St Paul’s is built in a revival of the style known 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 never saw the site and the building work was frequently delayed by disputes between Butterfield, in England, and the Church authorities on the spot. Butterfield resigned in 1884 and the building was finished by a local architect, Joseph Reed. Consequently the design of the spires differs greatly from those originally planned (similar to those built at Christ Church, South Yarra). The Cathedral Chapter has a scale model of the original completed design.
The Cathedral was consecrated on 22 January 1891, but the building of the spires did not begin until 1926. The spires were designed by John Barr of Sydney. An organ was imported from England and is acknowledged as the finest surviving work of T. C. Lewis, one of the greatest organ-builders of the 19th century. Besides Sunday and weekday Mass the cathedral also has a tradition of a daily choral evensong, one of the few Anglican cathedrals outside the British Isles to do so.
St Paul’s Cathedral: the north face and the spireSt Paul’s in unusual among Melbourne’s great 19th century public buildings in that it is not made from bluestone, the city’s dominant building material. Instead it is made from sandstone from the Barrabool Hills and limestone embellishments of Waurn Ponds limestone, both from near Geelong, giving the cathedral a warm yellow-brown colouring rather than Melbourne’s characteristic cold blue-grey. This gives it a strikingly different appearance to the bluestone Gothic of St Patrick’s Catholic cathedral on the eastern edge of the city. Because the spires are made from Sydney sandstone and are thirty years newer, they are of a darker tone than the older parts of the building. St Paul’s Moorhouse Tower is the second highest Anglican spire in the world, the tallest being Salisbury Cathedral’s.1
By the 1990s the constant traffic vibration of central Melbourne had led to concerns about the structural soundness of the cathedral, particularly the spires. A public appeal, led by the then Dean, the Very Reverend David Richardson, raised AU$18 million to restore the spires and improve the interior of the building. The seven-year restoration project is almost complete under the guidance of Falkinger Andronas Architects and Heritage Consultants. The restoration works were undertaken by Cathedral Stone. The Restoration Works were acknowledge by the Australian Institute of Architects with the Llachlan Macquarie National Award for Heritage Architecture 2009.
5 Images stitched in AutoPano plus some editing in Lightroom.
Canon EOS 1000D