Chapter 9
Churches & Cathedrals
THEDRALS
CHURCHES & CA
Wesley Central Church/Mission
148 Lonsdale St, Wesley Central Church/Mission (9662 2355/fax 9663 1369).
The Wesleyans (Methodists) were amongst the earliest settlers in the colony of
Port Phillip (as the Melbourne area was originally known), holding their first
service in 1836. Early places of worship were on the corner of Swanston Street
and Flinders Lane and the on the corner of Queen and Collins Sts. In 1853 the
bluestone British Gothic church was completed in Lonsdale St. It was designed
by architect Joseph Reed, who also designed the Scots and Independent
churches. With a spire standing 175 feet tall, it was visible from Hobsons Bay
and soon became a well known landmark.
You can tour the church, which has a flat entry from the forecourt past the
statue of John Wesley, the founder of the Wesleyans. Pick up a copy of the
church guide (but please leave a donation). The guide describes each of the
colourful stained glass windows and the history of the pipe organ the first in the
colony. Of specific note are two huge pictures by early Australian artist Rupert
Bunny.
In 1893 the Wesley Central Mission was created as a  forward movement  to
help meet apparent social needs in the prevailing times of hardship and
unemployment. Today the Mission operates a range of social services including
Do Care, Lifeline, Fire & Clay, Friends for Older People, Good Samaritan
Industries, Kids Under Kanvas, Wesley Youth Services and Melbourne
Employment Services.
An office block to the side of the church is the administrative headquarters for
WCM. Access is available through two hinged doors and down a short steep
grade. It operates a small car park behind the church (on very rough ground).
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