1867: South Yarra Presbyterian Church, Victoria

In August 1867 the ‘Hobart Mercury’ newspaper published an article about the travels of Mr James Urie who was a principal partner of the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne.

James was travelling throughout Tasmania with a portfolio of the company’s stained glass designs to garner commissions for secular and ecclesiastical windows. The tabloids published numerous articles of his “Sojourne” throughout the apple isle;

“STAINED WINDOWS – A few days since we stated that Mr.Urie of the firm of Ferguson, Urie, and Lyon, glass stainers, &c, Melbourne, was on a professional visit to Hobart Town. This gentleman is now in Launceston, and we were much gratified yesterday by inspecting a large portfolio of designs for church and other windows which his firm has executed or has in hand…”[1]

The article briefly mentioned a number of windows the company had recently made and I’ve posted many articles about the ones I have found from those clues. A couple of the windows have eluded me for some time as they merely mentioned names and the location as Melbourne and nothing else such as this obscure one:

…Judge Pohlman’s wife, and wife of Mr Stoddart [sic] both in Melbourne…[2]

Clues to other windows included church names and their locations which have helped to pin point exactly where some of the windows could be found, but the obscure mention of “Melbourne” in relation to the Polman and Stoddart windows was very little to go on.

In our Colonial times, the number of churches that were being erected throughout Melbourne and suburbs was phenomenal. The vast majority of these old churches are still standing but over the course of a century and a half many were burnt to the ground, demolished, moved and re-built, or in recent times, sold to developers. If these Pohlman and Stoddart windows still existed somewhere it was likely to take a long time to locate them whilst concurrently researching the locations of many other Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows. Since finding the historic newspaper article I have visited more than a hundred churches and nothing further has come to light in regards to these particular windows.

The names “Pohlman” and “Stoddart” were significant clues on their own, and in the case of Judge Pohlman it was easy to ascertain that he was Judge Robert Williams Pohlman (1811-1877). But even armed with the knowledge of his faith, being of the Church of England, nothing has been found of his stained glass window.

The name Stoddart presented further challenges, as the newspaper had spelt his name incorrectly on multiple occasions, and so I was looking for the wrong person. The tabloids mentioned that he had been buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery, which seemed like a decent clue, but the cemetery records had nothing for that name. It seems that when I get fixated on a particular direction or clue I miss the obvious things such as misspellings.

By sheer coincidence, a friend recently sent me some photos of the stained glass windows from the South Yarra Presbyterian Church, which, despite me having passed the church numerous times over the years, I had not yet managed to set foot in. Among the photos was a window to the memory of “James Dickson Stodart” (spelt with one letter‘d’).

This was undoubtedly the window that had eluded me for the past few years. Its design and the date of death mentioned for James Dickson Stodart leaves no doubt that it is the original Ferguson & Urie stained glass window from nearly a century and a half ago and not dedicated to Stodart’s wife as the tabloid incorrectly eluded.

[Photos kindly contributed by Paul Danaher, dated Sept 2015]

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James Dickson Stodart (c1825-1867)

In late 1867 the congregation of the South Yarra Presbyterian Church resolved to erect a stained glass window to the memory of their esteemed Church committee member and liberal supporter, James Dickson Stodart.

The window is of two lights with a small English red rose in the tracery above. The apexes of the cusp headed lancets feature the images of ‘Faith’, holding the cross, and ‘Hope’ with the anchor. Below these are the words “Post Nubes Lux,” meaning “After Darkness Light” or “Out of Darkness Light,” which is the motto of the Scottish Stodart/Stoddart family.

The memorial text across the central region of each window reads:


At the base of each window are angels holding a scroll with the words:


James Dixon Stodart was born in Edinburgh, Scotland c.1825 to merchant Alexander Stodart and Elizabeth Gray.

James married Maria Louisa Margaretha Meincke in Scotland c.1848. He departed Liverpool for Australia on the 17th March 1854 aboard the “Golden Era” which arrived in Hobson’s Bay three months later on the 13th June 1854 [3]. His family would arrive later.

He had been sent out from Scotland to wind up the business affairs of the “famous Mr. Boyd” (Benjamin Boyd) and on completion of the task he accepted the position as finance manager for the infrastructure and railway contracting firm of Cornish & Bruce in Melbourne.

