St Paul's Cathedral

Plan of Cathedral Proposed sedilia Sketch of a gargoyle Spires of St Paul’s Cathedral under construction, October 1931 Design for an illuminated cross for front gable, 1926

From 1837, interdenominational church services in the colony of Port Phillip were held in a wooden building on the corner of William and Little Collins Streets.  Various denominations soon established separate sites and made plans for more permanent buildings while the Church of England remained on this site.  In 1839, work began on a stone building designed by Robert Russell, and in 1847, with the arrival of Bishop Perry, this church became the Cathedral for the See of Melbourne.

In 1884, a parish church of St Paul that had stood on the site of the first open air services on the corner of Swanston St was demolished to make way for a grand Cathedral.  When the cathedral opened in 1891, St James’ reverted to a parish church.  This church was moved stone by stone in 1913-14 to its present site on King St.

There have been many contributors to this Melbourne landmark.  English architect William Butterfield designed the cathedral but never visited Melbourne so architects Terry and Oakden and later Joseph Reed supervised works by builders, Clements Langford. Following the resignation of Butterfield, Reed re-designed the Cathedral Offices and Chapter House.  Over the years, countless artists, suppliers and trades have played their part to build St Paul’s.  In 1926, Sydney architect John Barr re-designed the spires that completed the original project. While the Cathedral may look like a nineteenth century building, additions and alterations have been made to meet changing requirements and incorporate contemporary technologies.  For example, gas lights have been replaced by electric ones; an illuminated cross was erected in the 1928; ramp access has been put in place and specialised audio equipment has been installed.

Plan of Cathedral, undated
Ink on glazed linen
Architect, William Butterfield
Bates Smart McCutcheon 1968.0013 (Job 295)

Proposed sedilia, undated
Ink and watercolour on glazed linen
Artist unknown, possibly William Howitt (c1846-1928)
Bates Smart McCutcheon 1968.0013 (Job 295)

Sketch of a gargoyle, undated
Pencil on the reverse of service sheet for 31 January 1932
Artist unknown
Clements Langford Pty Ltd 1960.0003

Spires of St Paul’s Cathedral under construction, October 1931
Photographer, Russell Grimwade
UMA/I/3304 (PA 45 p11)
Wilfrid Russell Grimwade 2002.0003.00649

Design for an illuminated cross for front gable, 1926
Watercolour & ink on paper with pencil annotations
Architect, John Barr
Contract document, 1928
Clements Langford Pty Ltd 1960.0003