Finley Presbyterian Church | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Finley Presbyterian Church

Item details

Name of item: Finley Presbyterian Church
Other name/s: Scots
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Primary address: 13-19 Denison Street, Finley, NSW 2713
Parish: Finley
County: Denison
Local govt. area: Berrigan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
13-19 Denison StreetFinleyBerriganFinleyDenisonPrimary Address
Corner Wollemi and Denison StreetsFinleyBerrigan  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

A fine example of a inter-war free classical style church in a rural town. With substantial brick and steel fence and well established grounds. An important building in the religious precinct in the town (Heritage Study).
Date significance updated: 17 Jul 15
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: Buchan & Laird
Builder/Maker: J & T Close
Construction years: 1919-1920
Physical description: Brick church with corrugated iron roof. The entrance to the church is defined by a flat roof with a parapet designed to give the appearance of a foretress/ balcony. All detail is in white, with mouldings around all windows. The brick and steel fence in a feature in itself (Heritage Study).
Date condition updated:17 Jul 15
Current use: church
Former use: church


Historical notes: The foundation stone for Scots Church was laid on 29 October 1919, by Mrs Charles McAllister of Myrtle Park. The church was erected under the supervision of Mr J T Close who supplied most of the building material as cost. All timber in the floor was milled at Myrtle Park and donated free by Charles McAllister senior. He also donated the varnished ceiling timber.

The church was officially opened simultaneously by Mrs J T Close and Miss Christina McAllister.

The church played host to the Methodists until their own church was constructed (Heritage Study).

Sophie Burge, Southern Riverina News, 23/9/15: 'Great Scot's - Council moves to save historic church from demolition'. Berrigan Shire Council has voted to formally start a process to have the church heritage listed in its Local Environmental Plan. Council's decision comes four months into a 12 month stay of execution on the demolition of the building, with an Interim Heritrage Order implemented by NSW Minister for Heritage Mark Speakman in May. The church was placed on the National Trust of Australia (NSW) Register in July this year, but its future will only be secure if it is recognised in Council's official document. Berrigan Shire development manager Laurie Stevens said council's decision does not yet mean the church is 'saved' from demolition. He said Coucnil's amendments to the LEP, adopted in 2013, must first be approved and gazetted before the heritage listing will be official. He said if not approved before the IHO expires, the church would have every right to proceed with its demolition plans. Save the church campaigner Patricia Boyd, however, says she is confident the council's support will lead to the 'right result'. It was an initial decision by Council to remove the church from its LEP in 2013 that led to a development application for its demolition to be submitted last year. The approved application gave the church two options, to renovate or demolish, with Rev. David Els saying there was strong support for demolition. Rev. Els - who is believed to have since left the Finley church - maintained the church committee believed the church would be too costly to upgrade, and said it needed to be demolished to make way for a new building that would cater to the growing needs of the congregation. Mr Stevens said Council had listened to its ratepayers (a campaign to save the church) in agreeing to move an amendment to the LEP, but warned the process may be lengthy and may not be successful. He said Coucnil was now completing a heritage assessment which will support its amendment request to the Department of Planning & Environment.

The church was classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) in 2016 and is also now part of Berrigan Shire Council's Local Environmental Plan. The news was welcomed by the delegation of local community members - most of whom weren't members of the congregation - who spent close to a year and a half fighting to save the 95 year old building. Finley's Helen McAllister said she was relieved by the decision. Her husband's great grandfather, Charlie McAllister donated 1000 pounds to help establish the church. Although there was some opposition from the Presbyterian church community - who said they wanted a new church to meet the growing congregation and its needs - Finley congregation elder Ross Taylor said they are 'moving on'. 'We've been using the building recently for Sunday school and funerals and the power is back on' (Burge, 13/7/2016, 1).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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-
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 - Interwar Classical-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Church-
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 c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A fine example of an Interwar Free Classical style church
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
An important building for the Presbyterians and Methodist of the Finley area. Also important for its association with the T J Close and Myrtle Park.
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
Heritage Act - Interim Heritage Order - LapsedFinley Presbyterian ChurchIHO 12907 May 15 411121
Heritage Act - s.136 Order  02 Apr 15   
National Trust of Australia register National Trust - Country Register 08 Jul 15   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBurge, Sophie2016'Church heritage listed'
WrittenMcAllister, Norman1978Looking Back on Finley View detail

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5062751

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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