Chapter 4

“This is not the end: it is a new beginning”
The Construction of the Red Brick Church: 1932

In the January 1932 issue of the Glen Iris Methodist “Church Notes”, the editors wrote “The anniversary services have again proved how totally inadequate the present building is, and we look forward with much pleasure to the erection of a new building”, and “The proposal is to erect a brick building, suitable for use as a church and Sunday school, at an approximate cost of £2650 furnished, and which will accommodate approximately 250 people”.26

In the March 1932 issue of the “Church Notes”, under the heading “Our New Building”, was written, “The dreams of some of our oldest and most ardent workers are slowly taking definite shape”.27 Then, in the June 1932 issue the editors, Messrs F. L. Edyvean and W. E. Stedwell, eloquently wrote in the Editorial, “During the past month we have listened with great interest to older members of our church, who have related incidents of the past, and generally have unfolded the history of the church from its inception. It is profitable to have these seasons of retrospection, for they comprise milestones of our pilgrimage. Yet to those of us who now continue the labours laid down by those of former years an important era dawns, and the thought arises, ‘What of the future?’ Christ tells us, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom’. So may the God of our fathers be our God, and let us go forward ‘looking unto Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith’.”28

The foundation stone for the new red brick church was laid by Leonard E. P. Moran, Esq., on August 20th, 1932. In the September issue of “Church Notes” it was reported that Mr Moran “in laying the foundation stone expressed the hope that the work of God would prosper in Glen Iris”.29 And in the December issue of the same year Reverend F. H. Williams began his Minister's Message with the words, “My dear Friends, The Church building is completed, but this is not the end: it is a new beginning”.30

Chapter 5

A Close Brush with Demolition: 1932 to 1978

Gwen McWilliam, in her research on behalf of Glen Iris Primary School, found references in Education Department archives to arrangements with the Wesleyan Church to secure its use in times of overcrowding. Although this was probably the 1865 building in the early years, she says as time passed it became increasingly difficult to determine which church building was being referred to.31 The Church's kindergarten hall built in 1919, and later the Sunday School hall built in the early 1950s and extended in the early 1960s, were more likely the buildings referred to in Education Department correspondence. Members of the Jellett family who grew up in Hazeldene Road, Glen Iris, were students (and one also later a junior teacher) at the school from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s. They have no recollection of the grey church being used for school classes during these years, although they do remember sessions in the kindergarten hall. Mrs Helen Cunningham (nee Davies), also a student of Glen Iris school during the 1930s, confirmed this view.32

In December 1964 consideration was given by the Glen Iris Methodist Trustees to demolishing the 1865 building, deconsecrated since 1932, to make way for a new Sunday School kindergarten building on the site. A demolition permit was applied for from the Camberwell Council, and granted. Quotations were sought for the building in “solid brick, brick veneer, or timber and fibrolite”. Due solely to cost factors the final decision was made to alter and repair the existing building at a cost of no more than £1000. Again the building was stripped, this time of its 1922 fittings; the walls were relined, new flooring work was carried out and plumbing was installed to provide a hand basin. The kindergarten continued in the building until 1978.33

26“Church Notes”, Vol. 1, No. 2, January 1932.

27“Church Notes”, Vol. 1, No. 4, March 1932.

28“Church Notes”, Vol. 1, No. 7, June 1932.

29“Church Notes”, Vol. 1, No. 10, September 1932.

30“Church Notes”, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 1932.

31Gwen McWilliam, telephone conversation with the author, August 2002.

32Conversation with Kathleen Widdicombe (nee Jellett), William Jellett, and Helen Cunningham (nee Davies), August 2002.

33Minutes of Special Trustees Meeting, Glen Iris Methodist Church, December 11, 1964.