The former Church of Christ, Abbotsford was designed by architect and congregation member Jonathan Rankine and built in 1888-9 to replace an earlier building in Langridge Street. The church was one of the finest and largest erected by the Australian Brotherhood of the Church of Christ in the 19th century. The Church of Christ Collingwood congregation has disbanded and the building has been sensitively adapted to use as a Municipal Library. The exterior and many of the interior features remain intact.
How is it significant?
The former Church of Christ, Abbotsford is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it Significant?
The Church of Christ is of architectural significance for its classical revival facade which is an exceptional and distinctive design. It was modelled on the 1682 reredos by Sir Christopher Wren in the Temple Church, London. The building is an unusual and noteworthy design and appears to have been the only church designed by Jonathan Rankine in Victoria. The Church’s exterior and many of the interior features remain intact, providing a fine example of classical revival church architecture, and demonstrating the influence of one of the foremost architects of London’s churches, Sir Christopher Wren.
The Church of Christ is of historical significance because its history parallels that of the suburb in which it was built. The grandeur of the church indicates the important place of religion in 19th century colonial society and the popularity of evangelical sects. The church’s 20th century history has reflected the struggles of Collingwood and Abbotsford, with congregation sizes declining through wars, depressions and the industrialisation of the area, as well as decentralisation of Melbourne’s population after World War Two, until it was converted to a municipal library in the late 1970s.
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 works 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 works shall cease and Heritage Victoria shall be notified as soon as possible. Note: All archaeological places have the potential to contain significant sub-surface artefacts and other remains. In most cases it will be necessary to obtain approval from the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria before the undertaking any works that have a significant sub-surface component.General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and plan endorsed by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it. Note: The existence of a Conservation Management Plan or a Heritage Action Plan endorsed by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria provides guidance for the management of the heritage values associated with the site. It may not be necessary to obtain a heritage permit for certain works specified in the management plan.General Conditions: 4. Nothing in this determination prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.General Conditions: 5. Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authorities where applicable.Minor Works : Note: Any Minor Works that in the opinion of the Executive Director will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place may be exempt from the permit requirements of the Heritage Act. A person proposing to undertake minor works may submit a proposal to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed works will not adversely affect the heritage values of the site, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a heritage permit. If an applicant is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that the permits co-ordinator be contacted.