History of the Christian Science Church in Perth E-mail

Christian Science was first introduced to Perth in November 1904 by two students from Sydney. When another student came to Perth they began to meet each week to read the Christian Science Bible Lesson together. Over time more people became interested in the teaching and the first public Christian Science service was held in a room in Hay Street on Sunday 9th February 1908. This small group later moved to a room in the Empire Buildings, Barrack Street, where the first public Wednesday evening Testimony Meeting was held. The first Christian Science Lecture was given at the Perth Literary Institute on 2nd July 1914, attended by over 300 people.

In 1915 rooms were rented in Shenton House, 129 St Georges Terrace providing space for services, a Reading Room and an administrative office. From the 9th June 1918 Christian Science Society, Perth was conducting two services each Sunday. On May 4th, 1920, Christian Science Society, Perth, became First Church of Christ Scientist, Perth.

By 1924, more space was needed for Sunday and Wednesday services and the church moved to the Assembly Hall in Pier Street. In 1926, following unanimous agreement of members, the present church site at the corner of St Georges Terrace and Elder Street (then George Street) was purchased.

By 1932 more space was needed to accommodate the congregation and the decision was made to build the first Sunday School on the northern end of the site to be used for church services on a temporary basis.  Articles of Incorporation were signed in January 1933 and the first church services were held in the Sunday School building on 12th July 1933.

By 1938, it was realised that a church should be built; plans were drawn up by Mr Hargrave of Ochiltree & Hargrave, architects, and erected by A.T.Brine Pty. Ltd., one of Perth's prominent builders at that time. In the early hours of the morning of 2nd February, 1939, a small group of church officers met for the laying of the foundation stone. The building was completed as we see it today, and the first church services were held on Sunday, 25th June, 1939. However, since a church must be free of debt to be dedicated, this ceremony did not take place until 26th June, 1949.

Occasion for Pride.

The following is an excerpt from the Sunday Times of 25th June 1939. "The completion of this objective will be an occasion for pride in those responsible - the achievement of an ideal, a structure that is in keeping with a modern city and a growing community, a place of beauty in which to worship." A description of the building included the facts that beautiful parquetry floors of local jarrah and she-oak were supplied by Bunning Brothers, the interior walls were in waltex supplied by Waltex Products Co., the ceiling was done by Perth Modelling Works, the windows which were done in deep grav'e work (a type of sand-blasted plate glass carrying designs) were done by Barnett Bros. Ltd.; Bon Marche supplied over 200 yards of carpeting and J.L Mattinson did the lighting. Some of these companies are still in business today.

Members of this Church are justly proud of their graceful church, set as it is on an important corner of the city. The timeless, classic lines of its design are a tribute to those early pioneers, whose vision and tireless efforts meet the needs of today and the demands of tomorrow.

Freeway construction and subsequent land acquisition necessitated the demolition of the original Sunday School. The existing Sunday School building including the Administration Centre was completed and opened in 1966.

The National Trust of Australia (W.A.) classified First Church of Christ, Scientist, Perth as having heritage significance in July 2002.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 June 2010 11:05