The Anglican Church of St Paul. Geelong.

1854  -  2004.

   It is hard to imagine Geelong, back in its earliest founding days as a place of few buildings, muddy tracks, no railway, no municipal structures and few people as we look out our church door today, five metres to the busiest thoroughfare in a bustling, vibrant city. The first land sale of the Geelong town land was held in Sydney on February 14th, 1839 and 53 lots were sold for a price of 2784 pound or an average of 52pound 52 shillings or $104 approx. a block. Much of the land was purchased by Sydney investors and so remained unimproved for a long time. It was not long however that as a result of the provision of a good water supply, the laying out of streets, the introduction of law and order by Foster Fyans, the fledging town soon started to flourish.

   Our journey with St Paul's Geelong starts in 1848, 10 years after Geelong had been proclaimed a town and at a time when Geelong was starting to expand from its earlier development. The population had increased about four times during the period of four years from 1847, and the number of buildings, both business and residential increased accordingly.

   In W. R. Brownhill's book The History of Geelong and Corio Bay he reveals that in 1841 "The members of the Church of England in this district have commenced in an earnest and spirited manner to provide for the erection of a Church and the employment of a clergyman for the district." Shortly afterwards the congregation of Christ Church was established and building of their church commenced. Two years later when Bishop Broughton arrived in Geelong, a parsonage was completed and a schoolhouse almost completed. He stayed with a young solicitor named Charles Sladen, who had been conducting regular services for the Episcopalian congregation

   On the 17th October, 1843 he laid the foundation stone of the "sacred building to be named for the future, Christ Church". However the building of the church was delayed, probably as there was no resident clergyman until Reverend Ebenezer Collins was appointed in 1846. The church opened for divine worship in 1847. 

   The following year Bishop Charles Perry, the first Bishop of Melbourne arrived in Hobson's Bay and with him was the Reverend Hussey Burgh Macartney who commenced his ministry at Heidelberg prior to his appointment in late 1848 as Archdeacon of Geelong. This position he held for three years. Bishop Perry was described as a man with "the courage of his convictions, great conscientiousness, courtesy and kindliness."(D. Pike, Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melb. 1969,Vol 3 pp 235-236.) It has been said that the Bishop was determined to establish a strong ministry in Geelong and that he felt that Ebenezer Collins was unsuited to the demands of the Parish at Christ Church and called for his resignation. He wanted another church to be built to cater for the growing population to the north of the town

   At the same time, the trustees of Christ Church complained at the loss of financial support if a new Parish was established. But the Bishop instructed Archdeacon Macartney to subdivide the Parish and cause a new church to be built on the Government grant of a block of land in Latrobe Terrace, Ashby, for the purpose of serving the people of Ashby, Little Scotland and Newtown.

   This land had previously been set aside for Geelong's Botanical Gardens.

   A parsonage was built, and a weatherboard schoolroom completed at the end of 1848. What was Geelong like at this time? The two main thoroughfares of Geelong being Ryrie Street and Moorabool Street and the town was divided into four parts created by lines intersecting each other at right angles and by the prolongation of the said lines until they reach the boundaries of the town. The land allocated for St Paul’s at Ashby, was near the Archdeacon's residence. Ashby was experiencing a surge of popularity although there was, as yet no railways and the dam (Johnstone Park) and the gully caused inconvenience.

   The project then faltered as it did at Christ Church until December 2nd 1850 when Bishop Perry laid the foundation stone. According to W. R. Brownhill the following occurred "In the cavity beneath the foundation stone were placed coins, newspapers and the following statement on parchment, The foundation stone of St Paul's church was laid by the Right Reverend Charles Perry D. D. Bishop of Melbourne, on the 2nd day of December, A.D. 1850, in the fourteenth year of the reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. Governor of the colony of New South Wales-Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, Knt.: Superintendent of the District of Port Phillip-Charles Joseph LaTrobe: Bishop of Melbourne-The Right Reverend Charles Perry, D.D.: Mayor of the town of Geelong-Alexander Thomson: Archdeacon of Geelong- The Venerable Hussey Burgh Macartney: Trustees of the church-Charles Nantes, Edward Willis, William Timms, John Sleath Hill: Architect-Charles Laing."

