The Scots’ Church in Melbourne

When Rev. James Forbes, from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, arrived in Melbourne in January 1838, he found little more than a village of temporary huts. The Rev. James Clow from Stirlingshire in Scotland, together with Dr. Alexander Thomson, whose family coat of arms is represented by the red stag in the Scots’ Church coat of arms , had already gathered together a congregation of Presbyterians and begun to hold regular services. They supported Forbes as he took over this work, giving official life to the first Presbyterian Church in the Port Phillip District, less than a month after he had arrived in town. So it was that the Presbyterian Church was the first church in Melbourne; the first Christian denomination to have regular services of worship conducted by an ordained minister.
Since 1838 Scots’ has been continuously reaching out to the people of this city. When Rev. James Forbes arrived from Scotland to minister in the colony, the first church was a temporary wooden building at the west end of Collins Street whilst the congregation applied for an official grant of land. Two acres on the present site were obtained and a school was subsequently built. This school also served as a church on Sundays until a proper church building, seating five hundred, was built in January 1841.
The Scots’ Church
However, the population and congregation were still growing, and the congregation resolved in January 1869 to build a new church designed by the notable architects Reed & Barnes. This is The Scots’ Church which you see today.   The present church building is famous for its austere interior including fine timber fittings and magnificent stained glass windows by both local and overseas makers.
The style of the church is “decorated Gothic” which is somewhat unusual amongst Presbyterian Church buildings. Bluestone was used for the foundations, Barrabool Hills Freestone from Geelong for the superstructure and cream-coloured Kakanul Stone from New Zealand for the “dressings.” The church spire is 120 feet high and was for many years the highest point in the city. The church was built by David Mitchell, who was the father of the famous Australian soprano – Dame Nellie Melba, at one time a chorister in the Choir. The foundation stone was laid on 1st April, 1873 and the building opened on 29th November, 1874.
The Scots’ Church

The Scots’ Church Contact Details

Location: Corner of Collins & Russell Streets
Telephone: (03) 9650 9903
Fax: (03) 9654 3982

Church Office

First Floor, 156 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000, Victoria, Australia
(formerly 99 Russell Street, Melbourne)
Details about Church Worship Timings please visit

Information Courtesy : Church Website

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