He was active in local political affairs and was elected a Councillor of Prahran between 1858-1860 and 1863-1865 and served as Mayor of the municipality in 1864-65 [4].

His relationship with the principals of the Cornish & Bruce Company must have been very close. In 1861 he even named one of his daughters, “Margaret Vans Agnew Bruce Stodart”, after one of the principals of the firm, John Vans Agnew Bruce. Unfortunately Margaret died as an infant on the 3rd August 1863.

Stodart was a liberal supporter and member of the Scotch Presbyterian Church in Punt Road South Yarra. The foundation stone of this church was laid on a rainy day, 14th November 1865 [5] by Captain Tyler, Aide-De-Camp to the Governor, Sir Charles Darling. The Governor was unavoidably absent on the day and so J. D. Stodart presented Captain Tyler with the silver trowel to lay the foundation stone in the presence of Lady and Miss Darling,

After a long battle with tuberculosis, James Dixon Stodart died at his home “Yarra-Bank” at South Yarra on Wednesday 12th June 1867 [6]. His substantial funeral cortege crossed Melbourne’s iconic Princes Bridge at 2pm on Saturday the 15th to deliver him to his final resting place at the Melbourne General Cemetery [7].

There is no gravestone to be found for James Dickson Stodart and so the stained glass window in the South Yarra Presbyterian Church is the only lasting memorial bearing his name. The window represents a significant reminder of a colonist who contributed much to the history of Victoria and it is a remarkably intact example of Ferguson & Urie stained glass workmanship from our Colonial past.

Significant tabloid transcriptions:

The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 13th June 1867, page 5.

“We regret to have to announce the death of Mr James Stodart, which took place at ten o’clock last night, at his residence, South Yarra. Mr. Stodart was manager for the firm of Cornish and Bruce, and is understood to have contributed not a little to the success of its operations. His uprightness and amiability secured him many friends, and his somewhat sudden death will be a great grief to them.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 14th June 1867, page 8.

“THE Friends of the late JAMES D. STODART, Esq., are invited to follow his remains to the place of interment, Melbourne Cemetery.
            Funeral to move from his residence, Yarra bank, South Yarra, on Saturday, 15th inst, at 1 p.m., passing Prince’s-bridge about 2 o’clock.
            JOHN ROMANIS, undertaker, Gardiner’s Creek road, South Yarra.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 14th June 1867, page 4.

“It is a melancholy duty to record the very sudden death, on Wednesday evening last, at a late hour, of Mr. James Stoddart, who has been for many years past so well known and respected as the financial agent of the firm of Messrs. Cornish and Bruce, railway contractors. Up to a very few days ago Mr. Stoddart had been in the enjoyment of vigorous health. He was in charge, on the part of the firm he represented, of the arbitration now going on between the executors of Messrs. Cornish and Bruce and the Government, as to the balance due to the firm, and he was to have given his evidence before the arbitrators this day. Early in the week, however, he complained of symptoms indicative of internal disease. For a day or two he was confined to his room; but on Wednesday evening, feeling slightly better, he rose from his bed, made a step or two, and dropped down dead. Mr. Stoddart was a native of Edinburgh. Trained to business in a good school, and showing an uncommon capacity for finance, he was selected in 1853 to come out to this colony and wind up the multitudinous affairs of the then famous Mr. Boyd. He accomplished the arduous task successfully, and when Messrs. Cornish and Bruce entered on their gigantic enterprise, Mr. Stoddart was recommended to them by the contracting banks as the ablest man whose services they could retain as their financial agent. His labours in that capacity were most onerous; and he had all but completed successfully what may be called the task of a life, when death overtook him. He was one of the earliest promoters of building societies in the colony, and they owe much to his shrewdness, experience, and sagacity. He was for a season mayor of Prahran, and at the time of his death was a councillor of that borough. He took a very active interest in the affairs of the Scotch Church of the district in which he resided, and to his exertions the congregation are mainly indebted for the beautiful new Scotch Presbyterian Church in South Yarra, in which the Rev. George Mackie officiates as pastor. Many will lament in Mr. Stoddart the sudden and untimely death of an able, warm-hearted, and genial man.”

