The St Kilda
Presbyterian Church in Alma Road established a small branch Sunday school
in the home of Mr and Mrs A. W. Bruce at 20 Scott Street in 1909. This was
in response to the number of young families moving into the new suburb of
Elwood, to the south of St Kilda.
The St Kilda
congregation had already bought land and a meeting on 18 December 1909
decided to build a hall on this site. The first Presbyterian service in
Elwood was held on 28 April 1912 at 20 Scott Street, Elwood and was
conducted by Latrobe Bagley. The hall was opened and dedicated on 12
December 1912. The building and contents had cost £785. The Reverend
Alexander Yule became the first minister and was inducted on 26 June 1913
and served until September 1924. Subsequent ministers were: Sidney Hadley,
1924-28; Hugh Buntine, 1929-37; and H. H. Donaldson, 1937-45. It was
decided that a larger church was required and the foundation stone was
laid by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Arthur Coles, on 10 December 1938.
The red brick church was dedicated on 24 April 1939 and accommodates about
200 people. The architects, Scarborough and Love, donated the font. The
main feature of the interior is the timber barrel vaulting. The honour
board was placed near the entrance and has the names of fifty-three
parishioners who enlisted in World War I, of whom eleven died. The seats
and panelling in the chancel were donated in memory of Mr and Mrs Bruce,
who had made their home available for the early services.
War II the ministers at Scots Church were: Douglas Fearon, 1945-49; Harry
Harris, 1950-51; and Walter Harrison, 1953-64. When Harrison transferred
to Warragul, a commission was appointed to enquire into the parish’s
future. The congregations of Scots Church Elwood and the Elwood Methodist
church held occasional joint services and began a joint Sunday school in
1965. St Kilda and Elwood were united on 1 February 1966 under Henry Sedlo,
1966-67. His successor was Alistair McAllister, 1968-78. In 1968 the
congregations of Scots Church Elwood and the Elwood Methodist Church
united. In 1975 Elwood voted to remain as a continuing Presbyterian church
rather than join the Uniting Church. The vote was three for union and
sixteen opposed. From 1978 to 1985 the position of minister was vacant and
services were conducted at both St Kilda and Elwood by supply preachers.
In 1985 the St Kilda-Elwood parish was united with Caulfield. The Reverend
John Sweet was the minister from 1986-92. Then, in 1993 two parishes were
created with Caulfield-Elwood being separated from St Kilda. The Reverend
Stephen Tay has been the minister at Caulfield-Elwood since 1993.
hall is now used as a pre-school centre. A manse was bought at 24 Scott
Street, Elwood on 3 June 1929 at a cost of £1759. By 1964 it was in poor
repair and was sold to pay church debts.
account is taken from ‘Elwood Presbyterian Church 90th Anniversary’,
typescript, courtesy of Robert Belcher.