   This foundation stone remains a mystery as it has not been located at all. Opinion has it that as there was quite some resistance to St Paul’s being constructed, the foundation stone was an unmarked stone. Another theory is that it may have been covered over when the extension to the Chancel occurred.

   Many years afterwards, Dr Macartney (having been appointed Dean of St James Cathedral in 1851) was asked to tell what he remembered about the laying of the foundation stone. He recounted that he had no memory of any public ceremony because of the opposition to the second Anglican Church in Geelong. In a letter in reply (which we still have in our records today) he did recount that he remembered that early one morning a workman called to say they were about to cut the first sod of soil for the new church and invited the Dean to do it. Spade in hand they set off to do it, when they met the Governor, Mr LaTrobe out on an early morning ride. So the Governor was asked to cut the first sod, which he did, whilst the Dean asked God's blessing on the act. The Dean concluded that the first sod was cut by the Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Charles LaTrobe, without any great demonstration or fuss.

   Archdeacon Macartney played a large part in the commencement of St Paul’s. From March 2nd 1851 until December 15th 1852, he conducted 45 baptisms probably in the Schoolhouse. There is no record of marriages being celebrated at St Paul’s by this Archdeacon.

   The Archdeacon was a busy person who according to The History of Geelong and Corio Bay (W. R. Brownhill) spoke at a public meeting to establish the Geelong Hospital. On Sundays he used to make evangelical visits to the people at Barrabool Hills in the morning, attended to the people of Point Henry and held services aboard emigrant ships in the afternoon and conducted services in Geelong in the evening.

   The architect of St Paul's was Charles Laing who also designed in Geelong the Union Bank, the private residences of Coriyule and Lunan and the Geelong Hospital. He was born and trained in Manchester England and worked as a butcher in Melbourne .He was then appointed surveyor of Melbourne from 1845 to 1850. He also designed the tower and nave of St. Peter's Eastern Hill.

   A description of St Paul's describes it as a large structure and capable of holding 600 persons and with the addition of galleries could be made to accommodate nearly 1100 persons. The exterior red brick was quarried at Waurn Ponds, Geelong. During 1851 the walls of the church were completed, but there was no roof, and the building was without chancel and tower .The work had ceased for two reasons. The first was the discovery of gold in Ballarat and the workmen engaged in the building of St Paul’s, like those from all over the country rushed to the diggings and the second was the shortage of funds. In 1852 when the Bishop returned to Geelong he was very disappointed that little progress had been made on the building. Although the building resembled a ruin it was actually the centre of very active parish life

   The arrival of Theodore Carlos Stretch from England brought to this country a man who was to play a great part in the establishment of the Church in Geelong and Western Victoria. Kath Herbert in her paper titled "The early days of St Paul's Church, Geelong," points out that Stretch had two sons and was desirous of a suitable school to be established for their benefit and that he suggested to Bishop Perry that Rev’d. G. O. Vance, Curate at St. Paul's might begin a school. The report originating from the magazine "Investigator" and appearing in the Geelong Advertiser August 1855 states that "The Archdeacon of Geelong will be obliged by communications from parents and guardians willing to support a really good Grammar School. The services of a highly accomplished graduate are now available..." and so Geelong Grammar opened in Villamanta Street October 1855, and Rev’d. Vance, past curate of St Paul's became its first headmaster. Its earliest history was rocky until it became re-established again in the 1860's and firmly established in 1914.

   Back to our friend Theodore.

   He was licenced in 1852 as the Minister for the suburbs of Geelong and two years later as Minister for the town of Geelong and then in March, 1854 he was collated as Archdeacon of Geelong hence the appointment of Vance as his curate. His archdeaconry included not only Geelong, but also Ballarat, which was at that time part of the Diocese of Melbourne. Stretch caused a tent to be erected in the shell of the building and conducted services regularly until the church was completed. It was ironic that in the service for the laying of the foundation stone, Archdeacon Macartney preached on the text from Isaiah, chapter 14, verse 2 "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes"

   Fifteen hundred pounds was needed to put the roof on the church and finish the outside. J. G. Carr offered a solution that a thousand pound (£1,000) be made available to the Trustees and that with the view of raising this sum the friends of the church be invited to advance sums of not less than £50 (50 pounds) with or without interest for a period of 3 years.

