Ewing Memorial Uniting Church
The Parish of the Ewing Memorial Uniting Church has provided Christian service to the community to East Malvern for over 120 years.
While the Parish was formally established in 1891, its origins go back to 1886/8 when Rev. John Ewing, the Presbyterian Minister of the Toorak Church began to visit the area, and to hold services in the homes of several of his parishioners, who had moved to East Malvern, that was then on the outer fringes of the City of Melbourne. In addition to tending to the needs of the members of his flock in the area, John Ewing also extended his ministry to the jockeys, strappers and stable hands at the nearby Caulfield Racecourse; and championed the cause of the Chinese market gardeners in the area.
Having been established, just as the 1890s Depression began the early years of the congregation were difficult, as the circumstances of many of the founders were greatly changed. However, by 1896, conditions had improved to the extent that a new site was obtained on the east side of Burke Road and the original Church building was relocated there in the same year.
In 1890 a Congregational Church was also established in East Malvern, initially meeting in Waverley Road, before moving to 29 Burke Road in 1906. Growth was such that in 1916 a brick Church was constructed. This building is now used by the Malvern Theatre, but one of the windows is now a feature of the East window in the Ewing Memorial Church.
It was not until 1907 that the Methodist Church established a Parish in East Malvern. However, the response was so great that within a year a site was purchased in Epping Street and the Church was constructed. This was followed by the building of a Sunday School and Kindergarten, which were constructed on the same site. In 1921 a brick church was built on the site adjacent to the other buildings. As a tribute to the men of the congregation who had served in World War 1 it was named Peace Memorial Church. This has now become the Greek Orthodox Church of St Catherine. Several stained glass windows from this church, however, now grace the Parish Centre at Ewing.
In 1906 a block of land was purchased on the corner of Burke Road and Coppin Street for the construction of a new Church. Following a period of active fundraising, the decision was taken to construct the present Church. The foundation stone for the Church was laid in July 1910, with the building being completed and opened in March 1911. The old Church continued to serve as a Sunday School till 1939.
During the ministry of Rev. Jollie Smith, the current manse was constructed, on the block of land in Coppin Street adjacent to the Church. The land was donated by a parishioner in 1919 and the manse completed in 1921. It has seen progressive modernisation prior to the arrival of each subsequent minister.
1974 saw the Ewing Memorial Parish on the verge of movement from the Presbyterian Church into the Uniting Church of Australia. The Ewing Parish had strongly supported the votes for the establishment of the UCA and as the strongest of the three uniting Parishes in the East Malvern area, Ewing became the centre for the new Uniting Parish. The spirit of co-operation engendered by all concerned saw active sharing and an effective, if not actual, union in the years between 1974 and 1977.
Malvern East Uniting Centre