The parish of Holy Trinity was formed when it was
subdivided from Christ Church to serve Anglicans in south St Kilda and
Balaclava. The triangular piece of land on the corner of Brighton Road and
Chapel Street was reserved for church purposes in the Victorian
Government Gazette on 23 April 1866. In October 1870 a wooden church
building was begun under the supervision of F. M. White. Capable of
accommodating 300 people, it was later used as a Sunday school. It was
opened on 29 January 1871 by Bishop Perry. It had cost £1217, including
£182 for furnishings. The organ cost £100.
A member of
the first parochial committee was Edmund Samuel Parkes, who was the
superintendent of the Bank of Australasia. He died on 11 May 1887 in a
train crash at Windsor Station. Described as a ‘spiritual pillar’ of Holy
Trinity, his loss was deeply mourned. A reredos, a decorative screen, paid
for by public subscription, and a stained-glass window, presented by his
officers of the Bank of Australasia, commemorate him in the church.
incumbent was the Reverend Barcroft Boake who ‘wore an unusually long
white beard, that divaricated leaving a “V” shaped opening’.
In 1872 he was asked to shorten his sermons, especially in hot weather. He
died in 1875 and the new incumbent was Archdeacon Stretch. The Reverend
George Torrance was the incumbent from 1878-94. A highly talented musician
and composer, he was held in great affection by the congregation. During
Torrance’s incumbency, fundraising for a permanent church began. An Olde
English Faire, held in the Melbourne Town Hall for five days in 1881,
raised almost £3000.
architects Reed and Barnes designed the substantial Later Gothic freestone
church and Ekins was the successful contractor with a tender of £7675. The
vicarage was built at the same time, with the land and building costing
£2400. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Moorhouse on 23 November
1882 and the church was consecrated on 19 November 1889.
It is built of Barrabool Hill stone with Waurn Ponds freestone dressings
and a basalt plinth and a slate roof.
The church has a nave and aisles, transepts, chancel and vestry, although
the spire was never built. It is considered of interest for ‘its circular
baptistery with conical roof, unusual circular clerestory windows and
apsidal chancel converging on a three-light window’.
Other features are the ‘timber roof trusses, arcaded side aisles, chancel,
memorial stained-glass windows, ingeniously developed altarpiece, organ
and raised pews’.
A new three-manual organ by George Fincham was installed. The £600 it cost
was fully paid by 1885 through Father Torrance giving recitals, collecting
subscriptions and acting as the church organist to save the salary. He was
dubbed ‘The disappearing parson’ because after finishing prayers he
vanished behind the screen to play the organ. He was also the first warden
at the newly founded Trinity College. A marble tablet commemorates him.
One of the
poignant memorials is a clerestory window to L. F. De Soyres, a young
chorister who died in 1889. The window was subscribed by the choristers
and the boy’s school friends. Another is the north transept window, a
memorial to the infant children of Frederick and Jessie Grimwade. Beneath
it are alabaster tablets to the Grimwades. He and his partner, Alfred
Felton, built up a huge wholesale drug business and he was a Legislative
Councillor for thirteen years.
A window depicting Raphael’s angels is based on one in Dresden in Germany.
The World War
I roll of honour has 181 names inscribed on it, of whom thirty-six died.
It was unveiled by Archbishop Lee in 1921. In 1947, the architectural firm
of Bates, Smart and McCutcheon, which was originally Reed and Barnes,
prepared designs for the tower and spire but they were not built. A
Soldiers’ Memorial, a small chapel facing the World War I memorial, was
dedicated by Archbishop Booth on 11 June 1950. An unusual aspect of the
church is that niches in the pepperpot tower contain the ashes of deceased
is well maintained and in virtually original condition. It continues to
serve an active congregation and operates in co-operation with St Bede’s
church hall was built in 1924-25, replacing an earlier wooden hall.
Australian Heritage Commission, Register of the National Estate
Database, ‘Holy Trinity Anglican Church, St Kilda Vic’, database
number: 005417, file number: 2/11/046/0006.
Lewis, (ed.), Victorian Churches: Their Origins, Their Story &
Their Architecture, National Trust of Australia (Victoria),
Melbourne, 1991,p. 84; and National Estate Database,