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Primitive Methodist Chapel 27 High Street

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Fast Facts
Also known as: Altar Bistro, Vanessa's, Willy Hill Cafe, Christina's on High St.
Address: 27 High St
Town or Locality: Willunga
Year constructed: 1868
Year demolished or re-purposed:
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Used for: Church, veterinary practice, residence, restaurant
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Built and opened in 1868 as a Primitive Methodist chapel – one of two in the district (the first was built on the corner of Strout and Binney Roads in 1860 and demolished in 1894). The foundation stone of the Willunga Chapel was laid in September 1867, followed by the official opening in April 1868. The first minister was William Wiltshire, assisted by William Whitefield who had been appointed to Willunga in 1859.

A visitor in 1892 reported that the Primitive Methodist church had closed for the purpose for which it was built and was then used as a wine store. Other reports suggest it closed following Methodist Union in 1900.

The old chapel building subsequently became a private home - the Herring family lived here in the 1920s. In the forties and fifties Bess Turner gave piano lessons while living here. Owner Bart Hailstone then leased the building to the Gill & Marler Veterinary Clinic in the early 1970s.

The dilapidated building was bought by Stan Green who renovated and restored it over several years, finally opening Vanessa's Restaurant here in 1979. It was so named after Stan's daughter. The new stained glass windows came from the Pirie Street Methodist Church. Stan was previously a chef with the PO shipping line - he offered fine dining with silver service at Vanessa's for nearly 20 years before retiring.

The premises were re-named Willy Hill Café in 2000. Then from 2007-2012 it became Christina's on High St - substantial renovations occurred during this time. The property was sold and Altar Bistro opened in September 2012.

Sources

  • R Baxendale & F Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust Willunga 2010 (1989)
  • SA Register Wed 9th March 1892 page 6.
Former Primitive Methodist Chapel, circa 1940.
Former Primitive Methodist Chapel, circa 1940.
Former Primitive Methodist Chapel, 2013
Former Primitive Methodist Chapel, 2013
Rev William Whitefield
Rev William Whitefield


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