Deliver me home please!
The Wesley Church

The foundation stone of the Wesley Church was laid in 1867, and nearly three years later, on April 10th, 1870, the congregation met for the first time. Some parishioners still complain about how slow the service is.

Stained Glass Window.

You could almost measure the construction period on a Biblical timeline, though this was due to a decision by the builder Mr William Buggins. He decided to share the workers with the Perth Town Hall project down the road. Both buildings were being constructed at the same time, so it seemed like a good idea.   The church was designed by Mr Richard Jewell, who just happened to be a member of the Wesley Church. He was responsible for many of Perth’s original buildings, which include the Town Hall, Cloisters, and Pensioner Barracks. Many architects consider the Wesley Church to be his Jewell in the Crown.

The Wesley Church.

 

The Wesley Church.

Wesley Church: On the corner of William and Hay Streets.

The brickwork is laid in the Flemish Bond style, common in Perth between 1858 and 1890. The subtle blending of light and dark bricks, compliments the rendering around the doors, and windows.

The Wesley Church is an example of Gothic Revival style architecture. Being a heavenly building, the emphasis is on the vertical form, with long lancet windows, and a tall spire in one corner. Four smaller spires surround the base of the main spire, with another four thrown in for aesthetic purposes on the adjacent corner. The steep shingle roof has now been replaced with clay tiles.

Inside the Wesley Church.

Lancet Window on the William Street side.

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The Nave showing the upper gallery added in 1896.

Lancet Window.

 

 

"The brickwork is Bond.....

   .......FLEMISH BOND"

 

From Wesley With Love.

The way in which bricks overlap when they are laid is called the bond. When a brick is placed with the longest side exposed it is known as a stretcher brick. Those bricks laid with the smallest end exposed are called header  bricks.

 

Flemish Bond is created by laying headers and stretchers alternatively in a row. The row above is laid so that the header is placed in the middle of the stretcher below. The visual appeal of the Wesley Church has been enhanced, by using a range of mellow tones in the headers and stretchers. The colour variation was created by firing the bricks in wood fired kilns, at varying temperatures. Flemish Bond is probably the most decorative bond, though it can be quite difficult to lay successfully.

Good Flemish Bond Brickwork.

Not so good Flemish Bond Brickwork.

A quick tour around the Wesley Church will reveal variations in the Flemish Bond brickwork.  This was caused by all the additions and restoration work done over the years.   We reckon the example on the far right was laid on a Friday afternoon, before a long weekend.  Everybody has their favourite Bond.

 

The Wesley Church stands on the corner of Hay and William Streets. It is a tribute to the pioneers of the Wesley Mission. They arrived in the colony on February 3rd, 1830, aboard the sailing ship Tranby, and had assembled three church buildings by 1870. The first Wesley Church was built in 1834, and housed Perth’s largest Sunday School. The second chapel built in 1840, was located in William Street, very close to the present, and third Wesley Church.  The Wesleyans organised a successful outreach programme for the colony’s ex-convicts.  Today the Wesley Church is a living heritage building, with an active congregation still reaching out to the people of Perth.  Why not pop inside for a look, or a quiet moment of reflection.   You can check out the good work of the Wesley Uniting Church by visiting their official internet site.

The Original 1834 Wesley Church.

 

The 1834 Wesley Church.

      

  For A Pew Dollars More.   

Something very strange happened in the early history of the Wesley Church. The Church cost over £3000 to build, which was an absolute fortune in the early days of the colony. To encourage public donations, the Wesleyans developed the innovative Pew Incentive Scheme (PIS).

Securing a place on one of the church pews was going to be a difficult task. It was decided to allocate the seating based upon how much cash you threw into the church building fund. The big dollar donors (£50 and above) got the choice pews up front, with the cheaper seats being offered down the back.  Local identity Mr George Shenton donated over £1000, and rumour has it, could tell the Reverend where to sit. Over time the seating scheme was abolished, as George got tired of arriving late, and being unable to slip into a back pew like everybody else.

The Budget Pews.

      
Today you can still see some of the budget pews, which were placed around the exterior of the building. These exterior pews are now usually occupied by non-financial church members, and lunchtime office workers.                            

No Pew Tuesday.

 

Even the effects of the global economic recession have filtered down to the exterior pews.   Seating restrictions now apply on "No Pew Tuesdays".

        

 
         The Old Cock and Bell.

The tower and spire were restored in 1937, though were damaged during an earthquake in 1968. A copper cone was placed over the top portion of the steeple, to replace the damaged section. You can still see the copper cone today, and a small weathercock perched high on its point. The weathercock has been turning with the wind since 1870. It is a hollow copper bird made of handmade riveted plates. The church bell was removed from the tower after the earthquake, and is now on display outside the building. The bell is significant to the mission, as it had originally been installed on the Tranby.

The 1870 Weathercock is starting to show its 139 years.
The 1870 Weathercock is starting to look its 139 years.

The Wesley Bell once called members to worship.
The Wesley Bell once called church members to worship.

The Wesley Church is in the central business district.

Up until the 1880’s Perth's skyline was dominated by several very large churches. Today the Wesley Church is almost lost in the cityscape of high rise buildings.

 

The church organ was originally constructed in 1908 by J.E. Dodd, enlarged during 1927, rebuilt between 1992-94, and given an iPod docking port in 2009.

The Wesley Organ.

The exterior of the building underwent an extensive restoration in 1987. The church is currently home to the Wesley Mission of Perth, which is an arm of the Uniting Church.  You can find out more about the Perth Uniting Church by visiting their official website: http://www.perthunitingchurch.com.au.  Today everybody is welcome into the Wesley Church*.


*Subject to pew availability. Conditions may apply^.
^Just Joking!                                                                                             LOCATION:  Corner of William & Hay Streets, Perth.

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