Randwick Presbyterian Church | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Randwick Presbyterian Church

Item details

Name of item: Randwick Presbyterian Church
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -33.9125436752 Long: 151.2396147270
Primary address: 162 Alison Road, Randwick, NSW 2031
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Randwick
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT566 DP752011
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
162 Alison RoadRandwickRandwickAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Randwick Presbyterian ChurchReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

The Randwick Presbyterian Church is of State significance for its association with the influential English Architect, Sir John Sulman (1849 - 1934).

Ecclesiastical architecture in New South Wales in the Nineteenth Century was predominantly designed in the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival styles, however, the landmark Randwick Presbyterian Church represents a significant departure from these prevailing styles. It is one of only a small number of churches designed in the Victorian Academic Classical style, and the only example of the prominent architectural firm Sulman and Power's ecclesiastical architecture designed in this particular idiom.

The church which was the first designed by Sir John Sulman in his Australian practice was originally conceived in 1886, revised in 1888 and completed in 1890. Though incomplete (the two towers were never built) it demonstrates the innovation of adapting ecclesiastical architecture to the climatic conditions of Sydney. The highly intact church interior designed in the form of a Greek theatre is considered to be Sir John Sulman's finest non-Gothic church interior, and one of the best non-Gothic church interiors in NSW.
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Sir John Sulman
Builder/Maker: George Gale
Construction years: 1889-1890
Physical description: The neo classical (Academic Classical) style building consists of three distinct building forms being the centre church structure with splayed southern walls flanked at each end by taller wings, the south wing being the two storey main entrance and stair towers and the north wing being the 3 storey wing containing the vestry and classrooms.

The structure consists of load bearing decorative brickwork in English Bond relieved at the Entrance Wing with sandstone attached columns, carved architraves and pediments to the main windows and doors and string courses, cornice moulds and balustrading at the upper levels.

Elsewhere on the other wings, the window architraves, sills and the horizontal mouldings are of painted cement which relieve the face brickwork walls. The ribbed galvanised steel roofing is placed behind horizontal parapets in either pitched or skillion roof forms.

At the north eastern corner of the building is a later 2 storey stair tower and entrance which links with the school addition. The rear or north elevation of the church is treated in a simple way with windows and doors and the steel stairways attached for fire escape purposes.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
As at 2006 the building is in sound condition, though the stone work on the southern facade has generally weathered with localised erosion and friable stone.
Date condition updated:19 Oct 06
Modifications and dates: March 1890 - Randwick Presbyterian Church opened.
1900 - Detached Manse designed by of A. A. Lewis, completed under the direction of W. Webster.
1903 - Pipe organ fitted by W.G. Rendall and single storey Sunday School Hall desihned by A. A. Lewis completed.
1911 - Church records indicate that the pipe organ was reconstructed and that repairs were carried out to the church , manse and fence.
1914 - Coogee Boys' Preparatory School opened in the single storey church hall.
1936 - First floor addition to School Hall designed by (?) was completed by the builders Elvey & Co.
1962 - Toilet building completed to rear of church.
1967 - A kitchen an bathroom were added to the Manse in 1967 so that the building could be divided into two residences, in order to accommodate both the Minister and the Pastor. In addition the front porch was partly screened. These works were performed to the designs of architects Clark, Gazzard and Partners.
1983 - External staircases fitted to Church, Manse and School to comply with fire regulations. These works were designed by Architects Finn & McKinley Pty Ltd.

The original fence around the church was a timber picket fence as evidenced by a number of early photographs. It is not known when the fence was removed or when the present main entrance steps with flanking brick garden beds were built.

As built it was reported that the main church roof was of slate but this has subsequently been replaced by a metal roof. In the years after World War II, the present stained glass windows were installed, possibly replacing plain galss windows.
Current use: Church
Former use: Church

History

Historical notes: pre-1780s - local Aboriginal people in the area used the site for fishing and cultural activities - rock engravings, grinding grooves and middens remain in evidence.
1789 - Governor Philip referred to 'a long bay', which became known as Long Bay.
Aboriginal people are believed to have inhabited the Sydney region for at least 20,000 years (Turbet, 2001). The population of Aboriginal people between Palm Beach and Botany Bay in 1788 has been estimated to have been 1500. Those living south of Port Jackson to Botany Bay were the Cadigal people who spoke Dharug (Randwick Library webpage, 2003), while the local clan name of Maroubra people was "Muru-ora-dial" (City of Sydney webpage, 2003). By the mid nineteenth century the traditional owners of this land had typically either moved inland in search of food and shelter, or had died as the result of European disease or confrontation with British colonisers (Randwick Library webpage, 2003).

