What is Significant?
St. Mary's Anglican Church, located on the eastern corner of Bell and Stirling Streets in the township of Balmoral is a modest but fine example of the Victorian Gothic Revival style. The building is of simple design, constructed of locally made pressed red brick and render. The church has three bays with a chancel and porch, the buttresses dividing the bays. A large stained glass window dominates the interior of the church, depicting St. Peter, St. Andrew and Christ. The Armytage family from nearby Fulham Station donated this window, and Mrs. Armytage also laid the foundation stone of the church. Furniture, furnishings and memorials commemorate other local families. The relatively late date of construction indicates a stronger presence of Anglicans in the area at the time. Until St. Mary's was constructed in 1894, Anglican services were held in the Presbyterian Church, serviced by ministers who were based at other towns, such as Sandford or Edenhope. In 1895, a parsonage was built at Harrow, which was used by ministers serving Balmoral until 1948. With the extension of the parish to include Toolondo and Cavendish, it was decided that Balmoral would be more central. For some years a house in Bell Street, near Mather's Creek, was used as a vicarage until the present vicarage was completed in 1968. This has since been closed and the parish is served from Coleraine. A sympathetically constructed Sunday school is located on the south east side of the church. The church is approached through ornate gateposts, although the original fence has been replaced by wire mesh. Two mature Cupressus sempervirens (Pencil pine or Italian Cypress) specimens stand adjacent to the gate and are identified by a small brass plaque which states they were planted to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. A third pine is located at the north west corner, the three being the survivors of a row marking the Stirling Street boundary of the church. There are also conventional ornamentals. Near the porch stands an ornate cast iron street lamp, now electrified, which was one of four kerosene street lamps which lit nineteenth century Balmoral. The church building, its interiors and grounds retain a very high degree of integrity and are in excellent condition.
How is it significant?
St. Mary's Anglican Church is of social, architectural and historical significance to the township of Balmoral and the Southern Grampians Shire.
Why is it significant?
St. Mary's Anglican Church is of architectural significance as an example of the Gothic revival style in its application to places of worship and for expressing particular religious values. This is demonstrated by the range and quality of its interiors, including the altar, the main window, lectern, and several memorials and plaques. It is also a useful comparison with the churches of other denominations in Balmoral. St. Mary's Church is of historical significance as the last substantial church to be built in the Balmoral district illustrating the growth of the Anglican faith in the township towards the turn of the century and its consolidation immediately afterwards. The donation of land, materials and furnishings represents the affluence and generosity of the many important early settlers who belonged to the congregation, including the Armytage family from Fulham and the various owners of Kongbool. The grounds are historically significant for the commemorative planting of Cupressus semprevirens (Pencil pine or Italian Cypress) and the complex as a whole is historically significant as the expression of the role and position of the Anglican Church and its congregation in the community for over one hundred years.