St John's Uniting Church (including pipe organ) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


St John's Uniting Church (including pipe organ)

Item details

Name of item: St John's Uniting Church (including pipe organ)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Primary address: 49 Yeo Street, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089
Local govt. area: North Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
49 Yeo StreetNeutral BayNorth Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The church is a competent late Victorian example of the gothic style arranged to meet Presbyterian liturgical requirements. Its corner site makes it significant in the streetscape. The use of thin laminations as an integral part of the circular arch roof structure makes the building unique for its date in structural terms. The organ is significant as being a rare intact example of the work of Charles Richardson, the most prominent organ-builder of New South Wales from 1883 to 1920. Interior detailing also of significance, including joinery.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include information on landscape significance, interiors or the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are updated by Council as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conversation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Date significance updated: 18 May 12
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Charles H. Slayter
Builder/Maker: Tafield and Collins
Physical description: The church is a buttressed brick building with stone trims and a steep gabled roof. The interior is plastered and each bay is occupied by a memorial tablet. There is an elaborate carved pulpit and two windows in the organ chamber designed by Norman St Carter (sic) and executed by F. J. Tarrant of Darling Harbour. The diagonal boarded hammer-beam roof features nailed laminated arches.

The organ (1912) is a rare intact example of the work of Charles Richardson, who was the most prominent organ-maker in New South Wales from 1883 to 1920. It features a case design which is unique for its period, and is a late example of the use of tracker action to the manuals.

This building is designed in the Victorian Free Gothic style.
Date condition updated:18 May 12
Modifications and dates: The originally slate roof was replaced in 1979 with concrete tiles. The north end, a later addition, has a large three-light lancet window and a well-proportioned stone-trimmed entry porch. The organ chamber at the south end, also a later addition, is separately roofed.


Historical notes: The Presbyterian congregation was established in Neutral Bay in 1889. Land for a church was donated by Captain Robert Craig and the foundation stone was laid on the 26th April 1890. Architect was Charles H. Slatyer of 96 Pitt Street and builders were Messrs Tafield and Collins. The church was opened on the 19th July 1890. An 1890 photograph shows the church as an austere gothic structure consisting of the central four bays of the present building. It was enlarged in 1898 and in 1908. The pipe organ was installed in 1912, the manse built in 1920, and the school hall in 1923.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria f)
This item is assessed as aesthetically rare statewide.
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative locally. This item is assessed as socially representative regionally.
Integrity/Intactness: Unsympathetic
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I076602 Aug 13   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19931209Tony Brassil, Robert Irving, Chris Pratten, Conybeare MorrisonTB October 1992 Yes

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2181209

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