Wesley Church Group, Albany


City of Albany

Place Number



12 Duke St Albany

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Methodist Church

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1903, Constructed from 1891

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted 27 Oct 2020
State Register Registered 11 Dec 2018 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A
Local Heritage Survey Adopted 27 Oct 2020 Exceptional
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place
Uniting Church Inventory Completed 01 Oct 1996
Classified by the National Trust Recorded 04 Apr 1977

Statement of Significance

Wesley Church Group, Albany, a group of church buildings comprising, a Victorian Academic Gothic style Church (1891), a Manse in the Victorian Rustic Gothic style (1903), Albert Hall in the Federation Gothic style (1914), Centenary Hall with elements of the Inter-War Gothic style (1930) and Lesser/Kindergarten Hall in the Post War International style (1959), has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons: The place is an excellent example of a church complex with the Church (Victorian Academic Gothic) and Manse (Victorian Rustic Gothic) both particularly fine, substantial and ornately decorated buildings. The place is rare as a substantial church group comprising a Church, Manse and Halls, and includes rare examples of a Manse and purpose-built Church Hall in the Victorian Rustic Gothic and Federation Gothic styles. The place is a landmark in central Albany with the Church spire, from 1891 to the present the only church spire in Albany, a feature of the town skyline visible from the foreshore. Since its inception in 1863, the place has been the hub of Methodism in the Albany region, with a strong program of community works extending its influence beyond church members, and is highly valued by the community as a social and religious centre. The Church was constructed in 1889-1891 as Albany boomed following the opening of the Great Southern Railway, and its substantial size is evidence of the confidence and optimism in the town at the time. The place was designed by several prominent architects, including Alfred M. Bonython (Church, 1889-1891) and James Hine (Albert Hall, 1914). Associated auxiliary structures, such as garden sheds are of no significance

Physical Description

Wesley Church, a granite and brick church with a steeply pitched roof and a spire, designed by architect Alfred M. Bonython of Adelaide in the Federation Gothic style, and constructed by builders Messrs Pringle and Boundry in 1890/91, Wesley Manse, a granite and rendered brick house with a steel sheeted roof designed by local architect George Johnston of Albany in the Federation Gothic style and constructed by Charles Layton in 1903, Albert Hall, a brick church hall designed by architect James Hine of Perth in the Federation Gothic style, and constructed by builder A. Thompson of Katanning in 1914 and its extension, Lesser Hall, a brick building with an asbestos cement roof, designed by Architects Hobbs Winning Leighton, Project Architect Harold Smith of Albany and constructed by M. R. Docking at the rear of the Albert Hall in 1959, and Centenary Hall, designed by architect William Mawson in the Inter-War Chigacoesque style and constructed by builder Jonas Beetham in 1930. Kindergarten Hall, (now known as Lesser Hall) was built In 1959, designed by architects Hobbs, Winning and Leighton, with project architect, Harold Smith. Some of the notable features of this place include: CHURCH • Set very close to road – high streetscape value • Excellent stone masonry with brick trim • Symmetrical facade • Steeply pitched roof • Parapeted gable • Tower and small spire • Central three centred arch windows • Arched doorways on either side of the façade • Wall buttresses ALBERT HALL • Stone building with brick trim alongside the church • Symmetrical façade • Central arched doorway • Five centred flat-topped window above door. • Steeply pitched roof (not as steep as church) • Row of vents on roof MANSE • Set close to church • Symmetrical façade • Stone construction with painted brick quoining around windows and doors • Central portico with arched entrance • Projecting corners, with pyramidal ‘candle-snuffer’ roof on each • Verandah across front elevation • Decorative timber posts and frieze on verandah • Four distinctive chimneys