Colonial History:
One of the earliest land grants in this area was made in 1824 to Captain Francis Marsh, who received 12 acres bounded by the present Botany & High Streets, Alison & Belmore Roads. In 1839 William Newcombe acquired the land north-west of the present town hall in Avoca Street.

Randwick takes its name from the town of Randwick, Gloucestershire, England. The name was suggested by Simeon Pearce (1821-86) and his brother James. Simeon was born in the English Randwick and the brothers were responsible for the early development of both Randwick and its neighbour, Coogee. Simeon had come to the colony in 1841as a 21 year old surveyor. He built his Blenheim House on the 4 acres he bought from Marsh, and called his property "Randwick". The brothers bought and sold land profitably in the area and elsewhere. Simeon campaigned for construction of a road from the city to Coogee (achieved in 1853) and promoted the incorporation of the suburb. Pearce sought construction of a church modelled on the church of St. John in his birthplace. In 1857 the first St Jude's stood on the site of the present post office, at the corner of the present Alison Road and Avoca Street (Pollen, 1988, 217-8).

Randwick was...slow to progress. The village was isolated from Sydney by swamps and sandhills, and although a horse-bus was operated by a man named Grice from the late 1850s, the journey was more a test of nerves than a pleasure jaunt. Wind blew sand over the track, and the bus sometimes became bogged, so that passengers had to get out and push it free. From its early days Randwick had a divided society. The wealthy lived elegantly in large houses built when Pearce promoted Randwick and Coogee as a fashionable area. But the market gardens, orchards and piggeries that continued alongside the large estates were the lot of the working class. Even on the later estates that became racing empires, many jockeys and stablehands lived in huts or even under canvas. An even poorer group were the immigrants who existed on the periphery of Randwick in a place called Irishtown, in the area now known as The Spot, around the junction of St.Paul's Street and Perouse Road. Here families lived in makeshift houses, taking on the most menial tasks in their struggle to survive.

In 1858 when the NSW Government passed the Municipalities Act, enabling formation of municipal districts empowered to collect rates and borrow money to improve their suburb, Randwick was the first suburb to apply for the status of a municipality. It was approved in Februrary 1859, and its first Council was elected in March 1859.

Randwick had been the venue for sporting events, as well as duels and illegal sports, from the early days in the colony's history. Its first racecourse, the Sandy Racecourse or Old Sand Track, had been a hazardous track over hills and gullies since 1860. When a move was made in 1863 by John Tait, to establish Randwick Racecourse, Simeon Pearce was furious, expecially when he heard that Tait also intended to move into Byron Lodge. Tait's venture prospered, however and he became the first person in Australia to organise racing as a commercial sport. The racecourse made a big difference to the progress of Randwick. The horse-bus gave way to trams that linked the suburb to Sydney and civilisation. Randwick soon became a prosperous and lively place, and it still retains a busy residential, professional and commercial life.

Today, some of the houses have been replaced by home units. Many European migrants have made their homes in the areaa, along with students and workers at the nearby University of NSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital. (ibid, 218-9).

The founder and promoter of the village of Randwick was Simeon Pearce who envisaged the area as a 'New Brighton' by the sea but also as a place that had many of the traditional English village qualities of his birthplace of Randwick in Gloustershire. As a Commissioner of Church and School lands he was well placed to have areas of land set aside for church and school use, and in 1854 a large area of land was granted on the east side of Alison Park for Church of England use then in 1857 on the west side for the Presbyterian Church. Between the church lands Simeon proposed a general cemetery but because of residents objections this became a cricket ground (later renamed to Alison Park).

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RANDWICK PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION:
Up until the 1880s Sydney's Presbyterians had worshipped in Presbyterian Churches located in Sydney City. However, in the 1880s this trend changed with a preliminary meeting of the Randwick Congregation in the Randwick Town Hall on 17 November, 1884; the first Presbyterian service in Waverley was held on 17th January, 1885; and in Woollahra on 12 February, 1888.

An interim session was appointed by the Presbytery to assist the Randwick parishioners in establishing a church there and the Moderator Rev. Dr Gilchrist conducted the first session at the Town Hall on 4 August, 1885. As a result a committee of management was set up acting on the Church Code and considered a number of potential Ministers. The Rev Dr Will Scott Frackelton who arrived in Sydney from the United Kingdom in 1885, was appointed as the first Randwick Minister. He was inducted on 23 November at the Randwick Town Hall.

