St Johns Anglican Church, Toorak

St Johns church is a impressive early 1800s Anglican church in one of Melbourne’s most beautiful tree-lined streets. Designed by William Wardell, who is well known for Government House, as well as St Patricks and the fantastical Venetian Gothic ANZ Building on Collins St. At Serendipity Photography we love the work of William Wardell, his attention to detail and ability to creature impressive momentous buildings of any size. St Johns is an English Gothic style building which sits upon beautifully manicured grounds atop a hill in Toorak.

The planning and construction of St Johns began in 1859 after a meeting between prominent Toorak Anglicans, where it was decided that there was a group large enough to justify construction of an Anglican church in Toorak. Toorak residents of the Anglican faith worshipped primarily in an Anglican congregation in South Yarra. The construction of St Johns marks a turning point in Toorak’s history.

The present church structure was not completed until 1873, and significant additions were added through the 19th and 20th centuries. The bells of St John are traditionally rung at wedding ceremonies and are a dominant feature of St Johns, they weigh four tonnes collectively and were donated to St Johns by Honorable William Baillieu. The first eight bells were installed in 1921 as thanksgiving for the end of the war and a return of the soldiers, including his own two sons. The last five were also donated by Baillieu, in memorial of his wife, which were installed in 1925 and made a complete octave.

One of the churches most curious features are the fifty-two stone head, made by an unknown Italian stone mason. One four of the over fifty heads have been identified, two are the then vicars daughters, one is Queen Victoria and one is King George the V. They sit of the corbels of doors and windows of the church and are strangely charming.

Inside St Johns features a stunning opus sectiles that sit on either wall of the nave, they depict early scenes from the Bible. The opus sectile mosaic style is also featured in St James.

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