The first church service in Dandenong was conducted on July 21, 1850 in Dunbar's Hotel, which also served as a court house, saleroom and a general venue for meetings.
The first building erected on the St. James' site was a brick schoolhouse on the corner of Wilson Street. The first service in this building was conducted in 1857 and from then on Divine Service was held once a month.
By 1863 a meeting of interested persons and church members was arranged to discuss the erection of a church at which twenty residents were each asked to collect ten pounds:a bazaar was also arranged to be held in March 1864. By April 206 pounds 6 shillings had been subscribed, plus a grant of 200 pounds from the Council of the Diocese.
The Foundation Stone was laid July 5, 1864 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Charles Darling, and the opening and dedication took place on January 2, 1865. The building erected was the nave only.
St James has been inseparably involved with the life of this community for over 150 years. In that time countless people have found inspiration and strength for their lives within its walls. But St James would only be merely a museum, if it were only a building linked with the past. What gives it meaning is that it is the home of a vibrant, multi-cultural and growing Christian family, where people gather to experience the beauty, love and peace which are the gifts of God.
The Parish has close links to the Heritage Hill site which includes St James. For more information on Heritage Hill please refer to their website. www.heritagehill.com.au