Urban Exploration – Adelaide’s Maughan Church

Maughan Church and Mission was constructed in 1964/1965 on the site of the original Methodist Church built in 1865.  An octagonal church, it was described as Contemporary Gothic, featuring a folded plate roof, parquetry timber ceiling and tall slit windows that formed a 24 sided crown.  Designed by architects Gordon C Brown and Donald L Davies, and noted in the Heritage Register as “a notable and prominent example of contemporary Gothic church architecture which is rare in South Australia and unique in the city centre”.

Maughan Church was named after local preacher James Maughan (1826-1871), who, in 1864, organised the building of a church on the site large enough to accommodate 600 people.  The original 1865 Methodist church established the Central Mehodist Mission on this site in 1900, providing outreach services to the poor.  In 1943, the Methodist Church acquired the license for Radio Station 5KA and broadcast from this site.  During World War two, the station was taken off air for a period of time under suspicion off supplying coded information to the enemy.  With the establishment of LifeLine on the site in 1963, larger and more modern facilities were required and hence the new church was  commissioned.

Original 1865 Methodist Church

 Original Methodist Church with added Mission Buildings
Original Mission Buildings with 5KA signage
1964 demolition of Mission Buildings

The new church project was supervised by Reverend Erwin Vogt who saw the importance of retaining a church in the city centre rather than relocating to a suburban location.  he described the city as the centre of government, education, commerce and mass communication, and noted that many people in the city were served by this church.  in his words “they live in houses, apartments and in lonely rooms. They board in hotels and hostels. They are nurses and students, caretakers….landlords, executives and labourers.  Many are New Australians and many are aged…the off-beat generation come to congregate night after night. They are shopkeepers living in the city; prostitutes have their rooms in the city; there are little children”.

Uniting Communities conducted outreach services from this site until it’s closure in 2016. Radio Station 5KA operated from the site for many years.  Congregation numbers dwindled over the years and, in its last few years, Maughan Church offered Chinese and Sudanese services.

Uniting Communities cited that the building “was tired looking and in need of significant maintenance and repair work”.  Opting to demolish the church and its surrounding structures, the church instead plan to construct a 20 storey building with apartments for retirees and people with disabilities, along with space to continue church services.

Artists impression of the new development

Demolition commenced in August 2016 and was completed in September.  Construction of the new building will commence within months.

Thank you to Uniting Communities for allowing access to take some final images prior to the demolition.

6 thoughts on “Urban Exploration – Adelaide’s Maughan Church

  1. I remember going to Sunday night services almost weekly as a child in the sixties & seventies, don’t remember the original church but certainly remember the new one almost as though it were yesterday with it’s huge open space, organ with the massive pipes & refreshments following the service. I still find it indescribable that this extraordinary building could be allowed to be demolished.


  2. I found this very interesting as my parents were married in the “new” church in 1947. Thanks for sharing the history


  3. I was dismayed to learn it had been demolished, went to services and Sunday school in the early 70s, I can still clearly recall the lofty ceiling and sounds of the great pipe organ


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s