About Us


About us now

The Congregation of East Kew Uniting Church is thankful for the members who went before, the men, women and children who in the 1920's formed the congregation of East Kew Presbyterian Church.

Many years have passed and the congregation still worship each Sunday on the site chosen by the early congregation. Fifty years after the establishment of the church, in 1977 the Uniting Church was formed from the Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist Churches.

The past 40 years have seen great changes in the number of worshippers, styles of worship and the changes in the village of East Kew. We recognise that we have a role to play in the future of the local Uniting Churches and the community at large.

In recent years we have provided families with a Christmas Pageant called 'Come to the Stable'. Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus mingle with the visitors and the live animals. Donkey rides are popular. Children's craft and Carol Singing fill the evening.

It rivals Myer's shop windows.

The congregation in 2017 provided the community with the Festival of Mindfulness, Meditation and Music during the Annual Kew Festival. Some hundred people came from far and near to listen and participate in a time of contemplation and joyfulness.

As peoples' life styles change and become more complex, the church remains a place of caring and a place to meet with caring people. Please join us at East Kew Uniting Church on a Sunday morning at 10.30am.

Brief History

The Early Years 1937 – 1944

In 1975, we celebrated the 50 th Anniversary of the founding of our Church, originally named St Andrew’s,
but eventually becoming known as; The Finlay McQueen Memorial Church – a name that became widely
known and respected throughout the Presbyterian Church of Victoria.

The early history of this Church was intensely bound up with the Revered Finlay McQueen and his family.

About 1924, after retiring from a parish Ministry in Elsternwick he came to live with his son, Mr Alan McQueen,
in Balwyn, and later in East Kew.

He soon realised that many Presbyterians living in the rapidly growing area were a considerable distance
from a Presbyterian Church. And after personally canvassing the District, he was able to gather a small
congregation together, and with the help and co-operation of the Kew Session, and under the then Synod
of Melbourne, the old brick hall in Normanby Road with the corner block of land facing High Street, together
with two blocks facing Normanby Road, were purchased in December 1924 and January 1925. The hall and
corner block cost 1,250 Pounds, and the other two blocks 30 Pounds each.

This small congregation undertook responsibility for a mortgage of 950 Pounds on the first property, and
500 Pounds on the second, as they, together with some assistance from the Kew Presbyterian Church, and a
loan from the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, raised the balance. The Presbyterian Church of Victoria also
undertook to meet all interest payments until the end of 1929.

In August, 1926, a third block of land in Normanby Road adjoining the other property was purchased for
350 Pounds, by way of 10 Pound deposit with the balance in three years at five percent.

The old brick hall had previously been the property of the Progress Association and had been used by the
Church of England.

The church began as a Mission Charge under the Reverend Finlay McQueen, and the first service was held
at 3 pm on Sunday 10 May, 1925 and was conducted by the Reverend A D Leckie, assisted by the Revered
Finlay McQueen. The service was held in the afternoon, because, at that time, the Church of England was still
using the hall for its morning and evening services. There were 86 people present, and the Balwyn Presbyterian
Church Choir led the praise.

There are still in our present congregation today, a few of the foundation members of the Church in 1925;
Miss Megan Roberts, and Mr David Vernon Clark.

The McQueen Years 1937 – 1944

Soon after the induction of the Reverend Malcolm McQueen, proposals for the building of a new church were
given fresh impetus and encouragement by him.

It was then decided to build a new Church on the central block of land facing Normanby Road, and to retain
the old hall for Sunday School purposes.

It was envisaged that the Church should accommodate about 175 people, and Architects Scarborough, Robertson
and Love were commissioned to draw up plans and specification and obtain the approval of the Assembly
Architectural Committee.

The building was to be so designed that extensions could be made as funds permitted and it was to conform
to a master plan of U shape to provide for future needs. It is of interest to note that the layout of the complete
buildings varies only slightly from the original Master Plan.

In July, 1938, it was agreed that the tender of 2, 489 Pounds submitted by L J Adam of First Avenue, Kew, be accepted,
and in August the contract was signed and work started.

The Moderator-general, the Right Reverend John McKenzie, laid the Foundation Stone on the 3 September 1938,
and the new church was renamed as “The Finlay McQueen Memorial Church” in recognition of its first Minister.

The Reverent R Wilson Macauley officially opened the new Church on Saturday 25 March, 1939, Moderator of the
Presbytery of Melbourne North, and the Reverend Karl Forster, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria,
conducted the first service on Sunday 26 March, 1939.

In the years that followed, many members of the Church were in the Armed Services, and others were involved in
the Red Cross and other civilian activities necessary for the war effort.

Malcolm McQueen’s ministry was a very fruitful one for the Church in East Kew. He proved also to be a practical man
of some talent as a carpenter. One of his gifts to the Church was the original pulpit made by him, and part of his original
pulpit has been incorporated in the one still in use today.

After some years of dedicated Ministry, Malcolm McQueen resigned to take the post of Assistant Minister at
Scots Church, Melbourne.

Excerpt from the ‘Brief History of the Church’.
Please telephone the office: 9859 1206, to obtain a copy.