   So with friends rallying with money and labour being obtained the church was ready for opening although there was still much work to be completed inside.

The church cost the following amounts to build:

The original shell and Vicarage — cost unknown

   Roofing and finishing the interior £5782.15/5. (57821 pounds, 15 shillings and 5 pence) with a further liability of £2751.12/6d.
Towards this amount £4521 through the year inclusive of a Government Grant of £1648 was received.
It would be romantic to think that a huge gold nugget was given to the church by a lucky miner but this was not so although they did receive a five ounce nugget from a grateful digger. Gold was worth £3.3 an ounce in Geelong at that time.

   In the Church of England Messenger for June 1854 it was reported that "Divine service was performed in St Paul's for the first time on Tuesday, 16th of May, 1854. The prayers were read by the Venerable Archdeacon of Geelong (T. C. B. Stretch) and the Lord Bishop of Melbourne (Bishop Perry) preached the sermon from Isaiah 43:21, after which the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered, the Bishop being assisted by the Archdeacon and also the Very Reverend the Dean of Melbourne H .B. Macartney.

   It was not until January 1855, that Archdeacon Stretch was licensed as Vicar of St Paul's Geelong and so it was that St. Paul's had opened without a Vicar of its own. But Stretch was faced with a debt of three thousand pounds and a group of Parish visitors was formed to collect money from parishioners to help with the finances. During his nine months leave in England the financial affairs of the parish deteriorated and there was some conflict between the Trustees, the Parochial Council and the Bishop. 

   It was in 1858 that meetings were held to form a Parochial Council which later became the Vestry. This did not eventuate until the following year. Amongst the rules of the Parochial Council was one that stated that if a member was absent from a meeting without lawful excuse they would be fined 2/6d

   Prior to the Vestry's establishment the Trustees exercised very firm control of the finances and were a constant thorn in the side of the Vestry as they had first call on the money. Their priority was paying off the debt and at one stage they withdrew £50 per annum of their contribution towards the Vicar's stipend. This caused considerable dissension, so much so that Stretch thought of resigning his Archdeaconry. Prior to the Vicar's leave in England there was confusion about who the locum tenens would be. The Archdeacon had found a man in deacon's orders to take his place but the Bishop would not give his permission. The curate of the time, Rev’d. H. W. A. Adeney carried on the ministry as far as he could. The Rev’d. L Moore eventually became locum until the September when amid great celebration the Vicar was welcomed back to the Parish.

   The Vestry took full control over the collections in the same year and the following year the installation of gas lights took place at a cost of some £45. The debt on the church had been reduced to £1100.

   During this era of growth and development, several of St Paul's vestrymen were involved in civic affairs including the establishment of a recognised municipal authority for the local government of the town. These were Charles Nantes, W.G. McKellar, E. Willis, J. S. Hill and W. Timms, with Charles Nantes being elected chairman at the first Council Meeting of the separated Newtown and Chilwell municipality in 1858.

   Following the resignation of Archdeacon Stretch the Vestry explored ways in which they could pay their debt to him as well as have sufficient funds to adequately pay a new Vicar and so it was in May 1863 that Astley Cooper became the second incumbent of St Paul's. During this time the church, apart from the extended chancel, was completed as we know it today.

   After the marriage of the Prince of Wales in 1863 many people in Geelong lamented that there was no peal of bells to herald such occasions. What happened? The good old conflict between St Paul's and Christ Church was on again. A Mr Holdsworth of Ashby began collecting money for St Paul's Bells and Mr Ashmore for Christ Church but St Paul's had an advantage –it was practicable to raise the height of the tower at St Paul's and it was thought by some that the Christ Church tower was incapable of holding the extra weight, to which Mr Ashmore retorted that the tower of Christ Church could stand with the tower of St Paul's on top of it. 

