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The Nave in St Paul's Cathedral

Christine Smith

Grovedale, Australia

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FEATURED in Pictures With the “Wow Factor” 15-02-2011
FEATURED in Your Country’s Best 18-02-2011
FEATURED in Historic Churches 15-06-2011

Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Lens: @ 17mm, ISO: 800, Aperture: f4, Shutter: 1/13

Taken from halfway down the nave of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia, looking back towards the Great West Door. St Paul’s Cathedral is built on the site where the first public Christian services in Melbourne were led by Dr Alexander Thomson in 1836. Soon afterwards a small wooden chapel was built elsewhere, and the area became a corn market until 1848, when it was made available for the building of the bluestone St Paul’s Parish Church. Consecrated in 1852, this Church was used until 1885, when it was demolished to make way for the present Cathedral. The decision to build on the site of the existing church was made because of its proximity to the railway and soon to be completed cable tramway service. The Swanston Street and Flinders Street corner remains one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections today, ensuring the Cathedral a place at the heart of city life. The Architectural style of the Cathedral is described as Gothic transitional, being partly Early English and partly Decorated. It was designed by the distinguished English architect William Butterfield, who was noted for his ecclesiastical work. The foundation stone was laid in 1880. Butterfield steadfastly refused to visit Melbourne and the building program was beset with all the problems that arise from management by remote control. He resigned from the project briefly in 1882 and finally in 1884, and the building was completed under the supervision of Joseph Reed, who designed many of Melbourne’s public buildings. Nonetheless, St Paul’s remains Butterfield’s final masterpiece. On 22 January 1891 the Cathedral was consecrated, although it was not the building we see today. The erection of the spires did not begin until 1926, and then to the design of John Barr of Sydney rather than using the original design of an octagonal central tower and gable west end towers of Butterfield. In the 1960s extensive work was carried out on the exterior, and in 1989 a major National Trust appeal to enable the restoration of the Cathedral’s magnificent organ.

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