Alphington Uniting Church

797 Heidelberg Road, Alphington

The first land sales in Alphington were in 1840 when Charles Roemer purchased Lot 120 and Thomas Willis Lot 121. Willis’s land lay in the bend of the Yarra River and Darebin Creek whilst Roemer’s encompassed most of what became the village of Alphington. Roemer was a land speculator and in 1852 sold part of the land to William and James Manning (William was Solicitor-General of New South Wales). The two brothers subdivided the lot in 130 plots and sold it as the village of Alphington in 1854. There were few buildings around at that time. The Darebin Bridge Hotel had first appeared around 1844, although the original hotel was demolished and rebuilt around 1851.  

The Methodists had been active in the area from around 1841, Reverend Waterhouse conducting services from Mr. Fletcher’s in lower Darebin Creek. By the early 1850s Waterhouse was operating from Meagher’s Barn in Greensborough although he also conducted services in Alphington from a wooden building provided by William Horden. In 1856 the Methodist Church purchased a plot of land from what was originally part of the Willis estate and began the construction of a bluestone church, at the same time purchasing a small wooden church from the Baptists which was relocated to the new site and used as a stable. With the construction of the church completed in 1859 it became the centre of the Methodist Church in the area, with the circuit extending from Fairfield to Eltham and Research. 

During the next few years more buildings appeared in the village of Alphington including the Alphington Hotel (1861), which was next door to the church, the Halfway House Hotel (1865), directly across the road from the church and a few scattered shops. These included the general store ran by John Sharp Adams, a butchers ran by Thomas Kings and a baker. Despite this Alphington remained a stopping place until the 1890s when further subdivisions, especially of Thomas Will’s Lucerne estate began. In 1916 a new church was built to the east of the existing building and services moved to the new building although the old church was probably still used for Sunday Kindergarten and youth group activities. This later stopped due to the poor condition of the old church. In 1953 a Memorial Hall was opened on the opposite site of the old church 

In 1977 the Methodist Church became the Uniting Church of Australia although it continued to operate from the same buildings until 1985. In 1985 it joined services with St. Judes Anglican Church in Alphington and relocated its services to St. Judes. The former Methodist church now became home to the Tongan Church. In 1995 the original church was recommended for a heritage listing, a move opposed by the Uniting Church which hoped to sell the property.  The property now has Heritage Trust Listing. The buildings have since been sold and converted to housing.

Butler, Graeme (1982). City of Northcote urban conservation study. Alphington: City Of Northcote.

Darebin Libraries.  Local History File:  Churches - Uniting Church, Alphington

Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.