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Mid-century Vaucluse church back on the market after only six months

November 14, 2017

The Wentworth Memorial Church, in Vaucluse, is for sale again after only about six months. Photo: Supplied

The landmark, heritage-listed Wentworth Memorial Church in Vaucluse is back on the market less than six months after it last changed hands.

Considered a piece of Sydney’s architectural history, the church is set on an elevated 1975-square-metre parcel of land at 32B Fitzwilliam Road.

The building was sold by the Anglican Church in June for $5.6 million to funeral operator Brookava.

Selling agent William Manning, of McGrath Edgecliff, said interest had been strong with a December auction scheduled, if not sold prior. It has a price range of $5.5 to $6 million.

It was designed by architect Don Gazzard and built in 1965. Photo: Supplied It was designed by architect Don Gazzard and built in 1965. Photo: Supplied

Mr Manning said the property had been listed again as the owner had plans for another big purchase and needed to sell the church to make that happen.

“There was leftover interest from the previous campaign, so we are already talking to three to four parties, as well as a number of individuals and organisations from the start of the new campaign.”

Mr Manning said the church was a rare buy.

“The history is phenomenal, the scale of the property … some parts of this structure have 60-foot ceilings,” he said.

“It’s on 2000 square metres in Vaucluse, it’s a very short stroll to access the water.

It is recognised as one of the most significant churches of its era and is heritage listed. Photo: Supplied It is recognised as one of the most significant churches of its era and is heritage listed. Photo: Supplied

“It’s got a beautiful northerly aspect and lots of light. But it also poses an amazing opportunity for somebody to use it either as some sort of facility subject to council approval and or to transform such an incredible structure to one residence.”

The church, which comprises of a grand church hall, atrium, kitchen, office and toilets, is on a sandstone foundation fronting Fitzwilliam Road.

According to the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, the circa-1965 church was built in tribute to the fallen soldiers of World War 2.

From 1827, colonial explorer, poet journalist and politician William Wentworth and his family developed the estate on which the church was built.

According to its heritage listing, the rocky outcrop, where the church is located, was a favourite spot for Mr Wentworth to view his estate. He was buried in the Wentworth mausoleum on the opposite side of the outcrop.

Wentworth Church is considered one of the most significant “ecclesiastical examples” of the Sydney School style of architecture, which came to prominence in the 1960s.

It is located in one of Sydney's most prestigious suburbs and is expected to sell for more than $5m. Photo: Supplied It is located in one of Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs and is on approximately 2000 square metres. Photo: Supplied

It has been deemed the finest surviving work of mid-to-late 20th century architect Donald Gazzard, who was born in 1929 and died in May this year.

Gazzard, whose career included work on the Sydney University Electrical Engineering Building, Byron Bay council offices, Martin Place Pedestrian Precinct, retired in 1995.

Well-known architect Richard Leplastrier helped Gazzard with the Wentworth project.

The church ceased being used for worship 11 years ago, according to the Anglican Parish of Watsons Bay.

It is located in a low-density residential-zoned area and was the subject of a 2010 appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court by the Anglican parish of Watsons Bay, which was granted permission to subdivide the land, after Woollahra Council rejected the church’s initial application.

 

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