The very beginning…

The Uniting Church congregation of Mark the Evangelist worship in the Union Memorial Presbyterian Church, Curzon Street North Melbourne. In October 2004 the congregation celebrated 150 years, the Sesquicentenary, since the first service was held at 5pm on Sunday 29 October 1854 in the Havilah stables in Errol Street lent by Mr McMeikan. The Rev Samuel Corrie, Moderator of the Presbytery of Melbourne in connexion with the established Church of Scotland, conducted the service. This was the formal beginning of a Presbyterian Church in North Melbourne.

In September 1852 the first allotments were sold in North Melbourne and dwellings and tents were quickly erected. One of the first houses to be built was by Mr Robert Aitkin in Villiers Street where he carried on a business of a wheelwright and blacksmith in a workshop at the rear. Mr Aitkin was a staunch Presbyterian and each Saturday afternoon his blacksmith’s shop was cleaned ready for a worship service on the following Sunday afternoon. He arranged as often as possible with a Presbyterian to conduct a service. From this beginning a Public meeting was called for the 29 September in 1854 at 7 pm in dining room of the Ayrshire Hotel, Chetwynd Street.

At the beginning of the formation of this worshipping community was the union of the Presbyterian Churches followed by the union of the Methodist churches and later by the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia, which together with the demographic changes in North Melbourne and Parkville are reflected in the history of our church.

The historic display during the sesquicentenary celebrations reflected these changes through its extensive range of photographs and historic documents. These included names and addresses of many members of the congregations and we welcome contact from their descendants.