Scots' Church and Assembly Hall

Assembly Hall, section through central staircase, 1913 Sketches made on board Loch Vennachar, 1886 Scots’ Church elevation to Collins Street, 1871, drawing Number 10

Presbyterian services were held regularly in Melbourne from 1837, at the west end of Collins Street in a building shared with other denominations.  The current Gothic Revival church on the corner of Collins and Russell streets was designed in 1871 by Joseph Reed of the firm Reed and Barnes, and built by David Mitchell, father of Dame Nellie Melba.  It replaced a school which from 1841 was also used for church services on this site.  A severe storm saw the height of the church spire reduced in the 1960s but it has subsequently been rebuilt to Reed’s original design. The Assembly Building was constructed just before WWI, also in the Gothic Revival style to complement the neighbouring church.  It is on the site of an earlier Manse and was originally three stories high, with a fourth story added in 1935.

The two architects of the Scots Church complex were equally comfortable with works on paper as they were with brick and stone as seen in the items featured on the panel.

Joseph Reed enlivened his building plans with watercolour, representing not only the colour of building materials but also the effect of light and shadow on building elements.  Reed and Barnes designed many other well-known Melbourne buildings including Wilson Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, The State Library of Victoria, Rippon Lea and the International Exhibition Building (now known as the Royal Exhibition Building).  The Royal Exhibition Building has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List of cultural sites.

From an early age, Henry H. Kemp had intended to be an artist, and undertook sketching tours alongside his architectural studies.         En route to Australia in 1886, he rendered scenes on board ship in delicate pencil, plotted his journey on a chart and kept a diary.  On arrival in Melbourne, Kemp joined the practice of Terry and Oakden, later Oakden, Addison & Kemp, and worked on several major projects including Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne.  He is best known for his later domestic designs in the Federation style with partner Beverley Ussher. After Ussher’s death in 1908, Kemp worked alone until forming a partnership with George Inskip from 1911-1913.  After WWI, Kemp worked in partnership with his nephew, F. Bruce Kemp.

Assembly Hall, section through central staircase, 1913 
Architect, Henry H Kemp
Copy printed on tracing paper
Bates Smart McCutcheon 1983.0125 (Job 23)

Sketches made on board Loch Vennachar, 1886
Henry H. Kemp
Pencil on paper
Henry H. Kemp 1976.0024

Scots’ Church elevation to Collins Street, 1871, drawing Number 10
Architect, Joseph Reed
Watercolour & ink on paper
Contract document, signed by David Mitchell, 1873
Bates Smart McCutcheon 1983.0125 (Job 23)