1870: St John’s Anglican Church, Diamond Creek, Victoria.

St John’s Anglican Church at Diamond Creek was built to the designs of Charles Maplestone (1809-1878). His wife, Isabella Margaret Maplestone (nee Beale) (1822-1888) laid the foundation stone of St John’s on the 11th of November 1867[1].

A balance sheet from St John’s parish archives, dated 3rd May 1870 contains reference to stained glass windows with costs. One for £18-10s, and second for a side window for £5-5s to Ferguson, Urie, and Lyon[2].

Photos taken: 26th May 2013.

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Charles Maplestone (1809-1878):

Charles Maplestone was a well-known Victorian Public Works architect and avid Vintner in the Heidelberg area. He was born in 1809 at Beccles, Suffolk, England, and married Sarah Elizabeth Mash (1816-1856)[3] in Suffolk, England in 1837. In early 1853, 16 members of three generations of the Maplestone family departed England aboard the “Strathfieldsaye” and arrived in Victoria in April of 1853[4]. After his wife Sarah died in 1856 he then married Isabella Margaret Nodin (nee Beale) at St Helena, Victoria, on the 15th July 1857[5]. He died at “Ivanhoe Lodge”, Ivanhoe on the 25th May 1878 in his 70th year[6].

Isabella Margaret Maplestone (nee Beale) (1822-1888):

Isabella was a daughter of retired Pay Master, Major Anthony Beale, of the East India Corps and was born on the island of St Helena in 1822. She arrived in Van Diemens Land with her parents and siblings aboard the ‘Cecilia’ on the 29th July 1839[7] and then later to Melbourne in November 1839[8]. She first married Francis Nodin (1805-1856)[9] in Melbourne on the 12th December 1840[10] and after his death in 1856 she married Charles Maplestone on the 15th July 1857 at her father’s property at St Helena, Victoria. She died at Kew, Victoria, on the 15th May 1888 aged 65 [11].

There is also an association to other Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows that were erected in the Beale family chapel at St Katherine’s, St Helena. A single light stained glass window in the south wall of the nave was erected to the memory of Charles Maplestone’s son, Luther Maplestone (his son by his first marriage) who died in 1869. The east window of St Katherine’s, also originally by Ferguson & Urie, was erected to the memory of the pioneers Katherine and Anthony Beale. All the original stained glass windows in St Katherine’s were destroyed in a fire in 1957 and were re-created as replicas by the Melbourne stained glass firm Brooks, Robinson & Co.

On the 8th of August 1897 a memorial window, by stained glass artist William Montgomery was dedicated in St John’s Anglican Church Heidelberg, to the memory of Charles and Isabella Margaret Maplestone[12].

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 13th November 1867, page 5.

“On Monday the foundation-stone of an Anglican church was laid in the new township of Diamond Creek, by Mrs. Charles Maplestone, the wife of the honorary architect. The Rev. J. Hullis (parochial minister), the Rev. B. S. Walker, and Mr. Watkins, M.L.A., took part in the ceremony…”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 5th October 1868, page 3.

“TENDERS for QUARRYING, Excavating, and Building a portion of the Foundation (labour only) of St. John’s Church, Diamond Creek. Plans and specifications to be seen at the Carlton Club Hotel, Gertrude-street.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 4th November 1870, page 5.

“On Tuesday last the ceremony of opening St. John’s Church, on the Diamond Creek, in the parish of Millumbik, was performed by the bishop of Melbourne, assisted by the Very Rev. the Dean and the Rev. A. Brown. Service was held in the building, which was crowded to excess. At the conclusion of the address delivered by the Bishop, a collection was made, which realised upwards of 20. In the evening a tea meeting was held, in aid of the building fund, to which some 300 sat down, and an adjournment then took place to the church where, the Dean presiding, addresses were delivered by the Rev. Mr. Walton, a minister of the Primitive Methodist Church; Mr. A. Ross, of the Presbyterian; Mr. Rodda of Queenstown; and Messrs. Billing, Johnson, Maplestone, Bell, Beale, and others. Mr. Christian, to whose exertions is mainly to be attributed the erection of the building, brought up a report, which is a handsome specimen of the Early English style of Gothic architecture, is capable of holding some 200 persons, and will be an ornament and a credit to the district.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 27th May 1878, page 1.

“MAPLESTONE.- On the 25th inst., at Ivanhoe-lodge, Ivanhoe, Charles Maplestone, in his 70th year.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 17th May 1888, page 1.

“MAPLESTONE.- On the 15th inst., at her residence, Kew, Isabella Margaret, widow of the late Charles Maplestone, of Ivanhoe Lodge, Ivanhoe, aged 65 years.”

Advertiser, Hurstbridge, Vic, Friday 3rd December 1937, page 1.

“…The foundation stone was laid on November 11, 1867, in the twenty-first year of the Episcopate of Charles Perry, D.D., Bishop of Melbourne, by Mrs. Charles Maplestone, the wife of the honorary architect. It is curious that the foundation stone cannot be identified as there is no sign or mark to tell which is the stone that was laid by Mrs. Maplestone. Although there are a few residents of the district who were present at the laying of the stone, they are not agreed as to the exact location, or where the ceremony took place. Some say at the east end, others at the north end of the building. Some believe that the historic stone has been hidden by the porch, when the church was renovated in 1927. It is known, however, that the stone is a massive one and is hollowed out for the reception of a hermetically sealed bottle containing an interesting account of church life at that time and the daily papers including “The Advertiser,” and every coin of the realm…”

Rev Jock Ryan & Henry Huggins; email from Mrs Bev Ward, 15th June 2013.

“…the Revd. Jock Ryan has let me know that he and Henry Huggins (a parishioner involved with previous extensions at St. John’s) have searched the parish archives and have found a balance sheet dated 3rd May 1870 which contains reference to a stained glass windows. One window for 18 pounds 10 shillings and second one for a side window for 5 pounds, 5 shillings to Ferguson, Urie, and Lyon. This would confirm the names of the makers of the original windows.”


[2] Rev Jock Ryan & Henry Huggins; email from Mrs Bev Ward, 15th June 2013.

[4] Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923, Fiche 036, Pages 001 & 015.

[5] Vic BDM: 2754/1857.


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