The new Minister, supported by the congregation, was convinced that a new church was required and initially the land granted for that purpose in 1857 was put aside in favour of private land in Avoca Street, however, the original grant was eventually taken up with part of the northern allotments being sold as unnecessary and the project for the new church was put in hand.

THE SELECTION OF THE CHURCH DESIGN:
In 1886 the recently arrived English Architect, John Sulman, made an offer to the new Randwick Presbyterian Congregation to draw up plans for a church to house the congregation. Sulman had excellent architectural credentials and came from an established and respected architectural practice in England which had designed at least sixty six churches in England, many of them combining church schools, for non conformist churches including Presbyterian and Congregational denominations.

It is noted that Sulman and his family travelled to Australia on the Orient Line ship RMS Austral in 1885, and it is likely that on this voyage he made the acquaintance of the first resident Minister of the Randwick congregation, the Rev. Will Scott Frackelton.

The initial design submitted by Sulman was subsequently published in the report of the Presbyterian Church Annual Meeting of 1886. While it is similar in design to the extant church this initial design was much larger in scale. Sulman subsequently submitted a revised design on 8 October, 1888, with his professional practice partner Joseph Porter Power. A short period later a new Building Committee met and accepted Sulman and Power's design on condition that: it was built for 4000 pounds; that the church width be reduced to by six feet; and that it be built of brick with stone dressings instead of stucco on the front facade.

THE CHURCH DESIGN
The church design as accepted by the Randwick Presbyterian Church was essentially a neo classic design of Baroque derivation having its entrance facade dominated by two tall towers. A perspective of this design published in a number of newspapers is all that is known to remain of the architect's drawings. While the towers displayed in this plan were not undertaken (due to economic considerations) the extant church appears to be consistent with this plan.

A newspaper article of the period stated that "its internal arrangement which is at once novel and excellent, and will be found to be, so far as its acoustic properties are concerned, one of the best buildings of its class in the colony, whilst the congregation will have from every part an uninterrupted view of the preacher". It was also said that seating was provided on the ground floor for 441 and in the gallery for 226, allowing for the accommodation of 667 parishioners.

Randwick Presbyterian Church is attributed to John Sulman who designed churches in a number of styles including English Gothic (Springwood); Romanesque (Manly and Woollahra), and was well known for preparing a large number of alternative styles for banks. It is speculated, however, that the final design may be due in part to the influence of the Minister Will Frackleton, who had travelled, preached and studied extensively in the United States of America. Its derivation is also most likely based on the standard Scottish T-Plan Church with galleries, a famous Sydney example being James Barnet's c.1854 Chalmers Presbyterian Church in Surry Hills. The interior with its gallery is also similar to St Andrew's Presbyterian Church at Evandale and the Pitt Street Congregational Church in Sydney. It has been noted that the first design submitted by Sulman in 1886 bears a striking resemblance to the c.1814 First Scots Presbyterian Church of Charleston, South Carolina, with its large central portico, twin Baroque towers and a transverse classroom wing at the rear. It is noted that Sulman also travelled widely in Britain and Europe and may have been aware of a similar church built in Glasgow in 1870, being the Govan United Presbyterian Church designed by James Thomson.

It is considered that although the Sulman and Power design of the church was not of the usual Gothic revival style favoured at the time, it is related to a school of church architectural design based on neo classic, particularly Greek Revival and Georgian designs that can be traced back to the churches of the convict architect Francis Greenway. It was of a style not uncommon in Sydney up to that time although the proposed twin towers (not built) were a departure in the design for a suburban parish church.

SIR JOHN SULMAN (1849 - 1934)
John Sulman was born on 29 August 1849 at Greenwich, Kent, England, third son of John Sulman, jeweller, and his wife Martha, nee Quinton. He was educated at Greenwich Proprietary School and in 1863 passed the Oxford junior examination. After his family moved to Croydon next year, he was articled to Thomas Allom, a London architect; he learned the use of oils and water-colour, and executed perspective drawings for Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Following illness, Sulman resumed work in London in 1868. While articled to H. R. Newton, he attended classes at the Architectural Association and at the Royal Academy of Arts, winning the Pugin travelling scholarship in 1871. An associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1872 (fellow, 1883), Sulman designed the Congregational Church at Caterham, Surrey: the first wedding there was his own, to Sarah Clark Redgate on 15 April 1875. They moved to Bromley, Kent. He lectured on applied art and formed the Nineteenth Century Art Society.