The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 15th November 1865, page 6.


The foundation stone of the above new church was laid yesterday afternoon, on the ground adjacent to the present building. It had been expected that the Governor would be present to perform the ceremony, but his Excellency was prevented from attending by indisposition. Shortly after three o’clock, however, Lady Darling, accompanied by Miss Darling and Captain Tyler, arrived on the ground; but, as it was then raining hard, the company assembled had to adjourn to the church. The proceedings were then commenced by singing and prayer, after which,      
            The Rev. GEORGE MACKIE, pastor of the church remarked that he had much pleasure in stating that they had that day assembled for the purpose of laying the foundation stone of the new building. Rain, which was most propitious for the country, would compel them to perform most of the preliminary part of the proceedings in the old one. He regretted that the absence of his Excellency the Governor, and still more, that he was prevented by disposition from attending. He was, however, happy to be able to say that he was represented by Lady Darling, Miss Darling, and several other members of the family, as well as by Captain Tyler; so that, although he was not himself present, he was with them by deputy. He thought it needless to explain that the members of the church had had great difficulties to overcome. At one time a large debt rested thereon, but through the praiseworthy liberality of their friends, it had now been cleared off. He had no doubt that many, with himself, felt gratified in being spared to witness the laying of the foundation stone of the new building, which would long stand as a memorial of the Christianity and piety which existed amongst the present generation.
            The Rev. Mr McDONALD, of Emerald-hill, then came forward to address the meeting, and during his speech remarked that he had been associated with the congregation of this church since its formation. He then dwelt upon the difficulties that had been overcome, and the advances that had been made in the cause of religion. He was pleased to know that they had missions at home and missions abroad, and that steps were being taken to establish a theological hall. He trusted that all that could be done would be done to bring about a satisfactory state of things, and that they would hereafter see such a revival as would speedily fill the new building as soon as it was erected.
            The Rev. Mr. BROWN, moderator of the presbytery, then delivered a dedicatory prayer; after which the assembly adjourned to the spot where the stone was to be laid.

            On arriving there,
            The Rev. GEORGE MACKIE read the following copy of a memorial record, which had been engrossed on parchment and enclosed in the case which was laid in the cavity of the stone, together with a copy of each of the Melbourne daily papers and Prahran Telegraph, and the various coins of the realm:-
            “Memorial record deposited in the foundation stone of the Presbyterian Church, South Yarra, within the boundary of the corporation of the city of Melbourne, in the colony of Victoria, laid on the fourteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and the twenty-ninth year of the reign of her majesty Queen Victoria, by his Excellency Sir Charles Henry Darling, K.C.B., Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the colony. This congregation was organised on the third day of July, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, under the Ministry of the reverend George Divorty, A.M. The committee consisted of T. Dickson, J. Thompson Paterson, T. Finlayson, D. Walker, D. Ross, W. Adamson, J. Cameron, and J. Gair; T. Finlayson, secretary; T. Dickson, treasurer. For some time, as a provisional arrangement, the congregation worshipped in a large tent; afterwards, and until now, in a wooden church imported from Scotland, and erected on the present site at a cost of four thousand five hundred pounds, having accommodation for four hundred persons. On the seventh day of April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, the union of the different sections of the Presbyterian church in this colony took place. The Rev. James Clow was elected moderator of the first general assembly. In the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, the Reverend George Divorty was obliged to resign this charge through failing health, and returned to Scotland. In May, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, the Reverend George Mackie was inducted as successor to the Reverend George Divorty. The communion roll at present numbers two hundred and eighty-five, and the church being overcrowded, the congregation resolved to build a more commodious and substantial edifice, of which this is the foundation stone, intended to accommodate eight hundred seat holders. The office bearers of the congregation at this date are as follows:- Minister: The Reverend George Mackie. Trustees: The Rev. George Mackie, David Ross, John Thompson, John Spence Ogilvy. Elders: David Ross, John Spence Ogilvy, John Stevens Miller, George Bell, Charles Anderson. Managers: James Stodart, Robert Mackechney, David J. Moorehead, James Munro, William Stronach, John Reid, James Edwards, Joseph Harris, Francis Bell, Thomas Donaldson, George Espie, John Romanis. Treasurer: John Spence Ogilvy. Secretary: William Stronach. Building committee: The office bearers, J. Brown, junr., W. Coulter, J. McPherson, W. Robb, A. Murray, D. Connacher, J. Drew, W. K. Ross, James Scott, T. J. Connor, A. Anderson, M. Stewart, J. Ferguson. Architect: Lloyd Tayler. Contractor: William Ireland. Moderator of the General Assembly: rev. James Nish, Sandhurst. Moderator of the Presbytery of Melbourne: Rev. Peter Brown, Hawthorn. The motto of the builders is “Jehova Shammah,” and their prayer, that the Lord would make this house the birthplace of many souls. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one God for ever and ever. Amen.”

