Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church And Church Hall

Item details

Name of item: Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church And Church Hall
Other name/s: Congregational Church
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Primary address: 366-378 King Street, Newtown, NSW 2042
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
366-378 King StreetNewtownSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Saints Constantine and Helen Church is an early building for Newtown and a good example of a mid Victorian Academic Style church which makes a positive contribution to the streetscape. The site dates from the key period of development for King Street and the Newtown area as a direct result of subdivision of large villa estates. It has a strong association with the history of Congregational Worship and education among the working call residential population of Newtown in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been associated with the Greek Orthodox Church since the 1970s.
Date significance updated: 06 Oct 09
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the Department of Premier and Cabinet copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: N. Trengrovse
Builder/Maker: William Barley
Physical description: The site contains a church, built in the Victorian Academic Style in 1856, with gabled form and ionic columns and pediment framing the entrance flanked by 2 arched windows. The adjoining hall was built c 1862 with an additional floor added in 1998. There is a Victorian palisade fence, with stone coping and iron railings, along the street frontage.

At the rear a small brick building was constructed c 1889 as an infants school.

A carpark has been constructed to the rear of the site.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In good condition.
Date condition updated:04 Feb 03
Modifications and dates: The church hall was erected c 1862 and the infants school building c1889.

In 1881 a palisade fence was consructed at the front of the site.

In 1998, an additional floor was added to the hall for the welfare centre
Further information: The listing in SLEP 2012 for this item includes buildings and their interiors, front fences and grounds.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Church and welfare centre
Former use: Church


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

With European occupation of the Sydney regionfrom 1788, the Cadigal and Wangal people were largely decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population.

The King Street area was first surveyed for land grants in 1793 with the first grants being made to officers of the NSW Corps by Governor Phillip prior to his return to England. By 1810 much of the land in the area had been distributed and a track established along the boundary of the grants. This track eventually became a road and was first known as Bulanaming Rd from 1789 to 1820 when it then became known as Cooks River Road, and then Newtown Rd in 1855 when the railway from Sydney to Parramatta was opened with a station at Newtown. By the 1850s the area had developed in to an established community. In the 1860s there was lobbying to establish a local council which occurred in 1862. From the 1870s the character began to change with light industry being established in the area resulting in a substantial increase in the population as workers moved to be in close proximity to their workplace. This included the nearby Eveleigh railway yards established in 1879 and expanded in 1885. The rapid increase in population resulted in the subdivision of the larger estates and the establishment of shops and services. By the 1880s Newtown had become the most flourishing retail area outside of the city and was well served by public transport.

The site was a gift from Hon. John Fairfax, owner of the Sydney Morning Herald. Opening services were held in November 1856. The church was enlarged two years later at a cost of 1,100 pounds and was able to seat 500 persons. The foundation stone was laid by the famous London preacher, Rev. Thomas Binney.The foundation stone for the school building was laid by Mr. Thomas Holt and his young daughter on 25/1/1862. A bottle was placed in the cavity under the foundation stone that contained a cope of the daily papers and a copy of the 2 speeches on education delivered by Mr. Holt in the Legislative Assembly. Thomas Holt, who now has a street "Holt Street", just off King Street, named after him, was appointed Colonial Treasurer in the first Parliament under responsible government. He was largely responsible for the establishment of the AMP Society, and one of the founders of Sydney Insurance Company. In 1881, the Congregational Church Trustees, erected a stone coping and a iron railing to the front of the church. A church hall was erected c 1862 and it was also used as a public school.

At the rear a small brick building was constructed c 1889 as an infants school.

The site remained in its 1880s state until the 1970s when deterioration started to set in. The pipe organ was removed and reconstructed installed in St Edmunds Anglican Church in Pagewood in 1975. The site was later sold to the Greek Orthodox Church and reconsecrated as the Saints Constantine and Helen Church. The church was painted and refitted in the Greek Orthodox style and the hall was used as a welfare centre. The latter function developed to a scale that required the addition in 1998 of a second storey to the hall for administration offices. The infants school became a clothing store.

Apart from its function as a church, the site as a whole is the base for a major local street mission catering particularly to homeless people.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site has historic significance as it dates from the key period of development of Newtown and the subdivision of large villa estates into commercial development along King Street.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The building is associated with John Fairfax - owner of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The site has historical associations with the strong history of Congregational worship and education among the large working class residential population of Newtown in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The church is a prominent element in the streetscape and good example of a mid Victorian religious building with elaborate parapet detailing with classic motifs and other typical key elements of the style.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The church is held in high esteem as a place of worship for the local Greek community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The area is not identified in an archaeological zoning plan and the area has been well researched and it is unlikely that the site would reveal further information that would contribute to the significance of the area.
SHR Criteria f)
The buildings are not rare.
SHR Criteria g)
The site contains a representative example of a mid - Victorian Church and hall found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: Medium
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The buildings should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement should be prepared for the site prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the buildings and no alterations to the facades of the buildings other than to reinstate original features. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance and not be visibly prominent and be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney Local Environmental Plan 2012I101514 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes
Modern Movement Architecture in Central Sydney - Heritage Study Review2014 Tanner Kibble Denton Architects  Yes
King St and Enmore Rd Heritage and Urban Design Study1999 Keys Young and Godden Mackay Logan  Yes
Draft South Sydney LEP Amendment No.90    No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenHistoryworks2008Conservation Study and Statement of Heritage Impact

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2423034

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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