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St. James Old Cathedral

Peter Maltezos's picture

Text from Melbourne Architecture

St. James Old Cathedral

419-435 King Street (originally in Collins Street west)

1839-51 Robert Russell; 1841 Charles Laing; 1913 relocated to King Street


St James Anglican Church originally stood in Collins Street, on a large site bounded by William and Little Collins Streets. The church’s popularity waned as the Gothic Revival progressed and, whether from ecclesiastical prejudice or structural uncertainty, was deemed unsafe. When it was closed in 1912, pioneers rallied to save the church by having it moved and rebuilt on its present site. It is the first Anglican church and the only surviving example of a once much-used local sandstone quarried from the south side of the Yarra, and an example of inter-colonial architectural influence-Robert Russell, the designer, drew on the work of Francis Greenway in Sydney. Russell was succeeded by Charles Laing, who added the side porches, a tall octagonal tower above Russell’s square tower and the remarkable ‘east’ end (now the north end, as the church was turned 90˚ when it was relocated), which has been claimed to be based on the entrance to Robert Adam’s Edinburgh University. The antique character of Old St James’ was maintained after its rebuilding with some significant changes: the two-stage square tower has been raised to three stages and the blind windows changed from two to three; of the tall, two stage octagonal tower, only the upper part was reproduced.


Three photographs I’ve taken recently.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

The Cathedral in its original location with its two stage octagonal tower.

William Street in the foreground.


I collect, therefore I am.

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Development & Planning

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 00:00
City of Port Phillip will this week indicate that it has sufficient reason to object to two pending projects in Port Melbourne. 17 Rocklea Drive and 365-391 Plummer Street are both within the Wirraway Precinct of Fishermans Bend, and both projects are under the authority of the Minister for Planning.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.


Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 00:00
Spring Street has released details of a large shutdown of the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines which will allow workers to complete major upgrades to the rail infrastructure. The work is required to allow for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) and will involve upgrading power & catenary, signalling and communications equipment in the Dandenong (Pakenham/Cranbourne) corridor.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.