.

    With the opening of the new church the old church building in Union Road became available for Sunday School purposes.  The Mont Albert Road building (St. George’s) was now available for services, which were resumed, first monthly then weekly, in 1923.  To distinguish it from the present Holy Trinity, the Mont Albert Road church became known as St. George’s Mont Albert.

    St George's Mont Albert after conversion to units

    The parish continued to operate as a two-centre parish in spite of the very close proximity of the two churches.  As the year passed it became obvious to many that we could operate more effectively out of one centre, without the distraction of keeping two sets of ageing buildings in good repair.  After much prayerful consideration the decision was made to close the smaller of the two centres, after the service of secularisation, many of the items used in worship were transferred to Holy Trinity for continued use, especially in the newly created Chapel of St. George.

    St George's Chapel

    Following the sale of the St. George's property in Mont Albert Road, later in the same year (1988) planning began for the re-development of the Union Road property.  Work began on the vicarage, which was in urgent need of modernisation, while John Reid of Woodhead International drew up plans for the redevelopment of the whole complex.  The brief included the linking of the buildings together to facilitate ease of movement throughout the complex, the provision of modern offices, meeting room and kitchen within or adjacent to a modern hall. 

    New entrance

    New Courtyard entrance


    At the dedication Archbishop Peter Watson said of the vicar and vestry that not only had they succeeded in blending the old with the new in a manner pleasing to the eye, but it now gives a suggestion of openness to the community—a community which we are endeavouring to serve and welcome into our midst.

    [Prepared by our archivist, Mr Brian Clark]