History

tent-trinity

Prior to the formation of the Uniting Church of Australia in 1977, “Trinity” was a Congregational Church and referred to as the “Black Street Congregational Church”.

The establishment of a Congregational Church in Brighton originated through the Congregational Churches of Collins Street and West Melbourne jointly organising a Sunday School and regular meetings for worship in Prahran in 1850. It was the first Pastor, the Rev. William Moss of Prahran who, in 1852, occasionally made the long ride through the bush to Brighton, where he conducted services on behalf of the Independents (later Congregational Church) in the home of Mr Frank B Sim in New Street. The Rev. Moss continued these journeys and services until early in 1853 when the Rev Henry Kidgell of Brighton, England, for sentimental reasons, established his home in Brighton, Victoria.

Upon the arrival of the Rev Kidgell in Brighton he immediately established regular services, the first being held on 6th February 1853 in a 10′ x 12′ tent, brought from England, which he erected on an allotment in Carpenter Street, Brighton.

In April that year it was resolved to erect a small wooden chapel on a quarter acre block of land in Male Street that was presented to the Church by Mr Nicolas Were, a good friend of all denominations. In November 1853 services commenced in this new building.

As the Church continued to grow, the Church Committee felt that the Male Street site was not central enough within Brighton and so in September 1857 a 2 acre block in Black Street was purchased for £200 an acre, ½ an acre of which was later sold leaving 1½ acres of 1and for the “erection of a new and commodious wooden chapel, seating 270 persons, was completed in October 1859 at a cost of £800.”

In June 1869 it was decided to improve the church grounds and a donation of trees (including Moreton Bay Fig and Cypress trees) was obtained from Dr. Von Mueller of the Botanical Gardens. The Moreton Bay Fig Tree planted at that time has become a very substantial tree and is now covered by a heritage protection order.

In 1874 plans were prepared for the erection of “a larger and more substantial edifice of brick, which besides meeting the requirements of the congregation, would be an ornament to Brighton.” The existing wooden church was moved to another place on the site for use as the Sunday School Hall to make way for the new building.

The Hon. James Balfour laid the Church foundation stone on 15 June 1875 and the opening services were held on 2 December 1875. The architect was Mr Chas. Webb, builder Mr James Bonham and the erection cost was £2,836/17/-, exclusive of fittings.

It is certainly acknowledged that the vision for the building to be an ornament in Brighton has been fulfilled.

Extensive renovations were carried out on the Black Street Church in 1991 and during this period the congregation met at the New Street Uniting Church. Upon completion of these works the congregation returned to Black Street and the Church was, at that time, renamed Trinity.