Safety concerns, vandalism, see church fenced off
Concern for people’s safety has seen Hume Council use an emergency order to erect a temporary fence around an abandoned church in Sunbury.
A council spokesperson says the Uniting Church, built in 1879 on the corner of Barkly St and Harker St, Sunbury, is considered dilapidated and is frequently the target of vandals entering the building.
“An inspection of the site by a council building inspector resulted in the issue of an emergency order by council’s deputy municipal building surveyor, which among other things, required the owner to erect barriers or fencing to restrict access to the site,” said the spokesperson.
“The owners have erected the fencing required by the order at their own expense. The owner has acknowledged that the building has issues that need to be addressed and has been cooperating with the various requirements of the order.”
The fences have been erected by council’s building team as they seek to ensure the structure is made safe.
“Officers have been working directly with the owners (Uniting Church) on the steps they need to ensure safety,” says the council spokesperson.
According to Australian Christian Heritage, the Uniting Church was opened in 1879. Hermon Smith was the head trustee of the Sunbury Methodist Church (1870-1879) and died the day before building work began. His son-in-law, William Todd, continued his work. The land on which the church was built belonged to John Browning – his brother-in-law.
The National Trust says the church is distinguished by its unusual combination of Early English pointed Gothic windows, pilasters, and a more classically pitched roof and pseudo-pediment with picturesque domestic Gothic barge boards.