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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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