Scots Presbyterian Church, Land and Trees | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Scots Presbyterian Church, Land and Trees

Item details

Name of item: Scots Presbyterian Church, Land and Trees
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -34.6703814564 Long: 150.8551240870
Primary address: Shoalhaven Street, Kiama, NSW 2533
Parish: Kiama
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Kiama
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT5 DP114668
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Shoalhaven StreetKiamaKiamaKiamaCamdenPrimary Address
Terralong StreetKiamaKiamaKiamaCamdenAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Scots Presbyterian Church KiamaReligious Organisation19 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

It occupies a highly visible aspect in the Kiama Central Business District. It is a major component in the streetscape and is an unmodified example of the 19 Neo Gothic style of its architect / designer using local materials and featuring pleasing proportions in a location of significance and impact. (Harmer 1998)
Date significance updated: 03 Jul 98
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: Thomas Rowe
Builder/Maker: Messrs Moon & Simmons - Builders Messing Walker Bros - Carpenters
Construction years: 1860-1863
Physical description: Setting:
Surrounding land and Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla). Fine example of a Gothic Revival church adapted to a rural seaside setting. Has two porches, a steeply-gabled slate roof and is capped by the square tower with its stone spire (Latona Masterman, 1987, 94).

A simple rectangular plan-form, the church is entered by two gabled porches, the whole covered by a slate-clad hammer-beam roof and complemented by the eccentrically placed square-based tower with its broad stone spire (now rendered), this latter feature was completed in 1898. The rough-dressed sandstone walls of the Church, built up on coursed basalt rubble foundations are enlivened by dressed quoins, parapets, buttresses and reveals to the building's lancet-form openings.

Internal finishes comprise stone flagging, painted plastered walls with later sedar panelling (1953) and painted timber ceiling, complemented by fine cedar pews arranged in three banks. The geometric east windows contain noted examples of painted pictorial glass, installed in 1897.

The manual pipe organ by Waller and Sonsi s an original example of the work of Charles Richardson (1907) and was donated to the Church in 1907, the year of construction of the Sunday School Hall, a simple gable-roofed rendered masonry structure located to the north of the Church.

The building is constructed of basalt freestone walls faced externally with sandstone blocks including buttresses. The interior of the solid walls being plastered and lined to assemble block work. The roof is board lined internally and externally covered in Welsh Penryn Slates supported with hammer beam trusses supported on stone corbels (Harmer 1998).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good and archaeological potential is high. (Harmer 1998)
Date condition updated:03 Jul 98
Modifications and dates: Building opened without spire or vestry on 4th March 1863 but completed to original plan by the addition of a vestry in 1895 and the bell tower spire in 1898. These two additions being substantially financed through funds obtained by the railway resuming approximately half the Church land and effectively bisecting the property. Stained glass windows were also installed at this time. (Harmer 1998)
Current use: Church
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, church


Historical notes: District history:
The first recorded reference to the district was by George Bass who anchored his 28ft whaleboat in the sheltered bay (now known as Kiama Harbour) in December 1797. Cedar getters were the first to the area, among those was David Smith, who became the first permanent white settler when he built a residence in Kiama in 1832.

The site of Kiama Township was reserved by the Government in 1826 and proclaimed in 1836. Kiama was proclaimed a Municipality in 1859.

In the 1870s the dairying industry was supplemented by basalt (blue metal) quarrying, now one of the district's major income earners alongside tourism.

Kiama Railway station opened in 1893 as part of the first completed stage of the Kiama to Jervis Bay Railway which terminated at Bomaderry (Nowra).

Downtown (Collins Street) history:
Much of this land was bought by William Geoghagen. In 1867 when he bought his first parcel his occupation was given as wharfinger. He later built the terraces facing Collins Street and sold land to the Temperance Hall, now the Masonic Lodge. It is probable that he built No.5 Collins Lane in the 1880s as his home.

The oldest building of the group is the Masonic Temple (1870s).

Nos 42-44 Collins Street was built in the late 1870s to house quarry workers. The terrace No.s 24-40 Collins Street was built in stages during the 1880s. No. 24 was originally an inn, with 26 the inn-keeper's residence; No.s 28-38 housed quarry workers, and No. 40 was originally a post office.

The stone crushing industry began in Kiama in 1871 and by 1880 the Bombo quarry (north of Kiama) was operating.

The Depression and World War II caused the decline and closure of most of the quarries (NTA (NSW) Precinct Classification card, 1984).

Scots Presbyterian Church history:
This church is of early English architecture and was designed by Thomas Rowe of Sydney. Sandstone used in its construction was a gift from the Robb family on whose estate at Riversdale near the Minnamurra River it was quarried. Basalt for the foundations and inner walls came from Mr Carson's quarry in Kiama. Tenders for the construction of the Church (which replaced an earlier weatherboard structure used for worship) were called in December 1859, and the foundation stone laid in January 1860. The building was completed early in 1863, without the present spire and vestry, and the opening services took place on 4th March 1863. The minister at that time was the Rev. John Kinross. The opening was performed by the Rev. Dr William Grant of Shoalhaven, Moderator of the Eastern Synod of Australia. The sermon on that occasion was preached by the Rev. Dr Robert Steel of Sydney.

The total cost of the Church was 1991/7/1 and the debt on completion was 250 pounds. Messrs Moon and Simmons were the builders and Messrs Walker Bros, were the carpenters.

In 1893 the railway resumed a portion of the Church land and largely spoiled the setting. Deliberations took place as to the advisability of building a new Church on another site, but this step was finally decided against. In 1897 a move was begun to complete the Church by the addition of the vestry and the spire above the tower. This project was completed in 1898. (Harmer 1998)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Presbyterianism-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Of its centrality in Kiama's development, buit in 1863 to replace on earlier wooden building on the foreshore of the adjacent block beach. (Harmer 1998)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is an unaltored sample of early english gothic architecture as interpreted by its architect Norman Rowe. (Harmer 1998)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
If its central location in Kiama and its continuous use as a place of worship. (Harmer 1998)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Of its wide varitety of building materials both local and imported and its employment of a variety of trades and craftsman in its construction. (Harmer 1998)
SHR Criteria f)
The item is a rare example of the architects work in a basically unaltared form
( the only other example known to this writer being St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Bathurst). (Harmer 1998)
SHR Criteria g)
The item is a good example of a new gothic influence transported into an Australian setting - is representative because of its simplification of this theme and its functionality in a regional setting in a community establishing
( in the 1860's ) buildin
Integrity/Intactness: The integrity of the building is virtually complete as from effective completion in 1898, maintanance works have sought to retain materials or surfaces as close as practical to the original. (Harmer 1998)
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.

Recommended management:

Continual ongoing monitoring of material fabric of the building to maintain the functionality of its built purpose.


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0012002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0012006 Apr 81 522017
Regional Environmental PlanIllawarra REP No.1 11 Apr 86   
Local Environmental Plan  19 Jul 96   
Register of the National Estate  25 Mar 86   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Kiama Heritage Study1987 Latona Masterman  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism  Scots Presbyterian Church - Organ View detail
WrittenJ. Stiller1984Scots Presbyterian church organ
WrittenMr G.J. Harmer1998NSW State Heritage Inventory form
WrittenRev J. Cameron1905Centenary History of the Presbyterian Church in N.S.W.
WrittenRev J. Mullan and additions by Rev M. Mocleod1963History of the Presbyterian Church in the Kiama district.
WrittenRev. C.A.White1951Challenge of the years
WrittenVarious office bearers1849Minutes of Deacons court session and tender documents receipts etc in the possession of the church.

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045566
File number: S90/06026 & HC 32269

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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