As time progresses…

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Rev Peter Gunn received a grant of land in December 1854 from the Government. It consisted of 2 acres bounded by Curzon, Queensberry, Union and Elms Streets in North Melbourne adjacent to the Benevolent Asylum, which straddled Victoria Street and faced Curzon Street.

A school building was erected from a gift of iron from the Denominational School Board, to be used temporarily as a place of worship and here the first service was held on Sunday 30 Sep 1855. The North Melbourne Grammar School was opened on 7 January 1856 with Mr John Marshall as schoolteacher using the same building. This school was merged into the State school system in 1872. A Sabbath school was opened on 17 February 1856 and the first minister Rev John Reid was called and began his ministry on 6 April 1856. It was known as The Scots’ Presbyterian Church North Melbourne.

The Presbyterians in Victoria had been striving to unite the three denominations the Church of Scotland, the Free Church and the United Presbyterians. This was achieved on Friday 8 April 1859 and later that day the newly elected Moderator the Rev James Clow laid the foundation stone for a bluestone church in Curzon Street. The opening service took place on 27 November 1859 and the name changed to The Presbyterian Union Church of North Melbourne, West. A Manse was built and occupied in 1868.

The congregation of the Presbyterian Church steadily increased such that the bluestone church was soon considered too small. It was demolished and the materials used to erect a Sabbath School fronting Elm Street. One acre of land, bounded by Elm, Union, Queensberry Streets and the church buildings was sold to assist with the funding of the new church. During the building operations the congregation met for worship in the North Melbourne Town Hall. The first services were held in the new church building, Union Memorial Presbyterian Church on 31 August 1879. It was large enough to seat 1000 people.

Thus the building complex was completed for the time being.