            Captain Tyler then came forward and performed the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, a silver trowel having been presented to him by Mr. Stodart.

            The National Anthem was sung by the whole company, and three cheers were then given for Her Majesty the Queen; three for his Excellency the Governor and Lady Darling, and three for the Rev. Mr Mackie, which brought the proceedings to a close.”

Related biographical information:

Biography: James Stodart (1849-1922), Son of James Dickson Stodart.


[1] The Mercury, Hobart Tasmania, Tuesday13th August 1867, page 5.

[2] Ibid

[3] Public Records Office Victoria, Inwards Unassisted passengers Fiche 68, page 001

[4] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 3 June 1865, page 5.

[5] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 15th November 1865, page 6.

[6] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 14th June 1867, page 5.

[7] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 14th June 1867, page 8.

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1864: St Enoch’s Presbyterian Church, Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria.

St Enoch’s United Presbyterian Church was built c.1850 to the design’s of architects James Blackburn (Jnr) and Arthur Newson at the east end of Collins Street in Melbourne. The church opened on the 30th March 1851 with the Rev Andrew Mitchell Ramsay as the first incumbent.

Extensive renovations and extensions were conducted in 1864 by William Ireland to the designs of architect Charles Webb and it was re-opened on the 31st of July 1864. Part of these renovations in 1864 included the installation of decorative stained glass windows by Ferguson & Urie of North Melbourne.

“…Over the entrance at the tower end is a large circular window, with plaster moulding finished with crisps, and containing a cinquefoil of Bath stone, which is filled in with a stained glass representation of the “Burning Bush,” and motto “Nec Tamen Consumebatur” – the crest and motto of the Church of Scotland. All the windows have been filled in with beautifully stained glass, and have a very fine appearance, as seen from the interior of the church during the day. This portion of the decorations is the work of Messrs Ferguson and Urie, North Melbourne, who have acquired considerable reputation for artistic productions of this description…”[1]

My reasonable assumption is that the Burning Bush window was probably the only figurative stained glass window in St Enoch’s and all the other decorative windows were most likely typical of Ferguson & Urie’s simple stained glass bordered windows of alternating red and blue glass divided by a yellow or white flower. The central diamond shaped glass quarries in these windows would have been either plain glass, or filled with the ‘Fleur De Lys’ or similar Gothic patterns.

Under increasing financial pressure and a dwindling congregation, St Enoch’s was sold in August 1870 to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria for £4,400 who intended to convert it into the Presbyterian Assembly Hall.  The modifications were completed in less than a month and on the 12th September 1870 it was officially opened by Sir James McCulloch. [2]

Unfortunately St Enoch’s no longer exists. The church was demolished in early 1911[3] and on its site was built the Auditorium Building (Kurrajong House, 175 Collins Street)[4].

In 1915 the new Presbyterian Assembly Hall was opened on the opposite side of Collins Street, next to Scots Church, but there is no evidence of any Ferguson & Urie windows that may have been transferred to it.

Nothing is known as to the fate of any of the original Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows from St Enoch’s.

The slideshow photos depict various historic images of St Enoch’s Church between 1864-1911 as well as indicative examples of other ‘Burning Bush’ windows by the Ferguson & Urie company that still exist in other Presbyterian Churches in Victoria.

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Significant tabloid transcriptions:

The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 30th July 1864, page 5.

