History of St Matthew's title
The Cheltenham parish was created in 1865 by excising a portion of the parish of St Andrews Brighton. A small brick church was completed in 1867 to serve a rural community stretching from Brighton South (Moorabbin) to Mordialloc.

St Matthew's Church was dedicated on the 14th April 1867. The Rev. S. Taylor preached at the morning service and the Rev. Canon Perks of St Stephen's, Richmond preached in the afternoon. The first priest of the parish was the Rev. William Singleton in 1867. He died at 8.30am on Sunday 13th June 1875 at his home in Victoria Street Brighton, while preparing to attend the services of the day. For two years the faith and pioneering spirit that had brought the parish into being, kept it going against the odds.

In 1879 Rev. Plow Kane performed the first marriage ceremony in the church. The Rev. Plow Kane was responsible for the creation of the first Sunday School and in 1879 construction of a separate building for this was undertaken. A small side room was also built for the infants' school and used until 1916.

In the 1950's the parish developed rapidly and it became increasingly evident that the Sunday School buildings were not big enough. By 1954 there were over 350 children on the parish roll. A new building which would act as a Sunday School and as part of the church on festival occasions was built and opened in 1956. This building became known as 'the Annexe'.

In 1958 the number of children attending Sunday School had grown to 600 and by 1962 it became evident that the Annexe could not completely fulfil its various purposes in the face of the great expansion of the parish. Planning began for large-scale development of the whole parish site which included the building of a new vicarage, a new parish hall and a new church.

Chancellor and Patrick, architects, were engaged in 1965 by the vestry of St Matthew’s Anglican parish, to create and supervise the construction of a new church. This commission required them to design a building to be placed on a triangular piece of land on the corner of Nepean Highway and Park Road Cheltenham. The expected outcome was to be a distinctive but contemporary building so that it could not be "confused with any merely utilitarian secular building." The triangular shape used in the design of the tower and chapel conformed to the configuration of the site.

The original Sunday School buildings were removed to make way for the new church and a new parish hall was built linking the new church with the old church, and included a well-equipped kitchen. The new St Matthew's church was dedicated by Archbishop Frank Woods on the 18th September 1966. The two morning services on that day, the last to be held in the old church before its deconsecration, were well attended, and the opening of the new church in the afternoon was so well attended that the congregation could only just be accommodated in the new church, the old church and the Annexe.

In 1967 St Matthew’s was judged as one of the best ten buildings of the year constructed in Victoria and was visited by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe.

The old church was converted for Sunday School and meeting purposes and in 1974 it was refitted as a lounge.

The construction of the new church had incurred a large debt and it wasn't until the debt had been cleared that the new church could be consecrated. On the 21st September 1979, St Matthew's was consecrated by Archbishop Robert Dann.




Sources: 'Pioneers of Faith, St Matthew's Cheltenham 1867-1992' by Sue Polites
             'St Matthew's Anglican Church Cheltenham' by Graham Whitehead, Kingston Historical Website
             Black & white photographs sourced by Graham Whitehead, Kingston Historical Website
Priests of St Matthew's title
1867 - 1875
1877 - 1887
1887 - 1902
1902 - 1912
1912 - 1917
1917 - 1919
1919 - 1922
1922 - 1926
1926 - 1929
1929 - 1937
1937 - 1942
1942 - 1951
1951 - 1956
1956 - 1964
1964 - 1970
1970 - 1977
1977 - 1990
1990 - 1998
1999 - 2006
2007 -        
Rev. William Singleton
Rev. Plow Kane
Rev. Alfred Caffin
Rev. Thomas Moorhouse
Rev. Cassian Crotty
Rev. Canon MacMichael
Rev. Alfred J. Thompson
Rev. Herbert T. Fowler
Rev. Rupert North
Rev. Athenry J. Whyte
Rev. Charles B. Cotes
Rev. Reginald McCoy
Rev. Robert W. Dann
Rev. Vernon L. Cohen
Rev. George B. Lucas
Rev. John St Q. Howells
Rev. Edgar A. C. Harvey
Rev. Dr Peter Wellock
Rev. Jeffrey Richardson
Rev. Ronald W. M. White
Organists of St Matthew's
1867
1917

1920
1922

1942
1950
1960
1963
1966
1967
1972
1974

1981
1986
1991



2007
2009
2012
Mr F. Plumridge
Mrs Parkes
Mrs Johnston
Mr Trevor Davidson
Miss Kingston
Mrs Jenkyn
Mr Trevor Davidson
Mr Plummer
Mr Barry Watson
Mr Peter Crompton
Mr Peter Bonsall-Boone
Mrs Patricia Hedley
Mr Peter Crompton
Mr Chris Meddows-Taylor
Mr Alan Farrell
Dr Robin Batterham
Mr Robert Heatley
Mr Robert Moore
Mr Colin Polites
Mr Haydn Williams
Mr Geoffrey Simonsen
Dr Calvin Bowman
Mr Christopher Cook
Mrs Marlene Davies