   The Geelong Advertiser reports that " a solid tower of resonant brick has been built, and funds have been raised towards the swinging of such a peal as will be heard for many miles, inland and to the sea, from the You Yangs and to the Southern Ocean" (Geelong Advertiser, May, 1866). The cost of the erection of the tower was £520 and the peal of eight bells in the key of E flat were hung. The bells were erected at a cost of £900. The sum of almost £912 had been received from a general subscription and £37 was collected in England. Of the monies raised only one third was received from public subscription and two thirds by the people of St Paul's.

   On the tenor bell the following inscription appears, "This peal of bells was purchased by public subscription for St Paul's Geelong, A.D. 1866. "A bell and ringers committee was formed and they drew up a set of rules some of which stated:
— we resolve to be a respectable body of men, as well as good Ringers:
.. and to give no occasion by our conduct, to any person to speak against us, nor bring a disgrace upon the church in which we are connected officials.
Neither will we desire to take into our company any who are of low life and character-idle, drunken fellows, and Sabbath breakers...
--that for practising, we agree to meet every ..... throughout the year, excepting when any person(man, woman, or child – rich or poor) is lying dead near the church –when the bells out of respectfor the deceased friends shall be silent.
— if any ringer comes 15 minutes after the time, or is absent-unless through sickness-or leaves the belfry before the bells are down shall forfeit 1/-.
— that if any ringer of the said number is guilty of fighting, quarrelling, swearing, drinking, or smoking in the belfry he shall forfeit 1/-. We know that we have our own houses to eat and drink in, and our own firesides where we can sit down and smoke." There is a time and place for all things."

   Although the Ringers had these rules to guide them, there was often dissension between the professional ringers and the amateurs. When the Vestry reduced the payment to the Ringers it was decided that they would no longer play at 8am Service. I have to say that the drinking by the Ringers gets several mentions.

   The bells were pealed regularly until 1884 when after welcoming in the New Year it was decided that because of the condition of the tower that in future they would only be chimed. It was thought that the swinging weight of almost four tons of bell metal created too much stress for the tower. In 1934 work was carried out to strengthen the tower through the generosity of 2 parishioners and the bells were rung to welcome the Duke of Gloucester to Geelong the same year. A team of English bellringers in Australia to peal bells for the Melbourne Centenary Celebrations advised that the tower was still not strong enough. An engineer's report confirmed this so the bells returned to being chimed and in fact welcomed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Geelong in 1954.

   Ten years later a group of New Zealand bell ringers recommended that the bells be returned to England for refurbishment and the tower strengthened. In 1975 a Bell Restoration Fund was set up with a $5000 grant from the Vestry.

   Following another report in 1979 by the group who had been involved in the restoration of the St James Old Cathedral, various strategies were suggested to solve the problems but it was in 1980 when a test ring of all bells proved that it was the wooden frame that was at fault. The English Oak had been adversely affected by the Australian climate and this allowed the movement in the tower. In 1981 an Appeal Committee was formed and set about raising the $52,000 + required to return the bells to the Whitechapel foundry (where the original drawings and specifications were available and had been seen by my father-in-law the previous year. He visited the factory and asked about the bells. The worker said to wait a few minutes and after a short while produced the original 1865 plans and specifications). They were returned to the foundry for fitting on a steel frame and to fit ball bearing actions and replace all working gear. Meanwhile back home the tower and floors were renovated and a concrete ring beam was installed in the tower. Over five hundred business houses were circularised seeking donations under the co-sponsor the National Trust. On the 21st of June 1982 the bells were returned to St Paul's and were placed in the tower. The tower was re-hallowed and the bells rededicated on 25th July 1982 by the Archbishop of Melbourne Most Rev’d. Robert Dann.

   Now back to Astley Cooper. 

   The £400 stipend plus £50 bonus was totally inadequate for the stipend and in 1870 the Vicar resigned. At this time the Vicarage was on land behind and to the side of the church, now part of V/Line property. The Reverend Ralph Barker commenced duties in 1870. He caused the church to be consecrated on April 7th 1872 by Bishop Perry, and in 1877 the new Sanctuary, at a cost of £485.4/6 was opened. The stipend was still cruelly inadequate and undoubtedly the stress that this caused resulted in the Vicar taking leave and returning to England where he died in 1878.