“The additions to the United Presbyterian Church in Collins-street east having been completed the edifice will be re-opened for public worship tomorrow…”

“… The tower, which forms a central feature, is fifteen feet and a half square. On either side of it is a two-light window with appropriate tracery, filled – as are other windows in the new portion of the building – with ornamental glass, executed by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie, of North Melbourne.”

The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 1st August 1864, page 5.


St. Enoch’s church, the name adopted by the Rev. Mr Ramsay’s congregation for their place of worship, in Collins street, was re-opened yesterday, having been closed for several weeks pending extensive alterations and improvements…”

“…The chief alteration that has been made on the building consists in the erection of a handsome stone front with a tower and spire in the decorative gothic style, and to this extent it is the second finest specimen of ecclesiastical architecture yet completed in this city. The total width of the front of the building, at the base, is 66 feet. The width of the church is 48 feet, and the remainder of the space is occupied by the manager’s office and gateway approach to the manse. The principal feature is, of course, the tower and spire, which together rise to the height of 110 feet, the spire being about 50[??] feet high. The base of the tower is about twenty feet in front by about seventeen feet in depth to the church. At the front, the sides and outer angles of the tower are supported by buttresses which stand at right angles to each other and are continued to the base of the spire, but are broken at intervals by gablets, water tables, &c. The tower consists of three divisions. The front of the lower division is occupied by an ornamental recessed doorway, enclosed between the front buttresses. The recesses of the doorway are filled in with deeply cut mouldings and pillars, with finely carved foliated capitals. The arch is similarly recessed and ornamented, and covered by a weather moulding with carved bosses. The doorway is crowned by a high gable filled up with quatrefoil and angular trefoil tracery, and surmounted by an encircled stone cross-crosslet standing about two feet in relief from the face of the tower. In a line with the base of the gable, the front and side buttresses on either side are ornamented with gablets, terminated with carved bosses and surmounted with foliated finials. The second division commences with a string-course, and contains in front a small window with a trefoil head, and at the sides quatrefoil windows with trefoil mouldings. The upper divisions, where the course is broken by weatherings, rises above the ridge of the church, and the four sides of the tower are here similarly ornamented, each with two one-light windows with trefoil heads. These windows are connected by moulded labels, and the moulding is also continued round the tower.

            The tower terminates with a cornixe [sic], enriched with ball flowers, and the buttresses are here surmounted by gablets, with foliated finials and carved bosses. The spire falls from the buttresses into an octagonal form. In the lower portion provision is made for a clock. A little above this, on four alternate sides, are one light windows, filled in with louvre slating. These windows are also ornamented with gables containing a trefoil, and the gables themselves are surmounted by foliated finials, and terminated with carved bosses. Above these, on alternate sides, are ornamental trefoil openings, with carved bosses and weatherings. The spire is then carried to a point without further embellishment, and terminates with a moulded apex, which is surmounted by a gilded encircled cross-crosslet, above which extends a lightning conductor.

            The angles of the church are supported by two buttresses, standing at right angles to each other. These are broken at the middle by water tables and are surmounted by gablets, from which spring octagonal pinnacles with foliated terminations. In the front of the church, on either side of the tower, is a two-light window with trefoil heads and a quatrefoil centering. These are further decorated by labels with carved bosses and surmounted by foliated finials.

            The manager’s office, which is built against the east side of the church, is, so far, a separate structure. It occupies part of a gable which is pierced by an arched gateway that leads to the office door in the side, the minister’s residence, class rooms, &c. The office is lighted by an ornamental on-light window, filled with stained glass, over which is a stone trefoil, while the gable is surmounted by a stone cross-crosslet similar to that over the church door.

            The front of the church and the tower are constructed of bluestone, but the ornamental portions, dressings and quoins are of Bath freestone. The spire is of Point Ventenet freestone, with Bath stone dressings. This Bath stone was imported by Messrs Miles, Kingston and Co. in the expectation that it might be chosen for the front of the Parliament Houses. That expectation, however, was not realised, and about twelve months ago a portion of the lot was purchased by Mr Adam Anderson, a member of Mr Ramsay’s congregation, and by him presented to the church for the purpose to which it has been applied.