The following historical overview taken from Wesley Church Group, Albany, Conservation Plan, Lynne Farrow Architect/Helen Munt Historian, 2012) The religious body known as “The United Societies” was established in England by John Wesley in 1738. At the time of Wesley’s death some 50 years later (1791) there were over 70,000 members in the United Kingdom and more than 134,000 members beyond. The United Societies comprised the three Protestant Churches of Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregational. A Methodist community was present in Albany from the earliest days of European settlement and originally held their services and prayer meetings in the Octagon Church, a small non-denominational building on the corner of Duke and Parade Streets. In early 1863 a Wesleyan Chapel was completed on a portion of land owned by Sophia and John Uglow in Duke Street, which they gifted to the Church. The builder and bricklayer was William Thomas and the carpenter John Underwood Green. The cost was £ 247/13/8. In 1878, the first Manse was acquired, a simple hipped roof cottage owned by Sophia Uglow located on land next door (east) of the Chapel, which she sold to the Rev. Lowe. The Rev. John Higgins was the first minister to reside in the Manse. The growth in the population of Albany and the Wesley Congregation prompted the commissioning of a larger church. This was designed by Adelaide architect Alfred M Bonython to seat 450 people. It was completed by contractors Pringle and Boundry in 1891 at a cost of £2695/15/11, with fittings, and the debt was cleared within 11 years. In 1903 the Robinson family gifted a new manse, which was designed by local architect George Johnston and completed by contractor Charles Layton. The old Manse was demolished, although a number of elements were re used from the old house, including the front door which was incorporated as the new back door. In 1914 a new hall was constructed on the site of the old chapel, again incorporating elements from the earlier building it replaced. The need for this hall was the increase in Sunday (Sabbath) school attendees, who were also taught to read and write. Originally called the Methodist School Hall, it was officially named Albert Hall after Prince Albert who had visited Albany in 1881. It was designed by architect James Hine of Perth and completed by contractor A Thomson of Katanning at a cost of £1200 - £400 of which was given by John Robinson. The vestry that had been added to the chapel in 1886 was retained and is now used as the Fellowship Room. An additional hall was completed in 1930 at the rear of Wesley Church. This was called Centenary Hall in celebration of the centenary of Methodism in Western Australia and was designed to provide for the physical and moral welfare of the district’s young people - the design particularly catered for the then Youth Club’s indoor sports, such as roller skating, table tennis and badminton, which were particularly popular amongst the younger members of the congregation. Local, long-time parishioner of the Albany Methodist Church, Mr William Mawson, gave his services as architect and supervisor for the brick hall, and the building contractor was Mr Jonas Beetham, at a cost of £1100. In 1953, the Albany Kindergarten Association moved to their new premises in the Methodist Hall in Duke Street. In 1959, the “Kindergarten Hall” was built – being the last major addition to the Wesley Methodist Church complex. Now known as Lesser Hall, The brick hall, designed by architects Hobbs, Winning and Leighton, project architect, Harold Smith, was partially attached to the Fellowship Room of Albert Hall. Its original purpose was to mainly provide teaching facilities for Aboriginal and disadvantaged children in the local community. In 1970 plans were drawn up by local architect Harold Smith for a kitchen and store to be added to Lesser Hall, to the west of the Fellowship Room. This was probably completed in about 1972. During a storm in the 1970s, the original iron finial on top of the Church spire was blown off. It was placed in the Church’s museum for safe-keeping and the then Minister, Rev. A. Graubner, climbed the roof ‘…to help place a bronze cross in place of the finial on the spire’. In 1976, the amalgamation of the Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists Churches throughout Australia commenced, and the Uniting Church in Australia was officially formed on 22 June 1977. Although there was no Congregational Church in Albany, the Wesleyan Methodists and the Presbyterian (Scots) Church did amalgamate, with the Wesleyan Methodist Church renamed as the Albany Uniting Wesley Church and Scots Presbyterian Church becoming Scots Uniting Church. However, the Wesleyans and Scots still maintained their own separate church properties, services and Church Councils. An inauguration service of the Albany Parish was held on 26 June 1977. In 1981, the various Memorials and Titles for the land holdings held by the Wesley Uniting Church were amalgamated and brought together in a single Title for Portion of Albany Town Lot 53 and Town Lot 3. This was done for the purposes of transferring the Title to the Uniting Church In Australia Property Trust. In addition, a portion of Lot was excised for the purposes of a drainage easement and transferred to the then Town of Albany officially in 1982. Various minor works completed since the 1970s include the replacement with concrete of the verandah to Wesley Manse, the rendering of the west wall of Wesley Manse, the installation of glazed partitions in 1996 to create a crying room under the gallery at the front of the nave, and the replacement of the timber floor of the vestry with concrete.


Integrity: High Authenticity: High/Moderate




Name Type Year From Year To
William Mawson/Jonas Beetham Architect - -
George Johnston/Charles Layton Architect - -
Alfred M Bonython/Pringle and Boundry Architect - -
James Hine/A Thompson Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Town of Albany Heritage Survey City of Albany 1994
Heritage TODA Y Site visit and Assessment
R Apperly, R Irving, P Reynolds; "A Pictorial guide to Identifying Australian Architecture". Angus and Robertson NSW 1989
Heritage Council of WA Data Sheet, Heritage Council 1994

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
10264 Wesley Church Group Albany Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2013

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church Hall
Original Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Other Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel

Architectural Styles

Federation Gothic
Victorian Free Gothic

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Other Stone
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

12 Sep 1988

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

07 Dec 2021


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.