Milestone for Christ Church Geelong
A historic Anglican parish celebrated its 175th anniversary in October.
November 5 2018
On Sunday 7 October, Christ Church Geelong celebrated the 175th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone in 1843. Christ Church is the oldest Anglican Church in continuous use on its original site in Victoria.
The anniversary was celebrated with a Thanksgiving Eucharist at 9.30am at the church, at which the celebrant and preacher was Archbishop Philip Freier. More than 200 current and former parishioners and friends of the parish came together to mark this milestone in the life of the parish and local community. After the service, a morning tea was held in the parish hall, where parish photographs and historic memorabilia were on display.
Music has always played a special part in the life of Christ Church. The original organ, designed by Henry Bevington of London, proved too small and in 1862 a new organ of 842 pipes, designed by John Courcelle of London, was installed. The organ, noted for its fine tonal quality, has been extended and now has 1639 pipes, but six hundred of the present 732 Great Organ pipes are the originals which Courcelle designed. The tonal quality and character of the instrument are exceptional and it is an integral part of worship, special celebrations, weddings and other festivities at Christ Church.
From 1844-72, the Parish had its own primary school, a section of which remains on the site. In 1869, The Geelong School of Design, a precursor of the Gordon Institute, began on site in what is still known as “the School Room”. The parish primary school later came under the auspice of Geelong Grammar School as Bostock House, continuing the considerable contribution of the parish to education in Geelong. While Geelong Grammar School was being established Christ Church was used for its chapel until the School moved to Corio in 1914.
Christ Church has been given an A Classification by the National Trust, is classified by the Historic Buildings Council of Victoria, and is listed on both the Victorian Heritage Register and Commonwealth Register of National Estate. The church is significant for its stained glass windows. The striking and highly distinctive interior stained glass windows are described on the Victorian Heritage Register as being of “immeasurable historic significance.”
Throughout its long history Christ Church has been a focus for Anglican life in Geelong and significant as a place of worship and a centre of social and community life. The parish’s community meals program, which began some 25 years ago, continues to be a focal point of service to the community, and is supported by a huge number of individuals, groups and organisations from across Geelong. The program provides breakfasts to those in need every day of the year, and two evening meals every week throughout the year.