            Internally the church has undergone a thorough renovation, and is fitted up with polished cedar pews. Over the entrance at the tower end is a large circular window, with plaster moulding finished with crisps, and containing a cinquefoil of Bath stone, which is filled in with a stained glass representation of the “Burning Bush,” and motto “Nec Tamen Consumebatur” – the crest and motto of the Church of Scotland. All the windows have been filled in with beautifully stained glass, and have a very fine appearance, as seen from the interior of the church during the day. This portion of the decorations is the work of Messrs Ferguson and Urie, North Melbourne, who have acquired considerable reputation for artistic productions of this description.

            The building stands considerably back from the street on an elevation about ten feet high, which slopes to within five or six feet of the front of the tower, and thus leaves a level platform which extends across the embankment. This platform is reached by a broad flight of stone steps opposite the main entrance, and from it a few steps within the doorway conduct to the vestibule, which at night is lighted with a beautifully stained glass lamp. The ground is enclosed in a line with the adjacent buildings by a low bluestone wall, with an elegant massive iron railing and gateway with open square pillars. These, which have a correspondence in style with that of the church, were cast at Laughton and Wilson’s (Vulcan) foundry, from designs specially furnished by Mr Webb, the architect of the building. The whole of the work has been completed in a way that affords the highest satisfaction, and reflects the utmost credit upon the builder, Mr William Ireland. The stone carving, which was executed by Mr William Allen, commands the highest admiration, as regards the capitals, bosses, and foliated ornaments, which in some cases are capable of being interlaced with a thread.

            An addition has been made to the building in the rear, which provides a commodious classroom on the ground floor, and a comfortable study in the second floor.”

The Australian News for Home Readers, Vic, Thursday 25th August 1864, page 12.


“St. Enoch’s church, the name adopted by the Rev. Mr Ramsay’s congregation for their place of worship, in Collins street, was re-opened on 31st ult, having been closed for several weeks pending extensive alterations and improvements…”

“… The office is lighted by an ornamental one-light window, filled with stained glass, over which is a stone trefoil, while the gable is surmounted by a stone crosslet similar to that over the church door…”

“…Over the entrance at the tower end is a large circular window, and containing a cinquefoil of bath stone, which is filled in with a stained glass representation of the “Burning Bush,” and the motto “Nec Tamen Consumebatur”[5] – the crest and motto of the Church of Scotland. All the windows have been filled in with beautifully stained glass, and have a very fine appearance, as seen from the interior of the church during the day. This portion of the decorations is the work of Messrs Ferguson and Urie, North Melbourne, who have acquired considerable reputation for artistic productions of this description…”

“…the vestibule, which at night is lighted with a beautifully stained glass lamp…”

Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Wednesday 10th August 1870, page 3.

“St. Enoch’s Church, in Collins-streets Melbourne, has now been handed over to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, by which body it will be used as an Assembly Hall. The price was £4400, which is to be paid before the 1st of July of next year. The necessary alterations of the building are about to be proceeded with to adapt it to its new use.”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 13th August 1870, page 4.

“THE Telegraph reports that the Church of St. Enoch, in Collins street east, has been purchased by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria as an assembly hall. The price given is £4,400. There is a mortgage of £1,700 on the property. The terms of the arrangement are that the balance of the price amounting to £2,700, and expenses should be paid on or before the 1st July, 1871. It is proposed to turn the building to several uses. Amongst these are primarily as assembly hall. Provision can also be made for committee-rooms, for the custody of the records of the church, for offices of the church, and for a theological library. Accommodation for ministers and elders visiting Melbourne for a day or two, it is suggested, should be provided; and the building can be used to hold meetings of young men’s societies, missionary meetings, &c., which may be expected to bring revenue to the church.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 13th September 1870, page 5.

“Last night the Presbyterian Assembly Hall, Collins-street east, which was formerly St Enoch’s Church, was opened by a tea and public meeting, at which Sir James McCulloch presided. About 400 persons sat down to tea, and more than that number took part in the subsequent proceedings.”

Table Talk, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 20th April 1911, page 4.

Brief article summary – In mid 1911 the Presbyterian Assembly Hall (formerly St Enoch’s United Presbyterian Church) is to be pulled down to make way for a public amusement hall.

The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 18th May 1915, page 11.

