History of St Stephen's

This congregation began in 1842 when 22 communicants left Scots Church during the ministry of John Dunmore Lang. That small fellowship first met in a hall in Macquarie Place. In 1846 it moved to the Wesleyan Chapel in Macquarie Street (opposite the Mint) and in 1848 to the Independent Chapel in Pitt Street adjoining the Sydney School of Arts.

St Stephen's Iron Church, Macquarie Street (1855 - 1875)

During the Gold Rush the congregation imported a prefabricated Iron Church, seating 800, which was erected in 1855 on the State Library site next to Parliament House. It was here that the name St Stephen's was taken - the Westminster Parliament having met in St Stephen's Chapel from 1543 to 1834.

In 1875 St Stephen's joined with another congregation in Phillip Street and became a leading centre of Presbyterianism in this country. The NSW General Assembly met in St Stephen's, Phillip Street when it first convened in 1901.

St Stephen's, Phillip Street (1875 - 1935)

Willis Organ in rear gallery

St Stephen's, Phillip St, east end

The Sydney City Council resumed the Phillip Street Church (sited partially under the north west corner of the present Reserve Bank) to extend Martin Place through to Macquarie Street. In 1935 St Stephen's dedicated the fine, newly built Church which stands on its present position opposite the nationally treasured public buildings of Macquarie Street.

St Stephen's Macquarie Street entered a new phase of life and ministry in 1977 as a congregation of the Uniting Church in Australia upon Union of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. It continues to be a significant church in the centre of Australia 's largest city and with God's continuing blessing will continue to be a force for God in bringing the Gospel to the people of the city.

The congregation of St Stephen's welcomes you to our church, and hopes that you might stay a while and enjoy the serenity of our Sanctuary.

On Sunday 3rd May 1970, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne worshipped at St Stephen's. Please click here to download the Order of Service.


List of Organists and Choral Directors




Tours of the Church

Tours of the church may be arranged for groups of 10 persons or more. 

Please contact the church office on 02 9221 1688 or email office@ssms.org.au



St Stephen's, Macquarie Street

View of church from Martin Place after the Westpac Bank was demolished (July 17) [Photo: Rev Ken Day]

View of church after the Westpac Bank was demolished (July 17) [Photo: Rev Ken Day]



St Stephen's Conservation Management Plan

St Stephen's CMP was endorsed by the NSW Heritage Office on 2nd August 2004.

Copies of the CMP are held by:

(i) The State Library of New South Wales.
Phone 9273 1414

(ii) Uniting Church in Australia Archives.
Phone 9683 3147

(iii) St Stephen's Uniting Church, Sydney.
Phone 9221 1688

and may be accessed by contacting any of the above.

CD Rom copies of the CMP may be obtained from
St Stephen's Uniting Church,
197 Macquarie Street
Sydney 2000

at a cost of $15.00 plus postage.