In Italy in 1882 he contracted typhoid at Naples; two years later Sarah showed signs of tuberculosis. Although president elect of the Architectural Association, Sulman sold his practice (which had produced over seventy churches and other buildings) and left with his wife and son for Australia, due to his wife's health. Reaching Sydney on 13 August 1885, he paid 3000 pounds in 1886 next to enter a partnership with C. H. E. Blackmann in Sydney. Some months later Blackmann fled the country with a Sydney barmaid, leaving Sulman liable for his debts. From 1889 to 1908 Sulman practised with Joseph Porter Power. Sulman's commissions included The Armidale School (1889), Women's College, University of Sydney (1890-94), and Presbyterian churches at Woollahra (1889), Manly (1889-92) and Randwick (1890) and the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital at Concord, designed in Federation free classical style.

Always ready to discuss art and architecture, Sulman founded the Palladian Club in 1887 and became an honorary corresponding secretary of the R.I.B.A. He was asked by Aston Webb to 'clean up' the Institute of Architects of New South Wales: Sulman had joined the institute in 1887 and been elected vice-president, but J. Horbury Hunt foiled his attempt to become president; Sulman resigned in 1892 and did not rejoin until 1912 when he was again vice-president. In 1887-1912 he also lectured part time in architecture in the faculty of engineering at the University of Sydney; he visited Britain and the United States of America in 1892 to report on architectural schools.

In 1890 A. B. Smith, minister for public works, had convened a 'secret committee' of six architects (including Hunt, W. L. Vernon and Sulman) to investigate complaints that the colonial architect James Barnet had a monopoly on the design of large, and therefore lucrative, public buildings. They recommended that such work be open to competition. As Barnet was to retire, Smith sought to replace him with Sulman, who declined. In October Sulman formed the Parramatta half-squadron of lancers, but resigned his commission as first lieutenant four years later.

Sulman's first wife Sarah died in 1888. At St Luke's Anglican Church, Burwood, on 27 April 1893 he married Annie Elizabeth Masefield, the childhood companion of (Dame) Eadith Walker. Annie took up photography and published collections of her studies of Australian wildflowers. Sulman again became seriously ill in 1896 and took his family to Europe. Returning in 1897, he made the cottage he had begun for his parents at Turramurra into a rambling family house, 'Ingleholme'.

A visit to Paris in 1873 had impressed on Sulman the need for town planning. In 1890 his paper, 'The laying-out of towns', delivered to the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, advocated the 'spider's web' plan in preference to the grid; he used the motto 'convenience, utility and beauty'; his paper marked the beginning of town planning in Australia as a formal discipline.

In 1907 the Daily Telegraph published his series of articles on the need for a plan for Sydney; on eleven occasions he gave evidence before the royal commission for the improvement of the city of Sydney and its suburbs (1908-09). Many of his proposals are evident in Sydney today: the extension of Martin Place, the location of Circular Quay railway station and the widening of Elizabeth, Oxford and William streets (with a tunnel under King's Cross). He considered Australia's architectural heritage insignificant and at various times recommended the demolition of Hyde Park Barracks, St James's Church, Darlinghurst gaol, Victoria Barracks and Sydney Hospital.

After retiring from practice in 1908, Sulman held influential positions as director of the Daily Telegraph Newspaper Co. Ltd from 1902 (chairman 1922-25), president of the Town Planning Association of New South Wales (1913-25) and chairman of the Town Planning Advisory Board to the Department of Local Government (1918). At the University of Sydney he endowed a lectureship in aeronautics, and gave the Anzac memorial bursary (1922) and 2500 Pounds to encourage the teaching of town planning (1926). He was Vernon memorial lecturer in town planning at the university in 1919-26.

A supporter of Walter Burley Griffin's plan for Canberra, Sulman gave evidence at the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in 1915. As chairman of the Federal Capital Advisory Committee (1921-24), he nonetheless advocated departures from the Griffin plan wherever he saw fit.

Sulman was a trustee of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1899 and its President from 1919 - ?? In 1930 he established the annual Sir John Sulman award for architectural merit in New South Wales.

Sulman died at North Sydney on 18 August 1934 and was cremated with Presbyterian forms. His second wife and his surviving children endowed the Sir John Sulman prize for genre painting or mural decoration. His estate was sworn for probate at 171,615 Pounds.

