What is significant? Early Melbourne architect Charles Laing designed St Paul's Church of England, Geelong. It was the second Anglican church built in the township, in response to the rapid population growth in the area. Construction commenced after the first sod was turned on the site in December 1850 by Governor Charles J Latrobe and the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Perry. Completion of the first stage of the church was delayed until the mid 1850s due to the shortage of labour caused by the gold rush, and architects Snell and Kawerau were responsible for work carried out in 1853 and Snell and Prowse for work undertaken in 1855. Further work, including the extension of the chancel, was completed in 1863 and the tower was built in 1865, designed by architect Leonard Terry. A new sanctuary was opened in 1877 and various repair and restoration works were undertaken from 1887.
The church is generally Early English Gothic in character. It is of simple nave form with stepped buttresses, and a central front tower, which incorporates a round Norman arched opening and perpendicular Gothic windows, crenulated parapet and pinnacles above. The building is constructed of face brick, unusual for this period, and has freestone dressings and a slate roof. Unusual tall timber columns provide internal support to the structure.
In 1880 a Sunday School building, designed by architects Alexander Davidson and Company, was constructed at the north-west corner of the site. Like the earlier church building, it was constructed in brick with a slate roof, but adopted a more picturesque form of the Gothic Revival style. In 1884 a brick Infant School was built, similar in design to the Sunday School. These later became known as the Parish Hall and Choir Hall respectively. A fourth building on the site is the timber Union Hall which was originally built near the parsonage in 1891, to designs by the architects Laird and Barlow. After several relocations, this hall was finally located between the Union and Choir Halls in 1978.
How is it significant? St Paul's Church of England, Geelong is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant? St Paul's Church of England, Geelong is of architectural significance as a work of Charles Laing who was one of Melbourne's first professional architects and city surveyor of Melbourne from 1845 to 1850. Laing also ran an office in Geelong in the early 1850s. The later involvement of prolific Melbourne architect, Leonard Terry, the Anglican Diocesan Architect (1825-1884), is also of significance.
St Paul's Church of England, Geelong is of architectural significance for both its use of face brick externally and timber columns for internal support. It is the earliest known 19th century Gothic Revival Church in Victoria to adopt both these.
St Paul's Church of England is of historical significance as an early building constructed for the Anglican Church in Victoria and for its association with the early development of Geelong from the late 1840s. In addition to the church, the retention of three 19th century halls on the site, built in 1880, 1884 and 1891, is also of importance.