St Andrew's Brighton was opened on St Andrew's Day in 1842 and was one of the earliest Christian churches established in the Port Phillip District. It predated both the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and the Colony of Victoria. The present building, opened in 1962 after a fire destroyed the church in 1961, was designed by the noted architect Louis Williams.
The St Andrew's Church Precinct is of historical, architectural and aesthetic significance to the State of Victoria and consists of a graveyard (1843), school house (1857), church (1857 and 1962), parish hall (1925), lych gate (post 1926), gate post (1842-50) and vicarage (1928). Read more about the significance of the buildings and grounds on the Victorian Heritage Database entry
1841 Henry Dendy arrived from England, having purchased the right to 5,120 acres (2,070 ha) in the Port Philip district of the colony of New South Wales and was subsequently granted such land five miles from Melbourne centre. In partnership with J. B. Were, the proposed development of the 'Brighton Estate' was to encompass a complete self-contained village with town centre, residential estates, town allotments and rural holdings. In the first survey plan of May 1841, a prime site of 10 acres between New Street and Outer Crescent was set aside as the 'Church of England Reserve'. Here then was the foundation for what would become St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Brighton. 1842 Services held in Dendy’s temporary home near the corner of New and Well Streets; Subscriptions called for the first Anglican Schoolhouse; Timber schoolhouse, with a maximum capacity of 100 persons, completed on the triangular land portion at the corner of New and St Andrews Streets. Sunday services conducted by Dr. W B Wilmot (the Coroner) and Sunday school started. (This land section was subsequently omitted from the main Church site when Church Street was extended and the conveyance of title made to the Bishop of Australia, William Grant Broughton, in October 1843.) 1843 -1848 Rev. Adam Compton Thomson of St. James’ Church, Melbourne, the only Anglican minister in the Colony, visited for services whenever possible. 1843 The graveyard of 2 acres, on the main Church of England Reserve, was consecrated by Bishop Broughton. 1844 First burial conducted (Henry Head, a farmer’s son). When burials ceased here in 1848, this site held 300 graves. Use of family vaults continued until 1891. 1847 Melbourne proclaimed a city 1848 Bishop Charles Perry arrived in Melbourne. 1848 Meeting held at the 'Schoolhouse' requested a resident clergyman and the erection of a church to thus create a separate parish. 1849 William Brickwood ordained Deacon to inaugurate the Parish. 1850 Foundation stone laid by Bishop Perry for first stone church to seat 250 and positioned north of the present vicarage. 1851 The Port Phillip District separates from the colony of New South Wales and officially becomes the Colony of Victoria 1854 Rapid population growth shown by the Census suggested a community of 3,300, of which 1,694 were Anglicans and 480 of these regarded as active. Planning commenced for a larger church to cope with future needs. 1857 New bluestone church opened by Bishop Perry. Part of the nave of this building remains as the Pioneer Chapel in the rebuilt church complex of 1962. 1857 A gothic-styled vicarage was added near the northern boundary and the Tshaped stone schoolhouse, sited adjacent to St Andrews Street and using recycled ironstone from the 1850 church, were both completed Check back later for more history