History

Foundations

As the Original St. Stephen’s church built circa. 1903 become out grown, extra land was purchased in 1951 for the rebuilding of the church. Archbishop Frank Woods, laid the foundation stone for the new church on Saturday 25th October 1958, with a congregation of 350 in attendance. The dedication of the new church was at 3pm on Sunday the 24th of May 1959 by Bishop Baker.

Our Stained Glass Window

Some love it! Some hate it! Some try to interpret what it means. Some sit back and become absorbed by it (When they should be listening to the Vicars address).

However you look at it, the big window is a most striking and interesting feature of St. Stephen’s and arguably one of the most finest examples of its kind in the area.

Following a very generous bequest from a parishioner, Mrs. Mary Evans, the window was created by the noted Australian artist Robert Clarke, of Berwick. After being instigated in October 1978 it was commissioned in September 1979 and was installed and dedicated in March 1980. The cost: $4,152.

Mrs. Evan’s bequest also substantially financed the new Vicarage.

The incumbent at that time, Fr. Phillip Burgess was largely responsible for the window and the current arrangement of the sanctuary. Fr. Phillip left St. Stephen’s in November 1980, to go to St. Peter’s Ballarat.

The Window in fact represents “life”, it is an impression of the cross section of a blade of grass when viewed under a microscope. Its curved lines and shapes contrast with the more severe geometry of the Church Building

It consists of approximately 4,200 individual pieces of glass in 24 panels.

Take some time to look at it and appreciate the artist’s God given talent. Use your own imagination to dream up what it could mean to you.

St Stephen’s: A Short History

St Stephen’s Anglican Church; the Parish of Belmont, is part of the Diocese of Melbourne and is under the care of the Reverend Doctor Timothy Smith.

A daughter church of the then Marshall Parish, St Stephen’s was recognised as parish in its own right in 1906 when Belmont was a scattered village, straggling up from the Barwon River and over the crest of the Belmont hill. The first Church was a simple, small weatherboard building, located about halfway up the High Street hill, near where McDonald’s now stands. It was built for about one hundred pounds.

After the First World War, Belmont began to grow, and with considerable foresight, some land, including that on which the current Church stands, was purchased in 1923, and the little weatherboard Church was moved from the High Street site to the Regent Street location by traction engine. (photographs of the removal by traction engine can be seen in the Photo Gallery). In 1924 a Vicarage and then a tennis court were added.

In 1906, the Belmont priest also had the care of the ‘faithful’ of Marshall and Mt Duneed. Later, Highton and Freshwater Creek were added. Soon after, Highton was attached to Barrabool and Modewarre, but, as a consolation prize, the Vicar of Belmont won the Hospital and Gaol Chaplaincies until 1931.

In 1945, following the Second World War, Belmont started to grow at a rapid pace and the resulting congregation became too large for the old Church.

Some land in Settlement Road was purchased in the early 50’s. Enlargement of the old Church was considered, but in 1956 it was decided that a new Church would be built, so, once again the old Church was moved, this time to the Settlement Road land. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) it was badly damaged by a storm before being re-blocked, cosequently a new building was erected. This building is now the Grace McKellar Day Care Centre.

The foundation stone for the current Church building was laid by Archbishop Frank Woods in 1958, and the Church was dedicated in 1959 by Bishop Baker and in November 1968 it was consecrated by Archbishop Woods.i

In 1971 the Church Hall was added and in 1983 the current Church House was built, replacing an old rambling weatherboard home which was removed to a new site in the Brisbane Ranges.

In 2006 St Stephen’s celebrated it’s Centenary and in addition to the usual type of celebrations, Reverend Smith invited many of the past Clergy to return to preach at various times throughout the year.

The Church has just (May/June 2008) undertaken a survey amongst parishioners, canvassing thoughts as to how the Church buildings and land can be best be used to take St Stephen’s forwaed and meet the challenges of today and the future years.