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Baptist Church Collins Street

Built in 1861-62, the Baptist Church at 170-174 Collins Street is the site of Victoria's oldest Baptist church. An earlier chapel designed by John Gill was erected on the site in 1845 and is incorporated into the present structure, which was designed by architects Reed & Barnes. The Collins Street Baptist Church has a long history of active moral and social reform. During the gold rushes in 1852 the church built temporary accommodation in the churchyard for 'Baptist Strangers'; Pearce-Carey, a leading member of the 1906 anti-gambling crusade, protested against tote-owner John Wren; and most famously, Reverend T.E. Ruth publicly clashed with Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix over conscription during World War I. During the depression, the Church embarked on building projects to raise revenue and provide work for the unemployed; hence Central Hall, fronting Little Collins Street, was opened in October 1928 and Central House, to the rear of the church, in 1929. In the late 1990s the Church developed an outreach to drug users and homeless people in the city.

Sally Ruljancich