The parish of St John’s was formally initiated with the laying of the foundation stone on October 19, 1839. The parsonage, built in 1883, is associated with this original church. It was used by the Reverend F. Slaney Poole, who began building the hall, the parsonage and the new church (1887).
The rectory replaced one built in 1868 facing East Terrace, which was sold. Architect Frank H. Carter designed the present building.
It is a typical substantial two-storey Victorian house, with a cast-iron enriched verandah/balcony spanning the main facade. It is largely original. The court-like enclave formed by St John’s church, the hall and the rectory is a notable feature of the south-eastern corner of the city.
The Sunday School Hall was built in 1880 by John Wark to the design of Daniel Garlick as part of the pastoral work of the St John’s church.
The style is recalls the basilica form commonly used in this type of building. It is characterised by semi-circular headed openings, a steep roof, raised gable ends, and quality brick dressings. The construction is high quality, with bluestone rubble walls and coping ends of bush hammered sandstone. The side “aisles” or wings were added in 1908, and there is also a brick extension, a carport and a walkway link with the church. In 1984 an extra floor was added.
The additions are generally sympathetic and the hall complements the other church buildings on the site.