Historical information

The College Church congregation initially worshipped in Ormond College in 1891. In 1895 they purchased the site of the present building. A committee set out certain specifications (including the crown tower), and a competition for the best design was won by architect RA Lawson. The building, constructed by Lang Brothers of Parkville at a cost of 2,170 pounds, was opened in 1898. College Church remained the only parish church in Parkville until 1934. The outstanding element is the crown tower, a choice of the first minister, the Reverend Alexander Yule. It is a copy, albeit on a reduced scale, of King's College Chapel, Aberdeen University, of which Reverend Yule was a former student. This crown tower is the only example in Victoria and is possibly unique in Australia. The church is constructed of red brick and Oamaru sandstone with a steeply pitched slate roof and parapeted gables. Windows are in the Gothic pointed arch style. The interior of the Church has a fine timber ceiling with arch braces. There are a number of quality stained glass windows, the two largest being dedicated to Mungo Scott and his wife, Scott having been a benefactor of the Church. The late nineteenth century pipe organ was built by George Fincham and Son (Richmond), with Professor Franklin Peterson as consultant, and was completed in November 1903. In the 1940s College Church was internally re-ordered and this work was designed by prominent church architect, Louis Williams. The church became part of the Uniting Church in Australia in 1977, and ownership subsequently passed to Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 2008. From The Argus, Friday 19 April 1907: Rev. Alexander Yule washeld in highest esteem in his ministerialbrethren and a large circle of friends was abundanrly evident by the expressions ofsorrowful regret at his death and of sympathy with his widow and her three sonsby those who attended the funeral servicesyesterday morning. To most of those present the announcement of Mr. Yule's death, made in "The Argus" on Wednesday, came as a painful surprise. It was known that at the time of his ministerial jubilee last January he shown symptoms of failing health, and that his illness had gradually become more serious, but few among the intimate friends of the family thought the end was so near. Although Mr. Yule suffered much physical weakness, his mental faculties were unimpaired, and he was able to carry on his ministerial work almost to the last. He even conducted the services at the College Church, Parkville, on Sunday, March 31. Testimony is borne that his ministry was appreciated most highly by the important congregations, both in Scotland and Victoria, under his charge; that in the church courts he was a safe and wise counsellor; and that he did excellent service on various committees, and as the convenor of the Theological-hall committee, on which he was appointed by the General Assembly. The esteem in which he was regarded by the Presbyterian Church as a whole was expressed in his election in 1891 to the Moderator's chair of the Victorian Church, and to that of the Federal Assembly in 1901. The funeral service was held at College Church, the scene of Mr. Yule's ministry since 1891. The building was filled to overflowing by a congregation that included most of the members of the metropolitan presbyteries, representatives from several of the provincial presbyterues, the students of the Theological-hall, members of the Parkville congregation, and the children of Miss Sutherland's Home. The pulpit and furniture were draped in black, and the plain oak coffin rested on the communion-table. The simple yet impressive service usual with the Presbyterian Church was conducted by Professor Rentoul, president of the Theological-hall Senatus, who was assisted by Professor Skene, Rev. W. Fraser (moderator of the Melbourne North Presbytery), Rev. D. S. McEacharn, and the Rev. John Thomson, a life-long friend of the departed minister. The Dead March in "Saul" was played on the organ as the coffin was borne to the hearse. The procession along Parkville-crescent to the cemetery gates was a notable one, and in the following order:—Theological-hall students; the hearse; the chief mourners—Dr. Yule, Rev. A. Yule, Mr. James Yule, and Mr. Groom, M.H.R., a relative of the family; the Theological-hall professors and committee; members of the presbyteries; and other friends, making a large and repre-sentative gathering. At the grave Professor Rentoul, Rev. Dr. Meiklejohn, Rev. D. Ross, and the Rev. Dr. Marshall officiated. The pall-bearers were Revs. D. S. McEachran, J. Thomson, A. McDonald, R. J. Smith,Mr. P. McLennan and Mr. L. E. Groom, M.H.R. The funeral arrangement were in the hands of Mr. Josiah Holdsworth.

Physical description

William Downes - one of the founders.