Free Methodist Church was established in 1857 with the union of the
Arminian Methodists and the Wesleyan Methodist Association. The latter
group had been formed by Methodists in 1836 in the large industrial cities
of northern England who believed in lay rights rather than ministerial
authority. The United Free Methodist Church was closer to
Congregationalism than Wesleyan Methodism. In Australia it was strongest
in Victoria but it was much weaker than other Methodist groups with only
forty-four churches in Victoria in 1901.
foundation stone for the chapel was laid on 29 March 1859 by a Mr Orr. The
land had been donated by Henry Jennings. The congregation had been holding
services in a private house but increasing numbers dictated a larger
It is one of the five oldest churches in St Kilda and is distinctive
because it was not built for a major denomination. David Bick notes that
there were very few United Methodist churches in Melbourne around the date
this church was built and therefore presumably there are few if any of
their buildings surviving. In addition, this United Free Methodist church
and Sacred Heart in Grey Street are the only churches in St Kilda built in
a Classical style. A brick porch was added probably early in the twentieth
century and weatherboard rear additions were made and changes to the
church itself. Without these alterations the church would have merited
addition to the Register of the National Estate.
The building is now a private house.