   The Vestry again reviewed the stipend and wanted to reduce it back to £400 from the £450 that it had been. Bishop Moorhouse refused to sanction this move.

   The Rev. Robert Chalmers became the next Vicar and it was he who greatly invigorated the Parish. In 1880 the new Sunday School hall was built at a cost of £1202.6/5. There was 435 children on the roll with an average attendance of 187. Following this in 1884 the infant school was built at a cost of £618. Three years earlier the font was moved to the west end of the church and the galleries were removed. Prior to his departure to Brighton the interior of the church was repaired and redecorated. Cost £350 — in 2001 the cost for repainting was almost $30.000. Three years later this remarkable man was consecrated Bishop of Goulburn. He kept in close contact with St Paul's and by 1894 the St Paul's Ladies Working Party completed three of the four Altar frontals for St Saviour’s Cathedral, Goulburn.

   Arthur Vincent Green followed and during his ten months here saw St. Luke’s Fyansford dedicated and their Sunday School opened. He went on to become Bishop of Grafton and Armidale and later translated to Ballarat as Bishop.

   W. C. Pritchard M.A. followed Dr Green in 1890 and another surge of growth and expansion took place. He had the new church of St. Barnabas, Swanston Street completed on land that had been acquired by Canon Chalmers and plans were afoot for another church in North Geelong, known as St Silas.

   1891 saw the opening of the St Paul's Union Hall. The St. Paul's Union had been in existence for a number of years and its object was the improvement of the physical, mental and spiritual life of the men of the Parish.

   In the same year St Barnabas became debt free and a monthly service was conducted at North Geelong. This made the fourth outpost of St Paul's (St Luke’s Fyansford, St Barnabas Swanston Street , St Silas North Geelong and the other dating back to 1849 when the St John's school was actually built before St Paul's but administered by St Paul's once our Church was built.

   When St Paul's day school opened in 1854 there were 175 scholars on the roll, with an average daily attendance of 87 in the days when attendance was not compulsory. Ten years later there was an enrolment of 252 with an average of 162 and ten years later again the average attendance was still 161. The school became a denominational school and then a Common School until it ceased to exist under the Education Act of 1872

   Rev. Pritchard left the parish in 1896. This ended a line of Vicars who were builders of churches and parishes and then followed a period of declining finances, attendances and interest. The vicars of the next seven years faced huge challenges. Whilst the first fifty years had been an era of great activity and vigorous growth, the Church had now been standing for 50 years and was falling into disrepair, and the Vicarage was a great liability. In 1897 great cracks appeared in the Eastern gables and had to be braced and two years later dangerous plaster had to be removed from the interior. The ivy was removed from the walls because of its damaging effect and the organ was a source of anxiety.

   Rev. John McTaggert Evans quickly grasped the situation he found himself in and using his great organising and preaching skills breathed new life into St Paul's despite the report of the Bishop in 1903 saying the Church would have to be rebuilt. So says the Cyclopedia of Victoria Vol 11 1904 “The most important church belonging to the Protestant denomination is that of St Paul's Geelong, close to the railway station, founded in the early fifties, the site of which was once occupied by a tent, in which the first services were conducted and capable of holding 800 persons. Owing to the fact of its having been constructed of very inferior building materials, it will have to be superseded at no very distant date by a more enduring edifice." 

   A tender of £795 was accepted for renovation work and the repair work was carried out 1904. The Vestry tried to sell the Vicarage to the railways, but it was not until many years later that it was eventually sold to them.

   The church became packed with people, so much so, that one had to come early to get a seat and the Vestry passed a resolution that seats were not to be placed in the aisles. The choir and the music were also contributing factors to the revival with a paid quartet and 45 members singing regularly and paid soloists being brought from Melbourne.

   By 1908 money problems occurred again.

   When Evelyn Snodgrass was appointed in 1911, St Silas at North Geelong was dedicated. The following year a pipe organ was purchased from St Peter's Eastern Hill. During the next 7 years the new church was built a Fyansford. St Paul's church walls were coloured, the Sanctuary was altered with the Communion Rails being placed at the Sanctuary arch, the choir stalls were moved nearer to the pulpit, doorways were altered in the chancel, electricity was installed, the Altar Screen was erected in memory of Rev’d. Anderson who had left in 1911, the first side chapel was established (later to become the Hooper Memorial Chapel). After 5 busy years W .E. Wood was succeeded by the then Rev’d. J. J. Booth.

