Iconic Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse for sale

Iconic Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse for sale
Iconic Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse for sale

The iconic Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse, one of Sydney's most historic landmarks, has been listed for sale by the Anglican Church.

The church, built in the 1960s as a memorial to the fallen soliders of the Second World War, sits on a near 2,000 sqm parcel that dates back to 1827.

It was part of the estate of noted colonial explorer, poet, journalist and politician William Wentworth and his family who developed the estate.

Worship ended at the church in 2006.

The heritage listed church on Fitzwilliam Road features loft interiors with ceiling height up to 40 feet at its peak.

 

Iconic Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse for sale

The Wentworth Memorial Church is widely considered to be the finest surviving work in the Sydney School style of the important mid to late Twentieth Century architect Donald Gazzard.

Gazzard was the inaugural winner of the Wilkinson Prize for domestic architecture in 1961 for his Hunters Hill home and was regarded as a prominent figure in the field of architecture.

Gazzard, who worked on the Martin Place Pedestrian Precinct and Sydney University eletrical engineering building, now lives in Melbourne.

He had worked with Harry Seidler as a draftsman in the early 1950s. Well-known architect Richard Leplastrier helped Gazzard build the church.

The rocky outcrop where the church is now located was a favourite spot for Wentworth to view his estate and was also where he chose to be buried as evidenced by the Wentworth mausoleum on the opposite side of this outcrop.

Iconic Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse for sale
 

The property currently has two bedrooms and two toilets, but no full bathrooms.

McGrath Edgecliff agent William Manning has a $5 million to $5.5 million price guide.

Inquiries have come from builders and developers with a more commercial focus, as well as organisations and individual buyers.

In 2010 the church won its appeal in the NSW Land and Environment court to subdivide the land after the Woollahra Council rejected the application from the church.

Gazzard noted on his website that the unrealistically large size of the church, which has created the current situation, was always going to become an issue. 

"The Diocesan brief was simple;  'A church of contemporary design to seat 350 people which conformed to the liturgy and form of worship of the Church of England'.  

"The Anglican hierarchy based the size on two optimistic assumptions. 

"The first assumption was that tall blocks of flats would be permitted along the ridge at Vaucluse as Sydney expanded, and secondly, an unspoken assumption  that there would be a religious revival and a church of this size would be needed for all these extra people."

But as a consequence of an ageing and dwindling congregation, the church was closed, he noted on his website.

 While I'm proud of the design, I hesitate to suggest that you visit the church in its present sad state. 

 

 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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