What is significant? The former St John's the Less Anglican church and schoolroom, designed to seat about 120 people, was opened on 1 February 1850 to serve the pioneer agricultural settlement around the Elster Creek at Little Brighton (now East Brighton). Construction of the humble building, using local ironstone and volunteer labour was assisted by a grant of thirty five pounds from the Melbourne Diocesan Society. Later named St John's the Less, to distinguish it from the larger Church of St John built in East Brighton (now Bentleigh), the building was continuously used for worship until replaced by a new brick church in 1890. It then became a Sunday School for many years. The building has a small entrance porch and the slate roof and timber boarded ceiling is supported on exposed king post trusses. A fireplace on the south wall is boarded over and the top of the chimney has been removed.
How is it significant? The former St John's the Less Anglican Church and schoolroom is of historic and architectural importance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant? The former Anglican church of St John's the Less and schoolroom is historically important as one of the oldest religious and educational buildings in Victoria, having been constructed before separation of the new colony of Victoria from New South Wales in 1851. It is also historically important as one of the earliest known surviving buildings from the pioneering days of Brighton, Melbourne's oldest satellite settlement. Brighton, which became a fashionable seaside village like the English resort after which it was named, was the focus of Henry Dendy's Crown "Special Survey" of 1840. Dendy was the first to accept the British Government's initiative to encourage colonial immigration and settlement by sale of 5120 acre lots covered by Special Surveys in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales.
It is important to the history of education in Victoria as a rare surviving example of a pre-Separation and pre-Gold Rush Denominational (non-vested) school building, and as the earliest extant school building in Brighton. It is the earliest surviving Anglican school building in Melbourne. Its construction, at the predominantly Protestant settlement of Brighton, predated the establishment of a National Board of Education which aimed to acknowledge the diversity of religious and cultural affiliations in Australia and to minimise sectarian animosities. The ensuing strong government school system was a legacy of the National School system.
The former church of St John's the Less and schoolroom is architecturally important as a representative example of the simple pioneer construction methods and techniques of the 1840s using local labour and locally quarried ironstone.
FORMER ST JOHN'S THE LESS ANGLICAN CHURCH AND SCHOOLROOM - Permit Exemptions
General Conditions: 1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.General Conditions: 2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of alterations that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such alteration shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible.General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it.General Conditions: 4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authority where applicable.
Specific Conditions: 1. Painting of previously painted surfaces provided the preparation does not remove evidence of the building’s original and subsequent decorative schemes.
Specific Conditions: 2. Re-wiring provided that all new wiring is fully concealed and any original light switches and GPO’s are retained in-situ.
Specific Conditions: 3. Installation of hooks, nails and other devices for the hanging of paintings, mirrors and other small wall-mounted items.
Specific Conditions: 4. Installation of smoke detectors.
Specific Conditions: 5. Removal of extraneous pipework, wiring etc and making good.
Specific Conditions: 6. Management of trees and plants in accordance with Australian Standard AS4373 Pruning of Amenity Trees.
Specific Conditions: 7. The process of gardening, mowing, mulching, bedding displays, removal of dead plants, disease and weed control, emergency and safety works.
Specific Conditions: 8. Installation, removal and replacement of garden watering systems.
FORMER ST JOHN'S THE LESS ANGLICAN CHURCH AND SCHOOLROOM - Permit Exemption Policy
The extent of registration protects the whole of the building and sufficient land around the building to protect views of the building from Union Street and Hawthorn Road. It would be desirable to keep the registered land vacant but construction of small non-intrusive structures may be possible. Such development would require a permit. Extension of the building or subdivision of its interior would not be desirable. Reconstruction of the upper section of the chimney would be supported.