   During his tenure in the parish he liquidated the debt on the Vicarage, he had the interior of the church redecorated, the front picket fence removed, the gardens and lawns established, new choir stalls and prayer desks were installed and £600 was raised to renovate the organ. The parish was thriving. In 1934 he was appointed Bishop –Coadjutor of the Diocese of Melbourne (with the title of Bishop of Geelong) and in 1942 was enthroned as Archbishop of Melbourne. Another former Locum Tenens was appointed as the next vicar and during Rev’d. Bright Parkers ministry the bells saga commenced, much stress was placed on the sacramental teaching of the church and the Guild of the Holy Sacrament was reintroduced (first introduced in Canon Chalmers' day). Friday services with special prayers for the sick were introduced, a very strong Girls Friendly Society existed and social activities were a regular feature of parish life. 

   A native of Glasgow, the Rev’d. Dr Edward Griffith became the next Incumbent in 1936 and this man of great energy and interests guided St Paul's through the turbulent years of the Second World War, the Hooper Memorial Chapel was dedicated and nearly all the stained glass windows of the nave were dedicated during this time. He instituted Temple Day which swelled the monies for the parish, gas heating was installed and the Choir Vestry was refurnished. His long and faithful ministry finished when he died suddenly whilst still Vicar of the Parish. 

   1950 saw the appointment of the Rev’d. Gordon Apsey. His ministry is best described, as the 1952 Annual Report reads "The year just ended has been noteworthy, not so much for the type of things that appear in the Annual Report, but for something felt, but unseen— a growing spiritual strength and fellowship within the Parish".

   In 1953 the Vestry had to undertake the expensive and difficult task of stripping away all the old plaster from the walls and completely remove everything from the church. The seats had been affixed to the walls, the walls had never been plastered to the floor, there was no centre aisle, and an old draught screen used to stand at the entrance to the West door. The ceiling was also repaired and repainted. The architect's plan of 1918 was used for resealing of the church, providing the centre aisle and the Louis Williams plan for the overall design of the interior of the church was adhered to. The complete refurbishment cost about $3800. Archbishop Booth celebrated at the Centenary Service and the Governor attended a service as part of the celebrations the following week. 

   Around these years the Griffith memorial chairs in the side chapel and the Narthex were dedicated. Apart from material things, many other happenings took place such as the appointment of Geelong's first Hospital and Gaol chaplain, land at Lara was purchased for the Brotherhood of St Laurence Old Folk's settlement, and much support was given to the A.B.M. (Anglican, formerly Australian, Board of Mission)

   Maintenance work continued, the outside of the church was restored, repainting inside, Eucharistic vestments and new choir robes were donated and new toilets were built.

   However Geelong and our parishioners were changing. Many homes were demolished and West Geelong was becoming lightly industrialised and many parishioners now travelled to church from outside the Parish. Gordon Apsey's 17½ years ministry, the longest in the history of this parish, was followed by that of Dr Arthur Robin who was inducted in 1969. 

   His expertise in church renovation and design, in history, in Christian education soon became noticeable around the Parish. Several "teach ins" were conducted, missions were held, visiting theologians were invited to speak and a huge festival of Drama and Art was held. The Vestry worked in sub committees, and a combined census by all the churches of Geelong West took place. The Geelong Clergy walked in relays to Melbourne to raise funds for the New Guinea Garamut Appeal. The organ was rebuilt at a cost of $12,180 and the church was re-floored and re-seated. Beautiful tapestry covers were made and a large tapestry of ten interwoven pieces, measuring in all nine feet by eight feet was worked by ten ladies. 

   There are too many other refurbishment projects to mention any further. This ministry came to an end in 1978 and the Rev’d. Harry Kirby was the next incumbent.

   The Rev’d. Harry was well known to the people of St Paul's and indeed to Geelong as being the Hospital and Gaol Chaplain, the Vicar of St Johns and St Albans, Geelong West and his association with organisations serving handicapped children. He continued with the great teaching and spiritual guidance of his predecessors.

