Former Bible Christian Church fetches celestial $3.41 million at Fitzroy auction

Alistair WalshJune 17, 20120 min read

The former 1860-built Bible Christian Church in Gore Street, Fitzroy (pictured above), sold at its weekend auction for $3.41 million.

The bluestone building was once used as a furniture factory after its ceased operating as a tabernacle. It comes with tall brick-embellished Georgian windows and a 1911-added Greek Revival-style façade.

The building was converted 10 years ago into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a six-car garage.

It features an ornately carved and suitably religious front door and an original banner in the lounge-room proclaiming “Holiness becomes thy house”.

The Bible Christian Church was a Methodist denomination founded by William O’Bryan, a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher in 1815 in North Cornwall. Its mission in Australia was established in 1850.

Storage of the wine should be no issue with the house’s large wine cellar and basement workshop.

The marble kitchen has a butler's pantry, and two sets of French doors open to an east-facing paved terrace. The two bedrooms are on the same level, separated by a bathroom. Upstairs is storage space with the possibility to convert into another bedroom.

Sarah Case from RT Edgar had the listing in conjunction with Nelson Alexander agent Arch Staver, who were looking for buyer interest around $3 million, which was its reserve. There were three bidders.

It was among the 57% clearance rate in Melbourne, which was up on the 53% clearance rate of the prior weekend and the same weekend last year, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

Sydney’s agents secured a 57.2% weekend clearance rate, according to Australian Property Monitors.

If you missed out on that church you needn’t worry – Property Observer has found some other church offerings in Sydney and Melbourne.

The property at 1231 St Albans Road in St Albans is a 1918-built Anglican church (pictured above). St Jude's is now a one-bedroom loft conversion. The dainty home has the original stained glass windows, pew hymn board and high cathedral ceilings. Ian Clarke from Belle Property Pymble is looking for $438,000 for the house. Lovely.

The property at 9 Grant Road, Somerville (pictured above), was a church from 1855-1988. St John’s was a Presbyterian church and is being sold with a full history including photos from its long tradition. It’s now a four-bedroom open plan home, with three single-room bungalows. Chrissy Kouvaras from Harcourts Frankston is selling the house and is looking for offers in excess of $400,000.

An old Templar church is up for sale at 3 Wadi Street, Boronia (pictured above). The property has been converted into a three-bedroom home complete with the original bell tower and a not-so-original bowling alley. The former congregation area now serves as an open-plan office and living room. Oliver Hammacher from hockingstuart Boronia is looking for $680,000 to $740,000 for the house.



Or if you’ve got the energy to do a conversion yourself, there are these unconverted churches up for grabs.

The property at 12-14 Spring Road Malvern is an 1880-built Wesleyan Methodist Church. The heritage-listed building sits on 798 square metres of land and comes with the classic pitched slate roof, leadlight windows and polychromatic bricks. It’s being sold by a developer who built apartments to the south and east. Jock Langley from Abercromby's Real Estate is looking to sell for $2.5 million plus, with expressions of interest ending August 7.

Or for something bigger, 23a Gladstone Street Moonee Ponds is a 1,050-square-metre church (pictured above) currently run by an Australian Christian Churches group. Luciano Deodato from Brad Teal Real Estate Essendon says the 100-year-old former Catholic Church is currently under offer. The agents had been chasing $1.9 to $2.2 million.

And for something further out, 1-3 Thone Street, Comboyne (pictured above) is a 1917-built Roman Catholic church. The 2,251-square-metre church has been the gathering place for the Comboyne Parishioners since the early 1900s. Kevin Debreceny from Kevin Debreceny Port Macquarie is selling the still-operational church at auction on July 21 for $250,000 to $265,000.

And Daylesford, a town full of churches, has an offering for the enthusiastic renovator. The property at 19a Camp Street (pictured above) is a 1903-built Presbyterian Church called St Andrews. The 2,347-square-metre property comes with many original features including stained glass windows, a spire, ceiling roses, cathedral ceilings, floorboards and even a rare Austrian church organ, one of only two in the world. In fact the organ is the only heritage-listed part of the building. Purchasers will be banned from selling the organ but do have the option of gifting it to another church. Agent Aaron Gay is looking for offers above $950,000.

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter
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