In October 1818 explorer John Oxley was the first European to come to the Port Macquarie area. A penal settlement began in April 1821 and free settlement was approved from 1830.
Half an acre (2000 sq m) of land in Horton Street was granted to the Wesleyan Methodists by the government in 1835, and a building was opened about 1837. The brick Wesleyan Chapel had its start in 1840 when a foundation stone was laid. Construction was slow due to tough economic conditions, but under the leadership of William Litchfield the building was progressed and the first service was held on November 30, 1845. The building was completed the following year. The first local preacher was William Currey who was employed from 1846. He was withdrawn at the end of the penal settlement when two-thirds of the town’s population left the area. The chapel was regarded as being closed between 1849 and 1858 but records indicate that some services were held by local preachers during this time. As the town’s population grew James Boltwood and Silas Gill arrived from the Maitland area and they, being enthusiastic local preachers, were successful in reviving interest and re-opening the church in March 1858. The Taree minister then made quarterly visits. The church remained ‘open’ until 1964 when a new and larger building was erected on the northern portion of the half-acre site.
From the time of the appointment of Rev W J Davis the church was able to provide for a minister. The building was extended to the east in 1870.
The Wesleyan Methodists became known as Methodists from January 1902 until Church Union in June 1977 when the Uniting Church was inaugurated.
The Chapel was superseded by a larger worship centre beside it in 1964, though since 1995 the chapel has again been used for church services in conjunction with the main Sherwood Road worship centre.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, worship services and other activities within the Chapel have been suspended until safe to recommence.
Further information: Port Macquarie Uniting Church
Port Macquarie is part of the Mid North Coast Presbytery - its website provides resources and further information about the Uniting Church in Australia.