St Peters has a number of heritage properties.
In order of age:
the Stone Hall, fronting Miller Street (1864)
the Church (1866-1905)
the Manse (1871-1911)
10 Miller Street (1870s)
the terraces and shop opposite the Church in Blues Point Road (1880s)
the Hall in Blues Point Road (1891)
The Stone Hall, though not the original Presbyterian schoolhouse (1844), is the oldest school building of any kind north of the Harbour. The stonework has been badly weathered over the years. The damage to the worst-affected northern side and to the inside of the building was repaired recently at a cost of $75,000. To restore the other three external walls will cost about as much again.
The Church is in reasonably good shape. It was partly re-roofed some years ago, the drainage around the outer walls was improved, the interior lighting was replaced, and the facilities in the vestries updated. Routine maintenance of the building and its contents is still regularly required; re-polishing of the pews will have to be a priority when funds are available.
The Manse has required major expenditure. In preparing the building for occupation by the Buchanans, the Committee of Management discovered structural problems of almost every kind, some dating back to the time when it was built. The original downstairs rooms had little underfloor space, timbers having been laid directly on the ground in some places. The stairway had no underpinning, and had sunk away from the wall. The back room of the 1911 extension had been built directly over the original well. The entire lower floor of the building was damp and unsanitary, and much of what repair work had been done over the years throughout the house had been carried out cheaply and to an unsatisfactory standard. Putting all of this right, and making the house fit for our Minister and his family to live in, used up the bulk of what financial reserves the Church had.
10 Miller Street, thanks to our managing agents, is at present in a good state of repair, and requires only routine maintenance.
The terraces in Blues Point Road were thoroughly renovated 40 years ago. Recently the verandas built at that time have been found to have become rotten and unsafe, and have required replacing. The 100-year-old party-line sewer that serves the properties is also in need of renewal, and they all need painting outside.
The Hall has had damp problems and flooding in the lower floor – these became obvious within ten years of construction. Extensive drainage works have been necessary.
All of this costs money.
There is no ongoing government support for heritage conservation. The Committee will continue to apply for grants that become available, but much of what has already been done would not have been possible without some generous private benefactions.
To support this important work, make out a cheque to The National Trust of Australia (NSW) St Peter's North Sydney Conservation Appeal and post it to
St Peter's Presbyterian Church,
PO Box 682,
NORTH SYDNEY 2059