St Lukes Church of England
Church services were first held in private homes and during the summer months in the public hall or kiosk on The Esplanade. Built-in 1913 for the Fyansford Anglican community, it was relocated to the northern section of the allotment in 1947. The church was then relocated to the southern section of the land in 1989 to bring it closer to the hall. The adjoining hall was built in 1955-56 as a Sunday School hall and was dedicated to the memory of Charles Henry Smith, a stalwart of the Church of England in Geelong and well -known owner of the holiday home “Sea View Villa” at 4 Anderson Street, Torquay.
St Therese Church
In 1958 the small congregation of Catholics of Torquay decided to build a church. Until that time priests from St Mary’s in Geelong and later from St Bernard’s in Belmont had celebrated Mass irregularly in the Torquay Improvement Association Hall.
One factor in the need for a church was the annual influx of summer visitors. When the decision to build was taken, there were only 28 permanent Catholic families living in the township and on rural properties in the district. This small group decided to buy the land on Geelong Road, believing it would be sufficient for the new church and eventually a school. The subsequent growth of Torquay meant an additional five acres of land was bought in the 1980s for St Therese School.
A member of the congregation drew up the plans for the church and oversaw the construction. The building committee provided much of the labour. The whole town took an interest in the new building, and even those of other faiths contributed labour and special skills. At the time of the opening in 1960 Bishop Fox congratulated them on their achievements.
St Therese Church celebrated its 50th anniversary with a revitalisation of the original church to what you see today. The refurbishment increased its seating capacity and enhanced its facilities.
St David's Lutheran Church (Waldkirch) and cemetery
The first German Lutherans settled in the district around Grovedale (Germantown) in the early 1850s establishing vineyards and market gardens. By the late 1850s, they had spread to establish the Freshwater Creek settlement.
Initially, church services were held in the homes of members until the first church, a wattle and daub structure, was built in 1859. It was known as the Waldkirch – “the church in the forest”. The first burial took place in 1860 when Louisa the 18-year-old daughter of the Seiffert family died of pneumonia.
The present bluestone church, designed by architect Robert Tuffs, was commenced in 1866 by church members with stone believed to have been quarried from the Seiffert property along Thompson’s Creek. Many of the families contributed financially to the building of the church. The church and cemetery were part of the social and cultural life of the congregation as well as their place of worship and burial place.
The Cemetery was the final resting-place of most of the pioneer families of Freshwater Creek. They include Johann Seiffert, Johann Schmidt, Johann Einsporn, Johann Leibhardt and Karl Rau.
St David’s Lutheran Church and Cemetery is a historic church which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register along with the cemetery and classified by the National Trust of Australia.
The Baptist church, Torquay Christian Fellowship (TCF), was established in 1983 originally at 35 Boston Road, the home of Fred Pyke’s Surfboards.
Torquay as a community and TCF as a congregation, have both experienced significant growth facilitating the need to move to a larger facility at the former Shire Offices. The move was completed in 2012.
Originally the Shire Offices for the City of Barrabool. In 1992/1993 much of the City of South Barwon and the City of Barrabool were annexed to the newly created City of Greater Geelong, despite concerns expressed by Torquay. The Shire of Barrabool, which had been significantly reduced by the creation of Greater Geelong and had lost much of its rates base, joined Torquay residents in suggesting the Kennett Liberal government create a coastal shire, which united Torquay and Anglesea. On 9 March 1994, the City of South Barwon was abolished, and, along with the remainder of the Shire of Barrabool and parts of the Shire of Winchelsea, was merged into the newly created Surf Coast Shire, which established its administrative centre at Torquay using the Barrabool Shire Offices which had been built in 1990.
Torquay Uniting Church
The Torquay Uniting Church is associated with the development of the Presbyterian (and later Uniting) Church in Torquay from 1893 when the first Presbyterian services were held in the newly-completed public hall. The first permanent Presbyterian Church in Torquay was opened in 1900, comprised a relocated building from new Steiglitz. It was replaced in 1925 by the present building.
It is one of six Carpenter Gothic churches in the Surf Coast Shire.