St James Old Cathedral

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St James Old Cathedral
Melbourne StJamesOldCathedral.JPG

Coordinates: 37°48′36.8″S 144°57′09.1″E / 37.810222°S 144.952528°E / -37.810222; 144.952528 St James Old Cathedral, an Anglican church, is the oldest church in Melbourne, Australia. It is one of only three buildings in the central city which predate the Victorian gold rush of 1851.[1]

The parish is led by the Reverend Canon Matthew Williams. The Senior Associate Minister is the Reverend Mike Raiter, who is also director of the Centre for Biblical Preaching. The Family Connections minister is Jess Naylor-Tatterson.

The parish is served each Sunday by The Old Cathedral Voices, a semi-professional all-scholar consort choir which sings music from the Renaissance era to contemporary anthems, including regular new commissions and premieres. The organist is David Brown.

More recently, the church has begun serving as the chapel for Haileybury College's City Campus.

The building is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.[1]


The church's foundation stone was laid on 9 November 1839 by Charles La Trobe, the superintendent of the Port Phillip District (now the state of Victoria), in what was then still part of New South Wales. Melbourne was then only four years old and the church was one of the first substantial brick buildings to be built in the town. The church was designed by the town surveyor, Robert Russell, and built by George Beaver. One of the founders of Melbourne, John Batman, was among the subscribers who paid for the church's construction. It was opened in 1842 and completed in 1847.


The church originally stood near the corner of Collins Street and William Street in the centre of the town (where there is still a small street called St James Lane). In 1848 Melbourne became an Anglican diocese and St James' became the cathedral church of the first Bishop of Melbourne, Charles Perry. It served as Melbourne's Anglican cathedral until St Paul's Cathedral was consecrated in 1891. In 1913–14 it was moved to a new site on the corner of King Street and Batman Street opposite the Flagstaff Gardens. The move was overseen by John Stevens Gawler, a Melbourne architect who was largely responsible for establishing the School of Architecture at the University of Melbourne.

See also[edit]

List of cathedrals in Australia


  1. ^ a b "St James Old Cathedral, Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number H0011, Heritage Overlay HO478". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria.

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