   He was able to pacify the apprehension felt by parishioners when the six lane freeway was constructed in 1979 outside our front door, and preserve the feeling of ownership and commitment to our Parish Church which had suddenly become physically divided.

   Father Harry had an enormous influence on the restoration of the tower and bells that I have already spoken about. Through his untiring efforts the tasks were completed, debt free, and the organisation of the procedures of the tower were skilfully guided by him. Other restoration work was carried out around the property and family worship and get togethers were essential parts of his ministry.

   In 1989 the Rev’d. Robert Joyce became the 19th Incumbent of St Paul's and the growth that has been seen over the past 150 years continued during his time with us. During the last 15 years we have seen parishioners become much more involved in the Liturgy. A nave altar has been installed; a monthly youth service and several Quiet Day Retreats have been conducted. There has been a broad outreach to the community, particularly the disadvantaged in our society. Because of the aging of our congregation there has been a consciousness of the need to give support to each other as well as those in need in our community. Deacon Sandra Joyce is the Honorary Sunday Assistant and also the Hospital Chaplain. She was admitted to the Diaconate in 1990.

   It seems that each time some major work needs to be carried out we are fortunate to have available the personnel who are attuned to our needs and again this has happened. During the last 15 years continued maintenance and refurbishment of our property have occurred with the repainting of the church and halls (some $30,000), the construction of a new Vicarage in 1998, the extension of facilities and attention given to the exterior walls of the church in the following year and the dedication of a votive candle stand, a Sanctuary Lamp and new Sound System ($28000) all occurring in 2002. But now another big project is challenging the Parish with the re-roofing of the church and halls at a cost of some $333,000. The Wardens received a government grant of $75,000 which enabled us to replace the existing slate with new welsh slate on the church roof as part of Stage 1 of the project.

   A history of St Paul's would be incomplete without reference to the special contribution to the life of the Parish and the city made by the music at St Paul's during its existence. I have previously mentioned soloists and quartets but for the last 60 years Mr. John Brockman has been choirmaster and organist. The choir Sunday by Sunday leads the congregation in worship with expertise, reverence and devotion. Numbering 70 on special occasions they have performed major works such as Bach Cantatas, Dvorak's Stabat Mater, Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Messiah and others. For over 21 years the choir has joined the singing of the Mass and Eucharist with St Francis Catholic Church, Melbourne both at their church and ours.

   I should also mention our stained glass windows. Arthur Robin in his booklet titled "Prayers before the Windows" describes "The east window is a magnificent window which for nearly one hundred years has inspired those who have worshipped in the church. It was given in memory of a pioneer wool-broker, who came to Geelong from Van Diemen's Land in 1837. His family gave the window after his death in London in 1871 and it was placed in position when the Sanctuary of the church was extended in 1877. Early descriptions of the window give it the title of "The Ascended Christ" and that is the main focal point but the full meaning of the window is best understood whilst reading the Te Deum and looking at its pictures."

   Another window of note is the Baptismal Window of Christ and John Baptist and "The Modern Baptism dedicated in 1968. 

   The J. J. Booth Memorial window was dedicated in 1973. The double stained window depicts Bishop Perry against an Australian bush background in the left panel and Archbishop Booth, in the right hand panel, against a background of the cathedral spires. The top panel depicts the ship ‘The Stag’ which brought Bishop Perry to Australia

   As one reads through minutes and documents one cannot but notice strong threads that weave through St Paul’s history. The dedicated and inspired leadership of 19 Incumbents and their long terms of office, the many Curates in our early years: the long association of parishioners who have held office and/or worshipped in the Parish, some of them 40 years plus; the continuing money crisis, yet always overcome; of the continuing support for missions, the faith of St Paul's people that their church is a living and vibrant part of God's Kingdom and the challenges faced and overcome.

   St. Paul's Geelong- 150 years of devotion, worship and service, May 16th, 2004.

R. Nicholls MMIV.

(based on a talk given by R. A. Nicholls to the Anglican Historical Society, Wednesday April 21st 2004 to mark the 150 years of the dedication of St Paul's Geelong.)