Due to the growing population in the southwest corner, in 1853 the Anglican community decided to build a new church that could seat 450 in Whitmore Square. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts provided the land.
The Bishop of Adelaide, Augustus Short bought a prefabricated iron church in England on behalf of the new church's building committee. However, when the committee found the cost of the prefab building would be £2,000, it decided to commission Edmund Wright to build a much less expensive stone church.
In the meantime, the Bishop had already ordered the iron church to be built and sent to South Australia. When the building committee found out, it decided to keep the stone church; it would sell parts of the iron church when it arrived to recover some of the costs. However, when parts of it were found to be so badly damaged by saltwater, it was unfit for erection and was sold by public auction.
Much of the imported ironwork was still used in the bluestone church. Governor Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell laid the foundation stone on 11 September 1855. The new church consecrated on 14 February 1856.
An iron rectory was built on Sturt Street and rebuilt in 1860 after a fire. In 1874, the rectory was sold and the present residence built beside the church. This new simple villa was designed by architect E.J. Woods. A schoolroom was added in the mid-1860s.
A pipe organ was installed in the church in 1868 and the building was renovated in 1880. A new hall was added in 1884.
St Luke's Church played an important missionary role in this mainly working class area. Although you can now see little of the imported building materials, there are still hints of a structure that was built through compromise and adaptation using both local and prefabricated materials.