Versatile, gifted and energetic, Sulman was forceful and decisive in action and in speech. By turns polished and aggressive, he was seldom deflected from any task. Driven by ambition and a virile ego, he was politically adroit, able to cultivate useful acquaintances to become the central figure of any organization with which he was connected. His taste was essentially conservative (he considered much modern art to be 'awful rubbish'), but his interests ranged from painting to town planning: 'the former seeks art in small framed spaces, the latter in wide, prettily and properly-planned places'.
[Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp 137-138]

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH
The building contract was awarded to the prominent Sydney builder and resident of Randwick, Mr George Gale, who had been responsible for building many projects including works for the noted Melbourne architect, William Pitt, who designed the Princess Theatre and the Rialto Buildings amongst many during Melbourne's building boom.

The foundation stone for the church was laid by the Hon. Henry Clarke M.L.A., on 9 March, 1889, and the official opening took place on 16 March, 1890. Sulman was in the congregation for the service delivered by the Rev. Dr Frackleton and the address given by Rev Dr Steel.

It was reported that the interior fittings and furniture were provided by Messrs Eaton Brothers and that the total cost of the project was 5,790 Pounds. This amount exceeded the available funds available such that the church had to borrow 2,000 Pounds to cover the debts.

PIPE ORGAN
The extant pipe organ was installed in 1903 as a gift of Mrs Jane Fischer in memory of her son Albert Fischer who drowned at Inverell. It replaced the American organ initially purchased for the church. The organ was assembled by W. G. Rendall of Bondi Junction and is thought to contain part of an instrument built by Alfred Monk, of London, in 1854.

THE MANSE
The Ministers to the Parish resided in rental accommodation until the Manse was completed in 1900. The Federation style Manse was designed by a member of the congregation A. A. Lewis and built under the direction of W. Webster. The building which was completed in 1900 cost 1,270 Pounds. The manse was modified by architects Clark, Gazzard and Partners in 1967 to create two separate residences in order to accommodate both the Minister and the Pastor.

THE SCHOOL HALL
The single storey church Sunday School which is connected to the church was designed by Mr A. A. Lewis and completed in 1903. It connects with the rear elevation of the church and is aligned with the wall of the church on the Abbey Street boundary. In 1934, the 50 year jubilee of the congregation in Randwick, a second floor for the school hall was proposed, and this was completed in February, 1936 by the builders, Elvey and Company. The cost these alterations amounted to 1,809 Pounds.

COOGEE BOYS' PREPARATORY SCHOOL
A non denominational Christian independent boys' school opened its doors on 21 July, 1914, with 27 students in the single storey c.1903 school hall that adjoings the rear of the church. The school's founder and first Headmaster, Mr William Nimmo, chose the Randwick area owing to the large number of boys travelling into the city of Sydney for their education. William Nimmo remained Headmaster until retired in 1965. A second floor was added to the school hall in 1936.

INDONESIAN CONGREGATION
The Rev Clements was instrumental in opening the doors of the church to a wider congregation, hence, in March, 1979, the first regular service was held for the Indonesian community. Pastor David Silas was the first preacher in the Indonesian Language Section. The Church is known as the Indonesian Presbyterian Church - Randwick.

MINISTERS OF THE RANDWICK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Will Scott Frackleton 1885 - 1896
William Gibson Maconochie 1896 - 1898
Charles Henry Talbot 1898 - 1922
William James Grant 1922 - 1949
C. J. Vernon McKeown 1949 - 1967
Douglas Graham Ritchie 1968 - 1970
Stuart John Clements 1971 - 1985
David Sie Silas 1981 - ?
Ronald Keith - 1992 - ?
Grant Thorp ?
Joni Tjiong ?

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private (independent) schooling-
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. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Academic Classical-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Presbyterianism-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Sulman, architect and town planner-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Randwick Presbyterian Church is of local significance for its ability to demonstrate: the establishment of the Presbyterian church in the municipality of Randwick from 1884; the spread of Presbyterianism in the suburbs of Sydney; and the architectural presence that was considered appropriate by the church during this period in NSW.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Randwick Presbyterian Church is of State significance for its association with the influential English born architect Sir John Sulman (1849 - 1934). The church designed by Sulman in the Victorian Academic Classical style represents a rare departure from the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival style churches that prevailed in Nineteenth Century New South Wales. In addition, the Randwick Presbyterian Church is considered to be the first church designed by Sulman in NSW.

Sulman, whose practice in England had produced over seventy churches and other buildings, arrived in Australia with his family in late 1885. Sulman initially entered into a short lived partnership with C. H. E. Blackman in 1886 and later formed a highly successful partnership with the architect Joseph Porter Power, from 1889 - 1908, under the title of Sulman Power Architects.

