A Brief History of St Marks Anglican Church, Reservoir West
St Mark's, Reservoir West was opened in April 1930, in the original temporary building, that is still here today, in what we call the Small Hall.
JS Mather put together a brief history of St Marks in 1985, he provides detail of the Church of England, parish structure and organisation:
"A brief look at the background of the Parish and adjoining areas will help us towards a better appreciate of our history.
St John's Epping built in 1867-69, was part of a Parish covering farming families of Thomastown, Epping, Wollert, Woodstock and Morang.
All Saint's Preston was built in 1889 and provided religious contact in the fast growing central Preston area.
St Mary's was built in 1865. The first service at St Mary's was held in 1861 at a brick school building nearby opposite the present St Mary's, East Preston. Mr Samuel Weir, conducted services at St Mary's, and at St John's Epping. The original St Mary's was dedicated by Bishop Serry in 1865, to be the Mother Church of the future are.
After a change in administration, this area, less Morang, came under control of All Saint's, Preston, and completed the parish area from Northcote boundary through West Preston and Reservoir to the Northern boundary of Woodstock."
In 1930, St Mark's was grouped for administration purposes with St George's, Reservoir, and the new centre of St Cecilia's, West Preston. Rev Gordon Powell now had a parish area stretching from boundary of Northcote in the south through West Preston, Reservoir, Thomastown, Epping, Wollert, Woodstock, with western boundary at Merri Creek and eastern boundary of High St, Epping Road. (JS Mather)
Rev Alexander H Crigan, Vicar 1955-61 wrote
St Mark's Church of England Reservoir, commenced after a public meeting held in the West Preston Progress Hall in 1929.
Land was purchased by the Diocese of Melbourne in Beatty St. A church hall was moved from St Dunstan's Camberwell and erected at a cost of 500 pounds. This building was L shaped and served as a Church and hall for many years, folding doors being the means of closing off the Church from the hall.
On the 13th April 1930, the dedication service was conducted by Arch Deacon Hancock.
The first Vicar inducted to St Mark's parish was the Rev Cuthbert Powell. Secretary being Mr A Wisdom, Treasurer Mrs G Parkes, Sunday School Superintendent Mr A Smith.
The Leader Friday April 11 1930
St Mark's West Preston
"The opening services of St Mark's new Church of England, Beatty St., West Preston (near Gilbert Road) will take place on Sunday next at 11am when the Ven Archdeacon Herring will officially open the building assisted by the Vicar Rev. Cuthbert Powell, and in the evening the service will be taken by the Ven Arch deacon Lamble, and a Sunday School will also be an important adjunct to this important centre. On Monday evening following a social evening will be given to all Church of England adherents to celebrate the opening of activities of our Church." (Trove)
Growth of Preston's Church St Mark's Church of England, West Preston. (approx 1935)
"St Mark's Beatty Street, West Preston in one of the latest churches to be established in the district and celebrate its fifth anniversary in April last.
On March 10, 1930 a meeting was called in the Progress Hall, West Preston to consider the formation of a new parish of the Church of England in West Preston. Over fifty members of the church were present. The Diocese was represented by the Archdeacon of Melbourne (the Venerable Archdeacon Hancock) and the Ven Archdeacon Herring. Rev Cuthbert Powell vicar of Epping was also present. The Diocese had purchased a block of land was a 150ft frontage to Beatty street and a building was moved to it from Camberwell. Rev Cuthbert Powell was place in charge of the new church and a strong committee, under Rev Powell was formed to make arrangements for the first service, Great enthusiasm was shown by the committee the provisional secretary being the let Mr Geo Stevens of Regent.
The first services were held on Sunday April 13, 1930. The preacher at 11am was Ven Archdeacon Herring, and at 7pm Ven Arch Deacon Lamble. On the following Sunday a Sunday school was commenced. Splended attendances at services and Sunday school augured well for the future of the new church.
Under the ministry of Rev C Powell, and with the loyal help of the vestry and a small band of Sunday school teachers, the church rapidly extended its work, especially among the young people. In 1933 it was decided to purchase the building then being used on loan from the Diocese.
In March 1934, the Vicar Rev Powell, left for England on twelve months leave of absence and the Rev JA Foster was placed in temporary charge of the parish.
At the expiration of his leave, Rev Powell resigned his charge at West Preston and accepted the curacy of Wandsworth London. During his absence the church continued to prosper, notably in the Sunday school and kindergarten, both of which now have a full staff of keen and efficient teachers.
The Rev Reginald McCoy was then appointed to the charge of the parish and was inducted at St Mark's Church on June 11 1935 by the Archdeacon of Melbourne (Ven Arch-Deacon Hancock). The new vicar immediately initiated a policy which will ultimately prove for the efficient staffing of his wide parish (including as it does Bell, Reservoir and Epping) by increasing the number of resident clerical assistants and has already increased the strength of his non-resident staff. In addition there is much building to be undertaken as Epping is at present the only centre provided with a permanent church. (TROVE)
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