The Free Christian Church

The Free Christian Church was located at 448 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria. 

Henry Emery Kinder b1881 and Jane Roffey were married there in 1903.

The building no longer exists and the site is covered by the Queen Victoria Market.

Advertisement, "The Age" 25 October 1901

"Marriages celebrated by ordained clergymen, with due solemnity, in strictest privacy, at Holt's Matrimonial Agency, 448 Queen Street, Melbourne, opposite the old cemetery, or elsewhere, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Saturdays included. (No notice required).

Fee ten shillings and sixpence; or marriage, with guaranteed gold wedding ring and necessary witnesses provided, 1 one shilling P.S. - No other charges whatsoever.  All sizes, more costly wedding rings kept in stock if required."

Advertisement (same day)

"Ladies, gentlemen, every station in life, contemplating matrimony, immediately consult proprietors of Holt's New Matrimonial Chambers, 448 Queen Street Melbourne, opposite the Old Cemetery, specially erected by the proprietors for introductions, costing 4,000. (Established 1886).

Introductions privately arranged between elligible partners, either sex, with view to matrimony.  Only letter containing stamp for reply answered.  All communications treated confidentially, and managed solely by the proprietors, thereby ensuring strictest privacy.  Holt's "Matrimonial Gazette" containing particulars of a number of our available clients, modus operandi, etc., forwarded to any address, in plain envelope, upon receipt of a twopenny stamp."

James Holt and his wife Annie were usually the "witnesses provided" and were, in fact, the witnesses for Henry and Jane's marriage!

His agency seemed to have been a well-run organization, and he was able to supply clergy of different denominations, so that the address (and possibly the witnesses) are the only clue to Holt's Agency.  The use of an agency such as the two above, simply may mean the desire for privacy, perhaps no particular allegiance to a denomination.  The names of the witnesses will show you if any family or friends were present and involved.

Holt's Matrimonial Agency was initially established about 1894 when Holt had rented premises at 345 Swanston Street, Melbourne.  Later Holt moved his operation to 442 Queen Street, Melbourne and these became 448 due to a street renumbering sometime before October 1901.

James Holt was an artisan in repousse work, being commissioned by the Melbourne City Council, the Victorian Parliament and, after 1901, by the Australian Federal Parliament, to make presentations in precious metals, including the mace for the Victorian Parliament, after the original mace was "lost".  The Agency brought in a steady income when artistic contracts were scarce. 

He had a group of ministers of different denominations who were glad to make an extra income and appear to have been available "on call" though the "Free Christian Church".  It does not seem to have had a church of its own in Melbourne, so maybe Holt lived nearby and had an independent group.

Ada Ackerly <> - contributions to the AUS-VIC mailing list, 2003