“The Governor, attended by Mr. Victor Hood, was present last night at the opening of the New Assembly Hall of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, in Collins-street.”

(The new Hall was built on the opposite side of Collins Street to the left of Scot’s Church.)


[1] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 1st August 1864, page 5.

[2] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 13th September 1870, page 5.

[3] Table Talk, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 20th April 1911, page 4.

[4] http://175collinsstreet.com.au/history.htm

[5] The motto of the Church of Scotland is ‘Nec Tamen Consumebatur’ (Latin) – ‘Yet it was not consumed’, an allusion to Exodus 3:2 and the Burning Bush.

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06-01-1865: The warehouse of Mr. Howie, Linen Draper of Bourke Street East, Melbourne.

The Argus, Melbourne, 6th January 1864, page 5

“As an instance of the progress of an art not practiced in Melbourne a few years since, it may be mentioned that Messrs, Urie and Co., of Curzon street, have recently completed and fitted up a very handsome window of ornamental glass at the back of the warehouse of Mr. Howie, linendraper[sic], & c., of Bourke-street east. In the centre are shown, in separate panels, the arms of Australia and England, and a very well executed border of stained glass, showing in beautiful colours the Gothic rose and leaves. As a simple work of art it is highly creditable to the progress of this city in civilizing influences”.

Robert Howie, Draper, 25 Bourke St East, Melbourne, and Barkly St Carlton[1].

In 1861 he was in partnership with Thomas Young Anderson, trading at 13 Bourke street east as ‘Anderson & Howie’, but dissolved the partnership circa late August 1861.

In August 1863 he was trading at 25 Bourke-street east as a draper and throughout 1864 to 1870 he continually advertises for Drapers assistants, salesmen and women, and dress makers. The case of McFarlane v. Howie in March 1865 gives the impression that he probably didn’t have a good reputation as an employer.

In April 1866 his wife, Julia died aged 20.

In July 1868 he was fined £5 for displaying his goods for sale outside of his premises and in August 1870 was declared bankrupt and advertisements for the sale of his entire stock-in-trade were published in September 1870.

By 1878 it appears that he had converted to being an Iron Monger from the same Bourke-street premises and possibly formed a partnership with Francis Swan asHowie & Swanas carters which was dissolved after the death of Swan in June 1881.

Robert Howie later re-married another widower named Mary who died aged 69 on the 1st Feb 1902 at “Howie Terrace” 283 City Road, South Melbourne. She was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery on the 3rd Feb 1902. His step daughter is mentioned as Mrs. W. Morris and his son as Robert E. Howie a merchant of Hindley-street, Adelaide.

Robert Howie died 15th Oct 1910, aged 78 at his residence “Howie Terrace”, City Road, South Melbourne. His entire estate was valued at £18,629 and was bequeathed to his daughter Janet Minnie Howie and his brother Robert Edward Howie of Adelaide, with other smaller legacies to be paid to numerous other relatives.

Foot Notes:

[1] Post Office Directory 1866, page 81.

03-04-1863: Holy Trinity Church, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria.

The South Bourke Standard, Friday 3rd April 1863, page 2

 “Messrs. Ferguson and Urie, glass stainers, North Melbourne, have just completed the stained glass windows for the chancel of Trinity Church, Kew. The centre light contains an elaborately executed emblem of the Trinity, in which the three primary colours only are used. In the top of the same light is the word “Jehova” inscribed in Hebrew characters. The principal medallion in the dexter light has the “Agnus dei” – that sinister light the “Dove”, each surmounted by an appropriate monogram. The ground work is of cathedral tints, enriched with early English ornament, all the details of which is emblematic of the Trinity. – Herald”

This is one of the rare few Ferguson & Urie windows that has the company name on it.

Photos taken 2nd January 2011.

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21-08-1862: Advertisement.

It appears that by August 1862 Ferguson & Urie are now concentrating the business solely on artistic stained glass windows and no longer involved in the plumbing trade.






 The Argus, Melbourne, Thursday 21st August 1862, page 3.

“STAINED and PAINTED GLASS WINDOWS, for churches, halls, &c, MADE to any design, Designs submitted, and estimates given. Ferguson and Urie, Curzon street, North Melbourne.”