Sulman became a highly influential figure in NSW in matters of architecture and town planning, giving evidence to Royal Commissions, providing advice to NSW Government Ministers, and writing at length on town planning. Many of his proposals are evident in Sydney today: the extension of Martin Place, the location of Circular Quay railway station and the widening of Elizabeth, Oxford and William streets. Sulman considered Australia's architectural heritage insignificant and at various times recommended the demolition of Hyde Park Barracks, St James's Church, Darlinghurst Gaol, Victoria Barracks and Sydney Hospital.

Sulman founded the Palladian Club in 1887 and became an honorary corresponding secretary of the R.I.B.A. In the same year he was elected vice-president of the Institute of Architects (NSW) , however, his attempts to become president were thwarted by the controversial architect J. Horbury Hunt and he resigned in 1892, rejoining in 1912. Between 1887-1912 he also lectured in architecture in the faculty of engineering at the University of Sydney.

After retiring in 1908, Sulman held influential positions as director of the Daily Telegraph Newspaper Co. Ltd from 1902 (chairman 1922-25), president of the Town Planning Association of New South Wales (1913-25) and chairman of the Town Planning Advisory Board to the Department of Local Government (1918). He was the Vernon Memorial Lecturer in town planning at the University of Sydney 1919-26. Sulman was also a trustee from 1899 (president from 1919) of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1930 he established the annual Sir John Sulman award for architectural merit in New South Wales.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Randwick Presbyterian Church is of State significance as an aesthetically distinctive and highly intact ecclesiastical example of the Victorian Academic Classical style in NSW. The church interior designed in the form of a Greek theatre is considered to be Sir John Sulman's finest non-Gothic church interior, and one of the best non-Gothic church interiors in NSW.

The imposing two storey brick and stone building located at a prominent intersection on one of the highest points of Randwick represents a significant departure from the dominant Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival ecclesiastical architecture of nineteenth century NSW.

The Randwick Presbyterian Church is significantly the only example of a Victorian Academic Classical style church designed by the firm of Sulman and Power Architects. Furthermore, it is considered to be the first church designed by Sir John Sulman in his Australian practice. The church designed by Sulman though incomplete (the two towers were never built) demonstrates the innovation of adapting ecclesiastical architecture to the climatic conditions of Sydney.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Randwick Presbyterian Church possesses local social significance to the Presbyterian community of the Randwick municipality and past students of the Coogee Boys' Preparatory School.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Randwick Presbyterian Church is of State significance as an important reference site demonstrating the adaption of European ecclesiastical architecture to the climate of the Southern Hemisphere.

Sir John Sulman (1849 - 1934) who is attributed with the design of the church was a proponent of building churches in keeping with Sydney's climate.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The c.1890 Randwick Presbyterian Church is of State significance as one of only a very small group of Victorian Academic Classical styled churches in New South Wales, and the only example of the prominent architectural firm Sulman and Power's ecclesiastical architecture designed in this particular idiom.

Ecclesiastical architecture in New South Wales in the Nineteenth Century was predominantly designed in the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival styles, and the Randwick Presbyterian Church represents a significant departure from these prevailing styles.

The church designed by the English architect Sir John Sulman (1849 - 1934) was originally conceived in 1886 and subsequently revised in 1888. It is considered to be the first church designed by Sulman in his Australian practice.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Randwick Presbyterian Church is representative of the architecturally impressive churches built by the Presbyterian Church in the late Nineteenth Century in the suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: The church facade and interior fabric demonstrates a high degree of integrity.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
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.

FRANK SARTOR
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

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0177708 May 08 503832
Local Environmental PlanRandwick Local Environmental Plan 1998 - Sch3126 Jun 98 975003

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenApperley, R., Irving, R., Reynolds, P1994Identifying Australian Architecture - Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present
WrittenApperly, Richard E & Reynolds, Peter1990'Sulman, Sir John (1849 - 1934)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol 12
WrittenClements, H. (Ed)1894A Centenary Chronicle 1884 - 1984
WrittenDonnellan, Betty1995Randwick Presbyterian Church
WrittenFreeland, J. M.1968Archiecture in Australia - A History
WrittenPollon, F. & Healy, G.1988Randwick entry, in 'The Book of Sydney Suburbs'
Management PlanSheedy, David2005Conservation Management Plan for the Randwick Presbyterian Church

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5056744
File number: S90/05982


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