Our head office, conference and church facilities have been on the same site since 1906. The land was original bequeathed to us by the Hon Ebenezer Vickery, a dedicated Methodist and wealthy Parliamentarian.
A philanthropist, who was passionate about the work and ministry of our organisation, Vickery was also good friends with our first Superintendent, Rev William George Taylor.
At the turn of the century, our current church building, Centenary Hall on York Street, became insufficient for our thriving congregation. So Vickery, put up his hand to help. After searching for an appropriate site, Vickery purchased the Lyceum in 1906, an adjoining hotel and land running back from Pitt Street to Castlereagh Street in Sydney. This property was entrusted to four trustees (members of Vickery’s family). Unfortunately Vickery died in England just months later before the theatre was reopened.
An end of an era
A fire broke out by the stage of the Lyceum Theatre in February 1964, spreading to the roof and balcony, which collapsed into the dress circle, lounge and stalls. The damage caused by the fire was so great, the Lyceum closed permanently. Hope was not lost, the Superintendent of the time, Rev Alan Walker, spearheaded the reconstruction of a new Lyceum and Wesley Centre, which opened in 1966.
Growth and expansion
By the latter half of the 20th century, the expansion of our community services meant we were fast outgrowing the Lyceum Theatre. As Australia celebrated its national bicentenary, we moved our operation into temporary premises in George Street, while the Pitt Street centre was demolished right through to Castlereagh Street and totally rebuilt.
In 1991, after the completion of an ambitious and high-profile building project, we moved back into the Pitt Street address—now a modern location appropriate to a progressive city mission.
Central to the building is the Wesley Church, which clearly demonstrates our focus is on God’s Word and God’s people. The Wesley Centre and Lyceum Hall affirm that this was always meant to be a busy place, open to the public and welcoming to all. The administration offices occupy the floors above the public spaces.