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History of St James Anglican Church

St James' Anglican Church, built in 1864, is one of Dandenong's oldest buildings and continues to welcome congregations to its services.

Its significance lies not only in its age and elegance as a building, but in the link to the past it provides to present day parishioners. The church, along with its gardens, hall and parish centre has served as a meeting place for the Dandenong community for more than 135 years.

The first church service in Dandenong was held on 21 July 1850 in Dunbar's Hotel and conducted by Rev. J.H. Gregory, a bush missionary. A local meeting was held soon after to discuss obtaining a permanent church building and a local committee was formed to coordinate its organisation.

For the next five years, services were held in a slab hut. It was not until 1855 that a site of two acres was obtained through a government grant and local subscriptions on the corner of Langhorne and Wilson streets, extending to McCrae Street .

In August 1857, a schoolhouse was opened on the site and services were conducted there.

By 1863, it was decided that a church should stand alongside the schoolhouse on the site, and on 5 July 1864 the Foundation Stone of St James' Church of England was laid by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Charles Darling.

The church was ready for use by January 1865 and was dedicated by Bishop Parry, the first Bishop of Melbourne. Services have been held at St James' continuously to this day.

Please note: St James is not open to the public on a daily basis. Access is only via prior arrangement and in accordance with parish restrictions.

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