A piece of Sydney’s architectural history has come onto the market, with the Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse being listed for sale by the Anglican Church.
The spectacular building at 32B Fitzwilliam Road sits on a sandstone base close to Parsley Bay, and comprises a grand church hall with lofty atrium, an office, kitchen and toilet facilities.
It is set on a 1975-square-metre parcel of land that was once part of William Wentworth’s Vaucluse estate, with the land donated by the Wentworth family.
Agent William Manning from McGrath Edgecliff said the property has a $5 to $5.5 million price range.
“It’s one of those really eclectic kinds of buildings – it’s such an exciting opportunity”, he said. “It dominates the landscape from every vantage point.”
So far inquiries have come from builders and developers with a more commercial focus, through to some organisations, as well as cashed up individual buyers, he said.
“It could be used as a residence or a dual occupancy, or a philanthropist could buy it and give it back to the community”, he said.
While there’s obvious restrictions, he said working with the right heritage consultants and with the council might provide wider options.
The church was designed by Sydney School architect Donald Gazzard and built in 1965 as a tribute to fallen World War 2 soldiers, according to its heritage listing.
Gazzard had worked with Harry Seidler as a draftsmen in the early 1950s, and travelled to England and Canada before returning to Australia, where his 1961 Hunters Hill house won him the first Wilkinson Award for Domestic Architecture.
He was assisted on the Wentworth Church project by the now well-known architect Richard Leplastrier. Gazzard, whose career included work on the Martin Place Pedestrian Precinct, Sydney University Electrical Engineering Building and Byron Bay council offices, retired in 1995 and now lives in Melbourne.
According to the Anglican Parish of Watsons Bay the church had ceased being used for worship in 2006.
In a low-density residential zoned area, the Wentworth Memorial Church site was the subject of a successful 2010 appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court by the Anglican parish of Watsons Bay, which was finally granted permission to subdivide the land, after Woollahra Council rejected the church’s initial application.
Gazzard’s own thoughts on the church and its future use, published in 2012, can be found at his website.